Wednesday, February 10, 2016

NBC's Telenovela: What Is Truly Depicted?

Since December 2015, the American television network NBC has aired a sitcom starring Eva Longoria known as Telenovela. The television series gives a behind the scenes look into the lives of telenovela actors and actresses. The decision making behind greenlighting this television series by NBC can be attributed to globalization and a rising hispanic population in the U.S. With an increasingly globalized world, telenovelas are becoming more popular in foreign markets that are just not inclusive to Latin and South America. Those markets include various European and Asian countries including Turkey which has spawned its own telenovela, Fatmagul. With telenovelas gaining in popularity around the world, NBC executives most likely have been convinced in creating the series after seeing the great expansion of the telenovela to those new markets. Another major factor that may have heavily influenced NBC in greenlighting the show is the growing Hispanic population in the U.S. Overall, the series does have some similarities in regards to the traditional characteristics of telenovelas however it also has major differences in the areas of production.

There are major differences in production between NBC's Telenovela and a traditional telenovela mainly due to the environment of the local media. One of the major differences is the number of episodes American television shows are typically 13 or 22 episodes long per season which translate to roughly around an episode per week from September to May. On the other hand, traditional telenovelas can have hundreds of episodes and be broadcast daily. For example, the telenovela I am analyzing for the class paper is Rebelde which has 440 episodes.Another difference is that Telenovela is only broadcast in primetime while telenovelas can be broadcast during the afternoon and primetime blocks.

NBC's Telenovela is overall an American sitcom but shares several characteristics of traditional telenovelas. One of the aspects depicted is the love "triangle". The lead character, Ana Sofia, is the star of Las Leyes de Pasion which is a telenovela within the series. Her telenovela lover is played by Gael Garnica. Conflict arises when Ana's ex-husband Xavier is hired to be on Las Leyes de Pasion. Thus, forming a "triangle" of conflict between the three characters in the show.  Another similarity between most telenovelas are the usage of beautiful actresses as the protagonist. This is shown with the hiring of Eva Longoria to play Ana Sofia on Telenovela. Many telenovelas in Latin America tend to hire beautiful actors and actresses in a similar way in order to bolster viewership. Overall, NBC's interest in the show further depicts the rising influence of telenovelas in various markets and the hope of attracting new demographics of viewers including the rising Hispanic population.


  1. From reading online about NBC's Telenovela, it appears that this show is quite satirical in how it depicts these spicy television operations. Given it is a comedy, this show takes an intriguing perspective on the world of telenovelas from the production side on down to the actors. Ironically, the show Telenovela is not really a telenovela, but a TV show with weekly showings. The target audience is definitely the emerging Hispanic population of America. This show really begins to mark the integration of Latin culture in America, and the media will continue to see more shows that reflect Hispanic America.

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  3. I am guilty of watching this show, and it portrays production of telenovelas very lightly. I would describe it as a regular sitcom that takes place on a telenovela set. What I don't like about NBC's Telenovela is that it plays on the typical stereotypes for mass consumption. For example, Mimi is a single mother who spends too much time at work rather than with her kids, giving her the role as the single Latina mother. Roxi is the airhead "Latina bombshell" (think of Sofia Vergara in Modern Family). Gael falls into the typical "gay boy" category as well. Eva's character Ana Sofia, however, challenges those stereotypes by being in charge on set and by slowly overcoming challenges alone.