Telemundo widens focus on female-skewed Gems

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Gems Television, sometimes called the "Lifetime of Spanish-language TV," is seeking to expand programming beyond its female positioning.

Gems' new owner, Telemundo Network Group, is in the midst of a top-to-bottom review of the cable network it purchased in May from Cox Communications and Venezuela's Empresas 1BC. The company is also giving the Gems name the once-over, says Manuel Abud, new president of Telemundo Cable.

"We are doing research to get a better sense of how it [the name] is perceived," he said. Under scrutiny is whether the network's female orientation makes sense.

"Why should you narrow yourself?" said Mr. Abud. "We will be coming in with a richer programming grid."

Gems will be one step closer this fall when it begins airing newscasts in the early morning, early evening and late night each day. The news programs will draw on the resources of sister network Telemundo Internacional.

CALL-IN SHOW

Already, under Telemundo's guidance, Gems is carrying "America en Vivo," a call-in show at 8 p.m., simulcast on Telemundo Internacional.

Mr. Abud said the network is also considering a 3 p.m. call-in show, which he described as a "hybrid between `The View' and `Larry King Live,' a program with primary appeal to women. Gems is cutting back on cinema and self-help programs to focus on entertainment and information.

Univision Communications' cable network, Galavision, has introduced some English-language programming to reach assimilated Latinos, mostly second-generation Hispanics who are as comfortable with English as Spanish. Galavision's new bilingual programs include "GalaScene," "VideoMix" and "Que Locos!"

Mr. Abud doesn't foresee Gems introducing English-language programming.

By acquiring the domestic operations of Gems, which reaches 2.5 million Hispanic homes in the U.S., Telemundo got a platform to repurpose programming, an important incentive for the deal.

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