Telemundo Launches Bilingual Late-Night Talk Show

Marketers Eye TV and Web Experiment Aimed at Younger Viewers

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NEW YORK ( -- Alex Cambert, a Hispanic Seinfeld look-alike, may be the most digitally savvy late-night talk-show host, and he's certainly the newest. His hourlong show made its debut yesterday on NBC Universal-owned Telemundo, and initially runs only once a week. So he's putting almost as much effort into the original daily web content to draw viewers online as the Thursday-night show, called "Mas Vale Tarde" (which translates to the first half of the proverb "Better late than never".)
The hourlong weekly show is supplemented by daily web content.
The hourlong weekly show is supplemented by daily web content.

His effort is being watched closely because there's never been a successful late-night talk show on Spanish-language TV. And Mr. Cambert is also breaking barriers by switching nimbly between Spanish and English, a rarity on Spanish-language network TV.

But that's just what many marketers are looking for as they try to find shows that will attract the fastest-growing Hispanic demographic: young bilingual, bicultural consumers.

"We see this bicultural consumer making decisions on media according to the content of the program rather than the language," said Paul Mendieta, marketing director-U.S. Hispanic and Latin America for Coors Brewing Co. "With 'Mas Vale Tarde,' we expect that because of the content, host, and interview subjects, we'll have that bicultural target watching the show."

Coors Light, Pontiac and others
Mr. Mendieta signed up Coors Light for a full year as a presenting sponsor, which includes an onstage Coors bar on some shows, where guests will be interviewed, and sponsorship of man-on-the-street interviews.

Other marketers involved include General Motors, which will sponsor a special stage called the Pontiac Garage for the show's musical acts, and T-Mobile and Target.

Mr. Cambert, who turned 39 this week, said "Mas Vale Tarde" will follow the traditional talk-show format of a host, sidekick, band, guests and a musical act. The initial frequency of just once a week on broadcast TV, supplemented by daily web content, will increase "without question," he said. "And the advertiser support is there for more nights a week."

For the first show at 11:30 p.m. yesterday, Mr. Cambert's guests were telenovela actress Kate del Castillo and actor Eric Roberts, brother of Julia. Throw in the musical act -- Cruz Martinez y Los Super Reyes -- and the debut show was the medley of cultures and languages Mr. Cambert is aiming for.

"I'm Cuban American, and that's how I grew up," he said. "I call it arroz con Brady Bunch."

He envisions monologues in which he will tell jokes about both Britney Spears and Mexican pop star Luis Miguel.

"I make fun across two markets," he said.

Not affected by writers strike
The Hispanic networks' writing staffs aren't members of the Writers Guild of America, so they aren't affected by the ongoing film and TV writers strike. That makes "Mas Vale Tarde" the only late-night talk show with new material at the moment.

The online content (on started before the show's premiere, with silly videos in which Mr. Cambert does things such as meet the show's band for the first time and ask if any of them know who he is. Most of them have no idea he's the host or what his name is. "This doesn't happen on 'Letterman,'" he mutters in Spanish, before telling them in English that they're all fired.

"We'll try to program original and exclusive [online] content every day," he said. "Maybe Monday is 'Ask Alex,' and Tuesday is scenes you didn't see [on TV] because they're too risqué."

He also has a daily video blog, one of the few spaces not open to advertising.

"There's no pre-roll on it because this has to be my message to the audience, and that shouldn't be monetized," he said.
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