Affairs, deception ... advice?

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When Fox Stations Group and Twentieth Television held the My Network TV upfront in May, the presentation focused on the virtues of the telenovela genre, describing it as "without question the most epic success story of international television."

While that may be true outside the U.S., advertisers remain a little more cautious about the concept, with the result that the netlet had a tough time getting commitments in advance of its debut Sept. 5. One media buyer told Watercooler that ad sales had been going slowly for the virgin network, which has had to face one of the toughest upfront environments in some time.

Media reports had pegged the broadcast network's upfront take at around $50 million, but it seems now that figure was a little rosy with the Los Angeles Times reporting last week that the true figure is closer to $20 million. Reps for the venture said ad sales were north of $22 million.

Still, we found one media-agency executive who likes the idea. MindShare's Shari Cohen, co-president of national broadcast, said she had bought My Network TV for a range of clients, adding that getting in on the ground makes sense if the network does take off.

My Network TV will certainly have its work cut out for it this year with the rival broadcast networks programming upscale expensive dramas and heavy thrillers. For those who prefer something a little lighter after a hard day at work, My Network TV might fill a niche. Who could resist Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild duking it out in "Fashion House" night after night? We'll be watching.

My Network TV consists of two English-language telenovela adaptations:"Desire: Table for Three," and "Secret Obsession: Fashion House." The first show follows two brothers who are in love with the same woman, while the second centers on a scheming businesswoman who tries to ruin her son's relationships.

The channel isn't just offering up advertisers a TV broadcast, but a website showcasing characters blogging about the latest storylines along with fashion tips and relationship advice. Are these the kind of people that should be doling out relationship tips?
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