The telenovela, a low-budget soap opera genre that is a programming staple in Spanish-speaking countries looked to be ready for its closeup with Anglos. About this time last year, networks announced a
rush to begin developing a new form of programming for the summer: the American telenovela.
But the ardor has cooled. In the 12 months since news broke that CBS was working on as many as
seven scripts for telenovelas, that ABC had invested in 45 existing storylines, and NBC was jumping in to adapt those already produced by Telemundo, there is zip on TV. Not a single telenovela project
is in production at any of these networks.
The networks' intense interest in the telenovela genre was driven by a need to find inexpensive programming in the summer to replace the
constant repeats. "It's right to characterize what we were all caught up in last year as telenovela fever," says Katherine Pope, the executive vice president of NBC Entertainment.
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