Telemundo Chairman Luis Fernandez Hires Mediapro Studio Exec Javier Pons, Ups Ronald Day at Streamlined Telemundo Studios (EXCLUSIVE)

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Chairman Luis Fernandez is spearheading an executive shuffle and a restructuring of Telemundo Studios in a bid to amp up the company’s scripted content for both linear and streaming platforms.

“At a time when Telemundo is the most-watched network in prime time, we are super-charging our scripted content production under one strong brand: Telemundo Studios,” said Fernandez who returned in December to Telemundo where he was previously head of the news division for six years before taking a hiatus.

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“For almost two decades, Telemundo has led in the production of Spanish-language content made by Hispanics for Hispanics. With this streamlined structure, we are doubling down on our commitment to serve the Latino community with the best scripted content across all platforms for years to come,” he added.

As part of the restructure, he has promoted entertainment and content strategy head Ronald Day to president of entertainment and chief content officer who expands his purview to Telemundo Studios where scripted content for linear and streaming platforms, both owned or third-party, are developed and produced.

Fernandez has also brought in Javier Pons, director general of Globomedia, Spain’s biggest scripted TV powerhouse, and part of content giant The Mediapro Studio, where Pons has served as head of TV from its launch in March 2019.

Pons will lead the consolidated Telemundo Studios as executive VP of Telemundo Studios, reporting directly to Fernandez. In this newly created role, Pons will oversee all scripted productions across the Telemundo network and its streaming platforms. With a wealth of experience as a seasoned production executive, Pons brings decades of expertise in production and management from leading media firms in Spain, Mexico, and France. He worked for Fernandez over 2007-09 RTVE in what is still rated as one of the best executive teams in recent history at Spanish public broadcaster.

“I think what we want is scripted content that’s true to our identity, reliable, and recognizable, reflecting the new reality of Latinos in the U.S. And we’re open to innovation. The formula is straightforward: it’s innovation plus passion, emotion, and talent.” Fernandez told Variety in his first interview since returning to Telemundo.

Before joining Telemundo, Fernández served as CEO of RTVE; president of Univision Entertainment and Univision Studios and was international CEO of the leading Spanish soccer club, Real Madrid, based in Beijing.

The Lord of the Skies
The Lord of the Skies

He also appointed a new head of news, Gemma García, a month or two ago. “I believe journalism needs credibility, judgment and passion more than ever and I think choosing Gemma leads us closer to this goal,” he said.

“I believe that bringing all the studio brands under the same Telemundo Studios umbrella is not just about simplifying; it’s about coherence, decisiveness, and clarity,” he noted.

The changes come at a time when Telemundo has seen a 36% jump in the 18-49 demo from 4Q23 till 1Q24, the fastest growing network during that period. Market leader Univision dipped 11% in comparison.

It ranked number one for six straight weeks (Feb. 26 – April 7) in primetime over market leader Univision, powered by two of its top shows, Season 9 of scripted drama “The Lord of the Skies” (“El señor de los cielos”) and reality series “La casa de los famosos.”

“The Lord of the Skies” averages 1.1 million total viewers and 434,000 among the 18-49 demo, for a total audience of 528,000 including digital streaming (a 22% lift over linear). Starring Rafael Amaya, it’s the highest-performing Telemundo series on Peacock.

Season 4 of “La Casa de los famosos” (“Celebrity Big Brother”), produced by Banijay’s Endemol Shine Boomdog, has had its highest rated season to date, averaging 1.3 million viewers, and is Telemundo’s top reality series on Peacock.

Meanwhile, Telemundo Studio’s next original production is ramping up at the Telemundo Center, a series based on a Colombian script that is slated to air this year. This will be the sixth production made at the Telemundo Center after “Betty in NY,” “100 Dias para enamorarnos,” “Juego de mentiras,” “Armas de mujer” and “Vuelve a mi.”

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