Brace yourselves because what you’re about to read is not satire: Univison bought The Onion. Yes, Old uncle Univision, the one who’s hip to all the buzzwords them crazy kids keep saying, acquired one of the most emblematic sources of American comedy, says NPR:
Univision will acquire a 40 percent, controlling stake in The Onion, which includes the site, its influential sister popular-culture outfit The A.V. Club, the social media satire site Clickhole, and various book and video projects. Univision also will have the right to buy the humor company outright.
But, but, but… why!? Because Univision is the funniest network ever — not intentionally, of course, but that’s another point.
Also, this seems to be part of Univision’s bigger plan to ensnare those elusive millennials everyone keeps talking about. Essentially it’s the kind of audience which may be of Latino descent but are not watching Uncle Univision because, seriously, why would they? I mean, even their “cool” awards shows are for old people.
Randy Falco, Univision’s big wig, is aware of all this:
Randy Falco, Univision’s CEO, and Isaac Lee, its president of news and digital, have concluded that humor is a key ingredient to appeal to the millennial palate. They hope to build on The Onion’s traffic for their existing digital sites, which are experiencing marked growth but not yet enjoying much in the way of profits.
If you’re media savvy, then you’re probably asking yourself: “wasn’t that the point of Fusion, Univision and ABC’s joint venture? To capture the Latino millennial imagination?” The short answer is yes. But Fusion got cold feet, and now they’re trying to reach all millennials, not just the Latino ones:
Univision launched the English-language Fusion network in concert with Disney’s ABC network to reach English-speaking Latinos, a venture that soon pivoted to reach millennials more generally.
From a business point of view, it makes sense to go after all millennials and not just the Latino ones since, in this case, Fusion’s content is published in English anyway. However, doing so also pits them against all the big boys, which is probably why Fusion was having a hard time defining itself after they dropped the Latino tag. (Disclaimer: I’ve written stuff for Fusion before.)
The good news is that, at least according to Univision, they’re not going to fuck with The Onion’s editorial in any way, but will only rename the site “La Cebolla Chacal de la Cuatro que Jorge Ramos regaló a Raúl De Molina por parte de las nalgas de Don Francisco.”
(Just kidding about the last part, but not everything else.)
Shakira & J-Lo are the most difficult people María Elena Salinas has ever interviewed
Last August María Elena Salinas, a veteran news anchor, formally announced she was leaving Univision. After working for the network for over 35 years, Salinas, a beloved Mexican-American personality who’s often considered Jorge Ramos‘ counterpart, made it clear she didn’t get fired from the network, but was simply moving on to other projects:
“They haven’t been fired, I have not resigned, I’m not retiring, and I’m going elsewhere to do the same thing that I do here.”
The anchor’s job has already been filled by Ilia Calderón, a Colombian journalist, but María is still participating in Aquí y Ahora, the 20/20-esque program she’s been hosting with Teresa Rodríguez for close to two decades.
Last week’s Aquí y Ahora seems to be a sort of farewell for María. The YouTube clips Doñavision recently uploaded show women figuratively pulling out the fancy china, a box of pan dulce, and giving the kids NyQuil before going to town on some of most [in]famous Latino celebrities.
Listening to Salinas gossip about celebrities is especially fun because 1) she’s usually serious and composed, 2) looking back, Salinas has interviewed a shit load of important people, from Obama to Subcomandante Marcos, and 3) María calls herself a music “groupie,” and even a reggaetonera (¡Dale hasta abajo, comadre!).
At first, Salinas gloats about scoring certain coveted interviews, such as the time she spoke exclusively to Ricky Martin right after he came out of the closet.
But the real chisme gits gud when María starts throwing motherfuckers under the bus like it’s going out of style. These are my favorite bits:
1) Luis Miguel is all about the fantasy, not the music
María claims it took her years to get an interview with Luis Miguel, Mariah Carey’s cabana boy. When she finally got it, Luismi’s manager sent her up to the singer’s room, and there el Sol earnestly asked her not to question him about his personal life.
“I asked him why [I couldn’t ask personal questions], and he said ‘Today artists make a living thanks to their image, not selling records.'”
Salinas essentially ignored Luis Miguel’s petition, and during the interview proceeded to ask “Why is it so difficult for you to talk about your personal life?”
Poor Luismi. First women try to figure our his dick size using a plate full of sausages, and now this.
2) Shakira & J-Lo were difficult
to listen to interview
María looked at the camera with a devilish grin and, after being asked which artists had been “the most capricious” out of all the ones she’s ever interviewed, the anchor gleefully spoke the perpetrator’s name: “sorry, but Shakira.”
Shocking absolutely no one, Salinas made it clear that Truth Hips was very amable (kind), “but also very cautious with her image. She wouldn’t allow a camera to be positioned on her sides. She wanted no profile shots.”
Sadly, right when Salinas is about to tear into J-Lo, Doñavision’s editing room cuts her off, and instead splices in one last venomous comment: “Sometimes it’s easier to interview a president than an artist.”
3) Pitbull, a horrible artist, is a great person
Now, María never says Pitbull is a horrible artist – that’s just my personal opinion – but she definitely goes out of her way to claim he’s super cool. It’s a bit surprising because Latina moms – the anchor has two daughters – generally don’t like Pitbull types, no matter how many accolades they keep in their condom drawer.
So, you know, props to María for keeping an open mind.
Check out the full interview below.
Only those crazy millennials at Univision would consider this video to be “controversial”
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but our sources are starting to say that there’s a new thing called the «Internets» that will end up replacing, like, your TV and, like, even your newspaper. But hey, if you’re not digitally savvy (my girlfriend told me to write that), don’t worry: Univision is on it! And they have those crazy, hot, young millennials (like you) in mind!
Awesome, you say. But how?
Well, in September, the ever-expanding network launched Edición Digital, an “innovative” noon newscast that is broadcast simultaneously through your abuela’s TV and that new thing we mentioned above. The news show, conducted by journalists Carolina Sarassa and Javier Olivares, a guy with a style so “unconventional” and “dynamic” that he loves to wear suspenders like gramps Larry King. Crazy!
Even crazier is the fact that this young duo reports heavily on new digital phenomena (“from ‘trending topics’ in social networks to videos that go viral every day”), and in doing so they use these things my younger brother calls «hashtags».
Such a “bold” proposal can only stir things up in Latino media, right?
Take, for instance a recent segment on Miami comedy duo Los Pichy Boys. The Cuban-born comedians reacted to Fidel Castro’s death with a seriously unfunny video, which includes fainting and the overdubbing of Raúl Castro’s announcement of his brother’s passing with a joke of… turkey and Thanksgiving!
You’d think that a couple of Castro-obsessed comedians would have had more than a few years to prepare infinite good jokes for his death, but we got a he-choked-with-turkey one.
Anyway, this wouldn’t have been so pathetic if the bold reporters of Edición Digital didn’t consider the skit to be “#controversial.”
Anonymous threats, suits for torturers and blow jobs: The explosive allegations of Don Francisco’s unauthorized biographer
It wasn’t that long ago that we thought we had bidden adieu forever to Don Francisco and his decades-long, sad TV circus. But as you probably know (if you are like us and pay attention to these things), his retirement was shorter than the time we spent considering respecting Mitt Romney: he came back shortly after on Univision’s arch-enemy Telemundo, just to show he could continue doing sad, unimaginative TV for many years to come. At this point, calling him “the Fidel of Latino TV” is not that much of a stretch. But I digress.
While all of this was happening, Chilean journalist Laura Landaeta published her unauthorized biography of this “gigante,” titled simply Don Francisco. In a surprise to no one, since its publication in February the book has was largely ignored by mainstream media both in Chile —where Don Francis has powerful ties to corporations and networks, through personal investments and his involvement in the millions-moving Teletón— and in the Latino Hollywood. (That would be Miami, in case you were wondering.)
Which is shame for people like us, always in the look for the naked truth behind our great Latino forefathers. According to an interview with Chilean website El Ciudadano that was published around the time the book was launched but just caught our curious eyes, there are many, um, gigante stories surrounding the book and our favorite TV creepy uncle:
- Landaeta says Don Francisco would regularly pick women from his show’s audience to bring them to his dressing room and give him blow jobs in exchange for some of the prizes he had at his disposal. Like a fridge.
- The many roadblocks she encountered in the years she researched the book included anonymous phone calls insulting her and warning her not to mess with the TV personality.
- These threats were not new to Landaeta: in her interview, she recalls her first encounter with Don Francisco. She was working for Chilean magazine Qué Pasa, and shortly after writing a story on the sexual harassment suit a former Sábado Gigante model had filed against the TV host, she was assigned to interview him. She recalls being invited Don Francisco to get on her car and give her the interview while he drove to his countryside house, only to be insulted by Don Francisco for writing about his sexual harassment conflict, telling her not to mess with him, and dropping her at the entrance of his countryside property, far away from the city or a bus station. “He has an incredible skill to instill fear in you,” the reporter said.
- Landaeta also claims to have found out that department store Johnson’s, one of the stable sponsors of Sábados Gigantes in Chile, gave suits and clothing for free to the agents of DINA, the sinister intelligence agency of the Pinochet administration, thanks to the relationship of “mutual benefit” between Don Francisco and the head of DINA, convicted human rights criminal Manuel Contreras.
We haven’t gotten our hands on a copy of the Landaeta book, but we can’t wait to do it. We’ll let you know when we do.
In the meantime, you can watch full episodes of Don Francisco Te Invita here.
At your own risk, that is.
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