The Latino audience is worth a lot to television networks -- at least $40 million worth, to be exact. That's the amount Hispanic-centric cable channel NuvoTV said it raised from investors to produce a new lineup of original English-language programming for a Latino audience.
The unprecedented capitol investment illustrates the gap in the market, along with the dire need to fill it with Latino TV shows for English-language speakers.
"This is the biggest injection of capital into NuvoTV since it was founded in 2004," CEO Michael Schwimmer told Variety.
NuvoTV issued the callout for funding, recognizing it needed programming that TV studios weren't creating on their own, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
Founded in 2004 as Si TV, NuvoTV has worked to grow its business and expand its client base in the past few years, making dramatic changes -- like its name -- in order to better appeal to the changing face of its target audience.
NuvoTV, which is available in 30 million homes across the country, currently features shows such as "Fight Factory," which follows top Latino MMA fighters, and its longest-running series, "Model Latina."
"Most everyone is focused on total U.S. Hispanics, but the real story is the bicultural Latino," Rafael Oller, the network's senior vice president of marketing, told Advertising Age after the name change in 2011. "Three out of four speak English well or very well. These bicultural Latinos self-identify as Latino and American and are looking for culturally relevant programming."
It seems a similar sentiment has echoed through the entertainment industry as mainstream networks like NBC Universal, Fox and MTV have hopped on the bandwagon with plans to cater to the fastest growing population in America.
"People kind of woke up to the size of this audience following the 2010 census," Schwimmer told The Los Angeles Times. They now see that not only is the Hispanic population growing, but most of that growth is coming from U.S.-born Latinos."
Did you watch any of these shows starring Latinos this summer?
"Teen Wolf" (Premieres: Sunday, June 3rd at 11 p.m. (MTV)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: Half-Mexican actor Tyler Posey reprises his role as high school student/werewolf Scott McCail in MTV's sexy supernatural drama, "Teen Wolf." Although the show's second season will premiere on Sunday (immediately following the MTV Movie Awards), it will return to its regular time slot (Mondays, 10 p.m.) the following day.
"Dallas" (Premieres: Wednesday, June 13th at 9 p.m. (TNT)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: With handsome male leads like Jesse Metcalfe ("Desperate Housewives") and Josh Henderson ("90210"), and beautiful <em>Latina</em> stars like Brazilian actress Jordana Brewster ("Fast Five") and Argentinean actress Julie Gonzalo ("Veronica Mars"), TNT's remake of the classic '80s TV show is the kind of syrupy, sexy soap that's perfect for summer viewing. We can't wait to meet the next generation of Ewings!
"Single Ladies" (Premieres: May 28th at 9 p.m. (VH1)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: When half-Mexican actress Stacey Dash <a href="http://www.essence.com/2011/08/31/stacey-dash-leaves-vh1s-single-ladies/" target="_hplink">quit</a> the hit VH1 show last August, we were sad that season two wouldn't have any Latino stars. But VH1 replaced Dash, who was the star of the show, with another Latina actress - soap star Denise Vasi, who's part-Puerto Rican and part-Dominican. The network also tapped Cuban heartthrob William Levy to play Vasi's love interest on season 2!
"Mrs. Eastwood & Company" (Premieres: Sunday, May 20th at 10 p.m. (E!)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: Clint Eastwood's wife Dina Ruiz has a new reality show on E! AND she's Latina! How could we not tune in for "Mrs. Eastwood & Company?"
"The Secret Life of the American Teenager" (Premieres: Monday, June 11th at 8 p.m. (ABC Family)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: "Secret Life" will premiere its fifth season just one week after the season four finale, and that's OK with us: we can't get enough of Adrian Lee, the drama queen played by half-Mexican, half-Honduran actress, Francia Raisa! In season five, "Secret Life" will become the first ABC drama ever to hit its 100th episode!
"Louie" (Premieres: Thursday, June 28th at 10:30 p.m. (FX)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: Mexican actor Louis C.K., returns as a comedian and newly divorced father when his Emmy-nominated series (which is loosely based on his own life), returns for its third season on June 28th.
"Suits" (Premieres: Thursday, June 14th at 10 p.m. (USA Network)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: Cuban actress Gina Torres returns as Harvey Specter's (Gabriel Macht) demanding (but loyal) boss, when the hit show returns for its second season this summer.
"Take Me Out" (Premieres: Thursday, June 7th at 8 p.m. (FOX)
<strong>Why It's Hot</strong>: His late-night talk show "Lopez Tonight" may have gotten the ax last August, but the Mexican funny-man is back as the host of this summer dating series, which centers on female contestants searching for a match, while single men are tasked to make a first impression.
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