By Jack Rico
One of the best drama shows in television history is getting a Spanish twist – “Breaking Bad” is going Español and there’s nothing “Heisenberg” can do about it. Univision Networks will be the company that brings it to you courtesy of a deal they struck with Sony Pictures Television this week.
“Metastasis” will be the name of the show and will carry the same brilliant story line from its English brethren: the story of a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. He turns to a life of crime, producing and selling meth with a former student with the goal of securing his family’s financial future before he passes away.
For me, this is some of the best news I’ve heard in my life. Why? For decades, I have been criticizing the low-quality, intellectually absent and demeaning programming that Univision has put on its airwaves. But after hearing this major story, sounds like my prayers have been answered. This is a huge step towards a new era in Spanish language programming and with Telemundo also adapting ‘The Voice’ to ‘La Voz Kids,’ perhaps finally, us Hispanic American viewers, who also speak Spanish, can start tuning in to the channels that most were once ashamed to watch.
To boot, Univision will also adapt “Gossip Girl” to Spanish beginning next season. With fingers and toes crossed, looks like “hacienda” programming for Spanish language viewers could be nearing its end. But for anyone who reads the papers, there is a reason Univision and Telemundo are headed down this smart and reasonable route. Our country is changing and changing fast. The growth of Spanish language immigrants has been flat for some time and bilingual, bicultural Hispanics are quickly becoming the defacto Latinos. Currently, the youngest demographic in the country are Latinos and they’re speaking English first then Spanish. You want to perk up their ears? Give them programming with American sensibilities like “Gossip Girl” or “Breaking Bad” or “La Voz Kids” or “Maid in Manhattan” or a Ryan Seacrest production. That’s what we want, that’s what we always wanted. Create QUALITY programming and we will come. You can bank on it.
I have always said that Univision and Telemundo are US Hispanic media companies, not South American media companies. Therefore, they must create programming for our parents who only speak Spanish, and for their bicultural children as well. Hopefully the trend begins this year and blossoms in the years to come.