Univision Fails to Impress at TCA

At the TCA Press Tour

Univision Orchestrates Minimal Questions by Press to Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony 

By Julio Martinez

At the recently completed winter meeting of the Television Critics Association (TCA), held at the Langham Hotel in Passadena, it appeared that Univision, the major network for U.S. Latinos, would pull a scheduling coup by holding a Saturday morning breakfast session for the press, featuring the much-publicized husband-and-wife producing team of Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. The couple had announced the formal separation from their seven-year marriage on July 15, 2011, but remain contractually entwined in many projects, including the televised transcontinental Q’Viva competition, which is scheduled to premiere Jan 28 on Univision. Anthony, Lopez and Jamie King serve as creators and producers of the series, which conducts a talent search for singers, dancers, musicians and other performers throughout Latin America.

The dissatisfaction with this press event occurred for the assembled 100-plus TCA members when it became obvious Univision had orchestrated the one-hour session so Anthony and Lopez would not be subjected to a Q&A from any TCA member. The first 30 minutes were taken up with breakfast, followed by a short interview opportunity with Dave Broome and Emilio Estefan, producers of Univision’s weight-loss challenge series, Dale Con Ganas (“Give It All”). The two did reveal the interesting fact that Latinos lead all other ethnic groups in propensity for obesity. With about 10 minutes to go in the session, Univision offered a clip of Q’Viva, followed by the couple of the hour, Anthony and Lopez, actually taking the stage with 5 minutes left in the session. Unfortunately, instead of opening up for questions from the assembled press, Lourdes Estafan, host of Univision’s primetime entertainment magazine series, Sal y Pimenta (“Salt and Pepper”) and not a TCA member, immediately launched into her own Q&A.

At that point Jonathan Storm, television critic from the Philadelphia Enquirer stood up and demanded Estefan cease and that the TCA members be allowed to ask the questions. Estefan put down her mike. Anthony shrugged and replied, “O.K. man, ask away.” The press learned that Anthony and Lopez are committed to stay on as producers of Q’Viva, which is executive produced by Simon Fuller, no matter how many seasons it is on the air or what might be going on in their personal lives. The TCA members would have loved to ask more questions, but suddenly the doors to the room flew open and the TV critics were bombarded with singing and dancing talent from the series, whether they wanted to be or not. When the performance ended, Anthony Lopez left the room. No more questions asked.