Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekend Discussion: Broadcast Formats

In the last few years we've had our ups and downs with double episodes, episodes and a half, and time slot changes.  Putting aside our specific issues about how this affects us, how do you feel about this?

I'm just old enough to remember the days when US soaps were only half an hour.  That never felt right; I always felt cheated, especially about Dark Shadows.  NBC's Another World was the first soap to go to a one hour episode length in 1978 and that was the beginning of the trend for the rest.  A later attempt at 90-minute episodes failed and the program went back to 60-minute episodes.

The current broadcast pattern of QBA has an episode and a half with one commercial break and a slightly earlier start time not given to the cable and satellite systems that carry Univision.  It seems to work for the network or they wouldn't be doing it.  Televisa scripts are written to make for a major or minor cliffhanger at the halfway mark or the end of the standard-length episode so that they can air in any 30-minute increment, which is why we usually don't feel like the broadcast is ending on the wrong note.  All this requires is (usually) deleting the "in last night's episode" section at the beginning and picking up where the previous night's episode left off.  No objections from me!

If you weren't blogging this series, what is your preferred episode length?  Would you want the networks to repeat the episode after midnight or on a sister network just in case?  Do you prefer watching them on Hulu or anything similar?  How do you feel about limited commercial breaks?  Trust me; if a program remains in prime time with fewer ads, those advertisers are paying more for that time.

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Maybe it's my attention span, but I don't think I could watch an episode that is more than an hour.

The first show I remember getting 2 hour blocks was TdA...and it was 2 hours of FILLER. It was hell to watch and hell to recap. I seem to recall as well that there was no warning about the extended block, either (didn't they do 90 minutes for a while?)

Then I remember UFCS was being shown in 2 hour blocks. I only watched that one, and it did seem that stuff actually HAPPENED...or rather, it was entertaining. Yet, I imagine that it was still difficult for the recappers.

Amorcito Corazon had a 2 hour period too.

URPEA also was 2 hours. I did not watch that one, so I cannot speak for the experience.

That all being said, even if it is 2 GOOD hours, it is still difficult to find time to watch. I doubt any of us only watch ONE show per week.

And while it has nothing to do with episode length, Univision is bad about extending over or starting early....which sucks if you are dependent on DVR.

I prefer to watch on the actual television, but I have just stared watching Dama y Obrero using the Telemundo novela app and I find I don't mind watching on my iPad, either.

started...not stared.

OK; here's my vote:
Episodes at least 1 hr; repeat them after midnight in case we miss one. Better yet; offer them On Demand.
Hated using Hulu-CCs were variable.
Certainly no more commercials than they have now; but don't mind the commercials because I am trying to learn Spanish and the commercials are helpful.

Count me in for one hour episodes that start and end on time with a rebroadcast later that same night or the next day so if I miss an episode I have another chance to see it or record it. I cannot count on My On Demand because it is always a couple of days behind.


On Demand is at least a week behind here; can't see how that helps anything. It should be available immediately after it airs.

I find that with On Demand it depends on the show. I watched some episodes of Amor Bravio and it was almost a week behind. Now I'm watching Dama y Obrero and Marido en Aquiler and each of these appears the day after they air.

I've been impressed with how quickly the Telemundo site gets their shows up. Since I have Univision, I don't use UVideos so I don't know how fast they are.


I have tried to catch up using the Univision site but it is also usually behind one day so you can never watch the episode you need before catching the new one that evening. Very inconvenient.


I vote for one hour length. I can take 90 minutes, but it has to be an honest 90 minutes and NOT filler. Just don't see the point of that.

Because I don't get Univision, I usually have to (almost) beg my friends who do have it to record important episodes. I had to do this for most of "Amor Bravio".

The biggest headache was the early start or 5 minutes going over time. The recorder NEVER got it right. Honestly, that's the part that bothers me the most. You just never really know when the program is going to start or end. Why don't they ever give a heads up about this?

May I ask an OT, but relevant (to learning Spanish) question? A while back on the QBA thread, "Traveling Lady" mentioned that she was watching an online novela from Spain (I guess it has gone on for years, am I right?). Could someone tell me the name of that novela so that I can track it down and watch, please?

The only novela I am sorta kinda watching right now is QBA. I struggle to keep interested, but stick to it because of our wonderful recappers. Anyway, didn't mean to meander off topic, but thanks in advance!

Always look forward to your weekend topics, UA!!


I didnt watch Sortilegio when it first aired. Unimas, a child of Univision showed it in 2 hour increments in the afternoon. I didnt mind because it was a very good show, but when I couldn't watch for several days in a row, it became a problem because I was so behind. It's hard to make up that much time.


One more thing. I don't have cable, so I either watch the novelas when they are broadcasted or I find them on one of those free sites. I live close to the border, so I am able to watch them on Televisa when they are airing in Mexico. Maybe I'm crazy but they seem to have a lot more commercials. one night I timed 9 minutes of constant back to back commercials. They do it right before the last scene of the night. In that case, I feel like a half hour would be better.


I hate the wrong start- and end-times that aren't synched with the cable company. The Spanish-language networks are not the only guilty parties.

I sometimes think that double episodes are tiring even when I'm not covering them for this blog. The loaded episodes we're getting for QBA right now are also tiring. However, if they were showing normal-length episodes it would end at an awkward time on the calendar, which is why I believe they chose to do this.

The only TN I'm watching right now is Corazon Indomable and that's because I agreed to recap it. It's not a very good show and I'm not sure I would be watching it otherwise.

Comcast (have I mentioned how much I hate Comcast?) has changed the way I have to record a program and it has become very difficult to record anything now. I've been watching CI on the Univision website, they post the program the very next day early, thankfully. So I'm not watching it any later than I would have if I recorded it myself. There is limited commercial interruption, and I understand the need to do that so that I can watch it for free. Honey Bunches of Oats anyone?

One hour is good, a half hour would really drag the program and a longer time would be taking up too much of my time.

With Hulu, I had to wait a few days to see the current episode, so that was a drag when trying to follow it here. And the illegal sites are usable when they are accessible, which is not very often anymore, but the quality is very bad and can make it difficult to watch and listen.

Glad to see Univision is now posting current episodes more promptly; I will have to give it another try.


I like one hour. I don't mind if it has to go a little longer to make way for commercials, because commercial breaks are now long enough that I can get other things done while they're on (if I'm watching the show live).

HOWEVER, I would really appreciate accurate start and stop times. That is, if it will be 7:58 to 9:03, publish those as the start and stop times and make sure all the DVRs know about it.

Of course, I'd also like those start and stop times to be the same from day to day, but honestly, I haven't had much trouble with runtimes in recent months. I remember a lot more trouble with PESE and UFCS.

Like Cathyx, I am having some issues with Comcast which could end up with me being unable to record any shows. This, I cannot blame on Univision. But if I have to change the way I get my TV, it will be more important to me that Univision be very meticulous about sharing precise broadcast times with the program guide services.

Oh... regarding the commercials. I know we have to have them. All I ask is that they not be tacky... or if tackiness can't be avoided, that it be HILARIOUSLY tacky.

I'm not a recapper so I actually like the packed episodes we are getting on QBA and suspect the recappers are glad there are usually at least one or two songs to suck up time as well as the teen love and fight scenes which can be noted FF. Another plus is that we aren't getting five minutes worth of the previous night's show. However it is annoying that they start three minutes early which means I have to tape any show that i would normally watch before it as I find AV ghastly in the extreme. The other downside is that episodes don't always end with the traditional cliff hanger and like last night kind of fall flat.

Haven't looked into the Telemundo app but want to take a look at the new Juan Soler show so will have to check it out. I still have the final three hours of La Patrona to watch which I'm saving for this weekend so I can saver Antonia getting what she has coming.

Blogger Jardinera654 said...
I have been watching these things since 2001-early '02 and have seen the evolotion/devolution of the Univision/Televisa format with the introduction of QBA's crazed nightly 1.5+ episodios. It wouldn't matter to me if I weren't recapping and were just there to watch and/or learn. Taping times, especially important for those of us who recap, are jumping all over the place and are becoming a bitch to correctly plan for. I set the recorder manually and generally have no problems if I set it for 80-90 minutes worth.

I totally dislike the late hour which is inconvenient to the max for people in the Eastern Time Zone, especially when they have to work the next day and/or have no access to On Demand or a properly updated website that streams the last night's show in a timely fashion. It's totally obnoxious and uncalled for when you figure they have the show ready to webcast/stream immediately since they own the damned thing and or have paid for the commercial rights to it which is almost the same! Take Hulu Plus for instance, or On Demand or Novelas y Series who all are guilty of posting a show a day or two later than they are supposed to. WHY for gawd sakes? What is the effing problem? Give me a rational explanation somebody.

The 10PM Eastern time slot makes very little sense to anybody but telenovela freaks--the ultrafanatical tn watchers--and tn advertisers or, the currently unemployed, perhaps. Give us 3 quality prime time shows I suggest, and repeat something else in the 10PM and 11PM slot like Telemundo does. Show the crappier ones during the day, but add to those one quality oldie-goldie, which I believe was/is the case with Univision recently in some areas of the country. I do mean truly golden oldies like when TNs were ORIGINAL STORIES and took the fans by storm--there are huge numbers of them, believe it or not, Mr. Ripley. Take the time to add the Spanish CC's to those which were telecast prior to CC being common, at least so we can continue to improve our vocabulary and listening comprehension--oh, and Uni/Televisa or Tm/Azteca even, could maybe triple their viewing public and their advertising revenues.

I've watched a number of old favs from the early 2000's that I've been lucky enough to get hold of and saw a couple via Telemundo's website cache that I thought were excellent, i.e., El Clon, and La Traición. Currently I'm watching Cuando Seas Mía from Azteca (sans CC of any sort since it was 2001 and pre-CC regs) via Hulu Plus. Because of that I actually was thinking that I miss those horrid 5-10 minute rewinds which I realize now as the filler we got instead then along with whatever there was for the whole next episodio.

Show promo/intros start now at the 2/3 way mark for QBA, instead of the half-way or 1/3 way mark. Why????? Just do a regular intro and cut the cute stuff. It's confusing and ridiculous.

(BTW, I will say that having seen Destilando Amor, I love both of them and highly recommend CSM. Some of you were watching a replay of DA and enjoyed it as much as I did. You may want to wait a while like I did before jumping in to CSM, but it's totally addicting and every bit as addicting as DA was. OMG! 200 episodios!!) Where's Gaitan or Caridad Bravo Adams when you need them???)

That's my rant and I'm sticking to it.

I have to completely agree with you about the current 4 TN lineups. I am relatively late to the scene as STuD was my first TN. It was on from 9EST to 10 EST and then Don Francisco came on.

I wish Univision would either put a quality re-run on or find some other programming. It is very difficult to keep up with a show that comes on at 10. (But that's just me. Some nights the 9 slot is too late for me...and I'm in the Central time zone! LOL)

I have been very impressed with the Telemundo app. I recommend it. I think I read somewhere that Juan Soler just signed an exclusive contract with TM so it may be the only place to see him for a while!

Juan Soler is a dream boat, but I cannot get into that show and gave it up. I'm hoping that contract is only for a couple of TNs. I'm going to miss him.

Jardinera, a huge HIGH FIVE to you!!!

Could you or Decie Girl let me know where you are watching the gorgeous Juan Soler with the mega watt smile?!




P.S. Jardinera or UA, do you know the name of the online novela from Spain that has been mentioned here off and on? I would like to see it.

Fatima- Juan Soler is currently in "Marido En Aquiler" on Telemundo. It just started less than two weeks ago, and is being recapped daily on the Telemundo y Mas feed:

Better link to this week's Telemundo feed:

Sara C

I too read that Juan had signed an exclusive with Telemundo. They've been building a substantial stable of talent, picking up talented actors who are tired of the same old same old that Telvisa throws out. They also have some of the best looking finest acting over 40 year old men on any channel I've ever seen.

Location also has a lot to do with it. Miami would be way more attractive and interesting for older/more established actors from accross LatAm and the U.S. to move to, than Mexico City.

Vivi in DC, mil gracias!!! I cannot wait to see that wonderful Juan Soler.

While you are out and about here on the blog, would you know the name of the online novela from Spain that Traveling Lady mentioned a few weeks back?

Thank you Vivi in DC!!


Fatima- I wish I could help. I remember her mentioning it, but I don't remember what the name was.

Gosh, Vivi, I was so hoping you would know. I need to go back and see if I can find the post. It sounded interesting.

Thank you, tho.


Re: Novelas at 10(ish)–BOOO! I recorded LQNPA and most of Amor Bravio to watch the next day because I have to be up at 4:15 AM to go to work for 6:00. Then I discovered On Demand had AB but they were usually several episodes behind. They would catch up by Monday but then it would start over again. Caray recaps were great until I could watch the missing episodes.

I miss the old days when a novela would start promptly at, say, 8:00 with the entrada. CI's entrada is about 20 minutes in. QBA drove me nuts with the way episodes were shown and I gave up on it (pretty lame story didn't help either, despite the presence of Jorge Salinas).

Telemundo isn't innocent either. Caso Cerrado goes past 8:00 so you have to adjust accordingly if you want just Dama y Obrero. Fortunately, my On Demand shows DYO and Marido en Aquiler the next day. In fact, I missed most of Marido last night and I was able to watch it this morning at 6:00. My nitpicky complaint re: On Demand is that they include these 5 minute commercials for L'Oreal at the beginning. Yes, I can FF through them and I do, but can't the ads be a normal length?

For those who mentioned Juan Soler: Marido begins at 9:00 PM Eastern. Really.

I'd love to see some of the older ones, like Cuna de Lobos and the original Bodas de Odio. I wonder whether any of the ones before those are even still available or whether the videotape was reused as they did in the US for so long.

For Fatima :)

Amar en tiempos revueltos:

It's seven seasons long with over 200 capítulos in each. They are probably 1/2 hour episodes.

I was going to watch this but right now it's too big a commitment.

Oh - sorry - regarding the commercials being tacky - I was referring to the product placements. I don't care what the regular commercials are like - I don't pay as much attention to those!

Off Topic

UA: Cuna de lobos is the first novela I ever watched. It was rebroadcast at 1:00 PM during the summer of either '86 or '87. Univisión was known back then as SIN: Spanish International Network. My cable company only carried it at certain times of the day. They showed not only Mexican novelas but also Argentine and Venezuelan ones as well.

Is Cuna de Lobos on YouTube by any chance? Some of these oldies now are--or were. I'd like to see Ramona and La Mentira as some of the golden oldies as well as Cuna de Lobos. Teresa with Salma Hayek would be a treat also.

I found at least the beginning.

Sue455!!!! You are a GEM! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am going to tackle this one!!

Thank you, Sue455!!


I don't think that Uni is gonna change their scheduling any time soon. They are now in partnership with ABC. They are scheduling shows like all the major networks do. Uni has come a long way from the days of old ; ) It now has a bigger market and some of these TNs are raking in the viewers and some nights Uni exceeds other networks, even during sweeps season, like in February and May. I highly doubt they will ever show a repeat at 10:00 pm or go back to Don Francisco. Uni does have a station that shows nothing but old TNs but it isn't available on my cable system, Cox Communications. There was a commenter on Proximas that talked about all the old ones they have already shown. I wish it would be more widely available.

I have seen a part of Cuna de Lobos on Youtube. The woman that played the main villiana was the best ever!

One more thing that gets on my last nerve: Choppy scenes.

I wish we could have more scenes that run longer than two minutes. This choppy editing makes me wonder if the production team thinks the whole world has ADD.


"One more thing that gets on my last nerve: Choppy scenes."

I hate those too. I don't understand the obession (especially popular nowadays) with making a good scene longer by cutting to other less interesting scenes. It just makes the telenovela boring.

Also, I can appreciate the evolution of the use of camera angles and effects but too much of it tends to look ridiculous and puts me off watching. I prefer those effects to be used at minimum. Thankfully, it's less common now than it used to be during the late 90's and early 2000's, when those new effects became available and every production went crazy on them.

I also miss when they used to make all the music for the novela, instead of only buying the rights of already existing pop songs. I know we can't go back to that, because Televisa lost Fonovisa Records when it went broke and they had to sell it to Univision so now making their own telenovela music is much more expensive but that music used to give each telenovela a very specific tone.


I'm coming out in support of the 10pm story! That's my wind-down time to sit in front of the the tv and do nothing but watch. Of course, I don't have to get up at 4am either.

Totally agree about the theme songs being put at the end of the show now. El Senor de los Cielos plays the theme 10 minutes before the show is over. What's with that? Is there a reason for this that we are missing?


I absolutely despise the theme song coming 20 minutes in. I think that started with Abismo? So it's been a while and I still don't like it.

OT and nothing to do with Univision
My local cable company has recently started overselling their local ad time. I miss 1-1 1/2 minutes of programming at the last commercial break of CI and AV. This happens EVERY NIGHT and it's been going on since May (and only on Univision.) I have contacted them and they say it's a Univision problem. When asked about that fact that it is local advertising they tell me they will "pass the info along."

Hello all,

Wonderful to see so many of my favorite people here. I'm sorry that I missed this great discussion of formats.

I want to thank Jardinera for recommendation of CSA. I will definitely look into it.

Fatima and Sue - I have been watching the first year Amar en tiempos revueltos, dealing with the Spanish Civil War and WWII. Each year is a self-contained story, with each episode about 40 minutes, so even at 200 it's not too different than the long Televisa novelas. It's very good, I have learned a lot. No cc -- and heavily castillano in accent. Something different with lots of famous Spanish actors, including the mother of Javier Bardem (apparently the Bardem's are the Barrymores of Spain!) Friends from Spain tell me that the first year is the one to watch -- others not as good.

Marido en Aquilar is indeed dumb, but Juan Soler and Sonya Smith are so adorable together that I'm keeping a close eye.

Sara - I don't know if you're still watching this thread, but Comcast does the same thing in my market. Their little drop-in commercials used to start before the official commercial break began. The timing is better now, but once in a while they still pop in during the middle of another commercial. UGH.

I'm still watching this thread (like the creeper I am) and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.

It's the same here. One commercial will start and then another cuts into it. When all is said and done, we return to the show already in progress and I'm left hoping I didn't miss anything major. Luckily I have the recaps!

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