Network Executive Thrilled With CNN Latino’s Early SoCal Success

As our colleagues at TVSpy reported earlier this week, CNN Latino, the 3 p.m.-to-11-p.m. weekday Spanish-language programming block,  is expanding to TV stations in Phoenix, New York, Orlando and Tampa. After just a few months of air time here in SoCal.

We were curious if the ramp-up was planned or sped up as a result of some sort of extra momentum in the LA market. When we spoke via telephone in New York with Cynthia Hudson (pictured), senior vice president and general manager of CNN en Español and Hispanic strategy for CNN/U.S, she confirmed it was the former and that this is just the beginning of an aggressive, three-year nationwide plan.

We also wondered what has surprised Hudson most so far about the 2013 run of CNN Latino on LA’s Channel 63. “One of the surprises has been the real interest of the audience in social media,” she replies. “Everybody knows that Latinos have been over-indexing on use of mobile and other kinds of devices. What’s fascinating to me is that we’re getting some big spikes from LA on our Facebook, Twitter and fan pages.”

“The other surprising thing is the acceptance of the new show that were producing with Elisabeth Espinoza [also with KTLA],” she continues. “CNN Latino is very young, but when you start beating some of the players, in demos like men/women 25-to-54, that’s not what we expected, so soon.”

Hudson says CNN Latino has received some interesting email feedback from viewers. For example, one fan explained that the Great Recession had forced them to get rid of Spanish-language cable channels, and that they thrilled not to have to subsist exclusively on telenovelas, movies and sports.

“Part of being in the local TV game, where you’re no longer a cable channel, is that the local stations will be adding to what we do in the market,” Hudson explains. “In the case of Los Angeles, we have a local news team that does all this ancillary news team; they help in the production of the daily 8 p.m. news show. And if there were breaking news, absolutely, we would break in live.”

Key west coast personnel include LA bureau manager Krecyte Villarreal, CNN Latino anchor-reporter Luis Treto and the aforementioned Espinosa (Sin Limites).

Previously on FishbowlLA:
CNN en Español Host Ismael Cala Logs Second Block of LA Tapings
CNN Latino Anchor Coming to LA for Pair of Tapings
KTLA’s Elizabeth Espinosa Adds CNN Latino Duties

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.