Timothy Gunatilaka
July 29, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Univision, this summer’s hottest TV network. ¿Qué?!

Sí. Last month, the Spanish-language channel was No. 1 among all networks in the advertiser-friendly 18-to-34 crowd, averaging 1.2 million nightly viewers in the demo (some 50,000 more than Fox at No. 2). While most of the major nets are sleepwalking through summer, Univision’s first-run programs — led by telenovelas such as Apuesta por un Amor and Amor Real — have attracted new viewers while maintaining old ones. ”We’re capitalizing on a youth-oriented audience intensely involved in programming that isn’t [reruns],” says Univision VP David Wolfson.

A growth in the number of U.S. Hispanic households (10.9 million, a 12 percent increase since 2002) explains a lot of Univision’s rise. But the upswing is also due to smart programming. Since 2003, Univision’s 18-to-34 viewership has grown 33 percent, while its NBC-owned rival Telemundo’s decreased 11 percent. The difference? Univision’s 25-year deal with Televisa, the Warner Bros. of Mexico, which produces half of its shows.

Whether it can keep the momentum during the fall TV season remains to be seen — literally. This is one revolución that will be televised.

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