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ABC, Univision plan English-language news network for Latinos

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ABC News and Univision have partnered to launch an English-language news network aimed at Latinos, reports the AP. After more than a year of  discussion, ABC News President Ben Sherwood announced the as-yet-unnamed network will begin offering online content this summer and make its television debut in 2013. The network will offer lifestyle and entertainment programming alongside hard news.

The news comes on the heels of websites launched by NBC and Fox catering to English-speaking Latino households, who account for 24 percent of the country’s Latin population, according to a study from the Pew Hispanic Network. Comcast announced in February that it would debut the English-language Latino network El Rey, headed by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez, by early 2014.

While the stats are there, the jury’s still out on whether these ventures will flourish or fizzle. Fox Corp.’s 2006 attempt to bring ultra-popular Mexican telenovelas to an English audience with MyNetwork TV was a dud. On the other hand, NuvoTV (formerly SiTV) has remained on air for nearly a decade by casting a wide net in its English-language offerings for Latinos, ordering new series with Latin stars like Mario Lopez as well as rerunning past series including In Living Color and Miami Ink. ABC News and Univision’s focus on news will be a true test case for the business viability of this kind of network.

Still, Sherwood and Anne Sweeney, the chairwoman of Disney and ABC Television Group, think the new network will be a critical step in broadening the company’s reach. “It’s not the future of America,” said Sherwood. “It’s the present of America.”

The financial terms of the network launch were not disclosed.

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