Latin soap operas winning TV hearts around the globe

CANNES, France, Oct 15, 2006 (AFP) – True love is making a comeback on the television screen, winning the hearts of audiences around the globe. It’s also making big bucks for some of the world’s leading programme makers, contradicting playwright William Shakespeare’s famous observation that “the course of true love never did run smooth”.

The staple of TV in Spanish-speaking countries for many years, love story telenovelas — or soap operas — were the surprise hits this year in Germany, one of the world’s largest TV markets.

“Verliebt in Berlin”, the German version of Colombian smash hit “Betty La Fea” (Ugly Betty) was watched by more than 3.8 million viewers when it aired on Sat 1 channel earlier this year.

“Betty” is the story of a career woman who, although not conventionally beautiful, succeeds in getting her boss to fall for her, whilst fighting for her rights and for love along the way.

As a result, telenovelas were high on international programme buyers’ wish lists and sales were brisk at the influential MIPCOM TV trade show in Cannes this week.

“We’re seeing lots of Latin American and Asian buyers at the stand but tha