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The Amazing Invisible Latin Grammy Awards

What used to be a big deal now goes virtually unnoticed by English-language TV

By Se Fija!
Published on LatinoLA: November 12, 2011


The Amazing Invisible Latin Grammy Awards


The real news first: "The Latin Grammy Awards" still exist, and it was broadcast on Thursday, November 10, at 8P on Univision. There was even a "Green Carpet" special before that and a pre-telecast before that.

This is no small thing; major sponsors like Heineken, 7UP, Delta Airlines, McDonalds, and CoverGirl, among many others, are prominent sponsors, and one of Latino Hollywood's biggest crossover stars, Shakira, is being honored with the 2011 Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year during the ceremony.

So why ‘«Ű in the midst of all this renewed interest in the Latino market, and the networks continued obsession with Awards shows ‘«Ű is no one broadcasting the award ceremonies in English? It can only be found on Univision, and it will be in Spanish only?

The Latin Grammy's used to be a pretty big deal. The first awards show was broadcast on CBS back in September of 2000; the next year's show was cancelled‘«Űas was everything else‘«Űbecause of its scheduled broadcast date of 9/11/01. But it was back in '02, and stayed on CBS until '05, when it moved to Univision only and stopped producing an English-language version of the ceremony. Since then ‘«Ű and especially this year, with the Grammy's continued contraction of categories for foreign-language and world music ‘«Ű it's been virtually ignored in terms of pre-publicity or promotion.

Maybe this kind of 'ghettoization' of an exclusively Spanish-language event would have been understandable five years ago ‘«Ű wrong, of course, but understandable. But in the current environment, with Latin stars at the top of the film, TV, and music worlds, with broadcast and cable companies all developing sitcoms and dramas based on Latino characters and culture, with "Hispanic Marketing" the touchstone for every PR firm and ad agency in America, you'd think the "Latin Grammy"'s would be a part of ABC or NBC's line-up at the very least (ABC is the strongest player in Latino programming this year, and NBC just gave over an hour of programming time to the ALMA Awards, tailored to precisely the same audience).

And what with an anemic ratings performance pretty much across the board, the complete absence of professional basketball, and the approaching programming black hole of the holiday season, The Latin Grammy Awards should be reappearing in English‘«™shouldn't they?

Awards shows in general are a mixed bag for the nets, it's true, but it doesn't stop them from trying. Just this week, ABC gave over its entire Wednesday evening comedy block to the Country Music Awards, and paused repeatedly during the show to promote its next similar event, the American Music Awards. And the CMA show, despite its length, completely dominated the ratings for the night, with almost six million more viewers than its next closest competitor, The X Factor.

Hard to understand why a ready-made jewel of an awards show, complete with international stars and a glitzy locale (The Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas, no less) can't attract the attention of networks that otherwise seem to be hungry for the Hispanic demo. Make you wonder if they really 'get' the whole Latino market at all‘«™

If you want to see some clips and photos of the evenings event, along with Shakira, "A"-List entertainers like Marc Anthony, Demi Lovato, and Pitbull (and Calle 13, pictured) click on the Univision site‘«™

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