Telemundo to air first reality dating show

'La Cenicienta' will approach search for love in uniquely Latin fashion

— A single mother in search of love will be featured on a reality dating show that reflects Hispanic culture, Telemundo executives said Friday.

"La Cenicienta," or Cinderella, filmed in Palm Springs, will air on the Spanish-language network for six weeks beginning in September.

"The first reality series that shows the world how to fall in love, Latina style," trumpets a promotional spot for the series. That has a number of implications, the executives said.

"In true Latino fashion, you're not just marrying the bride, you're marrying the entire family," Jim McNamara, Telemundo president and chief executive officer, told the Television Critics Assn.

Parents and siblings weigh in on Minerva Ruvalcaba's choices, and not always diplomatically. "My daughter's taste in men is awful," her mother says, in a clip shown for TV critics.

A priest acts as one of Ruvalcaba's advisers, something unlikely to occur in non-Hispanic dating shows, said Nely Galan, the show's executive producer, and the dates are chaperoned.

Another cultural difference is how the woman's history, including her motherhood, figures into the equation, the executives said. Most Latinos want to marry a virgin, the priest says in a clip.

The series wants to demonstrate to women, especially young Hispanic women, "there is a second chance in life," said actress Eva Tamargo-Lemus, who serves as one of Ruvalcaba's confidante.

Telemundo has ventured successfully into reality programming before. Previous series, in which contestants had the chance to win a shot at acting and music careers, rivaled the ratings of the "telenovelas" -- limited-run soap operas -- that are the core of Spanish-language television.

"La Cenicienta" -- which is also a nickname for popular telenovela stories about young women who overcome obstacles to achieve their dreams -- merges reality TV and the telenovela approach to make it appealing for Hispanics, said Galan.

The show delves into serious issues of sexism, racism and class bias as well, she said. An eclectic group of men vie for Ruvalcaba, including Jewish, black and Asians of Hispanic descent, Galan said.


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