- The Washington Times - Friday, September 9, 2005

LOS ANGELES (AP) — ABC viewers will get “Lost” in translation as part of a plan to make all the network’s prime-time entertainment available in Spanish starting this season.

The move is an acknowledgment of the expanding U.S. Hispanic population and its potential as a source of viewers. Previously, “George Lopez” was the only ABC series that aired in both English- and Spanish-language versions.

“We wanted to move beyond toe-dipping and really dive in,” ABC entertainment chief Stephen McPherson said. “Almost half of the 41 million Hispanics in this country watch only or mostly Spanish-language television, and we want to bring that audience to ABC.”

ABC, using both dubbing and closed-captioning, will be the first of the major English-language broadcasters to provide its full prime-time entertainment lineup in Spanish. Most other networks offer few shows in the language.

The cost is “not inexpensive,” Mr. McPherson said Thursday, declining to provide a specific figure. But he said the return could be significant in terms of viewership.

“If you look at the performance of Spanish-language stations in a lot of the big (TV) markets, they’re doing very well. In some markets, they’re beating the broadcast networks,” he said.

Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority in the United States and represent one-seventh of the population, according to a recent Census Bureau report.

“Desperate Housewives,” “Lost,” “George Lopez” and the new comedy “Freddie,” starring Freddie Prinze Jr., will be dubbed into Spanish, as will the network’s theatrical movie premieres and some specials.

Casting has begun for actors to voice the Spanish dialogue.

The rest of ABC’s prime-time entertainment schedule, which debuts next week as the 2005-06 season officially begins, will be available with closed-captioned subtitles in Spanish, the network said.

In test screenings, the network found viewers receptive to ABC’s programs in Spanish. “A lot of people had not seen the shows because they were not English-speaking but were TV watchers, and were enthralled with them and wanted more,” Mr. McPherson said.

He said he wasn’t concerned about an immediate effect on Nielsen ratings.

“It’s more to get it out there and get a large audience watching it, and I think the overall ratings will follow,” he said.

The subtitled versions will be on the Closed Caption 3 channel (CC3), and the dubbed versions will be accessible through the SAP — secondary audio program — TV option.

ABC, a unit of Walt Disney Co., previously had aired major films in Spanish through SAP. This year, the network premieres scheduled to air with dubbing include “Catch Me If You Can,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Finding Nemo.” The made-for-TV movie “Have No Fear: The Life of Pope John Paul II” also will be dubbed into Spanish.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide