Telemundo confirmed at its upfront presentation on Tuesday what had been rumored for several months, that it has signed Cristina Saralegui, known as the Hispanic Oprah Winfrey, to do a prime time talk show beginning later this year.
Saralegui for 21 years had hosted "The Cristina Show" on rival Hispanic broadcast network Univision, until the show was abruptly cancelled last November.
At the time Saralegui, 62, said the cancellation was a surprise to her and she accused Univision of cancelling the show because of her age. She said she was not ready to retire.
Saralegui's contract with Univision ran through the end of 2010, but talks with Telemundo began almost immediately after that and a deal was struck recently, although not acknowledged by Telemundo officially until Tuesday.
Saralegui's show on Univision won 12 Emmy Awards and over the years was one of the network's post popular shows.
She will first host a two-hour, primetime special on Telemundo on May 31 in which she will welcome the cast of the hit Telmundo novela "La Reina del Sur." Her regular two-hour weekend primetime show, which has not yet been titled, will premiere later this year with no official date announced.
Telemundo president Don Browne called her a Hispanic television "icon" and told TheWrap that he believes the U.S. Hispanic audience "is anxious to see her return to television."
Joshua Mintz, executive VP of Telemundo entertainment, added that Saralegui is being given total freedom to create her own format for the show, which will be an hour longer than her show on Univision. "It's still in the early development stages," he said, "but she has complete creative freedom to develop the show she wants."
Telemundo also announced four new primetime novelas for the coming season, including the ultra risque "Fisico o Quimica" ("Physical or Chemistry"), which involves, among other storylines, relationships beyond the classroom between high school students and their teachers. It's based on a Spanish series that was adapted for the U.S. Hispanic audience by Telemundo.
The network's COO Jackie Hernandez said the series because of its topical nature, would most likely air at 10 p.m.
Other novelas include Telmundo's version of "Maid in Manhattan" ("Una Maid en Manhattan"), "Caidas del Cielo" ("Fallen From Heaven"), a story about three female childhood friends who as adults are working as bodyguards, and "Amor de Pelicula" ("Love … Just Like the Movies"), about a couple trying to keep their relationship going despite obstacles raised by jealous old lovers and new rivals.
Telemundo will also televise its first ever music awards show dedicated exclusively to Regional Mexican music. It will be titled "Premios Billboard de la Musica Regional Mexicana." Telemundo currently airs the Billboard Latin Music Awards.
Telemundo also announced it will launch a new entertainment web and mobile channel in partnership with Billboard, where it will make Billboard premium digital content available in Spanish for the first time. The site will target 18-34 year olds. The network will also offer a new online sports channel.