As the only broadcast network airing Saturday’s “Miss Universe” pageant live from El Salvador, Telemundo aims to bring in big ratings after seeing “great results” last year, exec Ronald Day told TheWrap exclusively.
The 72nd edition of “Miss Universe,” which will debut at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Telemundo, will be hosted in Spanish by Jacqueline Bracamontes and Danilo Carrera as 2022 winner R’Bonney Gabriel crowns her successor. The last “Miss Universe” pageant boosted Telemundo to become the most-watched Spanish-language network that night as it averaged 2.4 million total viewers and 875,000 in the key broadcast demo among adults 18-49, according to Nielsen figures.
For Day, who serves as entertainment and content strategy president for the Spanish-language network, the success of “Miss Universe” lies in the tradition, pride and celebration of the event, which follows in the footsteps of similar traditions for Hispanic communities, including baptisms, quinceañeras and weddings.
Telemundo will also take its viewers behind the scenes of the massive event by showcasing El Salvadorian traditions, including costumes, food and music during the week leading up to the Saturday night event. They’ll also explore the growing fandom for “Miss Universe.”
“This is the great thing about fandom,” Day said. “A lot of people from around the country travel to anywhere the show will be, so you see more people outside of the venue than inside — it’s a big, big celebration.”
In addition, the Telemundo preshow on Saturday, titled “Miss Universo: Celebrando Nuestras Reinas” (“Miss Universe: Celebrating Our Queens”), adds some Telemundo flair by introducing fans to this year’s Latina delegates, including those from the U.S. and Spain.
“The results are there,” Day said, adding that the engagement on social media has also risen to an “incredible” degree.
“Miss Universe” is just one of the many live events Telemundo broadcasts throughout the year. The network aired a special live event from Mexico’s Día de los Muertos celebration and is gearing up to air the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in conjunction with sister network NBC, as well a New Year’s Eve celebration that will give viewers a glimpse of the festivities in Times Square, Miami, San Antonio and Mexico.
“Even though we produce all year round, including news for our daily shows [and our] entertainment shows, one of the things that we made sure in programming is that we have those live events throughout the year, because, with those, we bring other audiences,” Day said, adding that advertisers are keen on working with the network to best reach Hispanic audiences.
As Telemundo aims for one live event per quarter — which will already be exceeded by this year’s five-plus events — Day notes the network is “very happy with the combination of reality, scripted sports, and live events that [they air] throughout the year.”
One of the network’s most successful events this year was the 2023 Billboard Latin Music Awards in October, which drew a total viewership of 2.6 million, including 916,000 viewers in the key demo, according to Nielsen. The event hosted Latin music icons Bad Bunny, Peso Pluma and Karol G, among others.
Culture-centric live events work in conjunction with Telemundo’s stacked sports lineup, which will broadcast the upcoming 2024 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as the network continues to diversify its offerings.
“What we wanted to do is to have a variety of options,” Day said. “Scripted and sports is a very important thing for our programming, but we maximize, marketing-wise — we take opportunities to showcase to other people that come just for those specific shows that we have more for [them].”