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Ben Sherwood on New ABC News/Univision Network: ‘This is Not an Ideological Venture’

Cesar Conde, president of Univision and Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News announce a new English-language news/lifestyle channel aimed at U.S. Hispanics

As they launch the nation’s first English-language news and information channel for U.S. Hispanics, ABC News and Univision are looking far into the future for success, even to viewers not yet born.

Announced earlier today, the joint venture will now look toward gaining commitments from cable carriers, hiring staff and finding a home, all while launching online this Summer. Univision president Cesar Conde tells TVNewser his team is “considering two or three options to house the joint venture” in South Florida. “We’re going to have a stand-alone team for the new entity using the resources of Univision and ABC News.”

Don’t expect the network to look anything like existing cable news channels, CNN, Fox News or MSNBC.

“This is not an ideological venture,” ABC News president Ben Sherwood tells us. “The vision here is a full-service operation providing culturally relevant programming in English.”

“This is white space,” says Sherwood. “Nobody is doing this right now.”

Mun2, a Telemundo-operated cable channel geared toward young U.S. Hispanics provides programming in both Spanish and English consisting of reality, music and game shows.

“One of the reasons that drew us to this opportunity, is working with the masters of programming for U.S. Hispanics,” says Sherwood of Univision, the nation’s #1 Spanish-language network, which, on some nights, beats NBC in the primetime ratings, and performs even better with younger audiences. “We humbly look at this at an opportunity to learn, including the way we program” ABC News.

And ABC says it will have time on its side. As the U.S. Hispanic population grows — expected to be one-third of the population by 2050, Sherwood says, “This is something we will be building over time. We’re completely committed to its success.”

One more issue to work out: a name for the new venture. About that, “Stay tuned,” says Sherwood.

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