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5 Questions With… José Díaz-Balart

coverJose Diaz-BalartCuban-American journalist José Díaz-Balart is among the very rarest of TV news anchors. He hosts shows on two networks, in two languages: in the mornings on MSNBC and in the evenings on Telemundo. Today’s announcement that the U.S. was beginning a process to normalize diplomatic ties to Cuba hits especially close to home for Díaz-Balart. He is the son of a former Cuban politician and has a brother in the U.S. Congress.

We caught up with Díaz-Balart before this morning’s news to discuss his recent interview with the president, his proudest achievements and the best Cuban sandwich available in the United States.

TVNewser: You were very busy last week. Bigger accomplishment: Interviewing President Obama or being congratulated on the House floor?

Díaz-Balart: I so appreciate both: I was surprised at the congresswoman’s recognition of my 30 years in the business. And interviewing the President, my tenth I believe, is always important. Both were extremely rewarding. Plus, I got a chance to catch my eldest daughter singing in her school choir… three great events.

TVNewser: What’s the proudest moment of your career, overall?

Díaz-Balart: Being named anchor of Noticiero Telemundo on December 15, 2009 (this week is my 5th anniversary), and most recently the host of “The Rundown with José Díaz-Balart” on MSNBC. Being able to reach audiences in two languages a day is truly a privilege.

TVNewser: You host shows on Telemundo and MSNBC. Seriously, when do you sleep?

Díaz-Balart: Sleep? I remember that!  Even though my work day is admittedly long (6am-10pm) I can honestly tell you that I love it so much I only wish there were more hours in the day so I could do more!

TVNewser: Best place to get a Cuban sandwich in America? Read more

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Telemundo, MSNBC Anchor José Díaz-Balart Praised on House Floor

JoseDiazBalartTelemundo and MSNBC anchor José Díaz-Balart is having a big week. Yesterday, he interviewed President Obama and today, on the House floor, he was congratulated for his 30 years in journalism.

“José has proven to be a valuable voice to the Hispanic American community,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who represents South Florida.. We’re guessing José’s his brother, Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who represents another Florida Congressional district, gave his congratulations in person.

“There are hundreds of journalists in Cuba and around the world who are being persecuted and imprisoned for showcasing the realities within their own countries. José speaks for them,” Ros-Lehtinen added. The Díaz-Balart family has strong ties to South Florida’s Cuban community. In fact, Díaz-Balart’s aunt was Fidel Castro‘s first wife.

“I congratulate José for 30 years within the industry and thank him for his commitment to the principles of independent journalism and freedom of the press,” Ros-Lehtinen added.  WATCH: Read more

Obama Immigration Remarks Draw 6.8M on Spanish-Language TV

RamosImmigrationPres. Obama’s immigration remarks drew 6.85 million viewers on two Spanish-language U.S. TV networks last night, according to Nielsen overnight time-period data.

With 5.055 million viewers, Univision saw a +49% increase in viewership from Wednesday’s 8pm half hour, while NBCU-owned Telemundo’s 1.8 million viewers was a jump of +38% from the night earlier.

With a 2.1 rating and a 9 share in the A18-34 demo, Unvision was second only to CBS’s “The Big Bang Theory” in the half hour. It was fourth in total viewers, behind CBS, ABC and NBC.

The broadcast networks chose not to carry network-wide special reports at 8pmET, but that didn’t stop many local stations in big markets from producing their own specials. That alone will dent the national ratings, especially for NBC and ABC. (Final numbers will be released Tuesday.) FOX, too, will see an effect as many stations in big markets carried a Shepard Smith-anchored report.

Another interesting note for Unvision, following the president’s remarks, anchor Jorge Ramos wrapped up the news at 8:18pm. At that point the network moved on to the Latin Grammy Awards broadcast. The 8:30pm half hour actually lost viewers: from an average of 5.055 million to an average of 4.799 million. The younger demos (18-49 and 18-34) also each dropped one tenth of a ratings point from 8 to 8:30pm. Some of those Univision viewers may have switched to Telemundo which produced a one-hour special averaging 1.98 million viewers.

  • 8-8:30pm | Program: Viewers (Millions) / A18-49 / A18-34

The Big Bang Theory (CBS)….14.647 / 4.0 / 2.6
Informe Especial (Univision)……5.055 / 2.2 / 2.1
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)………….8.242 / 2.3 / 1.8
Bones (FOX)……………………..5.001 / 1.3 / 0.9
The Vampire Diaries (CW)……..1.721 / 0.8 / 0.8
The Biggest Loser (NBC)………5.324 / 1.3 / 0.7
Accion Ejecutiva (Telemundo)…1.800 / 0.7 / 0.5

José Díaz-Balart: ‘I’m Not an Activist, I’m a Journalist’

JoseDiazBalartPolitics may be the family business, but José Díaz-Balart decided long ago that journalism was his passion. This morning, Díaz-Balart, who anchors Telemundo’s evening news and its Sunday public affairs show, adds another hour of live TV, as host of MSNBC’s 10amET hour. (MSNBC and Telemundo are both owned by NBCU.)

“If you’re going to watch my show to be strictly reaffirmed that your personal opinion is the only good ones, you’re going to have some moments of bitterness,” Díaz-Balart told us in an interview last week. “It really is about opening up lines of dialogue, opening up to other communities, opening up to other thoughts across the board.”

That goes against the grain of most of MSNBC’s afternoon and evening programs, which lean left, toward a progressive audience. Díaz-Balart is the younger brother of republican congressman Mario Díaz-Balart and former GOP Rep. Lincoln Díaz-Balart. The family has strong ties to South Florida’s Cuban community. Díaz-Balart’s aunt was Fidel Castro‘s first wife.

Born in Ft. Lauderdale, Díaz-Balart graduated from New College in Sarasota, where he began his career as a radio reporter. With TV jobs on both sides of the border — as Central American bureau chief for Univision in El Salvador, later reporting for WTVJ in Miami as well as CBS News This Morning — doubling his workload pales in comparison to what the people he reports on, are facing right now.

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MSNBC to Air ‘Underwater Dreams’

UnderwaterDreamsMSNBC is among the NBCU networks which will air a new documentary championed by NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content. The film, “Underwater Dreams,” chronicles the story of four teenage boys, the sons of Mexican immigrants, who entered a sophisticated underwater robotics competition, going up against the likes of engineering powerhouse MIT.

The film will first run in about 100 AMC theatres across the country on Friday. Then two weeks from today, on July 20, MSNBC and Telemundo will simultaneously broadcast a special television version of the film, in both English and Spanish. NBCU network mun2 will broadcast it the following day.

The film is produced by award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio. Actor Michael Peña is the narrator. Jeb Bush, Jr., is among the executive producers of the project which was funded in part by The Bezos Family Foundation.

Pres. Obama Gives Interview to Telemundo

Following some criticism by Spanish-language media for shutting them out last week during a round of interviews, President Obama has granted an interview to Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart. One of the president’s chief critics last week was Diaz-Balart’s competitor, Univision anchor Jorge Ramos who Tweeted:

Parts of the Obama interview will air tomorrow night on “Noticiero Telemundo” with the full interview airing on Telemundo’s Sunday public affairs show, “Enfoque” also hosted by Díaz-Balart. The Telemundo anchor is the brother of Republican Florida congressman Mario Díaz-Balart.

María Celeste Arrarás Named Co-Anchor Of ‘Noticiero Telemundo’

Telemundo has named María Celeste Arrarás as the co-anchor of evening newscast “Noticiero Telemundo.” Arrarás, known as “María Celeste” on her Telemundo newsmagazine “Al Rojo Vivo con María Celeste,” will appear alongside current anchor José Díaz-Balart. She will continue to host “Al Rojo Vivo.”

The addition of María Celeste is meant to help bolster Telemundo’s evening newscast, which–while growing–is still a distant second among Spanish-language viewers behind Univision’s “Noticiero Univision.”

Univision’s newscast also has a two-person anchor team, led by Jorge Ramos and María Elena Salinas. Until the addition of María Celeste, Diaz-Balart was flying solo on Telemundo’s evening newscast.

María Celeste has also appeared on NBC News programming, including “NBC Night;y News,” “Today” and “Dateline.” NBC is the parent company of Telemundo.
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Telemundo Scores Interview With President Obama

NBC’s Spanish-language network Telemundo has scored an exclusive interview with President Obama focusing on immigration reform.

Telemundo’s chief Washington correspondent Lori Montenegro will interview the President at the White House today. It will air on “Noticiero Telemundo” at 6:30 PM. The President last spoke to Telemundo in February, when he spoke to Jose Diaz-Balart, also about immigration reform.

As with the last interview, look for excerpts to appear on MSNBC and NBC News, in addition to Telemundo.

Important update: Univision has announced that President Obama will also be speaking with them, and the interview will air at 6:30 as well.

Democracy Plaza Returns for NBC News Networks

Rockefeller Plaza will once again turn into Democracy Plaza in the final week of the 2012 elections. The plaza will be the backdrop for Decision 2012 coverage for NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, Telemundo, NBC News Channel, and WNBC in the week leading up to the election.

On election night, a giant map on the Rockefeller Center skating rink will be filled in as each state goes for either Obama or Romney while red and blue banners representing the electoral vote will climb the front of 30 Rockefeller Center.

Democracy Plaza will be free and open to the public beginning next Tuesday until election day with several interactive exhibits for visitors including replicas of the Oval Office and the White House press briefing room, a video booth and caricature artists roaming the plaza.

NBC News Takes Advantage Of Telemundo Ownership With Obama Interview

As we noted, President Obama granted interviews to CBS News and Telemundo yesterday. The full CBS News interview will air at some point on “60 Minutes,” while the Telemundo interview will air tonight.

That said, CBS News picked out a few juicy parts to feature on its broadcasts early, and NBCUniversal, which owns both NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo, wasn’t about to let that opportunity slide by.

Clips from Telemundo anchor José Díaz-Balart‘s interview were featured on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” last night, and on “Today” this morning.

WATCH:

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