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Fusion Added to Dish Network, Shifts Programming

Jorge RamosFour months in, Fusion, the joint venture between ABC News and Univision, is shaking up its programming while adding 14 million more homes. Dish Network will now carry the news and lifestyle channel geared toward millennials, making it available in about 35 million homes, well on the way to its goal of being in 60 million homes in its first 5 years.

Among the programming changes: the morning show moves to the evenings and two daily programs will scale back to weeklies. The changes come on the same day Univision and Fusion anchor Jorge Ramos signed a contract extension keeping him with Fusion through the 2016 election. “Even though Jorge has been on television longer than Walter Cronkite, many Americans are discovering Jorge for the first time now that he has a program in English,” says Fusion CEO Isaac Lee in a note to staff.

Ramos, who co-anchors the evening newscast on Univision, will scale back his nightly Fusion show “America” to Tuesday nights, allowing more time for field interviews and transforming the program from a daily newscast to a weekly news magazine. Leon Krauze‘s “Open Source” will also scale back from nightly to weekly. The move comes as Krauze, who is also the main anchor at Univision’s LA station KMEX, gears up for Fusion’s coverage of the World Cup in Brazil this summer.

“The Morning Show,” which Lee says “has exceeded our expectations,” will be rebranded and will now air at 8pmET and ”AM Tonight” anchored by Alicia Menendez moves to 9pmET.

More details in Lee’s note, after the jump…

From: Isaac Lee (Fusion)
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2014 5:00 PM
To: All Fusion
Subject: Exciting News

Hola Fusion,

Many of you likely read that in addition to AT&T U-Verse, Cablevision, Charter, Cox, Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber we will soon be carried by Dish. We are thrilled about this development and look forward to continued distribution growth in the coming year.

I also have some other exciting news to share.

We’re very pleased to announce that Jorge Ramos — the person Matt Drudge recently championed as “the last journalist standing” — has agreed to continue in his key role in the Fusion family. Even though Jorge has been on television longer than Walter Cronkite, many Americans are discovering Jorge for the first time now that he has a program in English. And Jorge is as addicted to his interaction with our audience as we are with him and “AMERICA.”

From going inside Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s prison Maricopa County, Arizona to taking on elected officials on both sides of the aisle, Jorge has repeatedly helped Fusion become an important voice in our national dialogue.

Moving forward, we want his impact to be even more powerful by focusing on more in-depth reporting and field pieces, so “AMERICA” will expand to a weekly newsmagazine. The show will continue to be led by Dax Tejera and his team and will premiere in its new format on Tuesday, March 18 at 10:00 p.m. with a primetime encore airing on Friday nights.

While it was originally intended as a fun morning radio show on TV, “The Morning Show” has exceed our expectations. Over the past few months Mariana Atencio, Pedro Andrade, and Yannis Pappas — led by Javier Guzman and his team — have created smart, entertaining, and shareable content every day, becoming an incubator for innovative new concepts like “The Cannabusiness Report.” As we have previously discussed, the program is more than just a “morning” show, so it will be rebranded and make its primetime debut at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, March 10.

Alicia Menendez – cited as “Ms. Millennial,” by The Washington Post, is on fire. Each night Alicia has provided a clear voice and fresh perspective with her thoughtful commentaries and lively panel discussions. We look forward to seeing more XOXO’s, Bro Caves, and boundary pushing interviews in AM Tonight’s new timeslot at 9:00 p.m. ET.

Laugh Spin summed it up perfectly – “if you’re tired of the brain-numbing, never-ending, get-nowhere political debates you witness every day on cable news, then permit us to submit a solution: A new show called No, You Shut Up.” Our satirical programming continues to be a key differentiator for Fusion– showing how we take risks and try new things. I can’t wait to see what Paul F. Tompkins, Yerd Nerp, Hot Dog and the rest of our puppet pundits have in store in the months ahead. The combination of “No, You Shut Up!,” which kicked off a second season last week, and “GMT” will continue air week nights at 9:30 p.m., ET.

We all know that Leon Krauze is multitalented with a broad range of interests – most notably his passion for futbol, so he is a natural to be contributing to Fusion’s coverage of the World Cup this summer. As he gears up for that assignment, “Open Source” will move to a weekly production schedule (airing Thursdays at 10:00 p.m.). Each week Leon will dedicate each show to peeling back the layers of a specific topic or story.

Speaking of soccer, with ESPN and Univision owning the English- and Spanish-language rights to the World Cup, the Soccer Gods will be heading to heaven – Brazil – this summer, to cover the highly-anticipated tournament live. “Soccer Gods” will be moving to Monday nights at 10:00 p.m. More on that to come.

Wednesday nights will feature some of our original series and specials such as “Strange Medicine” and “Back Home” and weekends will continue to serve as a home for our series of documentaries.

We have dramatically increased our efforts to pilot new shows and concepts in 2014 with over a dozen ideas already in development. We are excited about some of the other original series and specials underway. I look forward to introducing them to you in the coming weeks and months.

As I mentioned in my first email to you back in October, it will take time to find our true voice, build our community, and for workflows to click. It’s crazy to think that we launched a little over four months ago, but I am very proud that we remain nimble enough to adapt and take advantage of new opportunities to engage with our audience across the various Fusion platforms. Our versatility and willingness to experiment is key to our growth and evolution.

Here is to an even bigger 2014.

Abrazo,

Isaac

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