October 03, 2011

  HBO is doing it right.

The channel that brings you "Boardwalk Empire," and brought you "Entourage," is once again bringing you "How to Make it in America."  Season Two debuted last night.

Why make so much noise?  This isn't HBO Latino we're talking about.  It's the main HBO channel and three of the six main actors on "How to Make it" are Latino.  Now that's something to write home about.

So you have your Dominicano, Victor Rasuk, and your Puerto Rican, Luis Guzman.  The Blaxican (half Mexican, half black) is rapper Kid Cudi.

I can't remember the last time an English-language TV program (broadcast or cable) had 50% of its lead roles with Hispanic actors.

And the show's title is so right on the mark for today's urban Latino youth, who are increasingly asserting themselves.  Yes, it's that proverbial aspirational theme.  It's not about the pursuit of fame and fortune of "Entourage;" it's about pursuing your big dreams.

So let's hear it for Cam Calderon (Rasuk's character), Rene Calderon (Guzman's character) and Domingo Brown (Cudi's character), as they go about making it in the Big America.


¡De acuerdo! It's a great program, and let's all campaign to get Robin de Jesús back on the series full-time! But don't forget "Resurrection Blvd.," which ran on Showtime from 2000-2002 on the heels of America's "re-re-re-discovery" of the Latino market with Ricky & J. Lo in '99. It was a serious drama about a Hispanic family in L.A. with two sons as aspiring boxers. (Very Gregory Nava-esque and very moving, as I remember.) Also, while not a personal favorite of mine, "George Lopez" ran on ABC from 2002-07 and "Ugly Betty" from 2006-2010, both with significant Hispanic casting. I think that English-language TV programming is getting there, paso a paso. We need to keep producers and advertisers engaged in the market. There is real value in portraying the complexity of the Latino landscape by casting Hispanic actors as more than, well, landscapers. --- Kerri Allen VP, U.S. Hispanic Strategy, Cohn & Wolfe VP, Executive Board, HPRA-NY

Kerri - totally agree with the great shows you mention. I should have been more specific and said that I was thinking more about ensemble casts in non-Latino themed shows; in other words, Latinos fully-integrated into the general non-Latino premise of the show. "Ugly Betty" would probably fall into that category. The main characters in "How to Make it" and "Betty" just happen to be Latino.

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