J-Lo, Univision have some ‘splainin’ to do

Univision SVP Ronald Day, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony

PASADENA, CA–Hola, dammit! Grumpy TV critics, some over-served from the night before, stumbled down to breakfast Saturday, lured by the enchilada that Jennifer Lopez and her ex-hubby, Marc Anthony, would be in the house. Were we being punked? Univision was crashing press tour, opening a rogue session during a cable day at the ungodly hour of 7:30 a.m. Lopez and Anthony, who split up last July, are the hosts of Q’Viva! The Chosen, a Latin American talent showcase which premieres Jan. 28. Did they shoot it before they split up? Were they freaked sitting next to each other now? How do you make the upside down exclamation point on a laptop keyboard?
All good questions. Too bad we didn’t get any answers.
The folks at Univision, which occasionally tops NBC in the ratings as America’s 4th most-watched network, seem to have their own model for these press tour sessions. Critics are welcome to eat and even drink (Bloody Marys for breakfast?–si) but asking actual questions of the talent brought to these sessions seems to be strictly priobitio.
The session began when a well-groomed woman in six inch heels and a dress with a zipper down the middle introduced the president of the channel, who then threw to a sizzle reel. Clips from the Spanish language Biggest Loser were shown. We watched a group of tubby families being taken to a dump where the got to sift through their weight in trash. A few critics were so put off they momentarily dropped their forks. Carumba!
Slender Anthony then took the stage, graciously extended his hand to help his ex-wife to her director’s chair. J-Lo looked perfect in a blue leather dress with a few strategically placed cutouts. Anthony checked out her bling, including the four silver star rings she wore on one hand.
The zipper lady then asked a bunch of bland questions about nothing. That was too much for Jonathan Storm, the grey-bearded critic emeritus from Philadelphia. Stormy’s forehead was sizzling like a hot tortilla. He jumped up and pulled Univision’s pants down for its freeze out of critics and demanded the floor. The zipper lady refused to yield. Calls of “shame!” filled the room. It was a scene out of Mr. Storm Goes to Washington.
One reporter finally broke the “you’re divorced–why are you doing this?” barrier. J-Lo muttered something about how much fun they were having.
Translation: Code Red! The room immediately went dark. There were reports later critics were prevented from leaving. Without warning, another clip flashed on the screen. Drum beats were heard at the back of the room. Some very fit young dancers then ripped into a noisy Vegas show stopper. All that was missing were plate spinners and Senior Wences. It was, to paraphrase Sullivan, a “really big shew” up our butts.
The lights went on and J-Lo and Anthony did the Pan-Americonga right the hell off the stage. A very large man blocked for them, the Bills should contact his agent. We’d been Q’Viva-ed, and it felt a little Q’ueasy. The cause of Latin American television was set back to the days of Jose Jimenez.
Why J-Lo, Anthony and Univision didn’t just address the elephant in the room right off the top and get past it is beyond me. Up  to that point, the shows Univision were promoting seemed entertaining and made me wonder why Quebec networks never pitch to English press in this way. The window on the culture is intriguing.
Angry critics hustled off to prepare for another long day full of sessions, including one for TVLand’s Happily Divorced. Maybe Lopez and Anthony should have stuck around.

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