When Spanish-language network UNIvision scheduled the telenovela ‘Teresa,’ there were high hopes that it would continue the success of ‘Eva Luna,’ which brought viewers in sufficient numbers to place the network in the primetime top ten.
It hasn’t been quite the ratings success it had promised.
Teresa is a story that has been told in telenovela form before, and the producers of the record-breaking novella ‘Rubi’ figured to hit a home run in bringing back the story with a contemporary cast. For Univision, the timing could not have been better.
At the end of March, when ‘Teresa’ made its debut, Univision was consistently landing two – and sometimes three – of its primetime shows in the Nielsen top ten ratings. Eva Luna and Triunfo del Amor had a solid following when Teresa began its run, and the first episodes of the new drama pulled in viewers.
It’s the story of a seductive woman named – Teresa, naturally – played by Angelique Boyer, born into poverty who aspires to bigger things. Instead of applying hard work and honesty, Teresa lies and cheats her way into a better school and social position.
She is a beauty with no heart, and even her family and friends are victims of her relentless betrayal. That very beauty may be at the ‘heart’ of Teresa’s troubles as a telenovela.
Viewers have complained that Boyer is too beautiful to play the part, and that a true victim of poverty would look nothing like the character is portrayed, and would lack the education and experience to pull off such duplicity. One critic complained that the character would likely have several ‘baby’s daddies’ by the time she was of college age.
The supporting cast isn’t wanting: also starring are Aarón Díaz, Sebastián Rulli, Ana Brenda Contreras, Cynthia Klitbo, Silvia Mariscal, Juan Carlos Colombo and Margarita Magaña, among many others.
After the first few episodes of ‘Teresa’ were aired, the telenovela ‘Eva Luna’ – a powerful performer for UNIvision – had its concluding episodes, drawing enough viewers to land three positions for the Spanish-language network on more than one evening. Without Eva’s viewers, ‘Teresa’ fell off, and in late April the program failed to make the Nielsen charts.
‘Triunfo del Amor,’ however, continues to carry enough of a following to land occasionally in the top US primetime programs, and UNIvision programmers are no doubting hoping successor programs will be able to match its viewer appeal.