Fusion plans to shake up the U.S. cable television landscape by becoming the channel for Latino millennials.
As a joint venture between ABC and Univision, Fusion’s goals lie within pushing the limits of traditional network programming in the hopes of becoming the cable news source for people under 30 with a mixed bag of news, commentary, sports, comedy and a strong online presence.
Fusion is targeting second and third generation Latinos who get their news in English and will launch straight into over 25 million homes on October 28. This has been one of the hardest and largest demographics to reach being nearly two-thirds of the 52 million Hispanics living in the U.S. are native born. Fusion describes itself as “Championing a smart, diverse and inclusive America.” This means taking risks.
Fusion will cover the news and pop culture with a satirical take using an innovative mix of smart, relevant and creative reporting. Cable news television is already saturated so Fusion’s foray into this new millennial territory will take some trial and error.
Isaac Lee, CEO of Fusion, said, “Nobody’s doing what we are doing, so there’s one way to find out what works and what doesn’t.”
Fusion has formed agreements with Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, AT&T U-verse and Google Fiber. The company has sought carriage in the basic digital packages from cable providers so that customers don’t have an increased subscriber fee.
Fusion’s launch will come with many firsts
In what will be a day of many “firsts,” Univision and ABC will “fuse” and simulcast segments of their respective morning shows “Despierta America” and “Good Morning America” across both networks to promote and celebrate Fusion’s premiere.
This historic morning crossover will have “Despierta America’s” Karla Martinez and Raul Gonzalez join the “Good Morning America” team live in Times Square while ABC’s Lara Spencer and Sam Champion will travel to Miami to be live from the “Despierta America” set.
“Despierta America” will also host the stars of “The Morning Show” on Fusion — Pedro Andrade, Mariana Atencio, and Yannis Pappas live on set. This will mark the first time in television history when three mornings shows broadcast together in two languages.
Jorge Ramos, also known as the Hispanic Anderson Cooper, is one of the many Spanish-language television news anchor veterans joining and already loving the new job at Fusion. Ramos encapsulated the spirited vibe at Fusion in an interview with AP.
“I hate ties. They are really useless. Why do I have to have a piece of cloth hanging from my neck every day?” fumed Jorge Ramos as he held up a tie to his neck. He continued, “This is my Univision uniform,” he said, then dropped his arm and grinned, “and this is Fusion.”
Even though he didn’t know it yet, Fusion is exactly what Ramos was looking for. Ramos will be the first to admit the limitations of Spanish-language broadcasting in the U.S. market and how this switch to English is crucial and necessary.
He admitted that with Fusion he finally has a chance at his own kids watching him on television.
Some of Fusion’s other programs will be: an hour-long interactive show focused on social issues called “D.N.A.,” hosted by Derrick Ashong; a daily primetime news program featuring former HuffPost Live host Alicia Menendez; a sports talk and comedy program, “Sports Bar”; a satirical news program from former “The Daily Show” executive producer David Javerbaum; and the talk show “Open Source,” hosted by KMEX-DT news anchor León Krauze; and “Strange Medicine” hosted by Dr. Juan Rivera Univision’s Chief Medical Correspondent who trained at the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital.
In gearing up for the big launch Fusion unveiled a beta version of its new website, Fusion.net. This mobile-responsive website will be the precursor to the cable channel’s enterprise app and a watch app which will provide Fusion content and commentary. This site will be instrumental in engaging the highly desired youth population segment.
“Over 80 percent of millennial sleep with their phones next to their beds every night because they don’t want to miss a beat,” Lee said. “We want to be the ones they wake up with. This beta site will help lay the building blocks as we continue to develop our digital properties.”