All three of Univision's primetime telenovelas are remakes. "La Fea Más Bella" is a Televisa remake of Fernando Gaitán's "Yo soy Betty, la fea." "Destilando Amor" is the Mexicanization of another Gaitán novela "Café, con aroma de mujer". In the new Televisa-produced version, Colombian coffee has been replaced with Mexican tequila. (The original setting of a coffee plantation has been replaced with an agave plantation and agave is the basic ingredient of tequila). "Duelo de Pasiones" is yet another Televisa remake. This novela is a remake of "Flor de las Nieves", which first aired in Cuba in the late 1950s (I can't pinpoint the exact date.)
"On the business side the same telenovela format can be a hit again and again" says University of Georgia Associate Professor Carolina Acosta-Alzuru who is an academic specialist in telenovelas and newbie blogger. Televisa, which supplies Univision's primetime telenovelas, has been particularly reticent in the past few years to experiment with new storylines preferring to stick with the tried and true.
"I am not against the remake but I am against remakes becoming the only kind of telenovela" says Acosta-Alzuru.
Given the high financial stakes in both Mexico and the United States, creative risk-taking and the production of original telenovelas are not likely in coming years to be high on the agenda of Televisa executives. After all, they might reasonably ask - why take a new risk when you have an old and proven ratings-winner ready to go? (Consider Univision's "expensive lesson" with the original production of "Te Amaré En Silencio")
Telemundo has taken many more creative risks than Televisa and Univision in the past few years. And at great expense by, for the most part, producing its own novelas. Yet, the NBCU-owned network still remains a distant second in ratings to Univision, which airs a steady supply of Televisa's telenovela remakes.