Hello, and welcome to this blogpost about Argentine Tv! Thanks for tuning in by the way.
Television is practically the biggest, most important means of communication in this country. This is partly because having a television is not longer a luxury these days; and also, because it is a source of information, culture but more importantly… entertainment.
To break it down: there are four canales de aire that are completely free in all of Argentina and these are: Canal 7, América, Telefe and El Trece. For all the other extra channels you’ll need to subscribe to cable TV to get them. Just so you know, there are two main TV providers: Cablevisión and DirectTV. The latter actually has a lot more channels than the former but you cannot count on it on rainy days…at all. So, it’s Cablevisión for me!
I’m going to introduce each of these popular local channels and what kind of content they are known for. Keep in mind that they change their channel numbers quite often so you’ll have to look for it when you watch Argentine TV.
First, there’s Canal 7. This is run by the government and it’s a public channel as oppose to the rest of the stations that are privately run. As you can expect, there’re newscasts, political shows and cultural content in general. As a media broadcaster owned by the government, some people, especially those who are not supporters of our President, are pretty skeptical about the information and the opinions that are broadcasted on this channel.
América TV has two news broadcasts: one at 11:30 am and the other at 7 pm. It also airs several shows like “Ponele la Firma” or “Animales Sueltos”, which are dedicated to talk exclusively about the Argentine showbiz and gossip. And of course, there’s got to be a talk show, right? “Los unos y los otros” is sort of like a Jerry Springer show. You can imagine its entertainment value is very high, although I think the audience sometimes take it a little too seriously. On the other hand, there’s this show called “Caiga Quien Caiga” (or “CQC” for short), which is basically the best thing that has happened to this channel. It’s hosted like a newscast, but in a much less serious way, with witty and clever interviews to celebrities, politicians and members of the government, including our current President. They also do secret investigations with hidden cameras to catch people off guard and get to the truth of the matter. The downside is that it is only aired once a week on Wednesdays at 10pm.
Telefe had been the leader in the ratings for ten years in a row just until two years ago, when El Trece stole its crown. Nevertheless, it’s still a very good channel all the same and it still has the highest ratings in its news broadcasts: four editions at 8am, 1pm, 8pm and at midnight.
This channel is also very well-known for its annual special broadcast of telenovelas (soap operas). “Graduados” and “Dulce Amor” are this year’s productions. Another high profile of this channel is Susana Giménez. She is the Argentine Oprah, only there aren’t any giveaways for the audience, just some contests for people at home. Sadly, it has been announced that this will be the closing year for the talk show she has been hosting in this channel for the last 25 years. “Susana Giménez” will air on Sundays but the starting date and the time has not been published yet. Another big thing in Telefe was Big Brother. Somehow, we’ve had 8 of those spread out over the years. It got boring pretty quickly though, until they tried to include social networks like Facebook and Twitter. What they did was set up an account for every contestant where they could post things but were not allowed to receive messages. It seemed like a good idea until one of the contestants, Cristian Urrizaga, figured out he was one of the audience’s favorites and then he just spent the rest of the show tweeting “I want you to vote for (insert name of the person he hated here) to leave the house”. And surprisingly, it worked: he won. I don’t think there would ever going to be another person to top that strategy.
El Trece is now the leader at prime time. This is basically because of one show called “Bailando por un Sueño”, which is our version of “Dancing With The Stars”. It is a competition where several couples made up of one professional dancer and a national or international celebrity (they’ve had Pamela Anderson and Mike Tyson last year) do choreographies from a wide range of genres as they represent a charity. The one who wins, gets to fulfill the charity’s needs. Although, at the end of the day, the dancing is not the focus of the show at all. People watch it mainly to see the drama between the stars, because there is a lot of drama, believe me (and you can imagine the “attention” the charity gets). And as if the live show wasn’t enough (it’s generally 3 hours, 4 days a week!), there’s “Este es el Show” and “La Cocina del Show”, where, of course, they talk and gossip about what happened the day before on “Bailando por un Sueño” and all the backstage drama you might have missed. This is not just it! Given its super popularity, the show has also given rise to another reality dancing show called “Soñando por bailar” where young dancers compete to get a place on “Bailando por un Sueño”!! It has gotten quite out of hand if you ask me. On a similar note but it’s all about singing, there is the “Soñando por Cantar” reality show to get into “Cantando por un Sueño”, but no one actually cares about this one.
So, now you have an idea of what to expect if you happen to come across one of these national channels. They are without a doubt a good resource to get a taste of the local pop culture, but if you just want something more straightforward, or easier to grasp, in Spanish on TV, there are dubbed Hollywood movies.