Univision and ABC will base their new English-language cable network in the Miami area, ending the possibility that the venture into Hispanic broadcasting might head for California, New York or Texas, people familiar with plans for the announcement confirmed Monday.
Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to announce the decision at Wednesday's annual meeting of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency. The organization helped the joint venture secure about $3.5 million in local subsidies for the new network over the next five years.
"If there is a place to have a 24-hour network for Hispanics, it's Miami,'' said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, who added he will be attending Wednesday's announcement. "I think it's fantastic, and I think it's a natural."
The joint venture is expected to employ about 350 people, with the partnership spending some $275 million to set up the network, according to a report by Miami-Dade County summing up the confidential project. The documents suggest Univision will be creating a 150,000-square-foot studio for the network, though it's not known if that will be an expansion of the network's current broadcasting facility in Doral.
With Univision already headquartered in Doral, Miami-Dade County was seen as the likely site for the network and online operation Univision is launching with ABC. The website is already up, and the content is largely produced by a team of writers and producers working out of Univision's current newsroom in Doral.
But in documents filed with Miami-Dade in pursuit of expansion incentives for businesses, Univision and ABC stated they also were considering Houston, Los Angeles and New York. Univision is the nation's leading Spanish-language broadcaster, and its hometown rival, NBC's Telemundo, holds the No. 2 slot.
While Univision produces news in Spanish, the ABC venture will be an English-only network aimed at an audience that speaks English but wants their news with a Latin perspective.
Univision's Spanish-language news division pulled off a coup last month by securing back-to-back interviews with President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney at the University of Miami, both before live audiences.
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