TV's Betty Goes Global: From Telenovela to International Brand
Premiering in 2006, the stylish and award winning US hit show Ugly Betty, about kind-hearted ugly duckling Betty Suarez (America Ferrera), is the latest incarnation of a truly global phenomenon that started life as a Colombian telenovela, Yo soy Betty, la fea, back in 1999. The tale has since taken an extraordinary journey around the globe, from the original Colombian Beatriz, Indian Jassi, Chinese Wudi and Israeli Esti to the Flemish Sara, Spanish Bea, Greek Maria and Dutch Lotte as well as Czech Katka, Russian Katka and Turkish Gönül. This groundbreaking book about how television formats go global asks what the Betty phenomenon can tell us about the international circulation of locally produced TV fictions as the Latin American telenovela is sold to, and/or re-made for, different national contexts. The contributors explore what Betty says about the tensions between multimedia conglomerates' commercial demands and the regulatory forces of national broadcasters, about national TV industries' struggle in competitive markets, and about what this international trade reveals about cultural storytelling and audience experience, as well as ideologies of feminine beauty. The book features original interviews with buyers and schedulers, writers, story editors and directors, including the creator of Yo soy Betty, la fea, Fernando Gaitán.