Spanish-language telenovela audiences are known for their loyalty and passion.
Now the Spanish-language Telemundo network is hoping that viewers' desire for their nightly dose of TV drama will translate into jewelry sales. Thursday, the NBC Universal-owned television network launched a website, telemundojewelry.com to hawk bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings sported by characters on Telemundo's prime-time soap operas, called telenovelas, including "El Clon" (The Clone) and "Donde Esta Elisa?" (Where Is Elisa?).
English-language networks have been unable to muster audiences that tune in night after night to watch the latest installment of the same prime-time program. But Spanish-language networks, including Telemundo's competitor Univision, frequently command the rapt attention of their viewers, some of whom would love to lead the exciting lives that they see portrayed on the small screen -- righting cultural injustice, engaging in star-crossed love affairs with hunky hombres and, of course, wearing fabuloso clothes and jewelry.
Now viewers can buy the Telemundo jewelry online and, later this year, in retail stores. Prices range from $9.99 for earrings to more than $150 for necklaces and bracelets.
NBC for years has tried to cash in on the popularity of its shows, offering "The Office"-themed Dwight Schrute bobblehead dolls, "Today" show cooking aprons and, until recently, Conan O'Brien-inspired "Pale Force" lunchboxes (NBC Universal's merchandise website says the lunchboxes, marked down from $15 to $6.97, are "currently sold out.")
The Telemundo jewelry line, an initiative of Telemundo President Don Browne and Executive Vice President of Emerging Businesses Peter Blacker, is offered in association with NBC Universal's consumer products group; Big Tent Entertainment; fashion designer Udi Behr, who selected the initial collection of jewelry; and the Richline Group Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a major jewelry manufacturer and importer of gold jewelry.
We're not sure this is what Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and Chief Executive Warren Buffett had in mind when he helped NBC Universal parent company General Electric Co. out of its financial jam nearly two years ago with a $3-billion investment in GE. But it probably didn't hurt.
-- Meg James
Photo Credits: NBC Universal. Pictured are "El Clon" bronze-colored bracelet with turquoise stones (upper right) and the discontinued Conan O'Brien Pale Force lunch box (lower left).