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MTV launching 24-hour Latino channel

The MTV Networks are launching MTV Tr3s, a new channel aimed at becoming the premier cultural outlet for young Latinos. The network starts operating Monday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The MTV Networks are launching MTV Tr3s, a new channel aimed at becoming the premier cultural outlet for young Latinos. The network starts operating Monday.

Tr3s, pronounced like the Spanish word for three, follows MTV, MTV2 and eight other MTV related networks operating in the United States. It will be seen on some digital cable systems, on the DirecTV satellite system or on a variety of low-power broadcast stations.

The network will be music-heavy at its start, with a variety of programs featuring the music of artists like Shakira, Sean Paul, Jeremias and the Kumbia Kings.

“I look at it as a pop culture destination because these kids have not really had their music or culture and what is really defining U.S. Latino culture on a channel 24 hours a day,” said Lucia Ballas-Traynor, MTV Tr3s senior vice president and general manager.

“MiTRL,” a version of the MTV hit “Total Request Live,” will be the network’s signature music show and has already snared commitments from Ricky Martin and Alejandro Sanz to debut their latest releases, the network said.

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Latino versions of two big MTV hits, “My Super Sixteen” and “Pimp My Ride” will be created, transformed into “Quiero Mis Quinces” and “Pimpeando.”

Carlos Santos, the Los Angeles-based actor and comic, has signed on as the first MTV Tr3s video jockey.

MTV is trying a new strategy of buying low-power broadcast networks in a handful of cities like San Antonio and Austin, Texas, in order to reach potential viewers who don’t have cable, Ballas-Traynor said.

She said the company is in negotiations for an outlet that will give it broad distribution in Los Angeles, which it won’t have at the start.

MTV Tr3s has also signed a deal with Wal-Mart to promote Latin music in many of its stores.