Make us your home page

One year after debut, CNN Latino to close down

TAMPA — One year after its debut in Tampa and nationwide, CNN Latino is shutting down.

The ambitious Spanish-language programming block, a CNN-affiliated gamble at winning America's flourishing Hispanic market, will end later this month.

The network said in a statement Wednesday that CNN Latino "was not able to fulfill our business expectations." It's unclear how many will lose their jobs.

The Tampa affiliate launched from a small, $1.2 million Tampa Heights studio last spring with 25 employees and locally produced news, cooking and entertainment shows.

It contributed to and pulled from CNN Latino's eight-hour nationally syndicated broadcast, which also opened local affiliates in Orlando, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

It aimed not just to compete financially with Spanish juggernauts Telemundo and Univision, but culturally, with the soppy soap operas and dopey slapstick of Miami's Spanish-TV-dominating telenovela factories.

“Game shows, people fighting on TV: We are not into that," said Marlen Abrahantes, who ran CNN Latino's Tampa station, late last year. "We are more into things that Latinos want to know."

The network seemed to acknowledge the vastness of the task; its slogan is "Todo es posible" — "Anything is possible." Locally, the block aired on Ch. 30 on Verizon FiOS, but struggled to win placement with Bright House and other cable providers.

Rumors swirled last year that the Tampa affiliate, funded in part by the heir of what was once one of Ecuador's most prominent business families, would move into downtown Tampa's long-vacant Kress department store. The building's owner last year denied she ever met with station leaders and the plan went nowhere.

With 220,000 Hispanic TV-owning households, Tampa Bay is the 19th-largest Hispanic media market in America. Last year, a third of the 200,000 Hillsborough County students were Hispanic.

Contact Drew Harwell at (727) 893-8252 or

One year after debut, CNN Latino to close down 02/06/14 [Last modified: Thursday, February 6, 2014 7:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa man pleads guilty to forging check for fake investment

    Personal Finance

    A Tampa resident was convicted Thursday for forging a check for a fake investment. The Florida Office of Financial Regulation said that Eric Franz Peer pleaded guilty. He served 11 months in jail and will have to pay $18,000.

  2. Minority business accelerator launch by Tampa chamber to aid black, Hispanic businesses


    A "minority business accelerator" program was launched Thursday by the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce geared toward helping black and Hispanic business owners identify and overcome barriers to grow their companies. The accelerator, known as MBA, will provide participants with business tools to cultivate opportunities …

    Bemetra Simmons is a senior private banker at Wells Fargo, The Private Bank. She is also chair of the new minority business accelerator program for the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. [Photo, LinkedIn]
  3. Terrier Tri brings unique triathlon training to South Tampa


    Over a decade ago, Robert Pennino traded late nights in the music studio for early mornings in the Terrier Tri cycle studio.

    Terrier Tri, a cycling studio in South Tampa celebrates a grand opening on June 27. Photo courtesy of Tess Hipp.
  4. New bistro hopes to serve as 'adult Chuck E. Cheese'


    YBOR CITY — Inside Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy, a new restaurant opening in Ybor City, customers will find a mix of family recipes, games and secrecy.

    Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy readies to open in Ybor City. Photo courtesy of Cheezy's Bistro and Speakeasy.
  5. Ramadan having an economic impact on local charities, businesses

    Economic Development

    TAMPA — Dodging the rain, a few families and customers gathered inside Petra Restaurant on Busch Boulevard. Around 8:30 p.m., the adham (or call to prayer) music begins, signaling Iftar, the end of the daily fast. Customers grabbed a plate to dig into the feast.

    Baha Abdullah, 35, the owner of the Sultan Market makes kataif, a common dessert that is eaten during the month long celebration of Ramadan in Tampa. [OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]