'Ugly Betty' is belle of U.S. television ball
LOS ANGELES, Nov 10 (Reuters) - In Hollywood, thick glasses, braces and frumpy clothes don't go far -- unless they belong to "Ugly Betty," one of the most successful new prime-time shows on American television this season.
The show, a U.S. adaptation of the hit Colombian telenovela "Yo Soy Betty, La Fea," has an ethnically diverse audience that has found a friend in the plucky Latina heroine and comfort in the universal message that real beauty is on the inside.
Walt Disney Co.'s ABC has converted the show from the traditional Latin American telenovela soap opera format that airs five nights a week into a weekly serial comedy and put it in a lucrative Thursday prime-time slot.
America Ferrera, who debuted in the 2002 film "Real Women Have Curves," stars as Betty Suarez, a capable but not-so-pretty working-class gal who lands a job as a fashion magazine assistant.
Mexican-born actress Salma Hayek, who worked on telenovelas in her home country, is an executive producer of the show.
"It's the perfect hybrid of something Latin and something American," said Carl Kravetz, chairman of the Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies. "Certainly, it has found a Latino audience but it has also found an 18- to 34-year-old audience and an African-American audience."
Averaging about 14.3 million viewers a week, "Ugly Betty" ranks as the most watched new series on U.S. television this season. The show ranks second in its time slot and is one of the highest rated among viewers aged 18 to 49, the group most prized by advertisers.