The change in the blog's look comes at the same time as I arrive back to Athens after two intense weeks of research in Caracas, where I documented the current state of the telenovela industry, ten months after the closing of RCTV and its transformation into RCTV Internacional. I still have much analysis to do, but the panorama isn't particularly sunny for actors, writers and the Venezuelan public. Both RCTV Internacional and Venevisión have shifted gears and now privilege the international market over the local one. This will probably mean more remakes of old telenovelas and more telenovelas that follow the traditional model of the telenovela rosa. It isn't a good time for creativity and talent. In addition, the work sources for actors have significantly dried up.
This trip also included several media interviews about my book Venezuela es una Telenovela. It's always both surreal and fascinating for me to talk about my book. Interviews usually center in either or both aspects of my research: telenovelas and Venezuela.
There was an element of serendipity in my visit to my birth city. Two events coincided with my stay. I've commented already about the first one: the premiere of Caramelo e Chocolate, the first telenovela broadcast by government network TVES.
While I was in Caracas there was an episode of Arroz Con Leche that garnered 15 points of rating, a true feat...even in the current no-internal-competition environment. In this particular episode the character Tomás Chacón beats his wife Amanda. (We don't see him actually hitting her because such scenes are prohibited by the Venezuelan Ley de Contenidos). What does this peak in the ratings mean under these circumstances? Is it because there's a fascination with violence and/or drama? Or is it that Venezuelans can identify with and/or recognize this issue as one of the country's most pressing sociocultural problems? It's worth analyzing since those numbers and the content of that episode provide us with a trap door through which we can examine the social formation.