The successor to the MundoFox broadcast TV network is set to sail off into the sunset, just 18 months after its launch.
Following months of rumors and unconfirmed reports that its financial health was ailing and that a shutdown was imminent for year’s end, two MundoMax affiliates have switched to LBI Media’s Estrella TV network.
Meanwhile, a second round of layoffs were seen in October at MundoMax, ahead of what’s now expected to be a full shutdown of an operation envisioned by Colombia’s RCN Televisión in summer 2015 as a vital new foothold in U.S. Hispanic media.
The affiliate switches involve KGMC-43 in Fresno, owned by Cocola Broadcasting, and WXCW-46.2 in Fort Myers-Naples, Fla., owned by Sun Broadcasting.
“Having Estrella TV broadcast on these stations, which were formerly airing MundoMax programming, is a clear indication of our network’s growth, market influence, importance in Hispanic media and the continued demand for our original, and dynamic programming,” said LBI Media and Liberman Broadcasting CEO Lenard Liberman. “Estrella TV is Spanish-language television made in the U.S. by Latinos and for Latinos, and this is something we are very proud of.”
The quote is a swipe at MundoMax, in addition to Univision, Telemundo and other networks that reply on program license agreements with networks from across Latin America to fill their programming grid. At MundoMax, programming highlights have ranged from Turkish imports such as Suleimán, El Gran Sultán to Greek soap opera Brousko, ebrios de amor. There is also the Family Feud-styled weeknight game show 100 Latinos Dijeron.
MundoMax has been largely mum on its future and has not responded to requests for comment made over several weeks by RBR + TVBR. However, sources confirm that MundoMax has notified more than the new Estrella TV affiliates that it will not renew agreements set to end on Nov. 30.
This would effectively cease operations, as MundoMax does not have any owned-and-operated stations. Meruelo Group owns KWHY-22 in Los Angeles, and calls to the main telephone number yield a bilingual recorded message inviting viewers to go to MundoMax’s website to watch their favorite shows. MundoMax is already off the air at WOCK-13 in Chicago; a note on its website refers queries to MundoMax’s web portal.
Meanwhile, Estrella TV is gaining a foothold in Central California, as Cocola’s KWSM-32.1 picks up the network; it did not previously air MundoMax programming.