A few months ago, Hollywood Heights (produced in L.A.) debuted on Nick-at-Nite. Viacom executives and many fans of the original Televisa novela, Alcanzar Una Estrella, had high hopes for this teenage mini-series. However, the English version fell flat. Very flat. It has now been moved to TeenNick instead.
Perhaps the well publicized dispute over the summer between Viacom (Nickelodeon’s parent company) and DirecTv forced many of its viewers to watch something else. During that time, Nickelodeon’s viewership fell as they lost 20 percent of their overall ratings during the black-out. Hollywood Heights never picked up steam after that.
Hollywood Heights is an unexcitable drama with plenty of backstabbing. However, the fact that the English version was toned down to “appeal” to an American audience, was a huge mistake. The charm of the original novela was precisely what the English version lacks: excitement, dreams and passion.
The original 1990 novela, Alcanzar Una Estrella, was made up of largely unknown actors. Many of them young actors who were given their first opportunity with this novela, much like Hollywood Heights. However, the main actors were long-standing young veterans that were well-known in the music industry and to the Spanish-speaking world.
Eduardo Capetillo (played by Cody Longo in Hollywood Heights) was the main actor and came from the very famous pop group, Timbiriche. His co-star, Mariana Garza (played by Brittany Underwood in Hollywood Heights), also was a long-time member of Timbiriche. Many fans already knew who these two were. And the fact that there was also a bit of romantic history between the two, helped. They were dating while they were both in Timbiriche. They were a young cast but a very strong one.
Timbiriche had a loyal following and thus the making of Alcanzar Una Estrella was a huge success. Not only because of the famous pop group, but because the novela made every fan dream of being the special someone that ultimately captures the heart of that elusive rock star. The dreamboat that every girl wishes they could have.
Alcanzar Una Estrella had passion… and Eduardo Capetillo was already a huge star before the novela was produced. The writers were smart, hip, witty and understood their young audience. The producer of Alcanzar Una Estrella, was also one of the original founders of Timbiriche. That combination practically assured the success of that novela.
So much so, that Alcanzar Una Estrella II was produced the following year. The second season launched the careers in Mexico of Ricky Martin and Eduardo Capetillo’s real-life wife, Bibi Gaytan (also a former member of Timbiriche). It also launched the acting career of Mexico’s next first lady, Angelica Rivera. She is married to President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto (PRI), who becomes Mexico’s next president on December 1st.
With Hollywood Heights, most of the actors are relatively newcomers and the dialogue between the actors seems much too tailored and scripted. In summary: not credible. The format of Hollywood Heights has to a great extent, the same failing recipe that daytime soaps seem to be suffering from: they’re bland.