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ALMA Interviewby Pattye Grippo    

ALMA Awards

This is an interview with Eva Longoria and Delia Delavera on August 31, 2011 about the ALMA Awards.

Question:
Going into this were you nervous or did you have any anxiety about working with the ALMA cast?

Delia Delavera:
This is Delia Delavera. I'm Vice President for National Council of La Raza and on behalf of our executive producer Janet Murgu??a and our NCLR President and CEO, I want to thank you all for joining us on this press call. NCLR, the National Council of La Raza is the organization behind the Alma Awards. NCLR is the largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States. In 1995 NCLR created the Alma Awards as a complement to our work advocating for Latino families and the Latino community in the United States.

This year we're very proud to be presenting the 2011 Alma Awards with two of our key partners, the NBC Universal Comcast family and our presenting sponsor, PepsiCo. These two partners recognize the value of the Almas and the Latino community and we're pleased that with their support we're going to be able to share this incredible program with a national audience.

Before I close I'd like to also say how thrilled we are to have Eva Longoria and Bob Bain as collaborators with us in producing this show and how excited we are about our co-hosts Eva and George joining us again to co-host the NCLR Alma Awards. It's going to be a fantastic show and we look forward to hearing more about it. Thank you very much.

Question:
Eva, what do the Alma Awards mean to you given all that you have had to overcome to be successful?

Eva Longoria:
I'm so proud to be a part of the Alma Awards. You know I used to be a seat filler almost 12 years ago, 10 years ago, something like that and I just wanted to get in the building to see the stars and to see people like me reflected on that stage. And so to come full circle with being an executive producer and co-host means a lot to me because there aren't any other platforms that recognize positive images of Latinos in television, music and film. And so there is no other awards show of this kind and we're really proud to put this on with NCLR, which really you know, walks the walk and does the work for our community behind the scenes. And so we're the stars in front of the camera and NCLR are the stars behind the camera.

Question:
Can you talk about the relationship you have with George and how that helps in hosting the show?

Eva Longoria:
George can never say no to me. I make him do everything with me. He's an amazing co-host. He obviously is the most recognized comedian in our community. And so to be able to bring him on board every year not only provides for great entertainment but our chemistry has proven successful and we wanted to continue that relationship and that tone of the show.

Question:
You have seemed to honor the presenter Latino designers. Will you be doing the same thing this year?

Eva Longoria:
Yes. On our show this year so I used to do about 16 changes. This year I'm only going to do about six or seven. But yes, we definitely like to use the platform of this stage to promote Latino designers and up and coming designers that we may not have heard of. So we have the known ones like Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta and then the lesser known, Esteban Cortazar and Angel Sanchez. It's just a great opportunity for us to showcase Latinos in fashion as well.

Question:
What does it feel like to be a part of NBC this year? And will the show also transmit onto Telemundo?

Delia Delavera:
It's been a great partnership. It really has been fantastic working with it's not just NBC but it's the entire family. Telemundo and Mundos are key partners in helping us promote and present the show. I understand it's going to be rebroadcast. This is one of the first times ever that the show will be rebroadcast the show. And so we're very excited about that. And letting more people kind of experience and take part in the presentation.

Because we get such great feedback when we've aired it in the past but we've only had one airing. So NBC has really stepped up to the plate and the Comcast, broader NBC Universal Comcast family has really stepped up to the plate and put a lot of resources and leveraged a lot out of turning this program around so quickly.

And we're very appreciative and also very engaged as well as our other partners looking at a number of different ways we can activate and kind of get the audience excited about the show because we did have a shorter period to kind of ramp up to this and get people to move to the new broadcast partner of NBC. So it's been wonderful. Everyone has been coming up with a lot of really creative ideas to turn some really unique things around in this show. And there is a lot of commitment from the leadership and throughout the entire company. So we're very pleased about the partnership and what it's been able to do to help us kind of reenergize the Alma Awards for 2011 and hopefully going forward as well.

Question:
The shows in the past have been longer with much more categories. How do you make the executive decision what goes in and what goes out? What is that process like?

Eva Longoria:
It's a hard process because we want enough time to honor everybody but at the same time we do have a pre-show. So we still have all the categories, we have a pre-show and then we have the on-air show. And also every year there just seems to be a heavier category than others. And so usually depending on the amount of nominees and the amount of people that actually service the categories, then that's pretty much how we make the decision on what's going to make the final.

Question:
Without tipping too many hats or too many surprises, what was the category this year that just seemed to pull you the hardest?

Eva Longoria:
We've had a great musical year with Pitbull and Enrique Iglesias and Demi Lovato and Shakira, I mean everybody had such great music this year. So we're hoping to be able to reflect that in the musical categories. We had so many people on television and even with the hosting categories like Jennifer Lopez on American Idol, Christina Aguilera on The Voice, George Lopez on his late night show, so we were really represented in the hosting TV personality category as well. But you know, we're really always excited when every category is just extremely full. And it's such a reflection of what is happening in television and film and music within our community.

Question:
What's going to be new this year? And are you speaking more Spanish lately?

Eva Longoria:
I just always find it such a fun night. Some of the people that we're going to be having in the show we have Demi Lovato performing her hit single Skyscraper in English and Spanish, which is so exciting because it was number one, she's one of our own and she came up with the idea to sing partly in Spanish. So we always love to honor that. We have so many great presenters with Jessica Alba, Benjamin Bratt, Eva Larue, Mario Lopez, Allison Nunez from The Office, Michael Pena, Naya Rivera from Glee. We just have really great participation this year and hopefully we'll be able to announce the other two performers shortly.

Question:
What was the main focus for you as a producer for this edition of the Alma Awards?

Eva Longoria:
Every year it's talent, it's booking the show whether it's the musical performances or the presenters or the nominees and/or winners. And so that's always a big priority for us because we always like to do it in Hispanic Heritage Month. We like to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the Hispanics in the media and sometimes that proves to be difficult because everybody is working in September. Every television show is working, people are working on movies, people are out of town, people are on tour in the fall. That's probably our main priority is the talent because we want to be sure to reflect the year's successes and celebrate and honor those people. So that's always probably the priority as a producer. And you know, we do our weekly conference calls and meetings and daily emails back and forth with confirmations and asks that are out and just it's just never-ending until we are there in the show taping.

Question:
I know that in the past there have been categories for up and comers or there have been categories for guest stars and supporting roles. I'm not clear really on what the categories are and if you plan on bringing back some of those other categories?

Delia Delavera:
It's as you pointed out. It was difficult knowing that we were going into a one-hour show to kind of see what works, how we were going to maintain the quality and the star power and the energy of the show in half the time. There were lots of different categories that we've been able to recognize and honor over the years and every year it changes as Eva has pointed out. You know, you have strong film years, strong TV years or some special acknowledgment that we need to incorporate into the show. So every year is different.

We do hope that we can build this show back into a two-hour program and incorporate more of these other categories. But this year we focused on film, television and music. Those will be on-screen. We engage the audience in a virtual rating VIP so they can vote for their favorite stars and earn a VIP experience in attending the show. And that was kind of another way to also engage a larger, more of the audience, the viewers and get them energized to tune into the show. But you're right. There is a lot of great work being done in front of and behind the cameras. Those are things we want to acknowledge. They're core to the mission of the Alma Awards.

And you know, with more time and also looking at maybe other platforms that we could leverage in the future for the Alma Awards and (what's so perfect) for the Alma Awards, leveraging it into maybe other events or other forums o how we can lend the Alma Awards name to enhancing the visibility of the great talent that is working throughout the industry and giving them a higher profile and higher visibility.

So we look forward to as we're rebuilding and strengthening the Alma Awards show also strengthening the Alma Awards portfolio and how we're able to leverage that into other opportunities down the road. So maybe we can work with you on that in the future but we know we have a lot of partners that are interested in developing this a little bit more. So we look forward to that.

Question:
Eva, I just wanted to go back on George. And it seems like you two have a great chemistry. What have you learned from him comedy wise?

Eva Longoria:
I think he learns mostly from me. No, I'm just kidding. No George is great. George has great material that is really relevant to the community. I mean he pours so much. And so he has his finger on the pulse regarding really what's happening out in our youth, in our families and our communities. So that's one thing I learn a lot from George is his one on one, his one on one comedy tours, every time he goes and he does 25,000 people arenas, he's able to touch people in a way that not a lot of people can. And so that's one thing I really admire about him and what I think makes him so talented is that he's so relevant and current with what's going on in the Latino community.

Question:
What's more nerve racking, hosting the Almas or navigating the Emmys red carpet?

Eva Longoria:
Definitely hosting the Almas. The Emmys you just walk the red carpet. There's not a lot to it. The Almas because I produce and I wear different hats, it's definitely more stressful.

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