Multi-hyphenate Jennifer Lopez has another job to add to her resume: Chief Creative Officer of NUVOtv. The first and only English-language network for Latinos officially launches Wednesday with Lopez's biography special, Jennifer Lopez: Her Life, Her Journey (July 18, 8/7c).
After the documentary comes A Step Away (9/8c), a docu-reality series that follows Lopez's professional dancers behind the scenes on her world tour, and the reality show House of Joy (10/9c), which goes inside the lives of Grammy-winning producer Rodney Jerkins and his wife, Joy Enriquez. Premiere week also features YouTube star Anjelah Johnson (Bon Qui Qui, Nail Salon) in a one-hour comedy special, Anjelah Johnson: The Homecoming Show (July 20, 9/8c) and Mario Lopez in Mario Lopez: One on One (July 20, 10:30/9:30c), a celebrity sit-down series that puts Gloria Estefan, Eva Longoria and Mark Sanchez in the hot seat.
We caught up with Lopez to get the inside scoop on the network.
TV Guide Magazine: How did you get involved with NUVOtv?
Jennifer Lopez: I was approached a couple years ago just to bring awareness to the network. After we sat down in creative meetings, we realized that I had so many ideas and a strong take on where the network should go and what it should be. The relationship became more than just being the face of the network.
TV Guide Magazine: It certainly has — you were named Chief Creative Officer. With such a busy schedule, you have to choose your projects wisely. Why is NUVOtv so important to you?
Lopez: When I grew up, I would see Marsha Brady or The Cosby Show, but I never saw Latinos on TV. There was Ricky Ricardo, but he was kind of a joke, in a sense, and it was a comedy. It was okay to laugh at people speaking Spanish, but it wasn't okay to see a real family with real problems and struggles, and there was nothing to identify to. That was years ago, and here we are today. It still doesn't exist for my kids. It's super important to me to actually try, now that I'm in a position to do something.
TV Guide Magazine: What type of programming is slated for the network?
Lopez: It's a really rich Latino network, but in English. We have a lot of comedy. We have reality. There are so many places we want to go. We definitely want to go heavy into the scripted, but that might take a year or two because we want to find the right vehicle. Television is so top notch right now and so competitive that we want to be able to hang up there with Mad Men and Homeland. We're definitely going into that arena.
TV Guide Magazine: You have so much influence in the music industry. Will NUVOtv feature any music-oriented programming?
Lopez: We want to put more music into the channel. When you're capturing a certain audience, you can't neglect music. When MTV went to capture the young audience, they went with pop music and rock and roll. And then BET was like, 'Wait a minute, where's all the R&B and rap music?' NUVOtv has an opportunity with that. Where is Latino music on television? English-speaking Latinos who live in the United States also listen to Spanish music so we want to do both English and Spanish music.
TV Guide Magazine: Even though you're behind-the-scenes, NUVOtv is launching with your biography special, Jennifer Lopez: Her Life, Her Journey. Why did you decide to put yourself out there?
Lopez: I put myself there first just because I want to launch the program. But the idea is that there are so many amazing stories about artists, entrepreneurs and historic people so we want to have their biographies and teach history through the channel. Mine is first of many biographies you will see. It's a forum that we want to start.
TV Guide Magazine: NUVOtv has other big names attached to it — George Lopez, Mario Lopez, Eva Longoria and Gloria Estefan are all involved with the network in some way.
Lopez: There are so many people. Mario has his Mario Lopez: One on One special and he's interviewing a lot of those people. We have so many fun, edgy things. You are going to see a lot of favorites on the network — it's their network, it's the talent's network. So whatever they want to come and do, if it works, we're going to do it.