08/09/23: The CW counting on “noisy reality shows” to replace scripted series amid strike

Cynopsis Medias First Morning Read
Wednesday August 9, 2023

Today’s Premieres
Apple TV+: Strange Planet
CBS: Superfan at 9p
Disney+: High School Musical: The Musical: The Series
Hulu: Moving
Netflix: Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip-Hop

Today’s Finales
NBC: LA Fire & Rescue at 8p
PBS: Human Footprint at 9p

IN THE NEWS

“We kind of like our chances in this chaotic environment,” said Perry Sook, CEO of Nexstar Media Group, about the impact of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes on The CW. “When others are afraid, we tend to take some big swings.” Speaking during the company’s quarterly earnings call, Sook said that while the debuts of four scripted shows slated for fall will have to be postponed, the network is well-positioned with acquired titles produced before the strike, along with “high-profile and noisy reality shows, which will bring attention to the network.”

The CW, which Nextstar acquired in October 22, posted a $78 million loss for the quarter, better than its $83 million loss in 1Q23. “To drive the growth of the network we are making, quote, ‘Moneyball’-inspired investments in content that matters to the broadcast viewer, including live sports, in order to grow our distribution and advertising revenues,” said Sook. “In less than one year of ownership, we’ve already secured the rights to a variety of sports properties.”

Fox’s sports programming gets the most value from being behind the paywall of traditional cable and satellite pay-TV, said Executive Chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch during the company’s earnings call. “We think that pay-TV ecosystem continues to be of tremendous value for our business and really drives the value of Fox Sports and that content, and will for a long time to come,” he told reporters. Fox Corp. reported total quarterly revenues of $3.03 billion, on par with 2Q22 and hitting analysts’ expectations despite a dip in advertising. Affiliate fee revenues increased 3%, while advertising revenues decreased 4%.

Disney Advertising reports it closed its 2023-24 Upfront with overall revenue and volume commitments in line with last year, and single digit increases in sports volume and pricing. More than 40% of the total Upfront dollars committed this year were streaming and digital, led by Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu. “Our investments in the most dynamic technology and streaming capabilities, coupled with the most enviable sports rights, powerful storytelling and impactful cultural moments, sets Disney apart,” said Rita Ferro, President of Advertising, Disney. “As we close the 2023-2024 Upfront, our insights led approach and deep understanding of consumers continues to deliver growth for our clients, while deepening their connection to the most engaged audiences at scale.”

Dish Network is merging with EchoStar, the satellite operator spun off from Dish in 2008. “This is a strategically and financially compelling combination that is all about growth and building a long-term sustainable business,” said Charles Ergen, Chairman of the Board of both companies. “Dish’s substantial past investments in spectrum and its wireless buildout, combined with EchoStar’s recent launch of Jupiter 3, are expected to significantly reduce near-term capex requirements.”

David Noriega has joined NBC News and MSNBC as a correspondent. Previously, Noriega covered issues including criminal justice, migration, the fentanyl crisis, mass shootings, and hosted “Border to Border” for Vice News.

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson could find investors for his new media company in conservative megadonors Rebekah Mercer and Peter Thiel, according to CNBC. Sources tell the network Mercer has spoken with Carlson since his FNC termination in April, and Thiel has “hinted” he could invest in the so-far-unnamed company.

KKR is acquiring Simon & Schuster from Paramount Global for $1.62 billion, subject to regulatory approvals. The deal offers Paramount Global “additional financial flexibility and greater ability to create long-term value for shareholders, while also delivering our balance sheet,” said Bob Bakish, President and CEO of Paramount Global.

Walmart it is adding third-party advertising to its check-out screens, allowing brands to choose specific regions or stores to promote their wares. “When you think about our store, our store footprint and the percentage of Americans that we reach through our stores, we can deliver Super Bowl-sized audiences every week,” said Ryan Mayward, SVP, Retail Media for Walmart, on CNBC.

The Advertising Research Foundation announced that 111 students have completed or are currently enrolled in the NYU/ARF Certificate in Marketing Optimization & Insights, established in partnership with NYU School of Professional Studies. The most recent spring and summer graduates are from companies including Best Buy, Chobani, Dell, Dynata, Empower MM, Genpacts, Horowitz Research, Juniper Networks, The New York Times, Optum and the University of South Australia.

The WGA East and the Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700 have succeeded in organizing producers and editorial employees at Story Syndicate (“Harry and Meghan”). The American Arbitration Association verified that each guild had the support of a majority of Story Syndicate employees in their jurisdictions, and Story Syndicate has agreed to voluntarily recognize the unions as their collective bargaining representatives. “The bargaining unit employees at Story Syndicate have created hit nonfiction series for Netflix, HBO and many other networks, and together we will negotiate a contract that addresses their real concerns and aspirations,” said Lowell Peterson, executive director of the WGA East. “They join many other nonfiction TV creators who recognize the power of collective bargaining and the WGAE to improve standards so people can build sustainable careers doing the work they care about.”

The DGA has taken action to assist members who lose medical coverage because of the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. “I am proud to announce that the DGA-Producers Pension & Health Plans Board of Trustees has unanimously approved the creation of a critically important free major medical plan for Health Plan participants and their eligible dependents who have been financially impacted by the work stoppage,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter. “This innovative effort by the Plans’ trustees will help Plan participants facing financial hardship retain basic health coverage during this difficult time.”

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PRODUCTION & DEVELOPMENT

Multiplatform content company Showdog Studio has been formed by producers John Attard and David “Doc” Abbott. The company will focus on producing content for linear TV, streaming services, theatrical films, home entertainment and more. Robert Harris has joined Showdog as executive producer. Said Attard, “We want to create stories of hope along the lines of the stories I’ve enjoyed watching over the years – many of which were deftly shepherded by Robert’s steady hand.”

NEW & RETURNING SERIES

Season two of “The Pact” launches Thursday, August 31 on Sundance Now and AMC+. Rakie Ayola (“Black Mirror”), who appeared in the first season of the anthology series, plays a new role this time around, as a social worker trying to move on after a tragic death.

Also returning for a second season is HGTV’s “Tough Love with Hilary Farr,” on Monday, September 4 at 9p. In the premiere episode, interior designer Farr will help a blended family in Raleigh, North Carolina, turn his bachelor pad into their forever home.

New seasons of “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” and “Welcome to Plathville” kick off Tuesday, September 5 at 9p and 10p, respectively, on TLC.

“LEGO Princess: The Castle Quest” premieres Friday, August 18 on Disney+, just ahead of Disney’s World Princess Week (August 20-26).

“Unique Whips: Special Edition” and companion series “Unique Autosports” begin streaming on Speedvision Tuesday, August 15 at 8p. Will Castro, car customizer to hip-hop legends and pro athletes, stars.

TECH TALK

Irony alert: Zoom is requiring employees to head back to the office. “We believe that a structured hybrid approach — meaning employees that live near an office need to be on site two days a week to interact with their teams — is most effective for Zoom,” said Colleen Rodriguez, Zoom’s head of global PR. The plan will roll out in August and September. “We’ll continue to leverage the entire Zoom platform to keep our employees and dispersed teams connected and working efficiently,” added Rodriguez. Zoom follows tech companies Google, Apple and X in shepherding workers back to the office.

X is working to lure back advertisers with expanded advertising capabilities focused on brand safety. In a blog post, the company formerly known as Twitter said the expansion will give a “new level of control” to advertisers, expanding pre-bid brand safety and suitability, introducing sensitivity settings and “bolstering blocklists for advertisers.”

WeAre8, a “free from hate” social media app focused on sustainability, is rolling out in the US. “Two billion of us are living in a world of social technology that connects us, but also isolates us, fuels the mental health crisis and climate crisis and undermines democracy at a time when people and society need to come together to support each other and our precious planet,” said Sue Fennessy, founder of Standard Media Index and developer of the app. “Society and our planet need technology that serves us and I am excited for the United States being ‘united’ in a new social home that is built on community, purpose and love.” The app has already been released in the UK, Australia and New Zealand.

GfK and Meta have partnered to provide brand lift campaign measurement solutions. GfK’s Campaign Amplifier allows marketers to measure how their campaigns on Facebook and Instagram affect the attitudes and perceptions of their brands, and how these compare to TV and other digital channels.

Connatix has integrated with Google’s Display & Video 360, enabling advertisers using Display & Video 360 to opt-in to directly access Connatix’s premium video supply. “This integration will give our customers access to an even wider audience and help them deliver more efficient video campaigns to achieve their advertising goals and take their budgets further,” said Jenn Chen, President and Chief Revenue Officer at Connatix. “The growth of our relationship with Display & Video 360 bolsters our commitment to creating a direct path between advertisers and publishers to drive successful, high-impact video advertising at scale.”

Nexxen has partnered with attention technology company Lumen Research to deliver Lumen’s first omnichannel Attention Measurement solution to advertisers across CTV, online video and display. The global partnership augments the launch of Nexxen’s full Attention Measurement offering, which spans the lifecycle of an advertiser’s campaign, from creative testing to media curation to real-time measurement and optimization, through Nexxen’s end-to-end platform. By leveraging all elements of the offering, advertisers can plan against, activate on and optimize for consumer attention across screens, including CTV.

STREAMING

Paramount Global reported 2Q23 earning results that included 47% growth in Paramount+ revenue, with nearly 61 million subscribers. Paramount+ and Pluto TV global viewing hours Increased 35% year-over-year, and DTC advertising revenue Increased 21%.

COMING UP

Did you read your Cynopsis early this morning? If so, you can catch President Biden talking climate change on The Weather Channel today at 6a, during “America’s Morning Headquarters.”

“Little Richard: I Am Everything” has its TV premiere Monday, September 4 at 9p on CNN. The film tells the story of the Black queer origins of rock n’ roll.

The Make Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild will hold its 11 annual MUAHS Awards on Saturday, February 11 at the Beverly Hilton. Submissions open for TV and films on October 30.

SPORTS ROUNDUP

Optimum announced a multi-year renewal of its affiliation agreement with NFL Media that will extend its existing carriage of NFL Network and NFL RedZone on Optimum TV. NFL Network will continue to be available in Optimum’s Select and Premier packages, with NFL RedZone available in Optimum’s Sports Package and Sports Plus Package offers.

WSC Sports and the Canadian Football League have extended their partnership to deliver real-time highlights to CFL Fantasy and CFL All-Star Fan Vote. WSC Sports’ cloud-based AI-powered solution analyzes every game live and will automatically create and distribute highlights to the league’s interactive games.

Prevent Biometrics, provider of head Impact Monitoring Mouthguard Technology, and OPRO announced a strategic partnership to combine Prevent’s Version 2.0 sensor technology with OPRO’s custom-fit mouthguards. “This is a key step in our ambition to reduce head acceleration event exposure in both matches and training,” said Simon Kemp – RFU, Medical Services Director.

Uplift Labs and Athletes United, which operates four professional women’s sports leagues, today announced that Uplift’s AI-powered mobile movement tracking and 3D analysis technology will be provided to every team in AU’s softball league to analyze and improve swing mechanics to optimize performance.

Prime Video and the Women’s National Basketball Association announced their on-air announce team and plans for the third annual WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Championship Game presented by Coinbase. The matchup features the Las Vegas Aces hosting the New York Liberty on Tuesday, August 15 at 9p. Michael Grady and Sarah Kustok once again will serve as play-by-play announcer and lead analyst for the contest, with former NBA All-Star Baron Davis also contributing as an analyst. Additionally, Zora Stephenson will handle sideline responsibilities for the Championship contest.

GOING GLOBAL

Amuz Distribution has secured the international distribution rights to “Pour toi Céline – Tribute to the album D’Eux,” a celebration of the French-language album featuring Céline Dion. Produced by SISMYK as part of the Super Franco Fête, the event will be recorded on September 3 and will air internationally, including on the channels of the M6 Group in France in September 2023, and on TVA in Quebec at a later date.

Rock Entertainment Holdings, myTV SUPER (TVB-affiliated OTT platform) and Regentact have partnered to bring a new channel, “Golden Chinese Drama,” to the market. The channel offers a curated selection of nostalgic dramas.

Studio 100 Media has struck deals with Peacock, Kabillion, and ITVX (UK) for the CGI series “FriendZSpace.

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RATINGS

AEW’s 200th episode of Dynamite on TBS was cable’s #1 telecast among A18-34, M18-49 and M25-54. The live event reached 2.5 million total viewers and garnered a 1.03 Live+3 rating among A25-54, a 14% increase over the prior week and 0.80 rating among A18-49, up 11%.

Sunday’s season two premiere of HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers” drew 629,000 total viewers across linear and Max. The series premiere last year delivered 901,000 viewers.

The US women’s soccer team’s loss to Sweden early Sunday morning delivered 2.515 million viewers on Fox, peaking at 4.072 million

Top 10 Basic Cable Networks for the Week of July 31
Network, P2+ AA (000)
Primetime
Fox News 1866
MSNBC 1557
HGTV 768
Hallmark Channel 724
INSP 719
CNN 710
History 676
USA 651
TLC 627
Food Network 528
Total Day
Fox News 1164
MSNBC 966
CNN 547
HGTV 427
Hallmark Channel 426
INSP 379
USA 373
Food Network 343
ID 338
TV Land 333
Source: Nielsen

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Priya Dogra is leaving her role as President & Managing Director, EMEA at Warner Bros. Discovery, in what has been described as a mutual decision. She will not be replaced.

Wonya Lucas is stepping down from her role as President & CEO of Hallmark Media at the end of the year. Lucas will continue to serve on the Hallmark Media Board of Directors. Mike Perry, President & CEO of Hallmark Companies, will work closely with Lucas and the Hallmark Media executive leadership team to lead the day-to-day operations of the media business and complete the process of Lucas’ transition.

Smithhouse has elevated its Executive Vice President, Hillary Povar, to EVP & Chief Creative Officer. Povar joined the PR agency in 2021.

Aggregate Sports has named Michael Perman to the position of SVP, Global Media rights. Perman, who operated his own sports media consultancy for the past six months, joins Aggregate Sports after 16 years at NBC Sports Group, the last 11 years as VP of Programming.

A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE FROM PREMION
 

This Day in History
1974 – Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States.

Answer to Our Last Trivia Question
Which two actresses starred in a one-season sitcom in 1988, then moved to a different network for another one-season sitcom the following year? DeLane Matthews and Patricia Richardson, in “Eisenhower and Lutz” and “FM” (1989-90). Kudos to: Andrew Goldman-CampNova TV/NYC; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA

Today’s Trivia Question
Which series featured a mad scientist character named Dr. Labcoat? (Email [email protected] with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: a limit of four answers per time zone.)

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SENIOR MANAGER, AD SALES MARKETING
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, INC.
NYC

Manage the pre-sale client facing pitch process and post-sale activation of cross-platform television, streaming, digital & social media integrated marketing programs. Write & create compelling sales presentations, one-sheets & cross-platform sponsorship opportunities. 5+ yrs exp. with ad sales marketing, integrated marketing, brand advertising. Full info HERE

DIRECTOR, MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
NEXSTAR MEDIA GROUP, INC.
NYC or LOS ANGELES

Manage messaging, vision and strategy in the marketplace and internally. Responsible for helping to build, execute and enhance ad sales brand reputation and to raise awareness of the organization both internally and externally. 10+ years’ related media experience and experience with an ad sales organization. Full info HERE

HUMAN RESOURCES DIRECTOR >>
BIG FISH ENTERTAINMENT/NYC/NJ: Coordinating onboarding for all new hires.
Administering the benefits and payroll changes for employees accurately.
Maintaining an efficient filing system—paper and electronic, for employee and company records related to their job functions. Building a successful bridge between management and employees. 7 yrs entertainment exp. preferred. Full Info HERE

DIRECTOR, MEDIA SUPPLY CHAIN OPERATIONS >>
PBS DISTRIBUTION/ARLINGTON VA, Hybrid
: Oversee media systems operations, including daily operations as well as development and implementation of overall media supply chain. Work with external vendors and internal stakeholders on design and implementation of hardware and software solutions for media systems. 7+ yrs of work exp. in the areas of television, media, or consumer products. Full info HERE

MANAGER, STREAMING GROWTH AND ENGAGEMENT >>
PBS DISTRIBUTION/ARLINGTON VA, Hybrid:
Identify opportunities using content placements & promotions to drive usage, engagement, & subscriber retention. Create & maintain a comprehensive editorial calendar to track & leverage content & cyclical opportunities based on each channel’s needs. 5+ years’ experience in digital video distribution, streaming business, and content programming. Full info HERE

TV/VIDEO SPONSORSHIP-PRODUCT INTEGRATION SALES REPRESENTATIVE >>
GAME ON MEDIA SOLUTIONS/Remote: Game On Media Solutions is looking for an independent business development oriented sponsorship sales representative. Focus will be on TV/Streaming project opportunities for brands that include product integration and placement. This is an Independent Contractor performance compensated opening. Attractive fees can be earned for closed deals. Full info HERE

BRAND ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/NYC: Full-service communication, strategy, and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, brand, entertainment, and nonprofit sectors, is seeking a Brand Assistant to join the Brand team in our New York office. The Assistant will play an integral role in supporting accounts for a wide variety of Fashion, Beauty, CPG and Lifestyle clients. Full info HERE

TALENT ASSISTANT >>
THE LEDE COMPANY/LA: Full-service strategy, communications and social impact consulting firm, specializing in corporate, entertainment and nonprofit sectors. We are looking for a Talent Assistant to a Talent Publicist in Los Angeles. We are seeking enthusiastic candidates who can work in a fast-paced environment, are driven & have strong communication and writing skills. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER FOR NATIONAL POLITICAL SHOW >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC: Develop and oversee the production of a daily or weekly national political show that covers the most important political news and events of the day. Develop and execute strategies to increase the show’s audience and engagement. At least 5 years of experience as an executive producer for a political show or similar program. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER OF NEWS/ENTERTAINMENT >>
BAHAKEL COMMUNICATIONS/CHARLOTTE NC:
Oversee all editorial and entertainment content, news production and presentation. Responsible for day-to-day operations of the show: producing, writing, and guiding creative. Develop content for the News @ TEN, plan, assign and create production schedules. 7 years of experience as executive producer or show producer. Network experience preferred. Full info HERE

SR. DIRECTOR, PRODUCT MANAGEMENT >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: P&L responsibility, ownership over all aspects of a project, standalone releases or a licensed library of titles. Works w/production, publicity, creative services, distribution/sales, digital, finance, legal, acquisitions & licensors to best position the project for success. 7+ yrs of exp. in marketing, business development, or product management. Full info HERE

SALES OPERATIONS MANAGER >>
SHOUT! FACTORY/LOS ANGELES: Prepare accurate reports using data from internal & external sources for sales planning & analysis. Communicate w/our distributor on a regular basis with an understanding of their systems & deadlines. Announce release date, pricing confirmation & metadata for staff & distributor. 3+Yrs exp. in Sales Planning & Analysis/Finance Administration. Full info HERE

SENIOR CONTENT PRODUCER
INTERACTIVE ONE
NYC

Oversee video/creative production team thru ideation, production planning, crew/talent hiring, & budget/project management. Shepherd campaigns from development, pre-production, & production thru editing & delivery. Help w/shoots as well as postproduction team. 5+ yrs exp. spanning editorial, design, advertising agency, film, branded entertainment. Full info HERE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR
INTERACTIVE ONE
NYC

Respond to both RFPs and direct-to-client assignments from brands and agencies. Examine client brief and lead ideation or adapt pre-existing creative. Identify innovative storytelling and emerging video formats. Minimum of 7 yrs exp. producing compelling video, television and digital media content across multiple channels and platforms. Full info HERE

AD SALES PLANNER >>
SINCLAIR BROADCASTING GROUP/NYC, Hybrid:
Responsible for creating, analyzing & communicating sales proposals to the Sales team for presentation to advertising agencies and/or clients. Collaborate w/all media platforms & departments to create proposals, execute campaigns, manage stewardship & pacing of linear & digital deals. Point of contact post sale & provide excellent client services. Full info HERE

DIRECTOR, PRODUCTION LIFETIME/LMN MARKETING PRODUCTION OPERATIONS
A+E NETWORKS
Remote

Lead campaign planning & production oversight, ensuring best-in-class creative. Direct Campaign Planning rollouts & ensure production readiness of marketing initiatives. Oversee production on high-end graphics/design/editorial projects. 7+ yrs working in a fast-paced, highly collaborative team, with relevant work exp. in production management. Full info HERE

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NYC: Determine best news stories for the program and create daily rundown. Work with show host in program preparation and execution. Identify compelling news stories. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to producers, associate producers, and casting producers. 3+ years executive producing experience or overseeing newscast production. Full info HERE

STAGE MANAGER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Works with Production management to maintains cast and crew lists and manages local rehearsal and show calendar. Oversee daily technical run-throughs directly prior to shows. Willing and able to work shifts between 12noon to 11pm and occasional Weekends and some longer hours during election and special events. Full info HERE

BROADCAST ENGINEER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/WASHINGTON DC: Troubleshooting, repair, and preventative maintenance of television broadcast equipment, computers, and broadcast computer networks in a 24x7x365 environment. Serve as E.I.C. during live and taped shows. Electrical Engineering, or other technical degree preferred. 5+ yrs as broadcast engineer, or equivalent knowledge. 5+ yrs in live TV production. Full info HERE

PRODUCER >>
NEWSMAX MEDIA INC/NEW YORK: Generate story ideas through research of news reports, social media, websites & contacts. Strong understanding of Newsmax brand & talent. Identify impactful news stories that result in provocative, compelling television. Delegate responsibilities as appropriate to associate producers, assignment editors & video editors. Bachelor’s degree preferred. Full info HERE

AD SALES COORDINATOR, DIRECT RESPONSE
TV ONE
NYC, Hybrid, Remote

Work with account executives & sales planners utilizing internal computer system to fulfill sales orders through the execution of client schedules. Serve as the primary point of contact for ad agencies & TV One to resolve discrepancies, confirm schedule changes & distribute post & pre-logs. Bachelor’s degree or 2 yrs of exp. in advertising sales. Full info HERE

MANAGER OF ENTERPRISE CONTENT, WTKR
SCRIPPS NETWORKS
NORFOLK, VA

Collaborates w/other newsroom managers to leverage the Scripps content strategy as the foundation for market-specific local content strategy. Leading a team of people to regularly & reliably produce targeted enterprise & investigative stories of impact & importance to our community. 3 yrs of exp. in digital media, journalism, broadcast preferred. Full info HERE

SR. DIRECTOR, DIGITAL PLATFORMS AND PARTNERSHIPS
TV ONE
SILVER SPRING MD, NYC, Hybrid Remote

Develop, cultivate, and socialize vision, mission, and strategy for Digital Business, Programming Visibility, Content Creation and Content Partnerships & Data Governance. Lead and facilitate cross-functional and cross-company project teams. 12 yrs in the media & emerging platform landscape with building digital platforms and vMVPD growth strategy. Full info HERE

WEDNESDAY AUGUST 9
ABC: Judge Steve Harvey, The Wonder Years, Abbott Elementary, America’s Funniest Home Videos
CBS: Big Brother, Superfan [p], So Help Me Todd
CW: Nancy Drew, Riverdale
FOX: MasterChef, Gordon Ramsay’s Food Stars
NBC: LA Fire & Rescue [f], Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D.
PBS: Nature, Human Footprint [f], NOVA
Telemundo: Los 50, Secretos de Sangre
Univision: Eternamente Amandonos, Tiera de Esperanza, Mujer

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