The coronavirus crisis has dealt a tremendous blow to the television calendar, from which productions such as Veneno have fallen, which could only air the first episode last Sunday, and Patria, which directly has no release date. However, the daily series are still there, unalterable, every afternoon from Monday to Friday. The secret of Puente Viejo and Amar is forever in Antena 3 and Mercado central, Servir y Protección and Acacias 38 in La 1 represent a rare case of entertainment that still resists the pandemic.
On March 13 the filming of all these series stopped. But this format is used to recording in advance and they have, some more than others, a mattress for the next few weeks. If the quarantine ends up lengthening, between the chains and producers it will be decided what to do. Puente Viejo’s secret is the production that may most concern its loyal fans — throughout its nine years of broadcasting, fiction has achieved an average of 1.6 million viewers per episode (15.5% of screen share) ) -, since it had planned to issue its final outcome before this summer.
“We were just shooting the end,” laments Luis Santamaría, executive producer of the fiction, in a telephone interview. “It is true that we are left with some loose sequences, but the important thing, the part where the final resolution is, we do have it,” he continues. Normally, the team works a month and a half or two months ahead of the broadcast, so if you can’t get back to filming, the end is guaranteed. In addition, every Friday, since last March 27, the chain is broadcasting the special Always, Old Bridge, to dismiss its more than 2,300 episodes, which will also allow the forecast of chapters to be stretched a little more.
“At the moment we are not developing any plan for the issue since it is not affecting us. Yes, we are studying solutions in the event that this situation lengthens. We speak daily with the production companies to be forewarned, but both in Amar es para siempre and in El secreto de Puente Viejo, the script creation team continues to work on a regular basis for when this situation is over, start recording, “says Montse García, fiction director of Atresmedia TV. “We believe that it is important in these difficult times to keep that window open to entertainment, which is television, a relief and an escape route for so many people,” he concludes.
Antena 3’s first afternoon series, Amar es para siempre, had two months of recorded episodes when filming stopped. “In that sense, there is a certain tranquility, since we are going far enough ahead, and we have guaranteed the broadcast during that time approximately”, explains Eduardo Casanova, director of the series. Casanova confirms that they are working in various scenarios. “As the date approaches when we could run out of that mattress and jeopardize the emission, we will activate those plans that we have,” he says, without specifying what they consist of. “It will depend on how the coronavirus evolves and what the government dictates.” And he admits: “What I can say is that each week is a new scenario.” The return, he admits, “is going to be very complicated” not knowing when it may occur.
Joan Noguera, director of the Central Market, explains that in his case they were “lucky”, because they looked at the example of Italy, anticipated the situation and set out to close the blocks of episodes that they had already started recording. “We work with two or three open blocks, each of six chapters. So we stopped recording new blocks and closed the maximum we could. So from Tuesday before stopping we were already making plans to hold the maximum broadcast time in the future. And that went pretty well for us, ”says Noguera. In this way, they can go until June without stopping the broadcast.
In Acacias 38 the broadcast is guaranteed until the end of May, clarifies Santamaría, executive producer also of the series of La 1. “We should be back in early May, even if it was in the second week, to be able to broadcast without being the broadcast was interrupted ”, confesses Santamaría. “There were two or three days that they placed an informative special and we only broadcast the end of one chapter and the beginning of another. With those days we have gained one more episode of margin ”, explains the producer, who adds that the full episodes are already being broadcast. “I am relatively calm with the margins that we manage. I do know that there are colleagues from other producers who go with a little less margin, so the networks are already broadcasting half chapters to stretch that mattress a little more. ”
This is the case in Serve and protect from the first week of quarantine. With this measure, the series can continue to air until June 9. “In order to broadcast, if this had a major fracture, we have to have a minimum of three weeks remaining, from when we started recording until we can broadcast,” says Emilio A. Pina, executive producer of the series. In this police series set in a neighborhood police station, the current crisis will not be seen in the script in the near future. “We have not spoken and we do not have it planned,” Pina ditch. “But I think for a time this issue should not be addressed.”