Half past ten in the morning. One of the meeting rooms at the Globomedia headquarters in Madrid is filling up. A new edition of El intermedio starts with the first meeting of the day, led by Miguel Sánchez Romero, director and executive producer of the program – who everyone calls Maikol -, the deputy director, Carmen Aguilera, production and assembly staff, and the writing team. It is the seed of the satirical news program of La Sexta, on the air since 2006.
Those who viewers on the screen every day are Gran Wyoming, Sandra Sabatés, Dani Mateo, Gonzo, Thais Villas and the rest of the collaborators, but the real people responsible for the success of the program come together in this room between 10.30 and 11.30 in the two meetings in which screenwriters and journalists share the themes of the day. The first ones are divided into pairs, to which an editor is assigned who helps them to document themselves and points out the news and relevant data on each topic.
As Sánchez Romero explains, “the writing team would be the engine of the car that is the program.” It is a group of 13 young people (all in their thirties) and most of them have been working on the program for many years. “We are like a family. It is a rare thing on television to have such a large and stable group. It is the Globomedia school, the Spanish version of the way of working on American programs,” says Javier Valera. “There are no longer many written and scripted shows like this. You can’t improvise jokes about the last hour here,” adds his co-worker, Manuel Gay.
The morning is spent collecting information, for which the journalistic work of his colleagues is essential. “You almost have to be an expert in each subject. We have to understand everything so that people can also understand it,” say Olalla Granja and Diego Saucedo. “In the end, we are responsible for what we write and what accompanies it on screen: the music, the videos … It is the main difference with the fiction writers. We decide what will happen, we have more responsibility” , explains Sergio Sarriá, one of the oldest in the program and who, together with Luismi Pérez, is in charge of the scripts of the imitations of Joaquín Reyes, texts on which the humorist incorporates his own personal touch. The only fragments that are not thought to the millimeter by the writing team are those corresponding to Gonzo, who deals with his own texts.
Writers team of ‘El intermedio’, during the first meeting of the day. Carlos Rosillo
Alberto González Vázquez, in charge of preparing the manipulated videos that link blocks of the program, works in another room. “The technique is not important. It is just a basic edition. It is more important the ability to observe and that you come up with the idea. And manage everything in an agile way”, he explains while showing how he assembles a chroma (green background used to insert a different decoration) with a fabric that you have stored in a closet.
At 1.30 p.m., the table for the writers of El intermedio is deserted. Its time to eat. In the afternoon the most intense work comes. “At around 6:00 pm we have the first revision of the script, where it is read, corrected … Then it is rewritten, it is taught again … And so until 8:30 pm or more. Sometimes, changes continue to be made during the live performance”, Luismi Pérez says.
Sometimes, the present time forces to introduce subjects that were not available in the morning. “You work better and faster with the last hour. At around 6:00 pm I pay more, also because you have more data at hand,” says David Navas. Everyone underlines how space has changed in its nine years of life. “Before, it was a more frivolous, more humorous program. We reflected the opinion of other media and now we generate opinion,” explains Eduardo García.
It is rare to find such a stable and large team of writers
From Monday to Thursday, their workday is very intense. “I spend all day wondering if it’s too early to have another coffee,” says Javier Valera, laughing. “But when you leave here it is easy to disconnect. The job is already done. It doesn’t matter if you think of another joke, it is too late,” he adds. “It is a very creative job and you have a good time, although not as well as people think,” says Yaiza Nuevo. “But it is also true that, at least in my case, not half an hour passes without me laughing. People at their jobs do not laugh, and here we do,” Raquel Haro completes.
At around 8:30 pm, the pair of writers who are on duty that day and the director of the program come to the studio to review the text with the presenters. “The scriptwriters are there to retouch small errata, update some information or change a joke that in Wyoming’s or Dani Mateo’s mouths do not work as well as written ones,” explains Raúl Navarro, who the day EL PAÍS visits the newsroom of El Intermediate is one of those in charge of doing that guard and that the rest of the day has been working alone due to the temporary absence of Irene Varela, another of the writers.
“You already know the news, now we will tell you the truth.” With this phrase in the mouth of Greater Wyoming begins a new edition of The Intermission. He, Sandra Sabatés, Dani Mateo and the rest of the collaborators will give voice to the words that have been put on paper by the real people responsible for the success of the program: its writers.