First, a show about Latina maids. Now, a show about the border. On July 10, FX will premiere “The Bridge,” a show starring Oscar-nominated actor Demián Bichir and Germany’s Diane Kruger. The FX show is based on a Scandinavian crime drama with the same title. The Scandinavian version begins with the discovery of a dead body on the bridge that connects Denmark and Sweden. The FX version also begins with the discovery of a dead body, but the bridge in question is the one that connects El Paso with Ciudad Juárez.
Here we go again? Apparently. By the way, if the trailers and clips are any indication, we can reach this conclusion already: American cops are decent, but Mexican cops are corrupt. Gee, how original.
So now it’s a show about the border, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, FX is trying really hard to court U.S. Latino viewers:
Much as FX Networks CEO John Landgraf did with bikers for Sons of Anarchy or horror fans with American Horror Story, the network is hypertargeting Latinos with early screenings and Q&As for the bilingual media, a mural contest in Latino communities and plans to rerun the show on MundoFox dubbed in Spanish. FX says awareness already is at 28 percent among Latino viewers, much higher than the industry average of 10.5 percent (FX series typically average 12 percent).
“When we watched this show, we saw the potential to do outreach with a Hispanic audience,” says FX marketing senior vp Sally Daws. Identifying ways to capture those viewers, which FX is doing with the assistance of Latino-focused marketing agency Conill, will prove particularly helpful as the network sets out to launch other Latino-friendly projects, language networks increasingly are looking to lure the Latino demo. CBS tried (and failed) with a Rob Schneider comedy ¡Rob!, ABC has played up Sofia Vergara’s involvement in Modern Family and Lifetime is looking to draw Latino viewers with its adaptation of the hit Mexican series Devious Maids. The latter, which counts Eva Longoria as a producer, is previewing its pilot on digital platforms in English and Spanish. At stake is a share of the $3.6 billion in ads directed at the Hispanic market.
Yes, here we go again. A show that appeals to Latinos because A) it is about the border and B) it is about the border. We are kind of surprised that FX didn’t ask Republican members of the Senate to actually screen “The Bridge” during the immigration debate. Isn’t this the dark and dangerous world that senators like Jeff Sessions and Chuck Grassley were warning us about? Of course, all this country needs right now is a gritty border show (“you see, Earl, it’s all true!”), a show first developed for Scandinavia, because you know how tense that Danish-Swedish border is.
And while we are at it. Why El Paso? Does FX even know that the Texas city is one of the country’s safest cities? (FYI, did you notice that San Diego, another border city, is second on the list?)
We do wonder if anyone even pitched a version of “The Bridge” where a dead body was discovered on a bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. Anyone say, “Hey, we need to really appeal to Canadian viewers!” We doubt it, but we are pretty sure that someone in FX had to say that the American version of “The Bridge” would definitely appeal to Latinos because it’s a show about the border, and you know how much Latinos love shows about immigration, drug cartels, and seedy murder. Listen, FX, we understand that this is an edgy, artsy crime drama, but don’t insult our intelligence. Stop feeling proud about your “outreach” to Latinos. The “border” is much more complex that what your fictional show is trying to portray. We know the show is just a show, and we know why you are doing it. We just don’t think it is right.