May 14, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: ABC’s “Cristela”


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CRISTELA:  Friday 8:30PM on ABC

THE FACTS:  The Hollywood American Dream:  Cristela Alonzo is a Latina comic who wrote (with Kevin Hench) a family comedy pilot script loosely inspired by her own life, about a young woman living with her sister and brother-in-law as she tries to become a lawyer.  ABC passed on the script and paid the contractual penalty, but the studio (20th TV) used the money to produce a bare-bones presentation on its own–and when ABC saw it and test-screened it, they picked it up to series.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  Cristela is the new Roseanne (before Roseanne became rich and crazy), a proud beer-drinking working woman trying to better her life, holding on to her sense of humor.  She’s Ugly Betty with more down-to-earth dreams.  She’s unselfconsciously ethnic in a mainstream way.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  An old-fashioned multi-camera sitcom with a just-slightly new kind of heroine that audiences will root for.  The Latina market is a great one for a network to tap into, and Cristela will do it in an aspirational, un-strident way that fits the traditional network comedy template.

THE OUTLOOK:  The stakes are low on Friday nights, and Cristela is certainly a better fit with lead-in Last Man Standing than The Neighbors was, even if it will skew more female than Tim Allen’s fans are.  Expect Cristela to show up on every talk show and podcast that ABC can get her on, and while the series won’t need to run any Emmy “For Your Consideration” ads next spring, it has a solid chance to find a foothold on a night with very little comedy.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."