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The network also began to produce its own original telenovelas, the first of which to premiere were Angélica, mi vida ("Angelica, My Life"), Marielena, Guadalupe, Señora Tentación ("Lady Temptation") and Tres Destinos ("Three Destinations").
International distributors soon approached the network for the syndication rights to air these programs on television networks in other countries.
This "new era" broke from the conventional Spanish-language programming model, the changes made for the 1998–99 lineup included the complete removal of telenovelas from its prime time schedule, citing the inferior quality of the South American serial dramas that it had been acquiring compared to the Mexican serials from Televisa that were carried by Univision.
The revamped evening lineup that premiered on September 28, 1998 included several new sitcoms, traditional scripted dramas and game shows with higher production values, including several scripted shows that were remakes of English language series owned by Columbia Tri Star Television (now Sony Pictures Television), to position the network as a younger-skewing alternative to Univision more acculturated to assimilated American Latinos.
On November 25, 1997, Liberty Media and Sony Pictures Entertainment purchased a majority interest in Telemundo from Reliance Capital Group for 9 million, beating out a bid made days earlier by an investment group led by Telemundo Group chairman Leon Black, who had already owned 40.3% of the network through Apollo Global Management and remained a minority partner in Telemundo Group through the purchase; under the deal, Liberty acquired a 40% interest and Sony (which made its entry into domestic broadcasting ownership with the deal) acquired a 35% stake in Telemundo, with the remaining interest held by investment firms Apollo Global Management and Bastion Capital Fund.
On November 25, 1997, several investors who held shares in Telemundo Group filed an injunction to block the sale in a Delaware Chancery Court, in order to investigate whether executives were shortchanging shareholders in accepting the offer; that request, as well as a separate injunction request by Univision Communications, were later rejected.
In an effort to boost its tepid ratings and quell complaints from advocacy organizations such as the National Hispanic Media Coalition that criticized both networks for not featuring content relatable to American Latinos, Telemundo outlined a new strategy to better compete against Univision by increasing production of domestically produced programs.
In 1995, under the direction of executive vice president of programming Harry Abraham Castillo, Telemundo opened its first network studio on the West Coast.
Helmed by yet another management team under the leadership of former CBS entertainment president Peter Tortorici as president and CEO and Nely Galán as president of entertainment, Telemundo explored avenues to attract the bilingual market.
Housed at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, the network began daily production of three shows on the lot that year: La Hora Lunática ("The Crazy Hour"), a daytime talk-variety show hosted by Los Angeles radio personality Humberto Luna, comedians Mario Ramírez Reyes "El Comodín" and Hugo Armando, and producer Jackie Torres; El y Ella ("He and She"), a daily talk show focusing on gender-related issues that was created and produced by Gigi Graciette, who co-hosted the program with Antonio Farre; and Dando y Dando ("Giving and Giving"), an audience and viewer participation game show hosted by Rafael Sigler.
The first wave of major changes to Telemundo came on August 11, 1997, when the network revamped its prime time schedule by cutting an hour of its prime time telenovela lineup; concurrently, local newscasts on the network's owned-and-operated and affiliate stations were moved an hour earlier to p.m.
In its early years, Ramos maintained continuity between his radio and television stations by signing an exclusive deal with the most well-known and influential actor/comedian/producer in Puerto Rico, Ramón Rivero – better known as Diplo – whose comedy show El Tremendo Hotel ("The Tremendous Hotel"), which was broadcast on WKAQ radio, was the most popular radio program in Puerto Rican broadcasting history.
Rivero produced the first comedy/variety series for WKAQ-TV, "La Taberna India", and on You Tube, which helped to catapult the television station to the top of the ratings.
During the 1970s and 1980s, WKAQ-TV, then branded as "Telemundo Canal 2" ("Telemundo Channel 2"), had become a major producer of telenovelas.