A bankrupt channel and a low-budget story: the secrets behind "Betty the ugly"
25 October 1999 marked a milestone in the history of telenovelas. The first chapter of "I am Betty, the ugly" was left in the heart of millions of viewers in the world, who 22 years later still follow the story.
The comedy drama premiered in Colombia on RCN Television screens and remains a worldwide success in 2021, still generating tune on Netflix. Fernando Gaitan's script and the select cast were key to low budget production achieving high popularity rates.
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Ana María Orozco as Beatriz Pinzón Solano; Lorna Cepeda, as Patricia Fernández, "La Peliteñida"; Natalia Ramírez in the skin of the antagonist Marcela Valencia; Mario Duarte as Nicolás Mora, and Jorge Abello in the skin of "Don Armando" are the most remembered characters of the production, along with the unforgettable "Cutel de las Feas".
Don Armando reveals the secrets behind success
But it was not always believed in the success that the story could have about a young, intelligent economist who came to work as Secretary of President at a company called Ecomoda and who conquered her boss despite not complying with the canons traditions of beauty.
And he was the protagonist of "Betty, the ugly", Jorge Abello, known as "Don Armando", who revealed some little known details about the telenovela on his YouTube channel at the premiere of the series "I am so".
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Abello reported that the television channel at that time was going through a crisis. "the channel had to pay 91 billion Colombian pesos to rent the electromagnetic spectrum to the government and had to borrow abroad. It was a big debt and we were on the verge of bankruptcy, "he recalled.
The reason it was recorded, "I'm Betty, the ugly one."
During the video, Abello pointed out that this was the reason why he decided to record the telenovela, as having many external recordings would become a very low budget production.
"that's why we decided to make Betty. With new actors and few recordings abroad, it didn't take that much investment, but everyone said on the channel we fucked each other. We were on the verge of bankruptcy, but having an ugly one, everyone began to doubt, "he recalled.
For Don Armando, success was marked from the beginning, when Fernando Gaitán raised expectations since the premiere, by not showing the face of the woman who impacted since he set foot in Ecomoda.
"that chapter was a surprise to everyone, even to us. We all laughed inside and it was the first time we saw Ana Maria really do Betty and it was wonderful, "she said.
Despite the low expectations, "Betty, the ugly" managed to reach high levels of audience. It was the third most watched novel in history alongside "passion of Gavilanes" and deserved recognition on Guinness Records, for being broadcast in more than 100 countries around the world, Infobae said.
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