Cris Abrego Named Chairman of the Americas for Banijay

Cris Abrego is leading the Americas charge…

The Latino entertainment executive has been appointed as the head of Banijay across the U.S. and Latin America.

Cris Abrego

The 51 Minds Entertainment co-founder scored the top job after Banijay closed its acquisition of Endemol Shine. He becomes Chairman of the Americas, Banijay and President and CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings, reporting to CEO Marco Bassetti.

Abrego, who was previously CEO, Endemol Shine North America and Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas, will oversee companies including Endemol Shine North America, Bunim/Murray Productions, Authentic Entertainment, Truly Original, 51 Minds, Stephen David Entertainment and YellowBird US as well as Endemol Shine Latino.

Banijay Studios North America will continue to be run independently by President and CEO, David Goldberg.

Stacey Dash Signs with Management Company Key Talent

Stacey Dash has new representation…

The 53-year-old part-Mexican American actress has signed with Los Angeles-based management company Key Talent.

Stacey Dash

Dash is best known for starring as Dionne Marie Davenport in the 1995 film Clueless and its television spin-off of the same name.

Dash’s roles also include the first season of the television series Single Ladies, and the films Moving, Mo’ Money, Renaissance Manand View From The Top.

 

“Our goal is to focus on acting, production and development,” said Key Talent founder Tal Drori. “Stacey is an incredible actress, and we are focused on this and the great attributes she will bring to the industry.”

Bad Bunny Appears Opposite Chester Cheetah in New Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos Commercial

Bad Bunny has a flamin’ hot friendship…

The 26-year-old Puerto Rican Latin trap and reggaeton star and Chester Cheetah are BFFs in a new Cheetos commercial.

Bad Bunny & Chester Cheetah

In the 30-second spot, Bad Bunny is seen making music at the recording studio. He’s then handed a bag of Flamin’ Hot Crunchy Cheetos by Chester, which sparks immediate inspiration for the song in the commercial.

“I dress like this, I’m not going to change/ If you don’t like it, you don’t have to see,” he chants in Spanish.

Speaking Spanglish and rocking Cheetos fingers, he then says: “In life, you can choose to leave things just like they are or you can choose to leave your mark.”

The commercial is part of the “Deja Tu Huella” campaign — a new multi-platform initiative designed to rally the next generation to leave their mark in their culture.

“I’m leaving my mark in many ways,” he previously told Billboard. “For me, it’s important to leave my mark with my creations in music but also as a human being. My music has traveled far around the world and 100 percent in Spanish with my Puerto Rican slang. Wherever I go, in every interview, I let everyone know that I am Latino and Puerto Rican and I think that I have left that mark well placed in the whole world.”

In addition, Cheetos teamed up with the singer’s Good Bunny Foundation to give back to the Hispanic community with a $500,000 commitment.

Cash Money Records Signs Luis Armando as First Artist in New Latin Division

Luis Armando is makin’ (cash) money moves…

Cash Money Records has officially announced the creation of a Latin music division with the launch of the Puerto Rican emerging artist.

Luis Armando

Cash Money was founded by brothers Bryan “Birdman” Williams and Ronald “Slim” Williams in 1992. The new Latin division is a joint venture with Taste Music Group and major label support from Republic Records and Universal Music Latin.

“Urban Latin music is taking a similar course as we saw with Hip Hop during the 80s and 90s as it grew, evolved and fought to be accepted in the mainstream,” says Slim.

“It’s not just reggaeton anymore, it’s now evolving its subgenres (such as Latin Trap) and making them popular culture. At Cash Money we saw all that from the start in Hip Hop and we’re excited to adapt our lessons in helping develop Latin talent that also stands grounded in the Hip Hop world from day 1. With the guidance of various long-time Latin music experts such as Carlos Rivas, who is Cash Money’s Latin A&R, as well as our counterparts at Republic and Universal Latin we’re excited to venture into this new space as a label.”

As one of Hip-Hop’s reputable record labels, Cash Money has been home to some of the industry’s biggest names including DrakeLil’ Wayne, and Nicki Minaj. Now, the label believes it can transfer its know-how to the Latin market.

“Slim and Baby have the ability to spot talent like no other, they’ve proven that for many years,” Vernon Brown, Cash Money’s long-time attorney, and business manager, tells Billboard. “There’s a big confidence and commitment behind anything they touch. I think the ability to now bring Latin artists and see the merge is only going to be a positive result for any artist.”

Luis Armando, who was raised in Ohio, is the label’s first-ever recording Latin artist, making his debut with “Chica Mala” in collaboration with reggaeton veteran Ñengo Flow.

“We want our artists to be consistent, talented, and ready to work,” Slim says. “Someone who has that passion and drive and a vision of how great they want to be. If they’ve got that attitude, we’ll give it a shot. We believe in the new talents. Luis Armando is our first, but we’re excited to discover and help develop more talent as we move forward.”

The melodic urban fusions with tropical rhythms heard in “Chica Mala” puts Armando’s fresh musical proposal in the forefront.

Xolo Maridueña Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Xolo Maridueña has new representation…

The 19-year-old Mexican, Cuban and Ecuadorian American actor, who portrays Miguel Diaz on The Karate Kid sequel series Cobrai Kai, has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA).

Xolo Maridueña

The news comes as Maridueña is set to star in season three of the karate drama, which has moved from YouTube to Netflix. The series, in which he plays Diaz, the top student at the Cobra Kai Dojo, recently debuted its first two seasons on Netflix following the shift and will launch the third season in January.

On Parenthood, which aired for six seasons on NBC between 2010 and 2015, he played Victor Graham, the adopted son of Erika Christensen’s Julia Braverman-Graham and Sam Jaeger’s Joel Graham.

His other television credits include guest roles on Major CrimesTwin PeaksRush Hour and Mack and Moxy

In film, he featured in Dealin’ with Idiots, directed and starring Jeff Garlin alongside Gina Gershon and Kerry Kenney and has also performed on stage in Light in the Darkness and Little Red

Kid Cudi Launches Production & Music Management Company ‘Mad Solar’

Kid Cudi is expanding his entertainment empire…

The 36-year-old half-Mexican American Grammy-winning recording artist and actor, whose real name is Scott Mescudi, has partnered with Dennis Cummings and Karina Manashil to launch the production and music management company Mad Solar with the backing of Bron, which provides corporate back office and production support, including financing, marketing, and sales.

Kid Cudi

“Beyond excited to be launching my production company Mad Solar and partnering with Bron, whose creative vision and storytelling has transformed the industry,” Mescudi said. “I am so very proud of the slate that we are developing and can’t WAIT for you all to see what we got cookin’.”

Mad Solar is producing the upcoming Netflix animated series Entergalactic, which Mescudi co-created alongside Kenya Barris. Based on original music by Mescudi, the series, which Mescudi writes, executive produces and stars in, follows a young man on his journey to discover love.

Additionally, Mad Solar has teamed with A24 and Bron Studios on the horror film X. Written and directed by Ti West, X stars Mia Goth, Mescudi and Jenna Ortega. Mescudi is an executive producer on the film, which will begin production early 2021.

“Scott Mescudi’s growth as a creative and an entrepreneur has been impressive,” said Aaron L. Gilbert, Bron chairman. “For Bron, the strategic relationship with Mad Solar is key in our efforts to support the entertainment industry’s top creatives, as well as expand Bron’s access to the best in class music and sports talent through Mad Solar’s management division.”

Mescudi can be seen in Season 3 of HBO’s Westworld and Nick Jarecki’s indie feature Dreamland opposite Gary Oldman. He also had a key supporting role in MGM’s Bill & Ted Face The Music and played one of the leads of Luca Guadagnino’s HBO series We Are Who We Are.

Oz Rodriguez Signs Two-Year Producing Deal with Universal Television

There are more Universal projects in Oz Rodriguez’s future…

The Latino Emmy-winning Saturday Night Live director has signed an exclusive two-year producing deal with Universal Television.

Oz Rodriguez,

Rodriguez has been with SNL since 2013, first directing Digital Shorts. He went on to become head of the film unit, and won an Emmy for his behind-the-scenes series Creating SNL.

He’s next set to direct all six episodes of SNL star Michael Che’s new HBO Max sketch series from Universal Television.

“We feel so lucky to be solidifying our relationship with Oz, who has been in the family for many years and has played a key role in our success,” said Jim Donnelly, Universal Television EVP of Comedy Development. “He brings a creative vision and distinct visual style to every project he is involved in, and we couldn’t be more excited for all that’s to come.”

Rodriguez just wrapped the pilot of AMC’s Kevin Can F***k Himself. He directed the pilot and multiple episodes of AP Bio, in addition to the Kal Penn/Mike Schur pilot Sunnyside, both for NBC, as well as episodes of Last Man on Earth for Fox, Detroiters for Comedy Central, Shrill for Hulu, and Mixed-ish for ABC.

He most recently directed NBC & Peacock’s 30 Rock reunion, which aired on July 16.

On the film side, Rodriguez wrote and directed Vampires vs. the Bronx for Universal and Broadway Video, which premiered on Netflix earlier this month.

“I am very excited to continue my partnership with Universal Television,” said Rodriguez. “The studio has been my home for the last eight years, starting with my first season of Saturday Night Live. There are so many opportunities at the studio right now and we have a chance to tell stories that reflect characters that have been missing from television for far too long. It feels great to keep this creative partnership going with the studio that gave me my first big break.”

United Airlines’ Oscar Munoz Named to Univision’s Board of Directors

Oscar Munoz is ready to share his (Uni)vision

The 61-year-old Mexican-American businessman and executive chairman of United Airlines has been named as an independent director on Univision’s board of directors.

Oscar Munoz

Prior to his role at United Airlines, Munoz served on the board of parent company United Continental Holdings (UCH) and held multiple executive positions at CSX Corporation and AT&T.

Univision, the Hispanic media giant whose takeover by private equity investors led by former Viacom CFO Wade Davis will soon close, has also named SoftBank Group COO Marcelo Claure; Estée Lauder Companies SVP of public affairs María Cristina “MC” González Noguera; and veteran Walmart exec Gisel Ruiz to the board.

It’s understood that Univision will name at least four more members to the board when the pending takeover by new majority investors is complete. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020.

ForgeLight, a firm run by Davis, and Searchlight Capital Partners are buying majority control of Univision from a collection of other private equity investors. Mexico-based production power Televisa is keeping its 36% stake.

Madison Dearborn Partners, Providence Equity Partners, TPG, Thomas H. Lee Partners and Saban Capital Group acquired the company for $13.7 billion in 2007, beating out a rival bid from Televisa. The current transaction, which is expected to close at the end of the year, is expected to value the company at less than $10 billion.

Davis exited Viacom when it merged with CBS last December, emerging soon thereafter as the leader of the Univision bid. The deal, announced last February, was initially expected to close over the summer.

Univision has been run since 2018 by CEO Vince Sadusky. The local television and Hispanic media veteran replaced predecessor Randy Falco after the longtime former NBC exec made a series of out-of-the-box investments in English-language websites and ill-fated cable network venture Fusion. Sadusky has implemented a “back-to-basics,” Spanish-language refocus in an effort to help the flagship broadcast network regain ground it had lost to U.S. rival Telemundo in some pockets of the schedule.

Juanes Appears in Guitar Center’s First-Ever Spanish Language Commercial

Juanes is making music and history…

Guitar Center has launched an artist-centered campaign for the holidays that includes its first-ever Spanish-language ad, featuring the 48-year-old Colombian musician and singer-songwriter.

Juanes

The “Make Music” campaign, which launched in early November and runs through December 24, is meant to “inspire everyone globally” for more people to make music.

“We’re turning to many of these artists to share their unique perspective on what music means to them in hopes that their experiences will inspire others on their musical journey,” Jeannine D’Addario, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at the Guitar Center Company, tells Billboard.

Juanes, who became a household name in the early 2000s with hits like “A Dios Le Pido,” “Es Por Ti,” and “La Camisa Negra,” is at the helm of Guitar Center’s first Spanish-language ad spot for digital broadcast expected to run in the upcoming weeks. This also marks the first time a Latin artist is featured on a Guitar Center campaign since Chicano Batman in 2018.

“The overall goal of the campaign is to inspire people to play, to enjoy the process of making music and find personal gratification in that effort,” says D’Addario, adding that Juanes was the perfect Latin artist to join the campaign. “We wanted to highlight a combination of legendary artists, innovative producers, and rising musicians to share their personal stories as to why they make music.”

In the 30-second ad, first released in English and exclusively on Billboard, the award-winning artist talks about his musical journey and how it traces back to his father listening to Argentine and Colombian folk music. “Music for me is like a cure for my soul,” he says. “I make music to connect with people.” He’s also seen performing an acoustic version of his single “Más Futuro Que Pasado.”

Spreading holiday cheer and celebrating every genre, the campaign hopes to inspire people to turn to music and instruments during these trying times. “We’ve seen an uptick in guitar sales as they have more than doubled during the pandemic,” says D’Addario, despite The New York Times reporting in October that the music retailer chain could potentially file for bankruptcy. “We expect guitar sales to continue trending positively in 2021. We are also seeing growth in home recording, keyboards, and electric drums.”

The “Make Music” campaign features a series of 25 artist videos released on GuitarCenter.com and its YouTube channel. Music aficionados are encouraged to join the conversation using the hashtag #WhyWeMakeMusic.

Christina Aguilera Signs with Roc Nation Management

Christina Aguilera is solid as a Roc…

The 39-year-old half-Ecuadorian American Grammy-winning singer has signed with Roc Nation management.

Christina Aguilera

Rumors of the switch sparked when fans noticed the singer’s name and bio on the Roc Nation management roster. Aguilera joins Alicia KeysDJ KhaledMariah CareyMegan Thee StallionMeek MillRihanna and more at the Jay-Z-founded agency.

Aguilera was previously managed by industry executive Irving Azoff, with whom she signed in 2000 after filing a breach of fiduciary duty lawsuit against her previous manager Steve Kurtz.

The pop singer’s most recent album, Liberation, debuted (and peaked) at No. 7 on the Billboard 200 albums chart in 2018. It was her seventh top 10 on the chart.

Accelerate,” which features Ty Dolla $ign and 2 Chainz, became her 10th No. 1 on the Dance Club Songs chart.