Salma Hayek started her acting career appearing in telenovelas. Now, the Oscar-nominated Mexican actress is bringing her own comedic take on one to network television.
Hayek is one of six executive producers on "Ugly Betty," debuting Sept. 22 on ABC. America Ferrera plays Betty Suarez, a plump, decidedly unhip girl from New York City's borough of Queens who works as an assistant to a fashion magazine publisher.
Asked whether the show's title might offend viewers, Hayek said, "It's sarcastic. Anybody who isn't super skinny and really tall, some people think they're really ugly. We're making fun of it. We're not really calling her ugly."
The show is based on "Yo Soy Betty La Fea," a Colombian telenovela. Telenovelas have been hugely successful in the United States on Spanish-language networks such as Univision and Telemundo.
"I'm sure that the American audience is very thirsty for something like this and they're just going to love it," Hayek said Tuesday at the Television Critics Association's summer meeting.
"It's causing a lot of excitement in the Latin community. They will definitely not be able to get enough of this Betty."
Ferrera, a 22-year-old who gained notice as a plump girl in the 2002 independent movie "Real Women Have Curves," sees Betty as representative of real women.
"I didn't even know how fat I was until I started acting. I don't feel that way inside," she said. "It seems like the roles that mean something are roles that are flawed and no one else wants."