Best Spanish-Language TV Personality (2010)

Alexis Valdés

Last year, two giants of late night faced off in the sort of epic brawl we hadn't seen in years. It was splashier than Mothra versus Godzilla, cattier than Hillary versus Barack. No, it was not Leno and Conan. It was Alexis Valdés versus Mega TV. In Spanish television, the squabble over Valdés's contract to host Esta Noche Tu Night, his version of The Tonight Show, was bigger than the Peloponnesian War. The host wanted the classic wish list: better pay, less work, creative freedom. Mega TV scoffed and took him off the air to negotiate. For two months, the network brought in more guest hosts than Regis looking for a new Kathy Lee: Albita and z-listers such as Cuban model Sissi. But Valdés isn't easy to replace. Since fleeing Cuba in 1990, he has become a meganova of Latino comedy. He has several features to his credit, including voicing a character on DreamWorks' Madagascar 2. On his show, he confronted Enrique Iglesias with a sendup of the singer's Lothario father. And his Cristinito, a Spanglish-speaking doofus, has become as familiar as Carnac the Magnificent. This past February, the two heavies reached a deal that would return Valdés to Esta Noche, but only for two nights a week. That's a pity. It leaves three empty evenings without the king of monologeando, or as Mega calls him, "El Johny Carlson" of Spanish late-night.


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