'Superbook' Brings Light to Mexico's Dark TV Lineup

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MEXICO CITY -- Over 60,000 Mexicans have died in drug-related violence over the past six years, but many parents worry about another kind of violence: the type that appears in the television programs their children watch at home.

Even though it is a beautiful and colorfrul country, Mexicans are getting fed up with the violence no matter where it comes from, and some TV executives have taken note. They are now opening their channels to a different kind of children's show -- CBN's "Superbook."

"TV programs are very violent. They offer things that are not good for my children, so instead we prefer going out for a walk or reading a book," parent Petra Ibarra said.

More than 32 million children live in Mexico but it is not always easy for them to find something worth watching on television. Parents of these children are concerned about the problem and so are the TV stations who are looking for new programs to broadcast.

Eric Reid, an executive producer at CadenaTres, the third largest television network in Mexico, said their policy is to reject programs with violent content no matter how popular they may be.

"We think violence starts at home, and it's going to be very hard to eliminate violence when we have a problem that is not only coming from external sources but from our own homes. And that includes language," Reid said.

That is why CadenaTres decided to air a 90-minute Superbook special on the life of Jesus Easter weekend.

While the new Superbook series aired for the first time in Mexico, Amistad Cristana, a local church, hosted an event allowing children to meet Gizmo personally and watch the Superbook special.

Fanny Guerrero invited some of her neighbors, not just two or three but 22. "I want to share the story of Jesus with these children. Otherwise, where we live it would be very hard for them to know about him," Fanny Guerrero, Event Participant, said.

Attendee Alvaro Sanchez didn't miss a detail of the story.

"This proves to me that Jesus is the Son of God," Sanchez said.

Teacher Euridice Pardillo said she has hardly ever seen children paying attention to the screen for so long.

"I was impressed to see the boys and girls watching the cartoon without blinking," Pardillo said. "And that is very hard because children are always moving. I`m sure they're receiving the message."

She was right. When she invited the children to go forward to pray, they surprised her even more.

Eight-year-old Kevin Arrondo was among the first to walk up to the front of the auditorium. Just like the characters in the story, he wanted something from God.

"I told Jesus to come into my heart, to forgive my sins because God is a father," he said.

Now CBN hopes more Mexican television stations see Superbook as an opportunity to meet a need in the market.

"We know that this is going to be an eye-opener for TV stations that had not been interested in these kind of programs in the past," Guillermo Ramirez, Mexico director, said.

Hopefull this enthusiasm will go viral. 

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Esteban Castro

Esteban Castro

CBN News

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