Televisión Federal S.A., best known as Telefe and later as TLF, is an Argentine television network. Formerly known as Canal Once (Channel 11), a state-run network, it was privatised and established as Telefe in 1989, when Atlántida (80%) and News Corporation (20%) took over the channel. Since 1997, it is owned by Telefónica.
Under the command of Gustavo Yankelevich, the network became the most watched channel in Argentina and has been number 1 in ratings ever since 1990 (during some years, in a very close battle with El Trece). Yankelevich stayed on the channel until 2000 and was replaced by Claudio Villarruel.
The channel was the home of Argentina's most iconic TV personalities: Susana Giménez and Marcelo Tinelli. Since 1990 both are the hosts of Argentina's most watched shows. In 2005, after disagreements with Villarruel, Tinelli moved his show (renamed Showmatch due to the original title being copyrighted by Telefe) to Canal 9 and in 2006 to Canal 13. Showmatch has been Argentina's most watched program ever since. Susana Giménez is still in the channel and her talk-show is also one of the highest-rated programs on TV.
Iconic shows during Yankelevich reign include Videomatch, Great Dad (Grande Pá), Hi Susana (Hola Susana), Last Brigade (Brigada Cola), Friends Will Be Friends (Amigos son los Amigos), Verano del 98, Chiquititas, Muñeca Brava, Perla Negra, Jugate Conmigo, Naranja y Media, Ritmo de la Noche among others.
The channel has mostly local productions but there are a few exceptions: The Simpsons is aired since 1991 with huge ratings and always winning its time-slot. During the 1990s, El Chavo and American sitcom The Nanny were also enormously popular. Brazilian, Mexican and Colombian telenovelas are also aired in afternoon slots.
Until 2001, most of the shows were produced in-house but after Argentina's huge crisis in 2001, independent production became much more usual.
During Villarruel period, iconic shows includes Resistiré, Montecristo, Los Roldan, Vidas Robadas, Los exitosos Pells, Los Simuladores, Hermanos y Detectives, Amor en Custodia, Botineras and highly successful local remakes of American sitcoms including Casados con Hijos and La Niñera.
The station is also responsible for the five editions of the Argentine version of Big Brother (Gran Hermano) and three of Star Academy (Operación Triunfo).
Also, due to the success of the adaptation of the sitcom The Nanny, other famous American sitcoms such as Who's the Boss? and Married... with Children have been localized. The last production Aquí no hay quien viva is a local adaptation from the Spanish sitcom of the same name. The most successful adaptation was Married with Children which became the critically acclaimed Casados con Hijos and had huge ratings during all of its run and is still a success in reruns.
In the middle of 2007 the channel started being beaten by Canal 13 and it almost lost the ratings battle for Canal 13 in 2008. In the end, by decimals, Telefe won and now it is comfortably ahead of the competition thanks to the afternoon slot which has a huge lead over its competitor (Canal 13 still beat Telefe in prime time).
Production companies that works exclusively for Telefe are Cuatro Cabezas (since 2005), Cris Morena Group (since 2006), Underground Contenidos (since 2008) and RGB Entertainment (since 2006). The channel also does lots of co-productions with Endemol. Until 2004, Tinelli-owned Ideas del Sur also produced exclusively for Telefe but now moved to Canal 13.
The network's main competitor is Canal 13.
Currently, Telefe's highest-rated programs are game show Justo a Tiempo, satirical journalist format CQC, daily fiction Los Exitosos Pells, reality show Operación Triunfo and youth-oriented fiction Casi Ángeles. The channel biggest star is Susana Giménez which will return with a weekly show in July.