Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has joined Spanish-language broadcaster Estrella TV as a senior advisor to help the 4-year-old television network gain traction.
The network, based in Burbank, is banking on Villaraigosa to give it greater visibility and pull in additional advertising dollars to better compete with established giants, including Univision Communications and NBCUniversal's Telemundo.
Estrella TV becomes the latest employer of Villaraigosa since he departed City Hall last summer. He also was named a senior advisor for Herbalife Ltd., Banc of California and the large public relations firm Edelman.
He accepted a position as a Harvard University visiting fellow and, in Los Angeles, he signed on as a part-time professor at the USC Price School of Public Policy and head of a new think thank called the USC Villaraigosa Initiative for Restoring the California Dream.
"We feel that Antonio Villaraigosa — who really does represent the Hispanic community across the country, as well as economic success and contribution to the community — could help us get the word out about Estrella TV," Lenard Liberman, chief executive of Estrella TV, said Monday.
"We are well known to our viewers but not as well known among advertisers or in corporate board rooms," Liberman said. He declined to say how much Villaraigosa would be paid.
Estrella TV is a division of the privately owned Liberman Broadcasting, the country's largest minority-owned Spanish-language broadcaster. The company owns KRCA-TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles and stations in San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, New York and Miami. Liberman Broadcasting also owns 18 radio stations, including seven in L.A.
Oaktree Capital Management, the largest shareholder of Tribune Co., parent of the Los Angeles Times, owns about 26% of Liberman Broadcasting.
Villaraigosa served as mayor from 2005 through June 2013. Prior to that, he was the speaker of the California State Assembly.
ON LOCATION: People and places behind what's onscreen
PHOTOS: On the set: movies and TV
PHOTOS: Celebrity production companies