Alex Montiel: Late-night talk show host with Latinx appeal

Alex Montiel: Late-night talk show host with Latinx appeal

Alex Montiel—better known by his alter ego, El Escorpión Dorado, or The Golden Scorpion—is a masked Mexican wrestler with a knack for crude humor, and can be best described as a product of the YouTube generation. Montiel’s the host of what even his fans describe as an endless collection of YouTube channels, which include EstoEs COMBO and LA LATA. And now he’s the host of a new primetime late-night show for EstrellaTV called Nos Cayó La Noche” thanks in part to his Youtube celebrity.

“Nos Cayó La Noche,” a Latinx late-night talk show, marks EstrellaTV’s first original show of 2020, and aligns with the American Spanish-language television network’s efforts to buoy its programming and liven up its image. With Montiel at the helm, they’ll certainly be able to tap into a demo of young adult viewers who live on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as his network of more than 10 million subscribers and social media followers.

But who is Alex Montiel? And what makes him a worthy rep of the only Spanish-language late-night talk show in the United States?

The Man Behind the Mask

Before gracing the late-night docket, Alejandro Felix Montiel had aspirations of becoming a sports journalist: he’s a formally trained journalist who attended the Carlos Septién García School of Journalism in Mexico City, and also went on to take additional classes in broadcasting, acting, directing, cinematography, screenwriting, voice-over work and dubbing. To say he knows how to do it all is an understatement.

His voice-over work landed him a credit as Kyle the Seagull in the Latin American version of “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water.” He also secured work on other Hollywood hits, including “Bumblebee,” “Deadpool 2,” and “Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows.”

As his resume shows, Montiel has always set himself apart with unfettered intrepidness and relentless work ethic. As he puts it, he’s someone who will ring any doorbell, knock on any door, or climb through any window to land an opportunity.

Early in his career, he identified YouTube’s growing potential as a democratizing force in the entertainment world, especially as it transformed into a monetized platform circa 2008. The video-sharing platform also appealed to him as it offered a level of independence that wasn’t possible in traditional media avenues. In conventional media jobs, like the ones he had in radio and journalism prior to “Nos Cayó La Noche,” Montiel always felt that his fate was easily decided by others—sometimes rather trivially. Instead, he wanted his destiny to be in his own capable hands.

Montiel hadn’t really charted a course before jumping head-first into the Youtube deep end, but that’s the path he recommends others take, too. “Don’t wait until an idea or a project is fully materialized,” he advises. His own rise, especially with the creation of El Escorpión Dorado, “was something casual, an accident, a one-shot thing.”

As El Escorpión Dorado, he’s had the pleasure of interviewing household names in Latin America like actor Jaime Camil, singer Pepe Aguilar, and soccer star Javier Chicharito Hernández, while also having the cachet to pull in A-list American stars like Will Smith and Drake Bell. His interview style was influenced by “Between Two Ferns” with Zach Galifianakis,’ and he suspected that Mexican audiences wanted to see local celebrities be interviewed in a similarly cheeky and irreverent style.

In many ways, the Latinx community reflects the future of TV and media consumption in the United States. As a whole, Latinx viewers lean young, with a median age of 28—a whole nine years younger than the median age for the general US population. They also boast innovative viewing habits, as close to 30 percent are noted TV cord cutters(they’re the go-to growth demographic for subscription services, and the most affluent sector is watching TV online at a 74-percent clip). In many ways, Montiel is the ideal late-night talk show host to capture a portion of this sizable demo, and his hiring reflects a turn in an industry that’s finally chasing full-heartedly after Latinx viewers.

Though not all Latinx viewers speak Spanish, they gravitate toward media that captures their experiences authentically and candidly. Montiel is known to get major celebrities to laugh at themselves and conducts his interviews as El Escorpión Dorado while driving around and interacting with unsuspecting passersby.

Montiel’s dynamism, bilingualism, and new-media chops could prove to be the secret sauce EstrellaTV needs to capture viewers that stack up across all three groups within the Latinx and Hispanic community: third-generation bilingual, acculturated, and non-acculturated viewers. Considering that networks are struggling to make Latinx-centered shows that offer the same longevity seen from past favorites like “Ugly Betty,” “Jane the Virgin,” and “George Lopez,” a gamble on a masked YouTube star with a tireless work ethic could prove to be just what the Latinx generation ordered.

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