Galán at the 2013 Alma Awards
Santa Clara, Cuba
Nely Galán was born Arnely Alvarez in Santa Clara, Cuba. Her parents moved to Teaneck, New Jersey in 1965 when she was two years old. During high school Galán submitted an article to Seventeen magazine which was so impressive she was asked to be a guest editor and led to a permanent position. At the age of 22, Galan embarked on her career in entertainment as the nation's youngest station manager for WNJU TV Channel 47 in New York. Owned by Jerry Perenchio and Norman Lear, the station became the launchpad for what is now the Telemundo Network.
In 1992, Galán formed Tropix, a joint venture with HBO originating Latino content for cable. Under the Tropix umbrella, Galán also served as a consultant to HBO and Time Warner on its Latin strategy in the U.S. and Latin America. In this two-year venture, Galán created multiple shows and helped launch HBO Ole, their channel in Latin America.
Galán entered into a deal with Fox Corporation and Rupert Murdoch in 1994, creating content for the Fox network and helping Fox launch numerous channels into Latin America including: Canal Fox, Fox Kids, Fox Sports, and Sky. That year, The New York Times magazine put Galán on its cover and coined her the "Tropical Tycoon." Also in 1994, Galán founded Galan Entertainment, a production and marketing firm which focuses on creating "crossover" Latino programming. Her newly formed company branched out launching networks for ESPN, MGM and Sony as well. In addition, Galán created an award-winning marketing division for American companies targeting Latinos in the U.S. and Latin America. While at Fox, she also produced "The Alma Awards" which honor outstanding Latino talent, and pioneered the first telenovela produced simultaneously in English and Spanish for Fox and Mexico's television network, Televisa.
Galán took a leave of absence from her own business in 1998 when Sony named her President of Entertainment for Telemundo. After a three-year stint, Galán returned to her company with a development deal in hand from Telemundo, and proceeded to create the hit Latino sitcoms Los Beltrán, Viva Vegas, and Solo en America. Galan also produced over 300 episodes of the popular daytime talk show, Father Albert.
Galán created and produced the Telemundo reality television program La Cenicienta (Cinderella). Hosted by Eva Tamargo, the program broke ground for Telemundo’s reality television programming. Different from Telemundo’s telenovelas, La Cenicienta is unscripted. Minerva Ruvalcaba is featured as La Cenicienta, a woman seeking Prince Charming from 20 bachelors. Telemundo incorporated English subtitles in the program to reach both Spanish and English speaking audiences. La Cenicienta became one of Telemundo’s highest rated programs in its 50-year history.
Galán also created and executive produced the FOX reality series The Swan, and as its in-house life coach, wrote the bestselling companion book The Swan Curriculum. She developed The New You, a daytime series launched on NBC in 2008 that touts health, wellness and beauty for women.
Galán was a contestant on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump, competing for the charity Count Me In, which helps women gain economic independence. She was fired by Trump on February 7, 2008.
Galan was added to the advisory board of the Hispanic Scholarship Fund on Nov. 12, 2012.
- Savio, Anita. "TV or no TV? No question in her mind", Latino Leaders: The National Magazine of the Successful American Latino, April–May, 2002. Accessed January 8, 2008. "It has been rising since she was a teenager. Born in Santa Clara, Cuba, Galan immigrated with her family to Teaneck, New Jersey, when she was two."
- Fernandez, Maria Elena (July 12, 2004). "Reality takes a novela turn". Los Angeles Times.
- Elber, Lynn (July 28, 2003). "Telemundo to air 'La Cenicienta,' reality dating show". TheCabin.net.
- "Commentary: Telemundo will use English captions". Quickstart.clari.net. 2003-09-07. Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- Fernandez, Maria Elena (July 12, 2004). "Reality takes a novela turn". Los Angeles Times. p. 3.