Jeff Valdez (born January 31, 1956) is an American producer, writer, studio executive and entrepreneur.
Valdez has been credited with creating the category of Latino Programming in English, which is a segment of the Hispanic market that had not been addressed or targeted by the media before. Valdez has written, directed and produced TV shows and films targeting this segment within the Latino community during the last 20 years, with some of his shows having gone on to be syndicated in more than 35 countries. In 2003, Valdez founded a new nationwide English language cable channel targeting Latinos called Sí TV. The channel reached 90 million homes nationwide, and won many awards with the programming Valdez wrote, directed and produced for it. In 2007 Valdez extended his reach to the film industry and joined the board of Maya Entertainment whose focus was on Latino themed films mostly in English.
Jeff Valdez was born in Pueblo, Colorado, to a Mexican-American family with roots in New Mexico since the 1600s. His mother, Mary Garcia, and his father, Alfonso Valdez were blue collar workers, with Spanish, Mexican and Comanche blood. The youngest of 9 children, Valdez worked hard since he was 7, cleaning the local drive-in cinema every morning before going to school. Throughout his early teen years he played drums in his father's band, earning his first money and saving enough to move to Colorado Springs, Colorado to found his own band called "The Giving Tree." After some years, having liked performing live in front of an audience, Valdez became a comedian, working on the road for more than 6 years, and owning his own comedy club "The Comedy Corner" in Colorado Springs. It was then when he became a producer, and created a comedy show which aired live every Saturday on a Colorado Springs' local channel, right after "Saturday Night Live."
Valdez Productions, Inc.
In 1993, Valdez moved to Los Angeles, and created the show "Comedy Compadres", for KTLA, channel 5. This show would be the first of many shows that he would create to engage the English speaking Latino community, and to develop Latino talent in front and behind the cameras. He then wrote scripts, produced and directed shows and films for Disney (My Favorite Mayan), Showtime (Latino Laugh Festival), NBC (The Valdez's), Galavisión (Cafe Ole, Funny is Funny), and Nickelodeon (The Brothers García).
In 2003, and based on the potential of this English-speaking market of the Latino population, Valdez paired with Bruce Barshop, a venture capitalist and founded Sí TV, the first Latino national channel for English-speaking Latinos in the United States. Sí TV made history when it became the leading producer of Latino themed English-language cable programming network, reaching 22 million homes in the first 3 years. After launching the channel, Valdez became the CEO of the channel for the first 2 years, and produced the original programming of Sí TV. During those first two years, sixty-five major advertisers from Fortune 500 companies became clients of Sí TV. After Valdez created and developed Sí TV, NBC created the national TV channel MUN2, and MTV created MTV Tres, both of them targeting English-speaking American Latinos nationwide.
Valdez remained Chairman of the Board of Sí TV until 2009.
Que Pasa Corp
In 2007 Jeff Valdez was named Chairman of Quepasa Corp./Quepasa.com (NASDAQ-QPSA) a bi-lingual social network aimed at US and Latin American markets.
Quepasa.com is a global social community for the Latino audience. It creates a social web of new friends, games, contests, flirting, pictures, communities, video, and much more. Valdez contributed to QuePasa's recovery in that period with an overall re-branding and creative vision. He also helped with a digital product called "Papacito", which increased the reach of the social network.
From 2007 to 2011 Maya was the first and only Latino Global Film Distribution Company. The company produced, owned and distributed films and content, primarily in English for theatrical release, as well as syndication. Maya's films were carried in Video On Demand. PaperView, and venues like Wal-Mart, Target, Blockbuster, Netflix, Redbox, Amazon, and many others.
Max 360 Entertainment
From 2011 to 2014, Valdez headed up Max 360 Entertainment, which was a group of investors pursuing a variety of Television projects.
Production Deal with LAMF
In 2015 Valdez teamed up with financier Jeffrey Soros to produce a slate of Latino comedy films that are aimed at the New Mainstream Latino audience. Valdez is also currently working on an OTT project that is in English and Spanish that intends to mass customize the OTT experience to the New Mainstream audience.
Awards and Recognitions
Jeff is 100% self-taught, a true product of the school of life and has been featured in several books and articles about successful entrepreneurs whose success follows a similar story. He is also a speaker and has shared his incredible life and experiences in a variety of conferences, organizations and Fortune 500 companies. He also is a sought-after speaker about the Latino market, and the new American mainstream in media. Jeff has received a number of accolades from the industry such as:
- "Top 50 People Who Matter" by CNN
- "Top 50 Minorities in Cable" by Multichannel News
- "50 People to Watch" by Los Angeles Times
- "Top 10 Players in the U.S. Hispanic Media Market" by Ad Age
- "Top 50 Marketers in America" by Advertising Age
- and amongst his awards are the "Quasar Award" for his groundbreaking success with Sí TV, an ALMA Award, a Golden Eagle and a NAMI Racial Harmony Award" from the Center for Ethnic Understanding.
Jeff was appointed by US President Bill Clinton to the Advisory Committee on the Arts of the Kennedy Center (Washington DC, 1996-2000.) He has been a member of the Museum of the Moving Image Board of Directors (New York, 2000-2006), and of The Los Angeles School For The Performing Arts Board of Advisers (2006-2008.)
Without Men || Feature Film || Executive producer || 2010
Unacceptable Behavior || TV Series || Executive producer || 2006
Urban Jungle 2 || TV Series || Executive producer, Writer || 2005
Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner || TV Series || Executive producer || 2004
Across the Hall || TV Series || Executive producer || 2004
The Drop || TV Series || Executive producer || 2004
The Rub || TV Series || Executive producer || 2004
Latino Laugh Festival: The Show || TV Series || Executive producer || 2004
Urban Jungle || TV Series || Writer, Executive Producer || 2004
The Brothers García: Mysteries of the Maya || TV Movie || Writer, Director || 2003
The Brothers García || TV Series || Co-Creator, Executive Producer, Writer, Director || 2000-2004
Café Ole' with Giselle Fernandez || TV Series || Writer, Producer || 1997
Latino Laugh Festival || TV Special || Producer || 1997, 1998, 1999
Funny is Funny || TV Series || Writer, Executive producer || 1997
Comedy Compadres || TV Series || Writer, Executive Producer || 1994
Almost Live From The Comedy Corner || TV Comedy Show || Writer, Producer, Director || 1992
Perry Mason: The Case of the Ruthless Reporter || TV Movie || Actor || 1991