Communist Cuba airs U.S. television series

HAVANA Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:58am EDT

Cast members of the HBO television show ''The Sopranos'' arrive at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 28, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Cast members of the HBO television show ''The Sopranos'' arrive at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 28, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson

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HAVANA (Reuters) - Cuba will air the award winning U.S. television drama the Sopranos and ongoing series Grey's Anatomy beginning this week, the Communist youth newspaper, Juventud Rebelde, said on Sunday.

HBO's The Sopranos depicts the life of a New Jersey Mafia boss and his family and will be broadcast by state-run television Tuesday evenings, while ABC's Grey's Anatomy, which follows the lives of doctors working in a hospital, will be broadcast on Thursdays.

Juventud Rebelde said the new offer demonstrated the state television's "proven rigor in the selection of dramas of high ethical quality and powerful presentation."

Despite Communist Cuba's 50 year ideological confrontation with the United States, its nemeses's movies, music and television programs remain wildly popular and U.S. movies dominate the television and theater offer.

The Sopranos, which concluded in 2007, and Grey's Anatomy are not the first U.S. television series to be picked up on DVDS, brought to Cuba and broadcast.

House, Friends, and Everybody Loves Raymond have entered Cubans' living rooms, and the forensic series CSI is a huge hit on the Caribbean island where programming is weighted heavily toward educational, variety and children's programming, propaganda, Latin American and Cuban soap operas and sports.

Cuba has four national television channels and various provincial stations, all government operated. Satellite television is prohibited and a cable system provides some international channels, such as CNN, to the tourism industry and foreigners.

(Reporting by Marc Frank, Editing by Jackie Frank)

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