MEXICO CITY (AP) — Brad Pitt and George Clooney are intercepted by Mexico's border patrol. Carlos Slim, the world's richest man, is ready to audition for a soap opera.
Everyone, according to a wave of jokes on the Internet, wants to get a foot in the door at the Mexican network Televisa, the world's largest producer of Spanish-language programming — a rush touched off by Mexico's first lady, Angelica Rivera, sharing some details of her earnings there after a 25-year acting career.
The speech this week was meant to squelch criticism over her purchase of a $7 million mansion from a company that has government contracts. But by mentioning that Televisa paid her more than $6.5 million in 2010, Rivera prompted Mexican wits to ponder who else might be interested in the apparent perks of a telenovela career with the network.
Remember the Ellen DeGeneres selfie at the Oscars with other Hollywood stars? Now it's tagged: "Adios Hollywood!!! We're going to Televisa."
ElDeforma.com, a satirical website comparable to The Onion, has Pitt and Clooney grabbed crossing the border in a quest for the "Mexican dream." The site has another humor story on Slim hoping to land a soap opera role because Televisa pays so well.
On Tuesday night, Rivera posted a video on her website in which she explained that at the end of her acting career with Televisa in 2010, the network included a house in her payment and she had the money to buy a neighboring lot. She said she has decided to sell the rights to the house to avoid further criticism. Rivera also said that in 2010, the year she married now President Enrique Pena Nieto, her tax filing reported income of more 131.6 million pesos, or about $10 million.
Epigmenio Ibarra, an independent producer of more than 35 telenovelas in Mexico and the U.S., said Rivera's pay "is absolutely unbelievable — incredible. Not even if she were Angelina Jolie." Rivera was best known for her leading role as Gaviota in the telenovela "Destilando Amor" (Distilling Love).
Actress Ana De La Reguera, who was also featured in Televisa soap operas before moving to a rival network and eventually the U.S., where she has appeared in the HBO series "Eastbound & Down," took to Twitter to take a shot at Rivera. "Why did I go to Azteca and later to L.A. when Televisa pays so well," she tweeted.
Rob Schneider, American actor-comedian who is married to Mexican television producer Patricia Azarcoya, joined in with his own tweet: "Well, that's it! I'm moving to Mexico to get a job on a soap opera! I hear they pay 10 million!"
Some Twitter users jumped in with a campaign ostensibly on behalf of the beloved star of a Sunday children's program on Televisa, Xavier Lopez. He has had his show for more than 40 years, so by the collective calculation of the Internet, Televisa should buy him the Taj Mahal, the Vatican or Windsor Castle.
Associated Press writer Marjorie Miller contributed to this report.