UPDATED: Latin singing and TV star Jenni Rivera died early today in a plane crash in Northern Mexico, Univision and AP confirmed. Univision, which has covered Rivera’s tragic death since the story broke, pre-empted its primetime lineup tonight to air Rivera-themed programming. Aqui y Ahora at 8 PM will feature a segment about the crash, followed by a Jenni Rivera Special and a special edition of entertainment news show Sal y Pimienta entirely dedicated to Rivera.
Cable TV network mun2, which airs docu reality series I Love Jenni that starred Rivera, and Telemundo Media issued a statement that said “Our thoughts and prayers are with the entire Rivera family and the families of her team, as we await details”. In honor of Rivera, Telemundo will broadcast a two-hour primetime special at 7 p.m. EST, coast to coast, and mun2 will re-broadcast it at 9 p.m. EST. Mun2 will also air two previously produced I Love Jenni specials at 11 p.m. EST and midnight EST.
Mexico’s secretary of communications and transport Gerardo Ruiz Esparza said authorities found scattered remains of the aircraft in which Rivera and six others were traveling after the plane was reported missing this morning. Esparsa said “all indications” point to this being the plane. There are no survivors, officials said, and the level of destruction is making it difficult to collect physical evidence. The U.S.-registered Learjet 25 went missing about 62 miles from Monterrey after taking off at 3:15 a.m. local time, Reuters reported. The singer was headed for the city of Toluca in central Mexico after a concert in Monterrey on Saturday night. In addition to Rivera, two pilots and four other passengers were aboard.
Long Beach native Rivera, 43, who has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, was the star of the mun2 docu-reality series I Love Jenni, which has been filming its third season. The news comes days after Rivera, a mother of five, closed a deal to topline her own sitcom for ABC, Jenni. The network put in development the multi-camera family comedy from leading Broadway producer Robert L. Boyett — marking his return to television, where he was one of the top comedy series producers in the 1980s and 1990s — and Robert Horn (Designing Women). Boyett and Horn were writing the project, which was to star Rivera as a strong, middle-class, single Latina woman working to raise a family using unique parenting skills, while struggling to run a family business and navigate her extended, co-dependent relatives.