Ugly Betty is an American comedy-drama television series developed by Silvio Horta, which was originally broadcast on ABC between 2006 and 2010. It revolves around the character Betty Suarez who, despite her lack of style, lands a job at a prestigious fashion magazine. The series is based on Fernando Gaitán's Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, which has had many other international adaptations. It was produced by Silent H, Ventanarosa, and Reveille Productions partnered with ABC Studios and executive produced by Salma Hayek, Silvio Horta, Ben Silverman, Jose Tamez, and Joel Fields. The pilot was filmed in New York; seasons one and two were filmed in Los Angeles and seasons three and four in New York City.
During its first three seasons, it aired on Thursday nights, where it was mostly successful. However, viewership dropped significantly in the show's third season, particularly in the important 18–49 age group. In October 2009, the series was moved to Fridays, where it had trouble finding an audience. The backlash from its fans prompted ABC to move the show to Wednesdays at 10:00 pm Eastern/9:00 pm Central starting January 6, 2010, where it was thought that it would better complement its Wednesday hits Modern Family and Cougar Town, but on January 27, 2010, ABC announced it was canceling the series due to low ratings. Since the show's cancellation, it has gained a cult following. With the end of the series, there was talk of a push by Ana Ortiz and America Ferrera for an Ugly Betty movie.
Betty Suarez is a quirky, 22-year-old Mexican American woman from Queens, New York who is sorely lacking in fashion sense. She is known for her adult braces, rather unusual wardrobe choices, sweet nature, and slight naïvete. She is abruptly thrust into a different world when she lands a job at Mode, a trendy, high fashion magazine based in Manhattan that is part of the publishing empire, Meade Publications, of the wealthy Bradford Meade. Bradford's son Daniel has been installed as Editor-in-Chief of Mode following the death of Fey Sommers (Bradford's longtime mistress). Bradford hires the inexperienced Betty as his womanizing son's newest personal assistant to curb his habit of sleeping with his assistants. As time goes by, Betty and Daniel become friends and help each other navigate their individual professional and personal lives.
Life at Mode is made difficult for both Betty and Daniel by their co-workers. Their most serious threat comes from Creative Director Wilhelmina Slater, a vindictive schemer who devises numerous plots to steal Daniel's job and seize control of the Meade empire. In addition, Wilhelmina's loyal assistant Marc St. James and Mode receptionist Amanda Tanen continually mock and humiliate Betty for her lackluster physical appearance, awkward nature, and initial lack of taste in fashion, though they both ultimately warm to Betty in later seasons. However, not everyone at Mode is against Betty; she gains loyal friends in Scottish seamstress Christina McKinney and nerdy accountant Henry Grubstick. She also receives strong support from her father Ignacio, older sister Hilda, and nephew Justin.