From The TV IV
A telenovela originated as a Spanish-language soap opera, but have moved on to be popular in other markets. Unlike their English counterparts, telenovelas tend to run for a limited number of episodes, and air in prime time. Countries that produce some of the most well known telenovelas include Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil. Telenovelas tend to focus on romantic storylines.
Due to their extreme popularity throughout the world (and because of their popularity on Univision), the telenovela idea was picked up by MyNetworkTV to run in their primetime slots when the network premieres in September 2006.