After more than 53 years, the Univision program “Sábado Gigante” will end on Sept. 19, the Spanish-language broadcaster announced Friday.
The variety show, which stars Mario Kreutzberger (known on the show as Don Francisco), launched in 1962 on Chile’s Channel 13 and has routinely been one of the most-watched show among Hispanics.
“During my 40 years in the industry I have met few people with the same energy, creativity and passion for television and the audience as Mario, and I join in celebrating him and his team at ‘Sabado Gigante’ for the great success and the milestones achieved in broadcast television,” said Randy Falco, president and CEO of Univision Communications Inc. “Mario is an important part of the Univision family, and his knowledge of the industry and commitment to innovation will help us to continue defining the future of the media industry.”
Kreutzberger will continue contributing to the Univision Network with new projects and by hosting entertainment specials and campaigns such as “TeletonUSA,” which is held every year on behalf of disabled children. He will also take part in Univision’s ongoing efforts to look for and develop new on-air talent and professionals.
“I’m excited to share with the audience this announcement, with which we’re starting to bring to a close the 53-year cycle of ‘Sábado Gigante,’ 30 of which were possible thanks to Univision in the United States,” he said. “There is no doubt that they have been fundamental in my professional development and in my personal and family life. I’m so grateful for the opportunity that Channel 13 of the Universidad Católica de Chile gave me as I was starting out, to Univision in the United States and also to the Televisa Network, which allowed us to bring our ‘Sábado Gigante’ into the homes of millions of families in the United States and the world every week.
“I have no words to thank our viewers for the support, loyalty and enthusiasm with which they have honored us through the years and which have allowed the show to become an unprecedented success in the history of this medium. Special and warm thanks to the outstanding production team, technicians, artists and behind-the-scenes collaborators, because without their efforts and sacrifice, we would have never reached this impressive goal. Over the past five decades, hundreds of professionals have been part of our ‘Sábado Gigante’ team, which allowed for the first 24 years of accolades in Chile, and the following 30 years of success in the United States and the world.”