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Sabado Gigante Is Going Off The Air After 53 Years.


Univision institution Sabado Gigante will be going off the air in September after 53 years on air. It seems that it just isn’t getting the ratings it used to as younger Latinos spend their Saturdays doing other things than watching a goofy variety show. Host Mario Kreutzberger, known to the world as Don Francisco, has been the front man for the show ever since it started in his native chile over half a century ago. The show featured musical guests, talent competitions, comedy sketches, and interviews. It was the kind of show that existed in the early days of television but changing tastes made the variety show go the way of the dodo. I remember back in college when I took a broadcast programming class and learning what an anomaly Sabado Gigante really is. It’s a five hour show. What other program is five hours? It’s crazy. But when it worked it worked.

Sabado Gigante is an institution. It was a show that brought Latinos together from whatever country they are from to sit on Saturdays and watch Don Francisco do his thing. My abuela never missed an episode. That was what was on TV when she would cook the big Saturday afternoon meal. My father appeared on the show several times as a medical consultant to tell people about breast health in between death playing his trumpet and the audience singing along to the Ultra Tide song. I get that it is kind of a dinosaur of a show but I can’t help but be saddened by its loss.

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