‘Sabado Gigante’s’ Final Episode: Fans, Celebrities Bid Farewell to TV’s Longest-Running Variety Show
After 53 years on air, the Spanish-language TV show “Sabado Gigante” celebrated its final episode Saturday with a star-studded sendoff.
The live, three-hour final show of the Univision classic was dubbed “Sabado Gigante — ¡Hasta Siempre! (Giant Saturday — Forever!)”
It served as a tribute to legendary host Mario Kreutzberger, more commonly known as Don Francisco, and his cast and production crew.
Two videos from prominent politicians were shown during the broadcast. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama sent best wishes to Kreutzberger in one clip, while Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti bid the host farewell in another.
Kreutzberger was given several awards, including one from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida. He also received a Guiness World Record certification — “Sabado Gigante” is the longest-runing weekly variety show in TV history.
The celebration included a contest featuring “El Chacal de la Trompeta,” as well as performances by Luis Fonsi, Espinoza Paz, Paulina Rubio and Enrique Iglesias.
Reggaeton singer Daddy Yankee performed a special segment live from a concert he gave at Madison Square Garden. In an emotional final segment, Gloria Estefan debuted “Hasta Siempre,” a song she wrote especially for the show with her husband, Emilio Estafan.
Several other notable guests, including Shakira and Marc Anthony, made appearances.
The live studio audience was joined by hundreds of other viewers who watched the broadcast on screens outside the studio. And, in keeping with the show’s theme of having contests and prizes, three brand-new cars were given away.
“Sabado Gigante,” which first aired in Chile in 1962 and moved to Miami in 1986, is known for its dizzying array of performances, musical acts, skits and games. The Spanish-language show also prominently featured dancers, models and female hosts.
“It is with great pride that I bring this historic run of ‘Sabado Gigante’ to an end after 53 years, in which I have felt privileged,” Kreutzberger said in a statement. “I have had the honor of reaching the homes of millions of families over more than five decades with the program, which has left an indelible mark on my personal history and on the history of television in the world.”