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Univision Sends Off ‘Sábado Gigante’ on Top

It’s the end of an era.

After 53 years, variety show Sábado Gigante, a Saturday night tradition for many, aired its last episode on Sept. 19.

The three-and-a-half-hour long series finale, which aired on Univision, averaged 3.4 million total viewers and close to at 1.4 among adults 18-49, according to the network.

Sábado Gigante ¡Hasta Siempre! was the second highest-rated telecast of the show among adults 18-49, coming in behind the 50th anniversary special in 2012.

Hosted by Mario Kreutzberger, who uses the stage name Don Francisco, the finale also took Univision to the No. 1 broadcast station slot in Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Sacramento for the 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. time period.

Chilean-born Kreutzberger, who also created the show, had started talking about the end three years ago before making it official in April.

“The market has changed. That’s a reality. We can’t hide it, “ Alberto Ciurana, president of programming and content for Univision, told B&C. “Everywhere we’ve seen top shows ending.”

Kreutzberger moved the show from Chile to Miami — and Univision — in 1986. But the 74-year-old’s brainchild has struggled to attract new viewers in an increasingly crowded Spanish-language landscape.

Sábado Gigante aired uninterrupted for more than 2,800 consecutive weeks.

“There is no one you can compare Mario to,” Ciurana told B&C earlier this month. “He’s unique in the history of television.”

Jessika is content engagement director of Broadcasting + Cable, Multichannel News and NextTV. She has been with the brands in various roles since 2013. In her current role, she works primarily behind the screen, keeping an eye on the website and fixing any site bugs. A graduate of USC Annenberg, Jessika has edited and reported on a variety of subjects for NextTV, including profiles on industry leaders and breaking news.