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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.”