May 17, 2011 7:43pm PT by Georg Szalai
Cristina Saralegui, Lauren Zalaznick Get Warm Telemundo Upfront Welcome
NEW YORK -- The audience at Tuesday night's Telemundo upfront presentation gave Hispanic talk show legend Cristina Saralegui and NBCUniversal top executive Lauren Zalaznick a warm welcome reception.
Telemundo announced a weekend variety show developed, hosted and executive produced by Saralegui, a former longtime talk show host at competitor Univision who is often referred to as the “Spanish Oprah.” The 12-time Emmy winner left Univision late last year after about 21 years.
Appearing at the Natural History Museum on Tuesday night, she received loud applause and even a standing ovation from parts of the crowd.
Saralegui said to laughs and applause that she is back -- before indirectly commenting on her former broadcast home.
She thanked Telemundo management "for giving me a chance to have a home" and said she had been warmly received at Telemundo.
"I'm not used to that -- I come from another world," she said, later mentioning that her Univision show "was so abruptly canceled."
Saralegui also quipped that she is now considered a pioneer, adding "that's what they call old people now."
Zalaznick, who as chairman, entertainment & digital networks and integrated media at NBCUniversal got oversight over the Telemundo Communications Group as part of the Comcast-NBCUniversal deal that closed in late January, appeared onstage Tuesday night and said in Spanish that she was excited to be at the event before quipping that two months ago she could have not said any of those words in Spanish.
When her NBCUniversal bosses asked her to take on Telemundo, "No. 1, I was surprised," she said. Then she was "excited," but also "awed and a little intimidated."
She started to immerse herself, though, and learn to fully appreciate the business, she said.
"I'm very lucky to join not only this team, but this familia," Zalaznick said in finishing. "My goal to really join the family is to get my clothes tighter and my shoes higher."
The audience, including many female stars in the type of outfit she had described, answered with laughs and a loud round of applause.
Outgoing Telemundo Communications Group president Don Browne also got a warm send-off as COO Jackie Hernandez said she admired his vision and commitment to win and suggested the audience celebrate him.
The Telemundo event's formal presentation ended with a performance from singer Don Omar.