Telemundo's Cristina: 'My Hope Is to See Tom Cruise Jumping on My Couch'

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Cristina Saralegui

The "Spanish Oprah" opens up about her Univision exit and what differentiates her new show at Telemundo.

Months after jumping from Univision to Telemundo, veteran talk show host Cristina Saralegui opened up about the move. 

The woman often referred to as the “Spanish Oprah” told reporters gathered at the Television Critics Association semi-annual tour Tuesday that she left Univision because the upper echelon of management changed. "They said they wanted the network to have a younger image," Saralegui said, "and t wasn't about [me personally], it was about my show being more classical."

She added, "They offered me specials, but I don't think you do that to a person like me." In that period, she reconnected with an old friend and former Telemundo president Don Browne, who offered her a gig at her one-time rival. 

"I'm not resentful, I'm grateful," Saralegui insisted. "[Univision] let me stay there for 21 years." 

Her new weekend variety show, Pa'lante con Cristina, will premiere in early October on Telemundo. The series will look to differentiate itself from Saralegui's past programs by being two hours in length as well as offering English subtitles and English-speaking stars. The host used her half-hour platform before the U.S. press corps to express her frustration about a Univision mandate to ban the English language on its air. 

"My show will be, like me, in Spanglish... it's going to be in both [Spanish and English], and I'm going to allow my guests to speak in English," she said, noting how if she said something in English during her lengthy Univision era it would be bleeped out. She found the latter particularly infuriating when she would invite guests like Shakira who were trying to make the cross-over to the US market, and her network wouldn't allow them to sing their songs in English.

This time around, she'll encourage English-speaking singers, actors and other personalities to join her on her show. "My hope is to see Tom Cruise jumping on my couch," she said to big laughs. "That's what i want."

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