'Sabado Gigante' Host Don Francisco Joins Telemundo in Multi-Year Pact

Mario Luis Kreutzberger - Getty - H 2016
Alexander Tamargo/WireImage/Getty Images

The Hispanic media icon, also known as Mario Kreutzberger, will jointly develop and produce original content and do high-profile interviews.

Telemundo is getting into business with long-time Sabado Gigante host Don Francisco.

Telemundo and Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, will jointly develop and produce original content for the U.S. and international Hispanic market. The tie-up follows Univision ending Sabado Gigante in September after a more-than-53-year run.

Combining variety, music, skits and scantily clad starlets, Sabado Gigante was a top-rated show on Univision, the Spanish-language television network in the U.S, for years, and Francisco had been its animator since its humble beginnings.

The show aired its last episode in September 2015. Part of the multiyear agreement with Univision rival Telemundo involves Francisco joining Telemundo Network News as a special senior news correspondent, including doing high-profile interviews.

"Mario is the most recognized face of Spanish-language media around the world,” said Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises and NBCUniversal International Group, in a statement Tuesday. “We are extremely proud that he has chosen to join the Telemundo family," he added. Incidentally, Conde also worked for Univision.

Francisco launched Sabado Gigante in 1962 on Chile’s Canal 13, and the show was eventually broadcast into 42 countries. "I am extremely happy with this opportunity NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises is giving me. Telemundo network has experienced tremendous growth thanks to its clear vision and steadfast commitment to the Hispanic community," Francisco said in a statement.

Telemundo is part of NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, a division of NBCUniversal.