Farewell to ‘Sábado Gigante’

Go Lean Commentary

All good things come to an end!

- Photo 2As for the long-running Variety Show, ‘Sábado Gigante’, on the Spanish-language TV-network Univision, it is not “all good things”, its “Gigante” things.

Yes, the 53-year run is finally coming to an end.

This milestone deserves our consideration, as the Agents of Change for this iconic television show are the same factors identified as Agents of Change for Caribbean life in the book, Go Lean…Caribbean. They are identified as follows:

  • Technology
  • Globalization
  • Aging Diaspora

The Go Lean book serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). While this roadmap’s quest is economic empowerment, it clearly recognizes that music, dance and culture can play a key role in the elevation of any community. The Spanish-speaking Caribbean constitutes 59% of the population of the Caribbean region (see Appendix), and this community has loved ‘Sábado Gigante’, so this consideration is “muy importante”!

See the story here of the upcoming final broadcast of this Latin television mainstay:

Title: Farewell to “Sábado Gigante”
Miami, FL – September 14, 2015 – “Sábado Gigante” is a Spanish language TV phenomenon that has entertained audiences for decades, both in Latin America and here in the United States. This morning, Mo Rocca will show us:

If you like acrobats, animal acts, beautiful dancing girls, Zumba exhibitions, game show contests, talk show tears, and pretty much anything else under sun, “Sábado Gigante” is the show for you. It’s a variety show on steroids

“Sábado Gigante” (Spanish for Gigantic Saturday) airs every Saturday for three hours, and is watched by millions of people in the U.S. and in 40 countries around the world.

Fans wait in lines for hours in the Miami heat to be in the audience of this legendary broadcast. One woman drove four hours to attend. Big fan? “Yeah, we’ve been watching it since we were in diapers!” she laughed.

And the main reason for its gigante success? Don Francisco, the impresario, pitchman and ringleader of the “Sábado” circus. He’s been hosting the show for 53 years (that’s a world record).

In all that time, he’s missed only one Saturday, when his mother died in 1974. There’s never even been a rerun.

Rocca asked, “Who taught you to work so hard?”

- Photo 1“Maybe my father,” said Don Francisco, whose real name is Mario Luis Kreutzberger. He’s a 74-year-old Chilean-born son of refugees from Germany.

“They were German Jews,” he said. “And they fled during the Second World War, during the Holocaust, to Chile. Not because they choose Chile. That was the only option that they had.

“I was a kid in the middle of the war — even in my country, in Chile, half of the population, they were with the Germans. It was not easy to grow up in an environment like this.”

To make friends he’d have to be more like, well, a TV host. “I found an opportunity making jokes, doing shows for the school. And I was soon accepted by the majority.”

But after high school, he was sent by his father, a tailor, to New York City to learn the family trade. “I came in 1959. I was 19 years old. And I had only maybe 20 words in English.”

But it wasn’t the New York fashions that turned his head; it was that new-fangled contraption in his hotel room: The television. “When I put it on, I was amazed. That was a radio that you [were] able to see and to listen at the same time. That was my first contact with television. I said to myself, ‘My father’s wrong; I’m learning something that is before yesterday; this will be the future.'”

He returned to Chile determined, and in 1962 convinced a reluctant station manager to give him one hour of airtime on a Saturday. “Sábado Gigante” ran from 7:00 to 8:00. “Then he gave me from 6:00 to 8:00, 5:00 to 8:00, 4:00 to 8:00, 3:00 to 8:00, 2:00 to 8:00, 1:00 to 9:00. Eight hours, live, during 22 years,” Francisco said.

So, Rocca asked, “When did you go to the bathroom?”

“During the commercials. I was fast at that time, when I went to the bathroom!”

- Photo 3In 1986 Univision, the network that airs “Sábado Gigante,” moved the show’s production to Miami, the gateway to Latin America. And the show itself became a gateway to a mass Latin audience for future superstars like Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, even U.S. presidents — all of them courting an audience that’s muy importante.

This son of German immigrants may be the most recognizable face in all of Latin America. Just take a walk with Don Francisco through Miami’s Bayside Market, where he is mobbed by fans from many countries, and you’ll get a sense of how far his reach extends.

One woman from Cuba asked Francisco why he was leaving “Sábado Gigante.” He replied, “I’m getting old.”

“You are not old!” she retorted. “Don’t leave the program!”

“Sábado Gigante” is ending its run next Saturday. Over the last few seasons the show’s ratings with younger viewers have fallen precipitously.

Still, as Rocca found out as a recent guest on the program, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement of the loud, brash, flamboyant “Sábado Gigante”:

Rocca: “¡Cincuenta y tres años! Más que David Letterman. Más que Johnny Carson. Más que Jack Paar. ¡Usted es el rey de entretenimiento!”

Others have been called the King of Entertainment, but none has matched the reign of Don Francisco.

Source: Sunday Morning – CBS News Sunday Magazine; retrieved 09-14-2015 from: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/farewell-to-sabado-gigante/


Video Link: http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/the-historic-run-of-sabado-gigante-comes-to-an-end

(VIDEO plays best in Internet Explorer).

This show has never been a paid-program; it has always been on free broadcast TV; (notwithstanding cable/satellite subscribers paying for the utility). It has always been paid for by the advertisers.

But show-business has changed. Television has changed…

… most TV shows are available online; plus there is now time-shifted viewing (DVR) and on-demand platforms offering an alphabetical menu of shows.

This Internet-Communications-Technology (ICT) driven Agent of Change is what impacts ‘Sábado Gigante’, and what impacts the Caribbean. The changing TV landscape affects the Caribbean region as well, or at least it should. The CU roadmap has 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines and marshal against economic crimes.
  • Improvement of Caribbean governance to support these engines.

The ‘Sábado Gigante’ show has only had one host during its 53-year run. Don Francisco (Mario Luis Kreutzberger) is now 74 years old. Much of his audience has aged with him. This refers to the populations in Latin America and the Diaspora population residing in the US. The foregoing article refers to a definite declining youth dynamics of the show. The host has aged; the audience has aged; and there are less of them.

This is a bad formula for ad-supported television. The end has come, as advertisers seek a younger audience.

The CU/Go Lean roadmap recognizes the gravity of Latin music/entertainment to this region; and the dynamics of an emerging youth population. These demographics cannot be ignored by the planners of a new integrated Caribbean; (see Appendix).

The Go Lean book posits that while economics, security and governance are all important for the sustenance of Caribbean life, pursuits like art, culture, music, dance, and beauty are the reasons we want to live. “Work” is important in this roadmap, but so is “Play”. As we say farewell to ‘Sábado Gigante’, we also say farewell to Don Francisco. We salute him for a job – and life course – well done! We recognize him as a promoter of the arts, entrepreneur, industrialist and advocate for Latin culture. Don Francisco is hereby applauded as a role model that the rest of Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Diaspora community can emulate. He has provided a successful track record of forging change, overcoming incredible odds, managing crises to successful conclusions and paying forward to benefit the next generation.

In terms of the future, the Go Lean book asserts that there is plenty of talent in the Caribbean. The genius qualifiers of many Caribbean men and women are already heightened; and there is a built-in audience to consume the appreciation of this talent. The goal now is foster the local eco-system in the homeland so as to optimize the media industries ourselves; for us and by us. If we continue to fail at this endeavor, we would continue to be faced with this harsh reality: those with talent would have to flee the region to garner the business returns on their artistic investments. Thusly, this Go Lean economic empowerment roadmap strategizes to create a Single Media Market to leverage the value of broadcast rights for the entire region, utilizing all the advantages of cutting edge ICT offerings. The result: an audience of 42 million people across 30 member-states and 4 languages, facilitating television, cable, satellite and internet streaming wherever economically viable.

Early in the book, the benefits of media and technology empowerment is pronounced in the Declaration of Interdependence (Page 13 & 14), with these opening statements:

xiii.  Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.

xiv.  Whereas the region has endured a spectator status during the Industrial Revolution, we cannot stand on the sidelines of this new economy, the Information Revolution. Rather, the Federation must embrace all the tenets of Internet Communications Technology (ICT) to serve as an equalizing element in competition with the rest of the world. The Federation must bridge the digital divide and promote the community ethos that research/development is valuable and must be promoted and incentivized for adoption.

xv.  Whereas intellectual property can easily traverse national borders, the rights and privileges of intellectual property must be respected at home and abroad. The Federation must install protections to ensure that no abuse of these rights go with impunity, and to ensure that foreign authorities enforce the rights of the intellectual property registered in our region.

xxii. Whereas the heritage of our lands share the distinction of cultural tutelage from European and American imperialists that forged their tongues upon our consciousness, it is imperative to form a society that is neutral and tolerant of the mother tongue influences of our people to foster efficient and effective communications among our citizens.

xxxii. Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.

The region has the eco-system of free broadcast television, and the infrastructure for internet streaming. So the issues being considered regarding the ‘Sábado Gigante’ finale have bearing in the execution of this roadmap.

The Go Lean roadmap was constructed with the community ethos in mind to forge change and build up the communities around the music/entertainment industry, plus the execution of related strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to make the change permanent. The following is a sample of these specific details from the book:

Community Ethos – People Respond to Incentives in Predictable Ways Page 21
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius – Abundance of Talent Page 27
Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property Page 29
Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness – Appreciation of the Arts Page 36
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Greater Good Page 37
Strategic – Vision – Consolidating All Caribbean Region in to a Single Market Page 45
Strategic – Staffing – Music/Sporting Events at Fairgrounds Page 55
Strategy – Agents of Change – Technology Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Globalization Page 57
Strategy – Agents of Change – Aging Diaspora Page 57
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 64
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Culture & Sports Administration Page 81
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Fairgrounds Administration Page 83
Implementation – Steps to Implement Self-Governing Entities (Fairgrounds) Page 105
Implementation – Ways to Deliver Page 109
Planning – 10 Big Ideas – #5 Four Languages in Unison / #8 Cyber   Caribbean Page 127
Planning – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better Page 131
Advocacy – Ways to Grow the Economy Page 151
Advocacy – Ways to Create Jobs Page 152
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Events Page 191
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Fairgrounds Page 192
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Technology – Intellectual   Property Protections Page 197
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood – And the Media Industries Page 203
Advocacy – Ways to Impact the Diaspora – Media Consumption Page 217
Advocacy – Ways to Preserve Caribbean Heritage – Media Priorities Page 218
Advocacy – Ways to Improve the Arts – Respect for Intellectual   Property Page 230
Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music Page 231
Appendix – Caribbean Musical Genres – 169 in the 30 Member-States Page 347

This commentary previously featured subjects related to developing the eco-systems of the music/entertainment business, as sampled here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6022 Music Role Model ‘Ya Tafari’ – Celebrating in the Diaspora
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5648 Music Role Model Taylor Swift Wields Benevolent Influence
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4019 Watch the Super Bowl … Commercials
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3999 Breaking New Ground in the Changing Show-business Eco-System
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3641 ‘We Built This City on ‘ …Show-business
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3568 Forging Change: Music Moves People
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3244 Media Role Model – Broadcasting/Internet Streaming: espnW.
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=2171 Sports/Entertainment Role Model – Turn On the SEC Network
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=1092 Aereo – Model for the Future of TV Blending with the Internet
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Want from the US – # 9: Optimized Media Arts

Saturday September 19 will be the final broadcast of the show. ‘Sábado Gigante’ will be “Muy Mas Gigante”. According to the Music/Entertainment industry iconic magazine/e-Zine “Billboard”, major Latin music stars are confirmed for participation:

Title: ‘Sabado Gigante’ Final Episode: Shakira, Enrique Iglesias, Paulina Rubio, Daddy Yankee & More Stars Confirmed
The network confirmed to Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter exclusively that the lineup of talent for the finale includes global superstar Shakira, Spanish heartthrob Enrique Iglesias, Colombian rocker Juanes, Mexican pop diva Paulina Rubio, Italian pop singer Laura Pausini, Latin urban king Daddy Yankee, salsa icon Marc Anthony, regional Mexican acts Espinoza Paz and Intocable, pop balladeer Luis Fonsi, bachata idol Prince Royce and the original crossover queen, Gloria Estefan. Their participation will be a mix of live performances and other surprises, the details of which will be revealed by Univision in the coming days.

The Go Lean book focuses primarily on economic issues, but it recognizes that music, dance and culture (indicative of a Variety Show) can build up a community, nation and region. So the quest to re-build, re-boot and re-tool the Caribbean must include dance, music and variety entertainment. This is remindful of the following movie quotation from V for Vendetta (2005).

Hero Character named “V”: Would you… dance with me?
Evey Hammond (Female Lead Character): Now? On the eve of your revolution?
V: A revolution without dancing is a revolution not worth having!
(Source: V for Vendata 1 of 126 notable quotations).

The Go Lean roadmap describes the heavy-lifting activities for the many people, organizations and governments to accomplish this goal of elevating the Caribbean … through economics … and song-and-dance.

This goal is conceivable, believable and achievable. Yes, we can make the region a better place to live, work and play.  🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix Population of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean



Dominican Republic


Puerto Rico


Total Spanish Caribbean


All Caribbean Region




* While broadcast to Cuba may be blocked at present, the status quo of US-Cuban relations is changing daily.


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