Mario Kreutzberger

Host


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his one-and-a-half hour Archive Interview, host Mario Kreutzberger discusses moving to the United States from his native Chile as a boy to study men's tailoring - a career his father wished him to pursue. Upon arriving in New York City, he was immediately fascinated with television: "a radio you could watch." He describes being influenced by the American television hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson and details abandoning his first career to try to get Chile's Canal 13 to give him a chance as an on-air host. He recalls his first Sunday show, which was soon cancelled and outlines the creation of a new, 8-hour live show on Saturdays, called Sabados Gigantes ("Giant Saturdays"), which he hosted under the pseudonym "Don Francisco." The show premiered in 1962 and in 2003 was proclaimed the longest-running variety show on television by the Guinness Book of World Records. In over 50 years of hosting, Kreutzberger only missed one Saturday show -- when his mother passed away. In 1987 Sabado Gigante (he took out the "s" for the American version) was the first regular Spanish-language show broadcast nationally in the U.S.  Kreutzberger also discusses Teleton, a charity telethon for physically disabled children, talks about the production schedule of Sabado Gigante, speaks of various stars who got their start on the show and articulates the program's legacy. Claudio Tona conducted the interview on July 20, 2011 in Miami, FL.

"I saw Jack Paar, Art Linkletter, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson. And then I made a mixture of everything that I saw. That's why when they asked me -- what is 'Sábato Gigante'? I have to say that (the show) is like a soup. We have ingredients that has the basic flavor of the soup but we can add or we can take off some of the spare ingredients. Then you have to make that soup a little different every week but with the flavor of 'Sábado Gigante.'"

Highlights
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's holding the Guinness World Record as the longest-running variety show on television
Mario Kreutzberger on why he has had such a long career (since 1962) on television
Mario Kreutzberger on working for the biggest minority in the US vs. representing a whole country in Chile; on how the content of Sabado Gigante "has to go with the needs of the community"
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante and what makes a good host: "communication is magic"
01:41
Mario Kreutzberger on advice to aspiring television show hosts "perserverance"
00:21
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his childhood in Chile; his family and background
On his father's wish he become a tailor and on coming to the U.S.; on the first time he saw television and knowing he wanted to change career paths; on anti-semitism he faced growing up in Chile; on high school and his early interests in performing
On his first television appearance and changing his name to "Don Francisco"; on his early television influences
On the origin of Sabados Gigantes; on the show's beginnings in Chile, on trying to bring the show to the U.S.; on being fired from his first show which aired on Sundays and coming back with the Saturday show; on his audience; on his hosting duties
On moving Sabados Gigantes from Chile to Miami; on the challenges of a new audience; on the character "Don Francisco"; on how the show changed over the years; on the show not being political but responding to its audience; on the state of Spanish-language TV in Chili and then in the United States; on the difficulty of getting U.S. sponsors for the show
Mario Kreutzberger on working for the biggest minority in the US vs. representing a whole country in Chile; on how the content of Sabado Gigante "has to go with the needs of the community"; on what makes the show successful; on why he changed the name of the show (dropping the "S") in the U.S.

Chapter 2

On the crew on Sabado Gigante; on a typical production month; on various musical guests and celebrities on the show; on handling censorship
On what political issues Sabado Gigante has covered; on 9/11; on his interviewing style
On his interviewing style; on what makes a good host; on the audience of the show
On Sabado Gigante's legacy as the longest-running variety show on television; on where the show is seen worldwide; on it being primarily a "family show"; on how long he sees the show continuing
On the power of content on television; on his proudest achievement; on advice to aspiring television hosts
Shows

Sabado Gigante

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Mario Kreutzberger on how Sabado Gigante ("Giant Saturday") is "like a soup," comprised from many different influences such as Jack Paar, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, etc.
Mario Kreutzberger on moving Sabados Gigantes to a live, 8-hour show on Saturdays; on the origin of the show
Mario Kreutzberger on moving Sabados Gigantes from Chile to Miami; on the challenges of a new audience; on the character "Don Francisco"; on how the show changed
Mario Kreutzberger on his goal to "represent the audience" rather than take a political bent with Sabado Gigante; on the state of Spanish-language TV 
Mario Kreutzberger on his co-hosts on Sabado Gigante; on the difficulty of getting U.S sponsors
Mario Kreutzberger on working for the biggest minority in the US vs. representing a whole country in Chile; on how the content of Sabado Gigante "has to go with the needs of the community"
Mario Kreutzberger on what makes Sabado Gigante successful; on his role on the show
09:00
Mario Kreutzberger on changing the name of the original Sabados Gigantes to Sabado Gigante in the U.S
07:16
Mario Kreutzberger on casting Sabado Gigante; on different segments of the show; on recurring characters and co-hosts, on the contests
06:26
Mario Kreutzberger on a segment of Sabado Gigante  interviewing children, which was influenced by The Steve Allen Show, which he watched when he first came to the U.S in 1959
00:51
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's political impact 
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's legacy; on what makes a good host
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's holding the Guinness World Record as the longest-running variety show on television
Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's legacy 

Steve Allen Show, The (1956-61)

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Mario Kreutzberger on a segment of Sabado Gigante  interviewing children, which was influenced by The Steve Allen Show, which he watched when he first came to the U.S in 1959
00:51
Topics

9/11

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Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's show on 9/11

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Mario Kreutzberger on being influenced by early television hosts Jack Paar, Steve Allen, Johnny Carson, and Art Linkletter and how they influenced his Spanish-language show Sabado Gigante

Historic Events and Social Change

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Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's show on 9/11

Minorities

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Mario Kreutzberger on working for the biggest minority in the US vs. representing a whole country in Chile; on how the content of Sabado Gigante "has to go with the needs of the community"
16:48

Technological Innovation

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Mario Kreutzberger on embracing social media in his programs
00:24

Television Industry

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Mario Kreutzberger on the future of television as driven by content
01:24

We Celebrated

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Mario Kreutzberger on his character "Don Francisco" who has hosted Sabado Gigante since 1962
30:48
Professions

Hosts

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Mario Kreutzberger on his role as the host of Sabado Gigante: "communication is magic"
05:18
Genres

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

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Mario Kreutzberger on Sabado Gigante's legacy as the longest-running variety show on television
00:57

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