Sábado Gigante ("Giant Saturday") (known officially as Sábado Gigante Internacional outside Chile) is a Spanish-language television show that is Univision's longest-running program and the longest-running variety TV show in the world. Sábado Gigante is an eclectic and frenetic mix of various contests, human-interest stories, and live entertainment. From its start in 1962, it has been hosted by Chilean TV star Mario Kreutzberger under the stage name of Don Francisco. Pedro De Pool began serving as co-host in 1986; that role was taken over by Javier Romero in 1991.
As of 2012 it airs Saturday nights at 8 p.m. ET on Univision; as such, the program is currently one of only three remaining first-run primetime programs airing on Saturday nights on any of the American commercial broadcast television networks, along with CBS's 48 Hours Mystery and Fox's COPS. A new episode has been produced every week throughout the show's history, with no reruns. In 2012, it celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Kreutzberger originated the weekly program in 1962, airing on Canal 13 in Chile as Show Dominical ("Sunday's Show"). He had been inspired by television shows he had seen in the USA and Argentina but, as he explained, "My idea was mixing all the programs that I saw into one program."
The show was rescheduled to broadcast on Saturdays, and henceforth, named Sábados Gigantes in 1963 and quickly developed a loyal following in Chile, and then throughout Latin America. In Chile, during the 1970s and 1980s, the show reached peak audiences of 80%. During this period, some episodes of the program lasted up to eight hours.
In its early years, the series was broadcast live with the exception of short segments; notable among the pre-taped segments was the travelogue, where Kreutzberger visited different locations around the world.
On April 12, 1986 Kreutzberger and the program moved to Miami, Florida where Univision (formerly SIN) began producing it. At that time, the show's title was changed to the singular Sábado Gigante, although some long-time fans in Chile still call it by the plural. On June 18, 2005 the series celebrated its 1,000th episode on Univisión, and on May 20, 2006 it celebrated its twentieth anniversary there.