Don Francisco (television host)
|Born||Mario Luis Kreutzberger
December 28, 1940
|Nationality||Chilean and American|
|Other names||Don Francisco
|Home town||Santiago, Chile|
Don Francisco Presenta
Don Francisco Te Invita
|Spouse(s)||Teresa "Temmy" Muchnik Rosenblum (1963-present; 3 children)|
Mario Luis Kreutzberger (born December 28, 1940), better known by his stage name, Don Francisco, is a Chilean television host, and a popular personality on the Univision network reaching Spanish-speaking viewers in the United States. In 2016, he signed into Telemundo. He is best known for hosting the former variety shows Sábado Gigante and Don Francisco Presenta.
Kreutzberger started a TV show in 1962, and he named it Sábados Gigantes on Canal 13. In it, he adapted many of the formulas he had seen in American television to the Chilean public. The show became an instant hit that had lasted over 53 years. In 1986, the show began to be produced by Univision in Miami, Florida, with the same formula used in Chile, with the slightly different name of Sábado Gigante. In the following six years Kreutzberger developed a three-hour-long variety show, including contests, comedy, interviews and a traveling camera section. Much of the talent on the show was scouted from another program in Los Angeles, CA called "Jugaremos en Familia" hosted by a local radio announcer, Memo Flores. The traveling camera, or Cámara Viajera (originally La Película Extranjera, The Foreign Movie), has taken "Don Francisco" to over 185 countries worldwide, many of them more than once. Kreutzberger in his show has interviewed many celebrities, including Roberto Durán, Cristina Saralegui, Sussan Taunton, Charytín, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Bill Gates and many others. In addition, his show has launched the careers of famous entertainers, such as Lili Estefan, Sissi Fleitas, and numerous more. Kreutzberger appeared as himself in the movie The 33, about the 2010 Copiapó mining accident.
Kreutzberger has also hosted Chilean versions of ¿Quién merece ser millonario? (which is based on the original British format of the international Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? franchise), Deal or No Deal, and Atrapa los Millones (which is based on the American format of the international Money Drop franchise). He hosted the first three seasons of Atrapa los Millones before retiring from the program in 2014; Diana Bolocco became the show's new host for the program's fourth season in 2015.
In 2012, Sabado Gigante celebrated 50 years on air.
On April 18, 2015, Don Francisco announced his show would come to an end in September after 53 years on air; Sábado Gigante aired its final episode called "Hasta Siempre" on September 19, 2015.
On March 1, 2016, Don Francisco announced his return to the television and signed a multi-year deal with Telemundo. His first show on the network titled Don Francisco Te Invita, a Sunday night talk show considered to be a spiritual successor to both Don Francisco Presenta and Sábado Gigante, debuted on October 9, 2016.
False death reports
On April Fool's Day, 2003, a rumor arose that Kreutzberger had died, the rumor appearing around the New York and New Jersey area. The rumor proved false, but sent many of his fans into a panic until it was revealed as an April Fool's joke.
Kreutzberger promotes and hosts the Teletón, a TV charity show for disabled Chilean children; there have been 22 telethons over 30 years. He is also the Hispanic spokesperson for the US Muscular Dystrophy Association, in which he also appears in a pre-recorded piece on its annual telethon, to appeal to Hispanics to donate.
Kreutzberger was also the first host of the Teletón USA telethon, which was introduced in December 2012 on the Univision network; the event and charity is based on the popular Teleton(Chile) the Chilean Teleton.
He also appears in TV spots for the Mexican telecom company Claro.
In 2010, the U.S. Social Security Administration enlisted Don Francisco to appear in a series of public service announcements to reach out to American Hispanics about the benefits of Social Security.
- Larry Rother (2002-06-02). "TELEVISION/RADIO; For 100 Million, He Is Saturday nagas beludasNight". The New York Times.
- Judith W. Rosenthal (2009-08-14). "The story of 'Don Francisco'". The Jewish State.
- Lee Alan Hill. "Giant of Spanish TV First in U.S. Production." Television Week, 30 May 2005, p. 26
- "Longest running TV variety show". Guinness. Retrieved 28 October 2012.
- "Hollywood Hall of Fame: Don Francisco". Retrieved 2014-06-01.
- Archive of American Television: Mario Kreutzberger
- Latin Trends: "Don Francisco talks about Social Security Benefits Online!"; no date.
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