The Chilean presenter made history and marked generations on Hispanic television
September 19, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
For Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, better known as “Don Francisco” , the pandemic means an opportunity to rebuild and that he plans to make the most of it. With almost 80 years and five years after leaving Sábado Gigante , the legendary presenter appeared lucid, strong and with the best face that can be had in the face of the situation that has paralyzed everyone.
“For me, who am in the last stage of my life, it is the opportunity to return to normal life with a different face, a different look and a different project of life,” he confessed a few weeks ago when talking with the Mexican speaker , Daniel Habif.
This statement made clear the panorama that the legendary Chilean presenter envisions for his future, which is completely moving away from retirement , an option that he also discarded in 2015 when he concluded his cycle within Sábado Gigante , the important program that was broadcast in up to 43 countries .
“I am very special dedicated to a book. I am dedicated to transferring this passion for which I have lived these 42 years with the Telethon, so I have to organize that to take a step forward for the next 40 years; and I want to give talks, do small cycles of virtual programs and do what I like to do ”, he revealed to Habif.
For Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, better known as “Don Francisco”, the pandemic means an opportunity to rebuild and that he plans to make the most of it. (Photo: Daniel Habif podcast screenshot)
For “Don Francisco” there is a maxim when carrying out his work: “The public always goes first” , which allowed him to be on the air for more than 50 years in which he managed to reunite Latino families in front of the television every Saturday.
His experience dates from the beginnings of black and white television in Chile. “I am one of the pioneers of Chilean television. On August 12 of this year, I am 58 years old since I made the first program on channel 13 of the Catholic University of Chile, ”said Habif, who listened to him with astonishment.
In this same conversation, Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld, confessed that his program was consolidated among the taste of his audience, who rescued him from dismissal after the Sunday Show that he led for almost a month was canceled in 1962.
This experience served to show him the way in the world of interviews and entertainment, which helped him become one of the presenters with the highest ratings on Hispanic television.
This is how the emblematic Sabado Gigante arose , which remained popular with the public despite the transformations it underwent over 53 uninterrupted years.
The format began with the name of Sábados Gigantes in 1962 through Chilean television and by 1986 a second edition dedicated to the Latin public in the United States began to be recorded. (Photo: Instagram @ donfranciscotv)
According to the news agency Efe , the format began with the name of Sábados Gigantes in 1962 through Chilean television and by 1986 a second edition dedicated to the Latin public in the United States began to be recorded.
Both broadcasts coexisted in parallel for almost six years, until it was decided to produce the program in its entirety in the Univision studios , from where it was distributed to 43 countries.
It was thus that the broadcast was consolidated as one of the most beloved in Hispanic television, with many achievements in its wake, such as an “unprecedented success” in the entertainment industry in general and a Guinness record for being the longest, as well as the impulse to promote the Telethon, one of the most replicated altruistic causes in all of Latin America.
Thanks to his work on this broadcast and other projects, Mario Luis Kreutzberger Blumenfeld was inducted into the 2012 Hall of Fame of the US Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2011.
Despite the triumphs and high ratings, on September 19, 2015, an entire era in the North American network's programs came to an end.
His career did not end with Sábado Gigante, since this project was followed by Don Francisco invites you, which was broadcast on Telemundo from 2016 to 2018.
“Don Francisco” also ventured into Giant Nights , from 1978 to 1992; Don Francisco presents , from 2001 to 2012, and Catch the millions from 2012 to 2015. And his career did not end with Sábado Gigante, since this project was followed by Don Francisco invites you , which was broadcast on Telemundo from 2016 to 2018.
The shadow of harassment
Not everything has been light in the life of the Chilean presenter, in 2013 the journalist Laura Landaeta published the book Don Francisco: unauthorized biography of a giant , where he spoke of “the impunity with which Mario Kreutzberger ( name of the famous Chilean presenter) worked on television using women as an object, exchanging sexual favors in dressing rooms for televisions, washing machines and electrical appliances ”.
The communicator indicated that the Mexican model Ana Isabel Gómez denounced “Don Francisco” in 1994 for trying to rape her in the vicinity of a hotel in Miami, in 1989 . The scandal, as published by Landaeta, ended with a silence agreement in exchange for thousands of greenbacks.
The presenter denied the accusation against him but preferred to reach the economic pact: “The accusations are completely false. I have never sexually harassed Ana Gómez. She is obviously resentful that we fired her . ”