Saturdays are about to be a lot less giant. “Sábado Gigante,” the Spanish-language TV staple that brought millions of Latino families together with its madcap contests and cheesy sketch comedy bits, will end its record 53-year run Sept. 19, Univision announced Friday.
For many Latino immigrants and their children, the program has been the equivalent of comfort food, reminding them of the high-energy entertainment of their homeland and serving as a unifier for the Latino diaspora.
Led by carnival barker host Mario Kreutzberger — who used the stage name Don Francisco — the Miami-based “Giant Saturday” looked as if “The Gong Show,” “Let’s Make a Deal” and “Saturday Night Live” were put in a kitschy blender and served up a jumbo, three-hour weekly program.
Though the show is beloved by generations of Latinos, however, ratings have dropped sharply in recent years among the young adults prized by advertisers. …