Almost four years after “Sábado Gigante” was canceled and Mario Kreutzberger left the Univision, the iconic show host returned to the network.
Kreutzberger, better known as Don Francisco, made a surprise appearance during Univision’s 7th annual TeletonUSA on Friday to receive a special recognition for his work help children with disabilities.
The former “Sábado Gigante” host founded Teletón Chile in 1978 and has since helped expand the telethon concept to 12 Latin American countries.
Kreutzberger was the main host of the first TeletonUSA broadcast on Univision in 2012 until his departure from the network in 2015. He returned as guest host of the 28-hour broadcast fundraiser on Saturday night.
This year’s star-studded show raised $8,160,789 for the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute of TeletonUSA (CRIT-USA).
A curious tidbit: during his final year at Univision (after his show was canceled), Telemundo honored “Don Francisco” for his lifelong contributions to Spanish-language television during its 2015 broadcast of “Premios Tu Mundo.”
At that time, having a Univision talent on rival Telemundo air was unthinkable. Months after his departure from Univision, Kreutzberger signed a multi-year production and talent deal with Telemundo.
Telemundo canceled Kreutzberger’s “Don Francisco Te Invita” last year and axed two other shows produced by his production company – talent variety show “Siempre Niños” and the Gong Show-like “Gran Oportunidad,” which aired one season on Telemundo in 2017 and were not picked up for a second round.
Months later, he’s getting special recognition at Univision. Could this possibly signal he’ll return to his old stomping grounds?