Spanish-language TV's talk queen, Cristina Saralegui, is ending her show

Cristina Saralegui will continue to host specials on Univision.
Cristina Saralegui will continue to host specials on Univision. (Sara D. Davis For The Washington Post)

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By Yvonne Villarreal
Friday, August 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES -- First Oprah, now Cristina. Daytime television is about to lose another talk-show queen.

Cristina Saralegui, one of Spanish-language media's most powerful women, is ending "El Show de Cristina" (The Cristina Show), the Univision network announced Thursday.

After more than 20 years of unabashed frankness and interviews with A-list Latino stars, Saralegui's widely watched afternoon talk show will have its final episode Nov. 1.

"It is bittersweet to announce the end of what has been a very rewarding experience, but after many wonderful years, now is the perfect time to retire the show and move on to the next exciting phase of my career," Saralegui said in a statement.

The Miami-based show debuted on Univision in April 1989 as a daily program, switching to a weekly format 12 years later.

It's now estimated to have 100 million viewers worldwide -- making it a tough gig to leave behind.

The Cuban American version of Oprah Winfrey, however, isn't totally giving up her mike. She'll continue to host specials on Univision, which is the largest Spanish-language television network in the United States.

"Cristina has been an inspirational and powerful force in the television industry throughout her career and her celebrated show has been one of the most beloved and popular programs in Spanish-language television history," Cesar Conde, president of the Univision Networks, said in a statement.

What began as a job writing for the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan magazine morphed into the position of one of television's most powerful commodities. Over her career, Saralegui launched Cristina: La Revista (Cristina: The Magazine) -- which ended its 15-year run in 2005 -- and has published several books. But the empire doesn't end there.

She has also launched a furniture line; opened a production facility in Miami to house all branches of her media kingdom; and hosts a daily radio program.

In 1992, she attempted an English-language talk show, "Cristina," which was carried on CBS stations in major markets, but it was canceled after an 11-week run.

-- Los Angeles Times


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