President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, Marc Anthony, Plácido Domingo and Shakira all said goodbye and Jorge Ramos offered live praise but in the end the end of Sábado Gigante was all down to host Don Francisco and the audiences he had for 53-years. And they showed up in strength on September 19 to wish the longest-running variety show ever a fond farewell.

Sábado Gigante ¡Hasta Siempre! drew 3.4 million total viewers on Saturday with around 1.4 million among adults 18-49. Not only did that long goodbye make Univision the top network on September 19 but it scored the show’s best demo result since the October 2012 50th anniversary special. Overall viewership was among the top 5 results that Sábado Gigante has ever had. Looking at big local markets the show was tops among the 18-49 in Los Angeles, New York, Miami, Houston, San Francisco, Phoenix and Sacramento on Saturday. Part of the show’s connection with its audience was evident from the very beginning when the host, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, noted the earthquake that had hit Chile and sent prayers to those in the nation that birthed Sábado Gigante

Salma Hayek-Antonio Banderez UnivisionHitting the air in 1962 in Chile, Don Francisco’s show pre-dated Univision itself. The multi guest Sábado Gigante debuted in 1986 on the Spanish International Network. SIN became Univision in 1987. Having lost a staple of its line-up, the net plans to put fellow variety show Sabadazo in its slot followed by a new Saturday edition of entertainment news show Sal y Pimienta.