He brought Spanish television a mixture of laughter and tears every Saturday night with his show Sábado Gigante and after 53 years, he bowed out. Most of us thought Mario Luis "Don Francisco" Kreutzberger was going to go off and retire, but the 75-year-old star lives to do what he loves and that's entertaining.
"I never missed the former program, I never missed the former network, I'm very grateful to them but I never missed it. In my mind, I was going to build something new. My big challenge at Telemundo is not only being successful with my talk show but also to develop new talent—that is my big challenge. This gives me the opportunity to give them my experience of more than 50 years," Don Francisco said to E! News. "I don't understand working on Television if you're not fully involved. It's not correct to arrive the same day and ask around, ‘What do I need to do?' You have to be involved. Mostly in this case, that it's a talk show, you have to think of how you're going to approach each guest, and also the challenge for me is how am I going to incorporate the other people that are on the set, so that it's a fluent conversation. It's really not easy."
The legendary on-air personality has interviewed everyone from presidents to pop stars, so we wondered, has he ever been starstruck?
"There were sometimes that the interviews were difficult to start. I never really have gotten nervous during an interview, but I do get nervous before, but not at the moment that we're here together. Especially here that I have to translate from my mother language to English," Don Francisco said.
The star confessed that he was influenced by Johnny Carson, but today he admires the work of talk show host much younger than he is.
"I'm a huge fan of James Corden and one of my biggest challenges is to reach the millennials, this is the new generation. Well, at my former job I was able to do it and I hope I can now, too, because I'm not alone on this show. I'm with Jessica Carrillo, she's a young girl and she's going to ask questions from her point of view. We come from different generations, which give us different way to look at things and different perceptions."
Don't miss Don Francisco Te Invita every Sunday at 10PM/9C on Telemundo.
(E! and Telemundo are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)