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Cristina Saralegui talk show to end

August 27, 2010|By Yvonne Villarreal, Los Angeles Times

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).

After more than 20 years of unabashed frankness and interviews with A-list Latino stars, Univision announced Thursday that Saralegui's widely watched talk show on the largest Spanish-language television network in this country 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 estimated to have 100 million viewers worldwide — making it a tough gig to leave behind. But the Cuban American version of Oprah Winfrey isn't totally giving up her mike; she'll remain a member of the Univision family by hosting specials on the network.

"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," said César Conde, president of the Univision Networks, in a statement.

What began as a career writing for the Spanish version of Cosmopolitan magazine morphed into a profession as one of television's most powerful commodities. Over her career, Saralegui launched her own magazine, 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 even attempted an English-language talk show, "Cristina," which was carried on the CBS owned-and-operated stations in major markets, but it was canceled after an 11-week run.

yvonne.villarreal@latimes.com

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