NEW YORK (AP) – Nearly twice as many people as usually watched the Spanish-language television institution "Sabado Gigante" turned out for the show's farewell on Univision after 53 years on the air.
The Nielsen company said that 3.4 million people saw host Don Francisco's adios in the United States. The three-hour variety show, whose name translates to "giant Saturday" and is a mix of celebrity appearances and amateur talent contests, reached 1.9 million viewers on a typical Saturday this year. The finale was the show's fourth-biggest audience ever in the U.S., with the top being 3.5 million for an episode in January 2005.
The measurement doesn't include other Latin American countries, where the show is also seen, and for which no immediate viewership estimate was available.
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama taped messages for the final show, which featured performances by musicians Luis Fonsi, Espinoza Paz, Intocable, Juanes and Laura Pausini.
Francisco, whose real name is Mario Kreutzberger, began his show in Chile. It moved to Miami in 1986, when Univision began televising it. Univision is replacing "Sabado Gigante" with another variety show, "Sabadazo," which will feature comedy and Latin music's Top Ten for the week.
Football and the second Republican presidential debate dominated the week's ratings, won by NBC on the strength of its Sunday night football game. That game also cut into viewing of the annual Emmy Awards, with 11.9 million viewers the smallest audience in the show's televised history.
For the week in prime time, NBC averaged 8.7 million viewers, CBS had 6.7 million, Fox had 5.3 million, ABC had 4.3 million, Univision had 2.5 million, Telemundo had 1.4 million, ION Television had 1.1 million and the CW had 1 million.
ESPN was the most-watched cable network in prime time, averaging 4.14 million viewers. CNN had 3.59 million, Fox News Channel had 1.59 million, the Disney Channel had 1.58 million and USA had 1.49 million.
NBC's "Nightly News" topped the evening newscasts with an average of 8 million viewers. ABC's "World News" was second with 7.6 million and the "CBS Evening News" had 6.3 million viewers.
For the week of Sept. 14-20, the top 10 shows, their networks and viewerships: NFL Football: Seattle at Green Bay, NBC, 26.38 million; Republican Presidential Debate, CNN, 23.06 million; NFL Fooball: Denver at Kansas City, CBS, 21.12 million; "Sunday Night NFL Preview," NBC, 18.88 million; "Republican Debate Preview," CNN, 18.83 million; NFL Football: Minnesota at San Francisco, ESPN, 14.33 million; "Football Night in America" (Sunday, 8 p.m.), NBC, 14.15 million; NFL Football: Philadelphia at Atlanta, ESPN, 13.56 million; "Dancing With the Stars," ABC, 13.21 million; "Kickoff to the Emmys," Fox, 12.7 million.