MEXICO CITY, Mexico – One of Mexico's most popular and often hard-hitting news programs went off the air on Wednesday as Brozo the clown (search) removed his wig and plastic nose to bid viewers farewell.
Speaking haltingly and holding back tears, Victor Trujillo (search) said he decided to end the 2 1/2-year morning news program due to the death of his wife, who co-produced the program, a month ago.
"It can't just go on as if nothing had happened," he told reporters.
"The fun was diminishing. I couldn't keep putting on the wig and feel it was a yoke that weighed on me."
The emotional words of a devoted husband were sharply at odds with the image portrayed by his salty, leering character, Brozo, a populist, adult-oriented clown.
Brozo appeared daily to discuss and laugh at the news, accompanied by a team of oddball assistants, ranging from a scantily clad "secretary" to a roaring, crazed street reporter in dark glasses and an aviator jacket.
He often used the circus atmosphere to draw viewers into serious subjects, breaking stories by interviewing top politicians about public policy even as more-conventional rival news shows focused on celebrity scandals and developments in "reality television" shows.
"The idea was to make information attractive," he said.
It was the clown who embarrassed a leading Mexico City (search) legislator, trapping the man on a live television broadcast and demanding an explanation while airing previously unseen videotapes of the politician stuffing his pockets with a businessman's cash.
"Don't treat me like a fool!" the angered clown shouted -- using a vulgar term in Spanish -- when the politician tried to explain the money away.
Trujillo on Wednesday said it had been a "difficult" moment. "There's shame in all of this [the scandal]. It's not agreeable."
Trujillo, 43, has been using the Brozo character for years -- taking the name from play on "Bozo" the clown and "la broza," meaning trash or -- in slang -- a somewhat affectionate term for a group of rowdy or working class people.
President Vicente Fox -- whose wife Marta Sahagun once appeared with Brozo -- sent a letter congratulating Trujillo and saying, accurately, that he had brought "a new style broadcasting the news."
Trujillo said he didn't want his own unhappiness over his wife's death to affect the program: "At this point, I can't give myself the luxury of taking the risk."
Trujillo said he would continue to work with Mexico's top network Televisa, whose president, Emilio Azcarraga Jean, came onto the show on Wednesday to embrace Brozo.
Trujillo said he was studying possible new shows.