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Cristina Saralegui: 1948—: Journalist, Talk Show Host, Publisher, Author

Made Career Move To Television

The Hallmark Corporation established the Univision television network in 1988 with the goal that it would stop relying on foreign programming and be American, but in Spanish. In 2002 it was the fifth-largest network in terms of viewers and outranked the likes of HBO, ESPN, and the WB. Saralegui started working with Univision on a variety show called Sábado Gigante, where she was contracted for ten segments to address issues from her magazine. The segments were so popular that she was asked to host a woman's magazine show. Saralegui didn't agree with the male executive producer's stereotypical ideas, and she complained in a memo to the network. She was soon offered the $3,000-a-month job of executive producer for the program TV Mujer.

In 1989 she established herself as the host of her namesake show El Show de Cristina (The Cristina Show). She was offered a $130,000 annual salary, the same amount she was getting at Cosmopolitan. Avila, well versed in show business, was furious at the low offer and became her manager. Together, they created Cristina Saralegui Enterprises, which handled all of her operations and business ventures. Still, her biggest obstacle with the show was keeping creative control. "On the television planet, where men make up the tribe, the law of the caveman rules. So, for a woman coming from another world, without experience or cunning, to succeed gradually in gaining control over what is taped, what goes out over the air, what is said without censorship, is an epic feat," she wrote in her autobiography.

Broadcast from Miami, El Show de Cristina was not an instant success. She had to fight hard to make people understand that a very blonde and very white Cuban from Miami could represent Hispanics anywhere. "We used to get hate mail when we went on the air at the beginning," she told National Public Radio. "My own people were saying things like, 'Oh, my God, how dare you say you represent us when, you know, you're not brown?'" But within six months the show climbed to first place and went on to win ten local Emmy Awards.

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) BiographyCristina Saralegui: 1948—: Journalist, Talk Show Host, Publisher, Author Biography - Started A Career In Magazines, Made Career Move To Television, Sought To Educate Hispanic Community