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

Sought To Educate Hispanic Community

Saralegui hosted the top-rated Spanish-language talk show, seen by an estimated 100 million people in 18 countries throughout Latin America, Europe, and the United States, for twelve years. Covering topics ranging from homeless children to alien abductions, Sara-legui was frequently compared to Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue, two hugely successful daytime TV hosts. "I am not Oprah with salsa," she said in an interview with the Boston Globe, "I am not Phil Donahue in drag. I am Cristina Saralegui." In fact El Show de Cristina had a viewership of five times the amount of Winfrey's audience.

Saralegui felt that her greatest challenge was to educate and open the minds of her audience without offending them, an almost impossible feat when attempting to appeal to 100 million people. It was a homosexual wedding on her show in 1996 that generated the biggest outburst of disapproval in a widely publicized hate campaign. Saralegui persevered and went on to receive an award from the National Gay and Lesbian Alliance for the show. She believed the controversial shows were the most important ones she'd done, seeing herself as an educator of the Hispanic community. She also felt responsible for entertaining her audience without "taking the low road" like so many other daytime talk shows. "I control what's on my show," she told Hispanic Magazine in a 1998 interview. "There's no violence or vulgarity. If it seems like it's getting to that level, I stop taping."

Part of her success was largely due to the exploding Latino population in the United States, where she was watched in two million homes. "Americans have to understand that we are here, and we are Americans," she told the Boston Globe. "In a few years we will outnumber African Americans. Americans have to wake up and realize we're not going away. We're not foreigners. This is our country." In fact, she has been credited with Americanizing Latino culture and breaking down certain Latino cultural norms by engaging in traditionally taboo subjects such as machismo, domestic violence, and menopause.

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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