59 seconds - 59 segundos

59 Seconds was a political debate and current affairs program on Televisión Española , broadcast in Spain by La 1, recorded at the Buñuel studios and produced by Globomedia .

Its main characteristic was to have a discussion table with microphones that automatically retracted after one minute of activity, which forced the audience to adjust their speech to that time.


59 "begins its journey in October 2004 as a result of an alleged policy change at TVE advocated by its new director, Carmen Caffarel . The objective was to return the debate to the media and television space. Although TVE had had precedents of political debate programs (especially the famous La clave , presented by José Luis Balbín ), these programs had not occupied much space on the Spanish television grid for a long time.

The program 59 "was commissioned to an external producer of great importance in the audiovisual scene, Globomedia . Emilio Aragón was one of its founders and TVE had always maintained good relations with the family, especially with Emilio's father, Miliki . This decision motivated the disapproval of part of the chain of workers, accustomed to the own production system, and who considered that such a program should be carried out entirely by those responsible for the public chain.

In principle 59 "included more guests from the political world and on one occasion it even had the presence of the President of the Government of Spain , José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero . Other ministers , such as José Bono and José Antonio Alonso , have also attended the program , as well as the coordinator of Izquierda Unida , Gaspar Llamazares , the CiU candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat of Catalonia , Artur Mas , and the former lehendakari Carlos Garaikoetxea. However, the reluctance of many politicians to be questioned on television and the scarce tradition in Spain of lending themselves to this type of media space led to the priority being given to the debate between journalists, even after having lifted the limitation of "59 seconds" intervention for the majority of invited politicians.

In this sense, the program was hampered by the veto of the PP , which in June of 2005 announced its intention not to go further on the grounds that the information was manipulated in favor of the interests of the Government. [ 1 ] However, some members of this party have occasionally attended the program after this date, such as the PP spokesman in the Congress of Deputies , Eduardo Zaplana .

Mamen Mendizábal , the presenter in the first stage of the program, left it in 2006 to present La Sexta Noticias de La Sexta . His replacement was Ana Pastor , from the radio world ( Cadena SER ). He currently presents María Casado .

The other well-known face of the program was Pedro J. Ramírez , director of the newspaper El Mundo , who spoke regularly at the debate table.


Previously, 59 "was emitted from the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Law of the Complutense University of Madrid , chosen for its similarity with the Congress of Deputies . Later it was emitted from the Buñuel Studies of Madrid.

It had a table where six journalists or specialized commentators sat, with at least one very close to the positions of the PSOE and another to those of the PP . The rest were divided between the right and the left, more or less moderate, with very different opinions regarding certain recurring themes ( nationalism , individual morality , social policies ...).

The core of the format consisted of microphones that went up and down. The tertullian, in principle, had to limit his speech to one minute; after this time the microphone disappeared and prevented his voice from being heard. The presenter moderated the debate and was in charge of establishing the speaking turns. This ensured that all opinions could be heard without the need to raise their voices to impose themselves, a common phenomenon in many traditional debates.

The entire program, without advertising, lasted between 75 and 90 minutes. It had several blocks in which current political or social, national or international issues were discussed. The debate on set was complemented with reports or videos recorded previously. Sometimes one or two guests were present, who would present their points of view on the matter.

Previously, the program added parts of humor, with the presence of regular comedians of the production company such as Miki Nadal or Florentino Fernández , but this aspect declined as it did not fit well with the tone of the program.


59 " aired in late night hours (from eleven or twelve at night) and weekly on La 1. It changed several times during the day; it used to occupy Monday nights , but in 2006 it moved to Wednesday , in 2008 it returned to Monday night, and finally it returned to Wednesday.


Season Episodes Premiere Final Average audience
Viewers Share
1 36 October 4, 2004 June 27, 2005 1 426 000 18,8%
2 38 September 19, 2005 July 10, 2006 890 000 18,9%
3 37 September 20, 2006 July 4, 2007 793 000 13,9%
4 42 September 12, 2007 July 14, 2008 1 039 000 12,2%
5 40 September 10, 2008 July 8, 2009 867 000 10,2%
6 37 September 8, 2009 July 14, 2010 705 000 9,8%
7 30 September 9, 2010 May 25, 2011 583 000 7,5%
8 22 September 7, 2011 April 4, 2012 591 000 7,1%
Total 282 2004 2012 862 000 12,3%


A version was broadcast in Catalan for Catalonia , 59 " (segons 59) , the Tuesday , starting at half past nine p.m. currently presented by Cristina Puig replacing to Maria Casado , in La 2 . [ 2 ]

A Canarian version of 59 " was also broadcast on Tuesdays , starting at eleven o'clock at night (Canary time), presented by Fátima Hernández on La 1 (from the Canary Islands).


During his career, 59 " has obtained diverse audiences depending on the guest and the topics covered. The share tended to oscillate from 10% to 30% of some programs. On April 25 , 2005 , when José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero came to be interviewed, the screen share was 25%, a figure higher than that of other television appearances of the president or the leader of the opposition, Mariano Rajoy . [ 3 ] In its third season (2006-2007), the share of the program remained around 14%, which indicates that it has reached a loyal audience.

Despite the strong dependence in Spain on high audience data for a television program to continue on the air, it was considered that 59 seconds , by its very nature, had a positive impact on the public image of the network. Other spaces for debate broadcast by some televisions since 2006 have shown the influence of 59 seconds , particularly Madrid's opinion on Telemadrid and Sexto Sentido on La Sexta .

Antenna output

On April 4, 2012, 59 seconds goes off the air to make way for the program The debate on 1 , this is due to the cut of 200 million to RTVE , in order to save 106 million euros . The new program of debates of the 1 occupies the same time as 59 seconds (Wednesday at 00:15), a new set premiered and the novelty was that the microphones that were used in 59 seconds were removed.


Common contexts


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