Switching Channels
  • Vic Sotto (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Vic Sotto (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Seven months after "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" temporarily went off the air, the game show is back on TV5. "WTBAM" had its premiere on Sunday, May 16, with some minor changes. In place of the "Ask the Audience" lifeline, the show now has "People Speak" where the contestant chooses three members of the audience for assistance. If he/she uses their answer and it is correct, the three will share P20,000. A new lifeline called "Switch" is added if the player reaches and gets the P150,000 question right. Here, he/she can switch to a new question if he/she finds the current one too difficult.

    What hasn't changed is the program host. Vic Sotto continues to be a competent quizmaster with his amiable personality and entertaining repartee. Compared to "Eat Bulaga," "WTBAM" requires more from Vic. Here, he has no sidekicks like Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola to assist him or a Joey de Leon to interact with. He only has the contestants to work with and if they are not interesting, he has to work

    Read More »from Vic Sotto returns to ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’
  • Bill Irwin (Getty Images)Bill Irwin (Getty Images)I have just gotten an advance look at Episode 15 of the latest season of "CSI" courtesy of AXN's Gayle Tan who had arranged for an Indonesian writer and me to interview Bill Irwin by phone. 61-year-old Irwin plays Nate Haskell, a serial killer who is a recurring character in the series. He's the nemesis of Dr. Raymond Langston, a CSI operative played by Lawrence Fishburne. When Season 10 ended, Langston was fighting for his life after being stabbed by Haskell. Nate is one nasty dude and Irwin portrays him as a scheming, remorseless monster.

    In the same episode that I previewed, an important role is played by a recent Manila visitor, Justin Bieber, who proves that he can act as well as sing. This is actually his second appearance. His character first surfaced in the first episode of the current season. He plays Jason McCann, the brother of a bombing suspect. Is he a good guy or a kontrabida? I'm not saying. You'll have to watch "CSI" on Wednesday, June 8 at 10 p.m. on AXN (Channel 49 on

    Read More »from Interview with a ‘serial killer’
  • Manny Pacquiao lands a punch on Shane Mosley (Getty Images)Manny Pacquiao lands a punch on Shane Mosley (Getty Images)To no one's surprise, Manny Pacquiao defeated Shane Mosley in their 12-round encounter last Sunday. What was surprising to me was watching a replay of the fight on TV5 instead of GMA-7. I suppose it was part of the perks that Smart, a sister company of the Kapatid network, wangled from the organizers for sponsoring the fight. The telecom outfit must have paid a premium because the ring announcer mentioned Smart as one of the sponsors and its logo was emblazoned on the floor of the ring.

    Underwhelming bout

    What was even more surprising was how underwhelming the whole bout turned out. I got more exciting moments from the RH bill debate on ABS-CBN which was aired at the same time. I would switch to this show during commercial breaks.  Protagonists like Rissa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Esperanza Cabral, Joey Lina and Roilo Golez exchanged stinging verbal punches that evoked cheers from their supporters. At the MGM Grand Garden Arena, boos greeted the fighters in the middle of the bout because

    Read More »from The (ho-hum) Pacquiao-Mosley fight
  • The MTRCB orders the suspension of "Willing Willie" for 30 days. (Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images)The MTRCB orders the suspension of "Willing Willie" for 30 days. (Voltaire Domingo, NPPA Images)First, the good news about the MTRCB order suspending "Willing Willie" for 30 days. The punitive action will hit TV5 and Willie Revillame where it hurts the most because every day that the show is off the air, the Kapatid network loses millions of pesos in ad revenues and Willie doesn't get paid a single centavo.

    At the same time, the show has been placed on probation or a per episode permit basis. If this is strictly followed, "Willing Willie" which was aired live, will now be taped before it is approved for airing. The probationary status will be in force "until the Board is convinced that the self-regulatory measures committed by the Respondents have actually been undertaken and implemented."

    The bad news is that the MTRCB cannot banish Willie from the boob tube because it does not have jurisdiction over TV personalities. The only body which can discipline him is TV 5 which is not likely to fire someone who generates lots of commercials for the network. So whether the audience likes

    Read More »from Analyzing the MTRCB suspension of ‘Willing Willie’
  • Royal newlyweds William and Catherine en route to Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)Royal newlyweds William and Catherine en route to Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)In a span of three days, television covered two newsworthy international events—the royal wedding of William and Kate on April 29 and the beatification of a well-loved Pope, John Paul II on May 1. The wedding was carried live on at least 10 stations locally, including ANC, GMA News TV, Studio 23 and Aksyon 41 and viewed by a reported two billion people, a figure disputed by some quarters. I too am skeptical that close to 1/3 of the total world population of 6.7 billion, many of whom do not own a TV set, watched the wedding. More believable are the Nielsen figures from the US which showed 22.8 million American viewers (about the same as the ratings for "American Idol") versus 17 million for the Prince Charles-Princess Diana nuptials.

    The beatification did not attract as many broadcasters but our local networks were all present and accounted for. Viewership was probably much less than the figures for the wedding. In terms of live audiences, more than one million pilgrims jammed the

    Read More »from Notes on a royal wedding and a blessed event
  • Edu Manzano (Courtesy of GMA Network)Edu Manzano (Courtesy of GMA Network)Late last year, I expressed my disappointment at Edu Manzano's comeback vehicle on TV, GMA-7's "Asar Talo, Laging Panalo."  That show's format relied on mindless gimmickry (distracting contestants who were TV performers with supposedly juicy tsismis about them) to entertain viewers. Edu was not given too many opportunities to display his gift of gab and sense of humor that impressed me on "Game Ka Na Ba?". I also chided him for reneging on his promise during the election period not to return to the entertainment world whether he won or not for vice president.

    Well, time heals all wounds. I take that back. Edu is a show biz personality and no one ever retires from this business. I mean look at Dolphy and Eddie Garcia. They're still at it after more than half a century. The good news is that GMA eventually cancelled "Asar, Talo" and gave Edu a more suitable game show that highlights his considerable talents.

    Doods now hosts "Family Feud" weekdays at 10:30 a.m. on GMA-7. This is the local

    Read More »from Wanted: A talk show for Edu Manzano
  • Luzelle Felipe (left) with Shamcey Supsup (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Luzelle Felipe (left) with Shamcey Supsup (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Shamcey Supsup does not have a glamorous-sounding surname but that didn't seem to matter to the board of judges who chose her as Miss Universe-Philippines 2011 in a beauty pageant. that ran for close to four hours at the Araneta Coliseum. It also helped that she graduated magna cum laude in Architecture from the University of the Philippines and was a topnotcher in the 2010 Architect Licensure Exam. Talk about beauty and brains!

    When Shamcey's victory was announced, it was actually anti-climactic as she had already won three special awards (Miss Talent, Miss Philippine Airlines and Miss Creamsilk) before the top 15 candidates were revealed.

    During the question and answer portion, Dianne Necio was asked what her goal was for the next 12 months. Dianne's  reply: to win one of the three titles. She did reach her goal that evening as she was crowned Binibining Pilipinas International, proving the adage "if at first you don't succeed, try and try again." She was also in last year's

    Read More »from Notes on the 2011 Bb. Pilipinas beauty pageant
  • Willie Revillame (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Willie Revillame (Jerome Ascano, NPPA Images)Willie Revillame has preempted possible moves by MTRCB to suspend "Willing Willie" by announcing that he is taking a two-week leave to, in his words "pag-iisipan ko po muna nang mabuti kung ako po ay magbabalik pa sa industriyang ito." While he seems to have waved the white flag of surrender to the overwhelming voices of disapproval about the Jan Jan episode, he's still unrepentant and continues to insist that he has done nothing wrong. He even attacked certain entertainment personalities for criticizing him on their Twitter accounts. I was particularly incensed by his message to Aiza Seguerra: "Magpakalalaki ka," which is a reference to her sexual orientation. How is that relevant to the case?

    Meanwhile, his lawyers have advanced the preposterous explanation that the six-year-old's number was really "a dance form called 'body wave'…no different from the familiar dance moves we have been accustomed to today." There is, however, one demand that they made to MTRCB that I actually agreed

    Read More »from What now, Willie Revillame?
  • Willie Revillame (AP Photo)Willie Revillame (AP Photo)I join the countless concerned citizens who expressed disgust at the way Willie Revillame treated six-year-old Jan Jan Suan on his show "Willing Willie" on TV5. I urge the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to go beyond their press releases and not let Willie get away with it.

    Why am I not surprised at Willie's latest act of impropriety? He is a recidivist who has never learned from his previous mistakes. In 1999, "Magandang Tanghali Bayan" was suspended by MTRCB because of the way Willie and co-hosts Randy Santiago and John Estrada behaved with the Calendar Beauty contestants.

    In 2003, Willie was back on the air with "Masayang Tanghali Bayan" but it wasn't long before his arrogance got him into trouble again. I was a member of an MTRCB committee that recommended his suspension for uttering a sexually suggestive joke at the expense of the height-challenged

    Read More »from Is it time for Willie to leave TV for good?
  • Richard Gutierrez as Captain Barbell (Photo courtesy of GMA Network)Richard Gutierrez as Captain Barbell (Photo courtesy of GMA Network)SHAZAM! That was the magic word Billy Batson, a homeless newsboy, shouted to become Captain Marvel, a superhero with the wisdom of Solomon; the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. He became quite popular in the 1960s through his appearances in Fawcett Comics then later in DC Comics.

    CAPTAIN BARBELL! These were the two words that Enteng, a bullied boy, shouted as he held a magic barbell to become Mars Ravelo's Captain Barbell, probably inspired by the US version.. Not as imaginative but CB has made it to several movies and TV series and was played by Bob Soler, Edu Manzano, Bong Revilla, and even Dolphy. His latest incarnation is matinee  idol Richard Gutierrez. Unlike previous appearances, Richard will play both Teng and Captain Barbell.

    After a five-year-absence, "Captain Barbell" returned to the boob tube last Monday and did not disappoint with its seamless special effects and imaginative production design

    Read More »from Amazing special effects on ‘Captain Barbell’


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