Switching Channels
  • Getty Images photoWednesday night, I watched a historical show on...no, not life during martial law or the Japanese occupation of the Philippines or the evolution of the impeachment process. I found myself glued to the Lifestyle Channel watching every minute of "Love, Lust & Heels." I'm not a fashionista but I enjoyed the show because I am a trivia junkie and there was a lot of that in the hour-long presentation.

    Did you know, for instance, that the first person to popularize high heels wasn't a lady but a guy? In 1661, French King Louis XIV wore heels because he was only 4'11" and he wanted to look like a six-footer. All the men at court wore heels which became a status symbol for the aristocracy. That's where the term "well-heeled," which means prosperous or wealthy, comes from.

    In 1774, Marie Antoinette was married off to Louis XVI at age 14. She was referred to as the teen queen, the Miley Cyrus of her time. Since she was just a trophy wife, she spent most of her time buying all sorts of luxurious

    Read More »from Sex and high-heel shoes
  • Contestant Jessica Sanchez performs on FOX's 'American Idol' Season 11 Top 12 Girls Live Performance Show on February 29, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by FOX via Getty Images) Jasmine Trias and Camille Velasco, 2004. Ramiele Malubay, 2008. Thia Megia, 2011. These Fil-Am girls made it to either the top 13 or top 12 on "American Idol." (Unfortunately, no Fil-Am guy has ever gone that far in the talent contest. Last year, Clint Jun Gamboa was in the top 24 but didn't make it to the top 13.) This year, another Fil-Am girl is in the finals. Her name is Jessica Sanchez and if the feedback she's been getting is any indication (she got the only standing ovation from the three judges—Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Tyler and bloggers on the Net have been raving about her), Jessica may yet equal if not surpass Jasmine's third-place finish. Could she be the next American Idol, the first Fil-Am singer to win the title? That's too early to tell.

    I watched her last Thursday when the top 12 female contestants performed and I got worried when she said she couldn't rehearse enough because she had a sore throat and the doctor said her vocal chords were swollen. Well,

    Read More »from Jessica Sanchez expected to survive this week’s ‘AI’
  • Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon (NPPA Images)The Kapamilya Network finally pulled the plug on the comatose "Happy, Yipee, Yehey" and on Feb. 6 pinned its hopes on "It's Showtime" to revive ABS-CBN's fortunes on the noontime slot. After all, "Showtime" was performing well on its late-morning slot because of its group talent contest and scheduling it half an hour before "Eat Bulaga" might persuade lazy viewers not to switch channels at noon.

    Sorry, Vice Ganda and company, the audience continues to be loyal to Vic Sotto and his dabarkads. If published surveys of AC Nielsen and Kantar are to be believed, "EB" is clobbering "Showtime" by a wide margin. The reason is simple, Except for Vice, the Kapamilya show doesn't have a deep bench to match the regular hosts of "EB." Aside from the unbeatable duo of Vic and Joey de Leon, "EB" also counts on its rising stars, Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola . Jose and Wally are so popular they now have a regular show on TV5 and are headlining a show at the Araneta Coliseum March 2 like Vice did. Then,

    Read More »from ‘Eat Bulaga’ clobbers ‘It’s Showtime’
  • Mykel Hawke and Ruth England (Photo courtesy of Discovery Channel)Imagine Indiana Jones and Lara Croft in a reality show and you get an idea of "Man, Woman, Wild," which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel (Channel 39 on Sky and Channel 56 on Destiny). Meet the husband and wife team of Mykel Hawke and Ruth England who are dropped into the most inhospitable locations on this planet and left to fend for themselves with just a knife and the clothes on their back for four days and nights.

    Mykel, 46, is a former Special Forces soldier while Ruth, 41, is a journalist. They've been married for six years. They must use their survival skills as they explore the Bermuda triangle, the jungles of Colombia, the center of a massive cave and many other dangerous locations. Recently, I joined several Asian journalists in a telephone interview with the couple. The following are excerpts from that session:

    What's it like living 24 hours a day for four days with the same person?

    Mykel:   Oh, man, we do that all the time anyway. That's good fun.  Otherwise

    Read More »from Interview with real-life Indiana Jones and Lara Croft
  • Dustin Hoffman (Publicity photo)If like me, you are not a race track enthusiast, the terms "breezing," "condition book," "maiden," "pick six," and "post position" will sound Greek to you. You will also probably not have much enthusiasm for the pilot episode of "Luck," an HBO miniseries that premieres on Feb. 20 at 10 p.m.

    HBO Asia's Karen Lai gave members of the press fair warning during an advanced screening at the Manila Polo club. Ms Lai explained that the director, Michael Mann is known for his character-driven movies like "Ali" and "Collateral". So if you're expecting something like "Seabiscuit," then you might get disappointed with the initial episode.

    I found myself dozing off a few times after a hearty lunch but I'm a big fan of Dustin Hoffman, who plays the lead character so this series may start out slow but things should start picking up as "Luck" races for the homestretch.

    To liven up the press briefing, HBO arranged for Mark Lopez, Sports and Athletic Director of the Manila Polo Club to give us a primer

    Read More »from Dustin Hoffman is out for revenge in HBO’s ‘Luck’
  • Actor Alec Baldwin poses with the Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series award for '30 Rock' in the press room at the 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards held at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Dan MacMedan/WireImage)The 18th Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards event on Jan. 30 could not match the Oscars or the Golden Globes. There was no Billy Crystal or Ricky Gervais to deliver the opening monologue and make witty side comments when an award was given. Presenters were introduced by a lady announcer offstage instead of a program host. There were no song and dance routines. Instead, there were film clips of the nominated actors and their movies and TV shows plus a tribute to those who passed away. The Guild has always mounted a simple awards night.

    For star struck fans, that's probably enough. Watching George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and other celebs on screen is entertaining by itself. For me, it's the guessing game before the winners are announced that keeps me glued to the boob tube. More importantly, the SAG awards are strong indicators of who will win the coveted acting Oscars.

    Looking at the list of acting nominations, it's clear that SAG has a big say in the Academy's

    Read More »from The 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards night: Mildly entertaining
  • Ryan Seacrest, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson (Publicity photo)

    I watched the premiere of "American Idol (Season 11)" on Jan. 19 with some apprehension. It's hard to put a fresh spin on a talent show that's been around for 10 years. At least, with a drama series or sitcom, the writers can always come up with stories or situations that will surprise viewers. With "AI," the unexpected developments usually come when the contestants perform live and the audience decides who should go home.

    I was afraid that the first phase when auditions are conducted nationwide would be a repeat of the previous 10 seasons. I was right. Thousands of aspirants in Nashville, "AI's" first stop, are shown on cam to prove that the show still has a wide following when Randy Jackson shouts "You're going to Hollywood" a zillion times  to contestants who passed. Both excellent singers and godawful ones are featured. The lucky ones run all over the place screaming that they made it and display their golden ticket to the cameras. Many of the rejects shed copious tears, others

    Read More »from ‘American Idol’ is back
  • 'Project Runway Philippines' mentors Rajo Laurel, Apples Aberin, Jojie Lloren and host Tweetie de Leon. (Solar TV photo)Solar Entertainment billed "Destination Entertainment" as a thanksgiving party for the press held at the plush Genting Club at Resorts World (RW). Like most Solar affairs, this one had many things going for it—good food catered by Resorts World, a live band,  raffle prizes and the presence of the company's chief operating officer Peter Chan Liong. Unfortunately, the press was unable to interview him.

    Instead, we had a group interview with Patti Grandidge and Kim Jones, hosts of locally produced magazine show "Etcetera" on etc, about fashion trends, beauty tips, the World Wide Web and related topics. We also sat down with "Project Runway Philippines" (PRP) host Tweetie de Leon and mentor Jojie Lloren.

    I wanted to find out more about the 13 contestants who made it to the reality show which premieres on etc in March. The show conducted auditions in August and September last year in Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Baguio and Makati. Other than saying over a hundred aspirants showed up nationwide and

    Read More »from ‘Destination Entertainment’
  • Senator-judges raise their hands during a voting process on the second day of the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona held at the Senate in Pasay City, south of Manila, on 17 January 2012. The Senate, sitting as the impeachment court, voted 14-6 to deny the prosecution panel's petition to sub-poena the family of Corona. (Joseph Vidal/PRIB/NPPA Images)In the TV series, “Law and Order,” a dead body is discovered, the police sort out clues to find the murderer, the culprit is arrested and brought to court, a trial is held and a verdict is handed out by the jury—all in a span of one hour. After two days of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, congressmen-prosecutors have yet to present witnesses and experts predict it will take three months to arrive at a decision.

    That’s reality.

    My observations so far on ANC’s coverage of the historic event:

    • Atty. Victoria Avena of the UP College of Law stole the show from Karen Davila, Tony Velasquez, Atty. Adel Tamano and Lynda Jumilla. She managed to explain intricacies of the impeachment process in terms that I, a non-lawyer could understand. Atty. Avena was a commanding presence on screen and I listened to every word she said. This is not to say Karen et al did an awful job. They were okay.

    • Former chief justice Artemio Panganiban, one of ANC’s resource persons, commented on an argument
    Read More »from My thoughts on ANC’s coverage of the Corona impeachment trial
  • Ricky Gervais (Getty Images)Comedian Ricky Gervais pushed the envelope too far with his wisecracks at last year's Golden Globes. Many were directed at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the event's organizer. Ricky kept joking that the awards were for sale. Many were certain he would not be returning to this year's ceremony.

    They were wrong. The British funnyman was back on Jan. 16 as host of the 69th Golden Globes, greeting the audience with "Tonight, you get Britain's biggest comedian, hosting the world's second-biggest awards show, on America's third-biggest network." He would continue skewering the HFPA during the show. Speaking about one of the nominated shows, "Boardwalk Empire," he commented, "I love that show," he said, "It's about a load of immigrants who came to America about a hundred years ago, and they got involved in bribery and corruption and worked their way up into high society. But enough about the Hollywood Foreign Press."

    On the whole, however, his performance was tamer than last

    Read More »from A tamer Ricky Gervais hosts the 69th Golden Globes


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