Switching Channels
  • Javier Colon (Getty Images)

    Add another name to the list of current talent search champions like "American Idol's" Scott McReery and "X-Factor's' Melanie Amaro. His name is Javier Colon who was declared winner of the first season of "The Voice" June last year. AXN arranged for some Asian journalists to interview him by phone recently. It was close to midnight in Las Vegas where Javier was enjoying a night cap when he came on the line.

    "I really didn't think I was going to win," he says about his victory. "I was shocked. It was an emotional moment for me. I still can't believe I won." That sounded like a rehearsed comment most victors say but reading about Javier's bumpy musical background, I believed him.

    Javier, 34, was born in Stratford, Connecticut to a Dominican dad, a radio man and a Puerto Rican mom. After earning his musical degree from the University of Connecticut, he landed a job as  vocalist for The Derek Trucks Band in 2000. After a two-year stint with the band, he decided to go solo and signed up

    Read More »from Meet Javier Colon, first winner of ‘The Voice’
  • Maja Salvador (Contributed photo)Maja Salvador was only 14 years old in 2002 when she caught the eye of ABS-CBN top executive Charo Santos-Concio. Maja had come out on the show biz oriented talk show "The Buzz" aching to see her dad Ross Rival whom she last saw when she was only seven years old. Ross and her mom had separated when Maja was just a baby. Charo was not only touched by her story but also saw her as a potential TV star.

    Maja's TV appearance was fruitful in two ways. She managed to see her dad through show biz writer Chit Ramos and ABS-CBN signed her up as a member of Star Magic.


    After a slow start from 2003 to 2005, Maja's career started to pick up in 2006 when she turned 18. The awkward fourteen year old had blossomed into a confident teenager eager to learn more about acting and improving with every assignment she got. Her skills as an actress were sharpened with frequent appearances on "Maalaala Mo Kaya," known for its top caliber dramas. This would lead to meaty roles in teleseryes as well

    Read More »from How Maja Salvador copes with 15-hour long tapings
  • Michael Hall plays the lead title role in "Dexter." (Getty Images)Serial killers are favorite subjects of crime series like "Criminal Minds," "CSI" and "Law and Order." They are generally portrayed as psychopaths who prey on random victims. They can also be malcontents with an axe to grind against the establishment. They usually dispose of their targets in the most painful and gruesome way possible. They have their way for almost the entire episode until the good guys catch up with him or her in the final minutes of the show. As always, good triumphs over evil.

    But what if the serial killer is someone who only exterminates the scum of the earth, evil men who have eluded the law, criminals who are set free because there's not enough evidence against them? That's the intriguing concept behind "Dexter," which airs Saturdays at 11 p.m. on Fox Crime (Channel 64 on Sky Cable).


    The show is just one of several series that tackle controversial subject matter. "Hung" deals with a baseball coach who turns to male prostitution to solve his

    Read More »from The serial killer as hero
  • Tirso Cruz III and Janice de Belen (Ibarra Siapno, NPPA Images)There was a time when the local movie industry released as many as 350 to 400 titles a year. Today, with the tough competition from Hollywood blockbusters with budgets that average $100 million per picture and rampant piracy, that number has dropped to probably less than 50, not counting the indie films, of course.

    A-listers like Bong Revilla, Vic Sotto, Aga Muhlach, Sharon Cuneta and Vilma Santos used to make three to five movies a year. Today, they're lucky if they come out in just a single movie. So, how have these highly-paid stars coped with the paucity of film assignments?

    Bong and Vilma are now busy with their thriving political careers although senator Bong does surface once a year in the Metro Manila Film Festival. The Star for All Seasons has talked about a film project or two but none materialized last year.

    Bossing is always present in the MMFF but he's logged more hours in the medium that I consider the savior of movie stars like Shawie and Binoe—television. (Others say

    Read More »from Actors make a killing on TV
  • Photo by Marlo Cueto, NPPA Images

    The biggest news story on January 9 was the feast of the Black Nazarene where millions of barefoot devotees risked life and limb just to wipe the wooden statue with their white towels or touch the Nazarene's hand. All the evening newscasts devoted a large chunk of their hour-long reportage to the day's honoree but there were other news developments that vied for attention. There was the forced evacuation of small miners' families from the Compostela Valley, the controversy over Chief Justice Renato Corona's expensive condo, Caloocan Mayor Recom Echeverri's suspension that was halted by a TRO and even the arrival of Oscar winner Rachel Weisz (remember her in "The Mummy" and "The Constant Gardener"?) who's shooting a  movie here called "The Bourne Legacy."

    Devotees can thank GMA News TV and Jessica Soho's "State of the Nation" for a more comprehensive look at the Black Nazarene phenomenon. Jessica opened the show by citing a police crowd estimate of three million. This was a smaller

    Read More »from GMA News examines the Black Nazarene phenomenon
  • Gary Valenciano (NPPA Images)January 8's opening number on "ASAP 2012" left me breathless because there were so many things happening on the screen—dancers in lavish costumes parading all over the stage, pole dancers executing difficult acrobatic maneuvers, a magician and a disappearing bird that turns into a lovely lady, singers belting their numbers in tune (most of them anyway). In spite of all these activities, the director (Johnny Manahan?) was able to mount a seamless production number. Minor flubs would have been excusable considering that this was a live presentation (I think) but there were no slip-ups, no awkward moments or extended long shots.

    What spoiled my enjoyment of the show was that portion where Gary V interpreted "Hangang Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan," a song that can best be described in Pilipino as "makabagbag damdamin." Gary did a great job, interpreted the song with all seriousness and did justice to George Canseco's romantic opus. The audience refused to cooperate and started applauding for

    Read More »from The battle of the Sunday noontime shows
  • TV5 sets its sights on dominating the network wars. (Ibarra Siapno, NPPA Images)

    Ever since I can remember, TV5 has never been Number 1 in the television industry. In the pre-martial law years, it was ABS-CBN. In 1972, President Marcos used his dictatorial powers to shut down "the Philippines' largest network." Roberto Benedicto's RPN-9 was on top in the early years but was overtaken by GMA-7, which was the leader when Edsa happened. After a shaky start, ABS-CBN retook the number one position when the Lopezes regained their broadcast properties in 1986 but GMA slowly eroded the Kapamilya network's premier position. Today both networks are waging a see-saw battle on who can claim to be numero uno.

    Undisputed No. 3

    There's no disagreement on who's in third place. TV5's chairman, Manny Pangilinan himself admitted at last month's advertising congress in Camarines Sur that "We are clearly the undisputed No. 3. However, just being stuck in third place has made me extremely paranoid. Television is dangerous to your health."

    But not for long.  Pangilinan is clearly aiming

    Read More »from Will TV5 overtake ABS-CBN and GMA?
  • Local writers of situation comedies start off with a handicap. Ideally, sitcoms should only run for 30 minutes. Anything longer than that will drag, as proven by most sitcoms  I've viewed since the 1980s. The only exceptions  I can recall right now are many hour-long episodes of "Tang Ta Rang Tang," "John en Marsha" and "Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata." Credit goes to the writers, Beer Flores, Ading Fernando and Joey Reyes as well as comedians Pugo, Bentot, Dolphy, Noel Trinidad and Tessie Tomas. Even with these talented people, some episodes became boring because they ran for more than 30 minutes.

    Unfortunately, local sitcoms have to run for at least an hour so there's enough room for commercials. With a half-hour episode, the networks cannot sell enough spots to recoup their production cost. In the US, where most if not all sitcoms run for half an hour, the networks don't mind losing money on the shows' initial run because they are counting on the income or residuals from the

    Read More »from The problem with hour-long sitcoms
  • TV Patrol Anchors Ted Failon, Noli de Castro and Korina Sanchez (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)There was a time when newscasts left sensational stories such as bloody killings and sex scandals to the tabloids and newscasters like Jose Mari Velez and Bong Lapira had the same calm, controlled voice in reporting good and bad news. All of that changed in 1987 when ABS-CBN launched "TV Patrol" and unabashedly admitted that the network was shifting to tabloid journalism. The new one-hour format called for more crime stories (murders, rapes, kidnapping), showbiz developments (love triangles, marital break-ups, sex scandals) and less issue-oriented stories.

    On top of that, the news was delivered in Filipino, lingua franca of the mass audience and announcers were instructed to add several decibels to their voices.  English newscasts such as "The World Tonight," which featured more substantial topics, were moved to the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) where newscasters Tina Monzon-Palma and Angelo Castro delivered the news in a subdued manner.

    The tabloid formula must have worked because "TV

    Read More »from ‘TV Patrol’ and tabloid journalism
  • Angelica Panganiban (Marlo Cueto, NPPA Images)I don't think any blue-blooded male will object if I declare that Angelica Panganiban will easily make it to the list of the top 10 sexiest actresses in show business. Her movies like "Santa Santita" and "I Love You, Goodbye," steamy pictorials in FHM and Maxim and her many sexy calendars should convince Doubting Thomases. After watching her convincing and hilarious portrayal of a bride harboring a gay make-up artist inside her body in "Here Comes the Bride," I believe she should also get a spot on the list of the top 10 comedians, both male and female. Unlike other comics who make use of their physical imperfections and pie-in-the-face routines to make people laugh, the sexy actress uses her acting ability to elicit laughter.

    That's why I don't understand why ABS-CBN is neglecting her goofy side in the late-evening variety show "Banana Split, Extra Scoop." In last Saturday's episode, the show concentrated on Angelica's sex appeal by having her wear skimpy outfits that showed off her

    Read More »from Angelica Panganiban’s comedic talent neglected in ‘Banana Split’


(155 Stories)