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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

May 29, 2010

ABS CBN upstages GMA 7

FREEHAND by Mario E. Bautista

GMA-7 BETTER do something quick as most of their primetime shows are currently being upstaged by those of ABS-CBN. The new 6 PM show, "Momay", is proving to be quite a toprater, rating 20% plus and this helps boost the rating of their evening newscast, "TV Patrol", that used to be second fiddle to "24 Oras". All the other succeeding shows are thereby affected, what with also the poor showing of "Panday Kids" vs. "Agua Bendita". We hope their new shows like "Langit sa Piling Mo" (pitted against "Momay") and "Pilyang Kerubin" (pitted against "Agua") will be more attractive to primetime viewers than the shows that they're replacing. Another thing GMA should do is to shorten "24 Oras". It's just too long for a primetime newscast and a lot of the items shown have already been seen in "Unang Hirit". They should make it more compact and concise so it won't drag. By the time they end, "Agua" has already started way ahead of "Panday Kids". Even the morning and noontime shows are now clobbered by ABS. "Diz Is It" had been on the air for some months now and it just doesn't prove to be a good match against "Showtime". The high ratings of "Showtime" has helped boost that of "Wowowee", which went even higher when Willie Revillame was replaced by Robin Padilla, often trouncing "Eat Bulaga". It's obvious some drastic changes have to be instituted to regain Kapuso viewers.


LOCAL SHOWBIZ lack tall leading men so Enzo Pineda, at 6 ft., is truly a welcome addition to the GMA roster of male talents. Although he was just first runnerup in Starstruck V, many writers opine that he's the one most likely to succeed. Unlike other newbies who want to make it big in showbiz as they're family breadwinners, Enzo, 19, comes from a well to do family. He's the youngest of two boys and his Kuya Paolo, who's 29, is an executive in Pepsi and also has his own tattoo business in front of La Salle Taft Ave. Enzo got into the performing arts while taking up enterpreneurial management at UAP. He would have been a junior now but he decided to focus on showbiz first. "Sayang naman ang opportunities that GMA-7 is giving to me," he says.

Well bred and with a good PR, Enzo is Mr. Nice Guy personified. No wonder the staffers at Starstruck like him very much as he treats everyone with courtesy and respect. A lot of people were predicting he'd win. Was he sore when Steven Silva was declared winner? "More or less, kami ni Rocco Nacino, alam na namin na lamang siya kasi ang lakas-lakas niya sa text votes sa aming lima, including Sarah Lahbati and Diva Montelaba, so we're not really surprised anymore. But being in the top 5 already makes you a winner kasi sobrang alaga talaga sa amin ng GMA Artist Center. For 40 days, we've been taking workshops with various mentors. Na-enjoy ko sa lahat the acting workshops with Direk Gina Alajar kasi she really motivated us and push us to our limits in the emotional scenes na umiiyak at nagagalit ka. We took singing lessons with Atek Jacinto and now, malakas na loob ko kumanta ng live. We took up dancing under various mentors and hosting with Direk Freddie Santos. That really boosted our self confidence."

Aside from "Party Pilipinas", Enzo is now a regular in "Diva" as the new partner of Ynna Asistio after Mark Herras went abroad. He'll also co-star with Sarah, Diva and Steven in an episode of "Love Bug" set in a cruise ship to Guam. "Sayang nga, sina Sarah at Steven lang ang sasama sa ship. Kami ni Diva, dito lang daw sa Manila kukunan ang scenes namin." Too bad for Diva who thought it's her chance to go abroad for the first time.


STAR MAGIC hosted merienda for their May celebrants: Bangs Garcia, Nico Antonio, Chris Gutierrez, Drei Felix, Albie Casino, Mara Lopez, and Nikki Bagaporo. Bangs is glad that after being launched in "Magkano ang Iyong Dangal", she's now doing a movie, "Cinco", the Star Cinema horror offering with 5 episodes where she appears with Pokwang in "Puso", directed by Cathy Molina. "There's also an offer for me to do a sexy film with Direk Joel Lamangan," she says. "But it's still under negotiation as I want to know first how sexy the role is." Bangs is now their family's breadwinner after her dad's business in Davao went bankrupt. She spent for her dad, a civil engineer, to be able to work now in Saudi. She turned 23 on May 26 and is going to Davao this Monday to celebrate it with her family.

Nico is all smiles as his career is on a roll. After playing Tuesday Vargas' boyfriend in the hit "Here Comes the Bride" (that already raked in P105 million to date), he's now doing another movie, "Magkakapatid" for Cinemalaya, and two TV shows, "M3, Malay Mo Ma-develop" and "Payatas". "In 'Magkakapatid', I play a very challenging role, someone with dual personalities, Caloy and Cardo," he says. "'M3' stars Aga Muhlach and Ai Ai de las Alas and I play a closet queen na ladlad lang sa friend kong si Nina Jose. In 'Payatas', a musical na parang 'Glee', I play a ladies' man na maangas." He's also with Voizboys and they're launching their first album, 'Fuzion', tonight with a concert at Zirkoh Morato. A senior law student at San Sebastian, he turned 27 on May 24.

Chris Gutierrez is Gloria Romero's grandson who's now 6 ft. tall at 18. He's part of Giggerboys in ASAP XV. Mara Lopez is very proud that her mom, Maria Isabel Lopez, just won best supporting actress for "Kinatay". She just finished comm arts from La Salle and a movie about football, "Happyland". She's now starting "Si Heidi, si Ivy at si Vi", a film that fosters HIV awareness. She turned 19 on May 20. Nikki Bagaporo is a regular in "Goin Bulilit" and was also in "Flor de Luna", "Pangarap na Bituin", and "Anghel na Walang Langit". She turned 13 on May 23. Albie Casino is a new discovery who's introduced in Gimik 2010. His full name is Allan Benedict and is related to Gabby Concepcion on his father's side and to the Barretto sisters on his mom's side. He turned 17 on May 14 and is an incoming high school senior at La Salle. He has had several girlfriends, starting when he was 13. Last year, he had three girlfriends simultaneously. "Nahuli nila ako at nasampal ako," he says. "Kasi, puro sila taga-St. Paul."


KELLY MISA is one of the new hosts of "Wowowee" who's now given a chance to act as one of Jake Cuenca's leading ladies in "Agimat Present Elias Paniki" that starts airing tonight. She started as a model in 2001 when she was only 18. Then she got into writing and was beauty columnist for a broadsheet for two years. "I realized parang may kulang pa rin so heto, nag-showbiz na ako, upon the encouragement of friends like Anne Curtis and fashion stylist Liz Uy," she says. "First as a host and now, as an actress. And I'm learning a lot. Sa hosting, from Mariel Rodriguez, Valerie Concepcion and Ate Pokwang na datihan na sa 'Wowowee'. Sa acting naman, with my co-actors, like Jake Cuenca who's very nice to work with kasi napaka-intense niya. This is my first acting try and everyone's very supportive kaya nakakatuwa. I do hope gumaling ako talaga in both fields, hosting and acting."

Kelly is honest enough to admit she's already 27, a bit late to start in showbiz but, well, better late than never.


MISSING AT the presscon of "Langit sa Piling Mo" were Sheryl Cruz as Heart Evangelista's mom, Tonton Gutierrez as Katrina Halili's dad and Ricardo Cepeda as Mark Herras' dad. We can't blame them as senior stars are often ignored at such presscons now and writers only flock to the younger lead stars. That's why we admire Celia Rodriguez as she attends all the presscons of her new shows, even if the attention now is given to her younger co-stars.

At the "Langit" presscon, Heart dismisses any possibility of her and co-star Mark Herras falling for each other. "Everyone knows may love na siya (Ynna Asistio) at meron din ako (Ian Dy), so wag ng ipilit yan," she says.

Has she and Ian talked about settling down? "Yes, but not seriously. We're both still young at marami pa kaming ibang plans before getting married, which is certainly no joke. Enjoy pa naman ako sa career ko, e."

Heart plays a flight attendant in "Langit", something she never dreamt of doing. "Kasi may fear of heights ako, also 5'2" lang ako so I won't qualify sa requirement nilang 5'3". But what's good about being an actress is you get to play things you never thought you'd do. So, kundi ako puede in real life, dito sa 'Langit', heto flight attendant ako."