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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.

Oct 20, 2020




FORMER NEGROS OCCIDENTAL CONG. (for three terms) Albee Benitez had lunch with some press people. 

His Brightlight Productions produces several shows for TV5. We notice most of them have Kapamilya stars.

“Because it’s really one of Brightlight’s objectives to give work to ABS-CBN stars who lost their jobs,” he says. 

“I believe it’s not right to tie down stars to exclusive contracts kasi it deprives them the chance to work with other networks when they have no projects with their mother studios.”

He believes the network war is not really helping the industry. 

“The network war should stop. It’s not healthy for the industry at lugi ang stars sa ganoon kasi frozen delights sila. Networks should be more generous in sharing their stars kasi yung iba, matagal bago nabibigyan uli ng bagong projects. 

"Itatali mo yung artista sa exclusive contract tapos they wait and wait for their next project. That’s not fair. They could be doing projects for other producers at mas makikinabang din ang viewers na gustong mapanood ang paborito nilang mga artista. 

"Kung puede maghiraman ng stars, it would be a healthier environment for the industry as a whole. We would also welcome stars from GMA-7 to work with us, kung papayagan sila.”

He is married to Dominique Lopez Benitez and they have two kids Javier (who’s now in showbiz and has just finished an action movie, “Kid Alpha One”) and Bettina. In 2014, he put up his own TV show, “Game Changer”, on ANC which he co-hosted with Javi. Does he have plans to revive it on TV5? 

“None. Right now, our work sa Brightlight is to be a content creator and provider for TV5. It’s a new challenge for me. 

"Our company has also completed three new movies: ‘Magikland’, which was inspired by the theme park we put up in Bacolod and nag-qualify na sa Metro-Manila Filmfest; then the action movie ‘Kid Alpha One’ with my son Javi and Sue Ramirez; and a comedy based on a true story about a transgender na nabilanggo at hindi alam kunsaan isasama, sa mga lalaki ba o sa mga babae. 

"As of now, wait and see muna kami kung kailan uli magbubukas ang mga sinehan.”

He thinks theaters should bring down ticket prices to entice people to return to cinemas. 

“It has become so prohibitive dito sa atin. Yung price ng isang ticket, kita na ng isang ordinary worker natin sa buong araw. Siempre, uunahin mo ang food on your table bago ka magbayad sa panonood ng sine.”

Is he happy with the way the first week of their new shows “Sunday Noontime Live”, “Sunday Kada”, “I Got You” and “Lunch Out Loud” turn out?

“Yes. We don’t expect it to soar in the ratings right away. Sa ngayon, what we’re doing is to make the viewing public aware muna na TV5 is producing quality entertainment shows. Kasi hindi sila sanay manood sa TV5, e. 

"Ratings will not go up overnight. People will have to be excited to watch our new shows first and so far, happy naman kami kasi maganda ang feedback as a whole. 

"Pinag-uusapan ang ‘Sunday Noontime Live’, ‘Lunch Out Loud’ at ‘Sunday Kada’. Maraming nagandahan sa ‘I Got You’. So now, this weekend, magsisimula naman ang ‘Rated Korina’ and ‘Oh My Dad’ and I guarantee everyone na magugustuhan nila ito.”

It’s common knowledge his son Javi is now playing beautiful music with Sue Ramirez on and off cam. What can he say about it?  

“Magaling si Sue. I saw her in ‘Oh My Dad’ and she’s very good as Ian Veneracion’s daughter.”

How about her relationship with Javi? 

“I can see they get along very well. At the end of the day, it’s between them. As long as they’re happy together.”