It was a star-studded, buzz-worthy Sinulog weekend as usual with the country’s leading and warring networks flying in from Manila several of their biggest talents.
GMA 7 brought in its Kamandag stars led by Richard Gutierrez. ABS-CBN, on the other hand, brought in stars from Pinoy Big Brother Celebrity Edition II (Jon Avila was conspicuously absent much to the disappointment of some “infatuated” press people), as well as of teleseryes Maging Sino Ka Man and Palos; some of them got interviewed during the whole-day and extensive Sinulog coverage of ABS-CBN Central Visayas, which is celebrating two decades of regional broadcasting. (Let me just say, thumbs up for the engaging chemistry of Mag-TV’s Genesis Dacua, Kapamilya, Winner Ka’s Kristine Fernandez and Maayong Buntag Kapamilya’s Rico Lucena during the live coverage.)
So, which network got outnumbered in the battle of crowd turnouts during their respective mall shows last Saturday? GMA 7 was quick to keep us posted with the Kabalikat crowd estimate for the “Kapuso Kalingawan” at Gaisano Countrymall in Banilad, which was 7,000 to 8,000 people during peak time. “Based on observation-difference of GMA and Mall shows, people in Gaisano stayed and watched [while] SM crowd at PBB ‘came and go’,” the text update read. (I have yet to receive figures from ABS-CBN Cebu to counter this claim).
Over the weekend, I was impressed that several GMA bosses made the effort to meet up with Cebu media for two consecutive nights: Marivin Arayata, VP for Entertainment TV; Butch S. Raquel, VP for Corporate Communications; Rikki Escudero, head of Regional TV and AVP for Expansion and Product Services for News & Public Affairs; Bang Arespacochaga, senior program manager; JB Bautista, regional program manager for ETV; Jo Marcelo, regional program manager for News & Public Affairs; and Ann Marie Tan, GMA Cebu station manager.
While GMA 7 officials were ready and willing to entertain inquiries about the ongoing AGB Nielsen ratings brouhaha, a lot of us weren’t so keen on talking about it. The fuss has been dragging on for weeks, and to be honest, televiewers are already getting weary and tired of it.
What perked us up was the idea of dream interviewees being brought by the network to Cebu. For Mimi Lijauco, lifestyle editor of Cebu Daily News, it’s the comedic genius Michael V. (ditto), Niza Marinas, assistant lifestyle editor of CDN, it’s the multi-awarded documentarist Howie Severino; for Roger Serna, it’s favourite kontrabida Katrina Halili, who’ll by the way grace next week’s Dinagyang Festival in Iloilo; and for Ryan Mark, Banat News Hugyaw editor, it’s Born To Be Wild’s Doc Ferdz (ditto!) and current toast of primetime telebabad—Marian Rivera AKA Marimar.
There’s indeed a clamour for a Marian Rivera appearance in regional shows, GMA said, but her packed schedule just won’t allow it. For her last regional engagement—that was the Masskara Festival in Bacolod City last year—now it can be told that she almost did not make it because of her tight schedule. Even if she did, she was barely there, arriving around noontime, and leaving Bacolod late afternoon. Bacolod has been acknowledged as Kapamilya territory, but I was there to witness when she hauled in the biggest crowd ever for SM Bacolod, according to mall officials. In Pampanga recently, a mob followed her everywhere, hampering the shooting of “Marimar.” But it would be truly interesting to see how she will be received by Cebuanos.
Here’s another interesting piece of news about Marian. After some prodding, the actress, who is known to be such a cheapskate, finally bought herself a Louis Vuitton bag. When the luxury brand found about this, they got her as endorser. So that makes another endorsement deal for the red-hot Marian.
Anyway, the Kapuso network also presented to the press its newest entertainment program, which is going to be a departure from its predecessor, Oi! Show Na ‘To Ni. Dubbed as Istayl Nato, the show which will also have versions in the cities of Iloilo and Davao, features the good-looking pair of Chad Burden and Ana Maris Igpit as host. More on this in the coming days. NATHALIE M. TOMADA