Nothing wrong with planned buyout of GMA 7, says Revillame

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wvpicby Marinel R. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer, June 3, 2012

LOS ANGELES, California—TV host Willie Revillame sees nothing wrong with the attempt of business tycoon Manny Pangilinan, chair of Media Quest Holdings Inc. which owns TV5, to buy another broadcast network, specifically GMA 7. “It just means more opportunities for more artists,” Revillame told reporters.

Pangilinan, who is also chair of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), has reportedly offered up to P45 billion for a 100-percent stake in the Kapuso network. The amount is still under negotiation.

Revillame let it slip that “something big” would happen in November 2012 in relation to the unprecedented deal.

Major changes

“If this will improve industry conditions, then I’m in favor of it,” he told the Inquirer during the after-party for “Wil Time Bigtime” at the Shrine Auditorium here.

Revillame was certain that major changes would follow if the acquisition pushed through. “Pwede nang magpalitan ng stars. It should be exciting to finally be able to work with artists from the other station, like the hosts of [the noontime game show] ‘Eat Bulaga.’” he said. “A new management [for GMA 7] would mean new plans and new programs. Both networks can help each other.”

The TV host said it was “natural” for people to react negatively to a new idea. “But this one is Mr. Pangilinan’s move and we must respect that.”

Revillame was in this city from May 24 to 26 to help launch the Kapatid network’s two international channels, Kapatid TV5 and Aksyon TV International. With him during a media gathering held at the Scientology Celebrity Center were his fellow TV5 talents Nora Aunor, Aga Muhlach, Derek Ramsay, Ruffa Gutierrez and “Wil Time Bigtime” cohosts Mariel Rodriguez and Camille Villar.

Pleasant recall

During the May 26 show, Revillame gave away a total of $30,000 in cash prizes in the segments “Family Apir,” “Kantanong” and “Baligtaran.” A video on the show’s history was shown, starting with Revillame’s transfer from ABS-CBN to TV5, through the signing of what was reportedly a billion-peso contract with the Kapatid network, and finally ending with the reformat of “Willing Willie” to “Wil Time Bigtime.”

He said he didn’t mind people still referring to his TV5 show as “Wowowee,” the ABS-CBN production he hosted for over five years. “It was where I started. I became known to people because of that show. I’m pleased with the recall. It’s like I’ve planted something in a small pot, then transferred it to a bigger area to make sure it grows—it grew better on TV5 soil.”

Kapamilya taunt

What made him and his production team frown, Revillame said, was that ABS-CBN organized a fundraising show last week (“Para Sa Inyo, Kapamilya”) at the Home Depot Center in Carson City on the exact same date and time that they were in the United States.

Kapamilya stars Charice, Martin Nieverra, Xian Lim, Erik Santos and Kim Chiu performed in the event.

“We had announced our show way before that,” insisted Claro Carmelo Ramirez, president of Pilipinas Global Network Limited, TV5’s international arm. “We only want to make people happy. As they say, we’re here not to subtract, but to add, to give people more choices.”

ABS-CBN has operated The Filipino Channel (TFC), a Filipino subscription-based TV network for 12 years now and claims over two million subscribers worldwide.

Second event

An estimated 5,000 people came to watch “Wil Time Bigtime” at the 6,500-seat Shrine Auditorium on May 26. Also present at the event were Ramirez, Revillame’s business managers Vic del Rosario and Alfonso “Boy” Reyno Jr., his legal counsel Leonard de Vera, TV5 executive vice president and chief operating officer Bobby Barreiro, News 5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes and TV host Erwin Tulfo.

The second of two launch events was held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco on June 2.

“We’re not here to compete [with ABS-CBN],” Revillame reiteratead. “We’re here to inspire more Filipinos. Bagong putahe naman ito.” PGNL and the US-based cable provider Dish Network inked a deal on Friday in San Francisco.

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