entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Tony Calvento: The Original ‘Imbestigador’

Tony Calvento, best known as a columnist and host of the ABS-CBN crime series ‘Calvento Files’, passed away yesterday. (Photo credit: Tony Calvento Facebook Page)

Gus Abelgas, the Tulfo brothers and Mike Enriquez were not the first Filipino hosts to showcase gruesome murder cases on television.

Before they came into the viewers’ consciousness, there was Tony Calvento and his ‘Calvento Files’. The program aired on ABS-CBN from 1995-98, during which it popularized the crime docudrama genre on Philippine television.

On Monday, October 9, Calvento passed away from multiple organ failure, his family announced. Funeral services will take place from October 10-13, after which his remains will be cremated on October 14.

Calvento enjoyed a distinguished journalism career. He rose to fame as a columnist for the People’s Journal, before gaining even greater recognition as the host of ‘Calvento Files’ in the mid-1990s.

Most of the stories on ‘Calvento Files’ were adopted from his column on People’s Journal titled ‘Hotline’. Although its run on ABS-CBN was short, it managed to earn a number of accolades, most notably the 1999 New York Film Festival for best docudrama.

‘Calvento Files’ was also adopted into a film produced by Star Cinema in 1997. The film, which was directed by Michael de Mesa and Laurenti Dyogi, featured a screenplay by Ricky Lee with some input from Calvento himself.

After the show ended, Calvento moved over to Pilipino Star Ngayon, naming his column after the aforementioned ABS-CBN program. He remained with the Star Group until his passing.

Individually, Calvento won numerous awards for his journalistic work and his role in crime investigation. And his influence as host of ‘Calvento Files’ was then passed on to other shows that were based on his docudrama style.

Today, the Calvento legacy was passed on to his son Sonny Calvento. The younger Calvento made his presence felt as director of ‘Nabubulok’, which entered the Cinemalaya film festival in August of this year and whose story was influenced by the elder Calvento’s crime stories in his columns.

Tony Calvento may be gone physically, but spiritually his legacy will live on. May his soul rest in peace.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

A Secret No More: Richard Gutierrez Joins ABS-CBN

Richard Gutierrez has found a new home.

On Wednesday, May 31, ABS-CBN held a press conference to announce the acquisition of the former long-time GMA artist. In a statement, Richard told the media about his decision to join ABS-CBN.

“I have always been curious how it is to work in ABS-CBN. I only hear great things about this network. Finally, now I’m here, I’m excited that I have been given the opportunity to work here.”

Richard graced the much-anticipated event alongside his mother Annabelle Rama, ABS-CBN COO for Broadcast Cory Vidanes, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos and Finance head for Broadcast and News and Current Affairs Cat Lopez. The news quickly spread like wildfire on social media, with many netizens congratulating Richard on his decision.

Prior to joining ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez made his mark on rival GMA Network, starring in teleseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Lupin’, ‘Sugo’, ‘Kamandag’, ‘Codename: Asero’ and ‘Captain Barbell’. He also starred in films such as ‘Let the Love Begin’, ‘Mulawin: The Movie’ and the ‘Mano Po’ franchise.

Richard’s most recent series was the TV5/Viva production ‘Ang Panday’, which aired last year. He also made a few guest appearances on ABS-CBN programming during a four-year period as a freelancer.

The first salvo for Richard with the Kapamilya network will be the upcoming fantasy-action series ‘La Luna Sangre’, starring alongside Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Although former ‘Mulawin’ co-star Angel Locsin will also make an appearance on the third installment of the ‘Lobo’ franchise, don’t expect the one-time love team to appear on-screen together.

However, ABS-CBN did announce that a planned reunion of Richard and Angel in an upcoming Star Cinema film is in the works. In addition, another untitled Star Cinema movie alongside Angelica Panganiban is also planned for Richard.

Let’s just hope that ABS-CBN will make good use of Richard Gutierrez. With a reputation of turning fading stars back to relevance, this is an opportunity for the network to once again weave their magic on a talent that still has some mileage left.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Mid-Morning Problems Continue with Kapuso Movie Festival

GMA is bringing back ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ as they continue to figure out the problems that plague them every weekday morning. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Poor ratings have characterized GMA’s mid-morning lineup.

After an impressive showing for the network’s Astig Authority block (some of which are often reaired), the drop-off in ratings becomes noticeable once they move into a different set of programs. This has been a perennial problem for the network since Lilybeth Rasonable took over, and they have tried everything just to shake the mid-morning slate up.

There was the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block, which was their obvious answer to ABS-CBN’s ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’. Then came Heart of Asia Mornings, a block that contains new light-hearted Koreanovelas.

They even attempted to air talk shows (e.g. ‘Basta Every Day Happy’, ‘Yan ang Morning) and local dramas (e.g. ‘With a Smile’). Unfortunately, all of these attempts failed miserably.

Now they are going back to airing movies via the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block. Not to mention a rerun of an old QTV program called ‘H20: Just Add Water’, which will be obviously dubbed in Filipino unlike its original airing on Channel 11.

Let’s face it, there is no way GMA can beat ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ with their own movie block. Their portfolio of new movies to air is running low, and to make matters worse, GMA Films has only a few titles to choose from, which is basically 1/8th to 1/16th of what rival Star Cinema has produced lately.

If GMA were smart enough to admit that they can no longer beat ABS-CBN after 9:00 a.m., perhaps the time has come to welcome a TV shopping block of their own choosing. Whether or not it is Shop Japan, EZ Shop or even Shop TV, it doesn’t matter, as long as they fill in GMA’s programming hours every morning.

They could also welcome blocktimers who can produce their own programs. While they already have established blocktimers in TAPE, Inc. (‘Calle Siete’, ‘Eat Bulaga’) and APT Entertainment (‘Sunday PinaSaya’), they might as well need another for non-entertainment purposes, such as lifestyle shows or documentaries.

Still, it is up to GMA management to decide the fate of the mid-morning slot. They need to think twice about giving up this venture.

Otherwise, they will be stuck with this hashtag: #KMFMForever, which translates to Kapuso Movie Festival Mornings Forever.

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entertainment, Philippines, talk show, television, variety show

Is Gandang Gabi Vice the New Walang Tulugan?

The baton of late-night entertainment appears to have passed from German Moreno to Vice Ganda, as ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ now tries to live up to the standard set by ‘Walang Tulugan’. (Photo credit: Gandang Gabi Vice official Facebook)

The death of German Moreno and the cancellation of the long-running ‘Walang Tulugan’ left a big void.

A fixture of GMA and late night television in general for nearly two decades, ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ was an institution unlike any other. It was a variety show starring some of Kuya Germs’ old and young proteges, and a talk show where they converse about anything and everything under the moon.

When its leader moved on to the afterlife last January, ‘Walang Tulugan’ soon followed suit. Many thought that late night entertainment on Philippine television was gone for good.

Not so fast. Just ask Vice Ganda, the host of ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’.

Airing since May 2011, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ shares the same template as ‘Walang Tulugan’. It was mostly a talk show, but at times it has dabbled into the variety show format, thanks to the comedic segments that Vice Ganda introduces to his guests.

And since the demise of ‘Walang Tulugan’, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ is now considered the standard-bearer among late-night entertainment programs in the country. With that in mind, is ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ really the new ‘Walang Tulugan’?

Let’s face it, Vice Ganda is an equally compelling entertainer. He is a comedian by profession, but he can also show his emotion whenever possible.

Of course, unlike Kuya Germs, Vice doesn’t have the credentials to be a mentor to future stars. Still, his talent as a performer made him an icon, though some would complain about his unpredictable and at times insulting jokes.

As for ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, star power is usually the norm, unlike in ‘Walang Tulugan’. Some of ABS-CBN’s most popular and occasionally controversial talents have made appearances on the show, and on some episodes, politicians, athletes and even artists from other networks (usually for promoting Star Cinema films) were invited as well.

But what made ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ more of a late-night show now is because of preceding programs that push the show’s airtime a lot later. Thanks in large part to talent and reality shows that air on weekends, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice”s start time now hinges between 10:45 p.m. and 11:20 p.m., more or less in ‘Walang Tulugan’ territory.

That said, there is a reason why ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ is the new ‘Walang Tulugan’. The fact that it airs this late every Sunday gives viewers another way to stay up late, though watching the show may be consequential to their productivity.

ABS-CBN can only hope that the success of ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ can lead to a longer lifespan. If Vice Ganda can last 20 years with this show, Kapamilya fans and management should feel proud.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

MMK Turns 25

The longest-running drama anthology on Philippine television gets the silver treatment.

For older viewers, it is still known as ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, but for the younger generation, it is now simply known as ‘MMK’. Regardless, the program that touched the lives of Filipinos here and around the world is still going strong, and just recently, it celebrated its 25th anniversary.

The very first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. The first episode, ‘Rubber Shoes’, starred Romnick Sarmenta, Vina Morales, Robert Arevalo, Hero Bautista and Ray Ventura, and it launched a tradition of reading letters through Charo Santos-Concio and naming episode titles after various objects, people or places.

From there, ‘MMK’ took off. The anthology became popular, earning numerous awards here and abroad, and it inspired more Filipinos to write stories of their own, each depicting their trials and tribulations in life.

In 1994, Star Cinema decided to produce a movie based on ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’. Released as one of the entries in that year’s Metro Manila Film Festival, it starred Richard Gomez, Aiko Melendez, Chin-Chin Gutierrez and Caridad Sanchez, among others.

In 2007, a radio program also based on ‘MMK’ began airing on DZMM, and earned similar praise as its television counterpart. Five years later, a rerun of classic ‘MMK’ episodes (titled ‘MMK Klasik’) also began to air on The Filipino Channel and on DZMM TeleRadyo.

Even though ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ has been on a roll since its first episode in 1991, rivals have tried to keep up with this long-running anthology. The most notable of these rivals was GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’, which first aired in 2002 and has continued to air since (other than a four-year hiatus from 2008 to 2012).

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ remains an iconic program to many Filipinos. And as it turned 25, more stories are about to unfold, with each of them maintaining a tradition of inspiration and dedication to all Filipinos.

Hosted by Charo Santos-Concio, ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ airs every Saturday at 8:15 p.m*. on ABS-CBN.

*‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ has been airing every Saturday night since 2008. The show originally aired every Wednesday, Thursday and then Friday night.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

A New Opponent for Marc Logan on GMA

ABS-CBN News’ resident humorist Marc Logan has a new rival coming up.

In response to Logan’s popular blooper show ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’, GMA announced a new show with a similar premise. Titled ‘Sabado-Badoo’, the upcoming comedy show will be hosted by Sef Cadayona and Betong Sumaya, and is scheduled to air beginning this Saturday.

‘Sabado-Badoo’ will showcase a wide variety of videos that are presented in a humorous manner. These will be shown in a variety of ways, from countdowns to mashups of other videos.

Unlike ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’, which occasionally presents straight-up blooper reels of ABS-CBN programs and Star Cinema films, ‘Sabado-Badoo’ is expected to feature more serious takes from classic GMA programs. It is up to Sef and Betong to make a humorous comment with regards to the scenes in question.

This is not the first time that GMA produced a blooper-oriented comedy program. The popular mid-2000s program ‘Bitoy’s Funniest Videos’, hosted by Michael V., featured a similar formula and scope as ‘Sabado-Badoo’.

Unlike ‘BFV’, however, a more daunting test awaits ‘Sabado-Badoo’. Since premiering in August of last year, ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ consistently ranks among the top-rated programs in the country, and several of its blooper reels (e.g. ‘Crazy Beautiful You’) have trended on Twitter.

That said, Marc Logan’s wit and experience in the industry will be a major challenge to the young duo of Sef Cadayona and Betong Sumaya. Although the two have blossomed individually in programs such as the long-running gag show ‘Bubble Gang’, presenting a program of this magnitude is virtually new territory for them.

Still, GMA is confident that Sef and Betong will deliver their chops well on ‘Sabado-Badoo’. After all, a stint in hosting will boost their resumes in the industry.

‘Sabado-Badoo’ premieres this Saturday after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA’s Sabado Star Power.

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