Manila Standard Today
By Isah V. Red

I didn’t think Jericho Rosales could make a decent comeback until I saw him in last Monday’s telecast of I ª Betty La Fea. While, as an actor, he sizzled in last year’s Baler, he still has to prove his clout at the box office, and most certainly on primetime television. The series in which he starred in with Malaysian actor Carmen Soo see-sawed in the ratings race but most of the time was in the borderline.

His entry as the newest member of the cast of the now-extended Filipino version of the Colombian original takes the story of Betty much, much off the track when she became the Spanish world’s most popular TV character.

Jericho plays Aldo, and I don’t remember anyone like him in the Colombian original. But that is moot and academic, as even the American version, Ugly Betty, except perhaps for the not-so-pretty lead star America Ferrara, seems to be in another dimension.

The local version goes on until perhaps the middle of the year as the male lead star bids adieu from the show, albeit, temporarily to fulfill another commitment (a movie with Vilma Santos and son Luis Manzano) in New York, which staying on in the show would only mean flying in by jet and fly out again for the movie shoot. That is impossible logistically for both ABS-CBN and Star Cinema, and the only logical solution left was to create another story arc for Betty with a new character.

According to ABS-CBN Corporate Communications, the series (in its new timeslot—after TV Patrol World— and new characters—Jericho Rosales and Karylle) last Monday did very well in the ratings nationwide, even much better than any telecast previously.

Betty La Fea is now vis-à-vis with Luna Mystika on GMA Network with Echo’s former squeeze Heart Evangelista.

How the competition will play out in the coming days will be interesting to watch, but many are saying the stretch of episodes with Jericho should have a fighting chance at the ratings in Mega Manila now.

And Echo should have his moments while John Lloyd Cruz is in the thick of things playing out as the gay boyfriend of Luis Manzano in the movie with Ate Vi.

Headless chicken

Have you heard of a headless chicken still prancing about? Well, that’s exactly what is TV5 now, with Primedia CEO, Christopher Sy, who announced his intention to leave the company. Not too soon though, as he will remain its chief honcho until a replacement has been found, in which case Sy will continue to be with the company on a consultancy basis.

The Primedia official statement distributed to members of the media reads: According to Mr. Sy, “ I am very proud of TV5. From our first week of operations, TV5 has been ranked number 3 in the ratings game. There is also steady increase in all-day viewership and its morning belt is consistently at double-digit share levels. I am very fortunate and thankful for being given the opportunity to be a part of this.”

The TV5 team with Mr. Sy at the helm has posted noteworthy achievements since launch with strong positive momentum going into 2009.

Primedia through its Marketing Communications head, Pat Marcelo-Magbanua, reiterated the company’s commitment to continue investing on TV5. “We will continue to provide our viewers bigger and bolder programs to give Filipinos more choices in entertainment. Primedia through its various departments are already geared up for the rest of the year’s challenges.”

To date, TV5 is at its highest level in the morning block with close to 25 percent audience shares and is at a close fight with network giants ABS-CBN and GMA with both having 26.07 percent and 27.2 percent audience shares, respectively. Total day viewership is also substantially higher than QTV, CS9 and Studio 23.

Guarded words, indeed, but according to sources, Sy might have had differences with the parent company (the Malaysian company), especially on the network’s financial goals (it is running third in the ratings race but not getting enough advertising revenues to keep the machinery moving at a faster pace).

GMA Network has filed a case against Tonyboy Cojuangco’s Associated Broadcasting Network and Primedia saying the deal violates provisions in the Constitution. How the case will progress is another thing we will continue to watch out for.

Sweeter than sweet

Q Channel 11’s The Sweet Life moves to a new time slot starting this week—Monday, Tuesday, and Friday at 5 p.m.; and Wednesdays and Thursdays at 4:50 p.m. before American Idol—but the discussions, tips, and features are exciting as ever.

The show remains true to form as a topnotch guide on anything and everything that makes life sweeter: that includes tips and practical guide to fashion, entertainment, hobbies, leisure, travel, food, and parenting. Lucy Torres-Gomez features more practical and cost-saving projects for project time while Wilma Doesnt shares her practical tips on women concerns such as parenting, finances, beauty, etc.

The Sweet Life host Lucy Torres-Gomez with her funny co-host Wilma Doesnt and TSL roving reporter Grace Lee will continue to entertain mostly female audiences.

Child stars and their parents visit TSL on Tuesday, for the Wala Ka Sa Daddy/Mommy Ko episode which is all about child-rearing.

Today, the show will deal with Chinese New Year, featuring a lion dance, authentic Chinese food, feng shui for wealth and love, and lucky pets for the year are just some of the topics to be featured.

Star-studded Giordano opening

Popular cosmetic surgeon and “Doctor to the Stars” Vicki Belo and daughter Cristalle Belo Henares led the ceremonial ribbon-cutting rites during the recent opening of Giordano Ladies and Giordano Concepts at Rockwell’s Power Plant Mall.

For more than 20 years now, Giordano has been known for its global appeal, quality and service. Giordano Concepts and Ladies carry these same basic principles, catapulted to higher levels in terms of design and sophistication.

Celebrities present in the star-studded opening were actress Angel Aquino, TV host Drew Arellano, model Bruno Floster, fashion designers Mich Dulce and Ivar Aseron, equestrienne Toni Leviste, fashion show directors Robbie Carmona and Joey Samson. The event was hosted by deejay-TV personality Grace Lee.

Where’s Gretchen Espina?

The last time we heard of Pinoy Idol winner Gretchen Espina was when she did a show called Ogie Sings With The Idols at Aliw Theater last Dec. 20 at 21. She was in the show with three-time Aliw Awards Entertainer of the Year and recently elevated to the Hall of Fame Ogie Alcasid, American Idol Season 7’s Filipino-American finalist Ramiele Malubay and Pinoy Idol fellow Top 3 contestants Ram Chavez and Jayann Bautista, apart from nine other finalists and the indie rock outfit Menaya.

Gretchen is the niece of ’80s singer Aileen Espina, sister of her father Gov. Roger Espina of Biliran province. Her mother, Cecille Espina, a medical doctor, is also a singer.

The 20-year-old Gretchen is finishing her course at the University of the Philippines where she is majoring in European Languages.

Immediately after graduation, she plans to focus more on her career as a singer. Every now and then she makes an appearance in SOP Rules, the Sunday noontime variety show on GMA-7, but no, she isn’t a regular on the show yet.

She was also at the party for the press by the network, and she met quite a lot of them there.

If you’re one of those who voted for her during the Pinoy Idol search, don’t expect her to be as visible yet. As many of us in the business would say, her time will come. When? Only the gods and goddesses at GMA-7 know.

1 COMMENT

  1. i agree that the advertisers aren’t putting enough for TV5. i think they should invest in TV5 more than they are doing now. TV5 has garnered a lot of viewers ever since. and they are offering fresh alternatives from the monotonous shows that the two network giants offer.

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