Entertainment

Entertainment Central joins the big league


by Nickie Wang

Solar Entertainment’s big bosses Wilson Yu Tieng and Peter ChanLiong formally announced last week the big switch that is happening on local television—the media company’s flagship channel ETC would move to RPN 9. It has begun airing on the free channel on March 2.

Transferring from cable to free television, does not mean change for the channel, this is what ChanLiong guaranteed. He assured that the network is still focused on maintaining the same target demographic of young, female, and ABC viewership and positioning.

“Are you planning to come up with a moniker like Kapamilya, Kapuso, or Kapatid?” was one of the most intriguing questions thrown at the head honchos.

Peter ChanLiong, Chief Operating Officer of Solar Entertainment Corp., Wilson Tieng, President of Solar Entertainment Corp. and Chairman of RPN-9 and Tonypet Albano, President of RPN-9 contract signing.

“We mean no competition because we have defined our own target audience,” affirmed ChanLiong but Tieng, who also happens to be the chairman of the formerly sequestered station, had a better answer that was worth the sound byte: “We can be your Kapitbahay (neighbor) or probably your Kalaban (rival)!”

That was a bit a of a joke coming from Solar Entertainment’s president and CEO but in reality, in a drama, fantasy, and game show saturated television landscape, ETC poses a big competition to the country’s more established networks like ABS-CBN, GMA-7 and TV5.

Launched in 2004, the youth skewed channel offers the best in Hollywood entertainment by bringing together in-demand dramas, reality shows, comedy sitcoms and talk shows to the Philippine audience.

ETC has changed the viewing habits of the local audience through to its Match-Airing campaign launched last year. ETC now match-airs its shows by bringing the latest episodes days after its initial U.S. airing. Falling under the channel’s Match-Airing campaign are the shows: award-winning musical Glee, drama’s Gossip Girl and Hellcats, sitcom How I Met Your Mother, supernatural drama Vampire Diaries, reality show America’s Next Top Model and suspense thriller Pretty Little Liars. ETC also shows popular programs Project Runway, TMZ, The Rachel Zoe Project, One Tree Hill, The Bachelor, and The Bachelorette.

With this bold move, proactive measures have been made to address different issues before the channel goes on air on RPN 9. ETC nationwide transmission will be powered by a brand new 60 kilowatt Harris Transmitter, which means wide coverage and clearer signal.

Meanwhile, SBN 21 will not be vacated by the media company. There will be major announcements in the coming weeks on what entity or entities will take over the UHF channel, which is also owned by Solar Entertainment Corporation.

From junkie to a national figure

Everyone who doesn’t live under a rock knows that Jorge Estregan (also known as ER Ejercito to his constituents in Laguna), is one of the most animated villains in local cinema. Be it a public enemy number one, ruthless hoodlum or an eccentric punk with a Mohican do (before Mohawk became a fad he already sported it), Jorge can deliver.

The Laguna governor, who happens to be the nephew of former president Joseph Estrada and the son of the late thespian George Estregan, is on a mission to relive the story of one of the most identifiable men in the history of Philippine government, Emilio Aguinaldo.

The film entitled El Presidente is said to a big-budgeted project, 100 million pesos is the initial production cost with Gov. Ejercito as the main producer. To top that, he’s also eyeing the lead role. In 2000, he also appeared as Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in an action biography directed by Joe Marie Avellana.

The biopic of the country’s first president will be made with the cooperation of the direct descendants of Emilio Aguinaldo including former Prime Minister Cesar Virata; the National Historical Commission; National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Film Development Council of the Philippines, the same producer of the film Emir that terribly suffered in the box-office; Film Academy of the Philippines; the local actors guild, and country’s major cinemas.

The script has already been refurbished and is written by Roy Iglesias. Seasoned director Tikoy Aguiluz will be at the helm. A possible entry to the MMFF this year, Estregan is wooing another governor, Vilma Santos to play the role of Maria Agoncillo, the president’s wife.

I bet he looks up to the likes of Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada who utilize the media to make their presence felt. They are successful in this attempt, the only problem is, they are more identifiable as movie actors rather than as statesmen.

What can you see in The 39 Steps?

You don’t even have to be familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s classic film to enjoy the local adaptation of The 39 Steps, the second offering of Repertory Philippines for the 2011 season.

The production is an inventive and gripping comedy thriller at breakneck speed, and played for laughs all the way. A comic theatrical adaptation written by Patrick Barlow adapted from the 1915 World War I espionage novel by Scottish author John Buchan and the 1935 film by Alfred Hitchcock, The 39 Steps has a cast of four fearless actors playing over 140 characters in 100 minutes of fast-paced fun that often requires fast quick changes and occasionally for them to play multiple characters at once.

The 39 Steps follows the adventures of a dashing hero Richard Hannay, complete with stiff-upper-lip, British gung-ho and pencil moustache as he encounters dastardly murders, double-crossing secret agents, and, of course, devastatingly beautiful women. It features a talented cast with Michael Williams playing the hero, Richard Hannay, Liza Infante who plays the three women whom Richard has romantic entanglements with, Rem Zamora and Julienne Mendoza who play every other character in the show: heroes, villains, men, women, performing stunts, changing accents.

The 39 Steps will run from March 4 until March 20 at Onstage, in Greenbelt 1.

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