It has been a while since Kris Aquino was visible on television, her erstwhile kingdom as “Queen of All Media.” For 22 years, she was ABS-CBN’s main staple—hosting daily talk shows and game shows, appearing in Star Cinema movies, and even releasing motivational CDs through Star Records.
Naturally, after going on an extended medical break from TV work, when Aquino’s photograph with legendary Eat Bulaga producer APT Entertainment’s Tony Tuviera and his film director son Mike landed on social media in July, both showbiz and the general public was abuzz on what the alliance would generate.
The biggest question: Was Kris Aquino transferring to her long-time network’s rival, GMA Network, where the Tuvieras are considered the foremost block-timer and a long loyal partner? All Aquino confirmed was she indeed decided to leave ABS-CBN and was set to do projects with APT Entertainment, a subsidiary of Eat Bulaga’s TAPE producers. But until now, there are no signs of the Queen of All Media on GMA, or on television in general.
In a roundtable with the well-respected TV visionary Tuviera on January 27, The Manila Times was finally able to ask him for APT’s plans for the controversial personality’s career.
“It’s like this. She texted me, she wanted to sit down, and I didn’t know anything on what we were going to talk about. So, I just brought my son Mike and we sat down with her. She said something like, ‘I want to get into digital. I think the future really is digital. I want to be there first. It’s about time that I start to hone what I’m doing too.’ And it’s true, when it comes to digital, she leads everyone [on the platform]. And then she said she can help us with some of the sponsors. That’s how it started,” Tuviera recounted.
Beyond that, he clarified APT does not have any plans for former President Cory Aquino’s daughter and former President Noynoy Aquino’s sister when it comes to television, “because again, our arrangement was basically for digital.”
Going into further detail Tuviera said, “Actually we haven’t signed anything formally when it comes to management agreement because we still need to know how to work out [this platform]and there are still many complications.”
Known for being upfront in the business, the producer declared, “I’ll be very honest, it’s scary that we might fail, and if we fail, it will hit us and hit her hard. And right now, we don’t know yet how we can bring back Kris [on TV]. A lot of people are really waiting for her [return]but if we gamble on bringing her back doing the same thing she was before, it won’t be easy. So, we’re still looking for something different for her,” Tuviera explained.
Basically, a new concept for Aquino is the big hurdle for APT who was rumored to have planned to pit her late last year against ABS-CBN’s ongoing morning program Magandang Buhay, hosted by Karla Estrada, Melai Cantiveros-Francisco and Jolina Magdangal-Escueta.
“We are looking for something new that’s why we first gambled on the show Trops,” Tuviera related.
Trops is a teenage rom-com series starring the boys of Eat Bulaga’s “That’s My Bae.” It premiered in October and continues to air daily before the top-rating noontime show.
Asked whether he has heard rumors that GMA refuses to have a Kris Aquino show on his network, Tuviera simply said, “She’s very successful. She’s great in hosting. But Kris is not a talent of GMA so they cannot plan on a show for her.”
Moving on to other pressing matters, Tuviera also confirmed that with Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza starting a nightly soap for GMA Network, they will be seen less over Eat Bulaga, whose ingenious “Kalyeserye” segment served as their springboard to stardom.
“It’s really just a matter of scheduling,” Tuviera said of his most recent goldmine. “AlDub’s exposure in Eat Bulaga will have to be less because of their taping for the soap, which is three times a week. And since it’s airing soon, they really need to have more time there. But then eventually, when the teleserye ends, that’s the time they will come back, but maybe just once- or twice-a-week,” he said.
“So far [AlDub’s busy schedule] isn’t affecting Eat Bulaga. Even before AlDub, we were doing really well. But yes, when AlDub came to the picture, it was whole lot different. Still we cannot expect to have those phenomenal ratings all the time; there will be times we won’t hit that. A lot of people had said the AlDub phenomenon wouldn’t go as far as three or six months but it did. Well beyond a year now, I think we were successful to keep them up there and we’re both happy and proud of that,” Tuviera added.
TAPE’s big boss also shared that they are cooking a new movie for the two but are still working out the details. “We have lined up a movie for AlDub this year but we’re not sure it would be for the Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF). I’ve made a rule that if APT will make a movie, it will only be fielded to the MMFF if Vic Sotto is not competing.”
On MMFF changes
As a veteran in the business whose concepts have proven successful and spot-on for the Filipino taste, Tuviera also accommodated questions regarding the controversial 2016 MMFF.
On the selection of mostly independent finalists, Tuviera, who co-produced Vic Sotto’s Enteng Kabisote And The Abangers that failed to make the cut, voiced out, “It’s just hard to accept that we are pitting indies against commercial films, which both have the same intentions in coming out with a good movie. But in the end, it’s the audience who will choose what they want to watch. US, there is a different festival for independent films. What really hurts is the branding that a commercial film is not a quality movie.”
He hopes, however, that this new year, the issue will be resolved and that Philippine movies will get the support it deserves for all sectors—whether indie or mainstream. For someone who is considered an innovator on television and film, Tuviera believes there is a place for everyone, and when given that proper place, everyone—producers, actors, the public—will emerge as winners in providing and enjoying entertainment.