Butch Francisco jumps from hosting to acting

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RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

“I INTEND to die an actor,” seasoned talk show host Butch Francisco told the entertainment media in jest—for which he was applauded—at the launch of Cignal Entertainment at Edsa Shangri-la Manila.

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Butch is cast in “Tukhang,” a crime-suspense miniseries that started airing over the weekend on the cable channel. His decision to branch out into acting stunned many industry members since he had already long established himself as a TV host.

But according to Butch, howeverm this isn’t the first time he tried acting. Back in ABS-CBN, his program “Showbiz Lingo” was so popular that he was asked to guest in practically every program on the network.

His first guest appearance was in “Palibhasa Lalake” that ended up second place in the ratings that week, next only to the Regal movies shown in the same station. He also came out in the political satire “Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata.” Too bad, it was banned from airing by Malacañang during the Ramos administration because of its strong political content.

“Good thing I still got paid,” he laughed.

Next, he was invited to appear in Aga Muhlach’s sitcom “Oki Doki Dok.” Taping was on a Monday and he was handed the script only the day before. His intervening engagements didn’t allow him to study the script so he recalled, “I was a disaster but no regrets. My talent fee was donated to my cousins who were then recent fire victims.”

Butch likewise graced the widescreen via a 1995 Regal movie titled “Angels,” budgeted at P5M but did not reach fruition. It was followed by a cameo role in the indie film “Pepot Artista” which won Best Picture in one film festival.

Butch Francisco now stars in ‘Tukhang,’ a mini-series on cable TV

“O, di ba, best picture agad?” he bragged.

His next home in GMA Network had him appear as guest (usually as himself) in almost all its soap operas. But most memorable for him was his appearance in “Narito Ang Puso Ko” (with Jolina Magdangal in the lead). Butch remembered its director Eric Quizon commending him, “Marunong ka na, ha?”

Meanwhile, in Tukhang Butch plays a senate reporter who will do everything in his quest for the truth, “That doesn’t necessarily make my character a good one because it has some nastiness to it, too.”

The miniseries also stars Karel Marquez, James Blanco, Yul Servo, Mon Confiado, Jake Macapagal and Janna Victoria all playing almost equal parts. Directed by Lawrence Fajardo, a respected filmmaker known in the indie circle, the script is a collaborative work of Jose Javier Reyes and Eric Ramos.

Asked by the press how Butch fared as an actor, Jo-Ann Bañaga, one of the producers (along with Bong Sta. Maria), said: “Natural na natural.”

“It was a great experience doing Tukhang because we became a barkada. Even those na hindi namin kaeksena, naging close namin. It also helped that everyone was so professional on the set. Of course, there was the waiting, but okay lang yun. It normally happens to everyone. Even in ‘Startalk,’ whenever we did taped interviews, artistas sometimes would make me wait for two hours.”

So, which is he more at home with, hosting or acting?

“I still do hosting now, usually special events. Last week, I did a project for ABS-CBN. But between a talk show and a drama, I find it easier to act because you just have to follow a script and memorize it. Sa talk show, mapapaaway ka and that happened a lot.”

Finally, does he really intend to die an actor?

“Let’s rephrase that to ‘I intend to die in showbiz’.”

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