Of reunions and unions



IT was a reunion of sorts for the former hosts of GMA’s Startalk Lolit Solis, Ricky Lo and Butch Francisco.

After more than seven months since the said Saturday showbiz-oriented talk show was axed, all three gathered at the house warming of Mother Ricky Reyes’ newly built two-storey residence at Capitol VIII in Pasig City, which also marked the twin birthday celebration of the two famed Ricky’s (Reyes on April 12, Lo on April 21).

Butch told me on the phone, “It was Aster (Amoyo) who sent me the invitation, which says that to get to the place I should take Meralco Avenue. I was just a few blocks away from Ricky’s house that even without Aster’s directions, I could tell which one is Ricky’s. Simple yet elegant.”

Later, Butch found himself engaging in a huddle with Lolit and Ricky Lo reminiscent of their backstage “tsikahan” in Startalk.

“It’s been seven months since we would burst into laughter over some petty showbiz topic. Nakaka-miss din,” said the euphoric Butch, himself planning to hold a house blessing (“Some people can’t believe I’m having a house built even if I’m jobless!) once his three-storey corner lot property at the Rolling Hills Subdivision in Quezon City is finished.

Meanwhile, it was Lolit’s turn for her “career updates.” Slightly bending her neck, “Eto, tulad ni Butch, magiging jobless na rin. Ha, ha, ha!”

Her Saturday CelebriTV—with Joey de Leon, Ai Ai de las Alas and Lo—has been given one week extension, thanks to the still unfinished set of the new show Caught In the Act. No, it’s not a spin-off of the Huli Cam segment of GMA’s 24 Oras, neither is it the TV adaptation of an old flesh flick.

To run for 14 weeks (not 13 that compose one season), the show replacing Lolit’s is a game show to be hosted by Betong (Albert Sumaya) and Sheena Halili.

The choice of Betong—we gathered—is primarily because he clicks with the GMA Pinoy TV audience abroad. Well, it’s only because Be­tong—whose comedic talent needs some further honing (sorry, but his Antonietta character in Bubble Gang is far from amusing)—happens to be the least busy among the Kapuso artists.

Hosting for Sheena, who has improved in the acting department, is hardly right up her alley.

But a big “good luck” goes out to the new show which we heard promises fun. To sustain it though is completely another story. A devil’s advocate I sure am.

* * *

Real-life couple former network executive Perci Intalan and award-winning scriptwriter-director Jun Lana are the creative tandem behind TV5’s #Parang Normal Activity. But unlike the creepy, caught-by-the-camera actual footage made into a series, the local version has a fun flavor to it in the adventure-filled expeditions of young necrophiles led by Ella Cruz.

Each week offers a new episode as the band of dauntless teenagers—which also includes Kiray Celis, Andrei Garcia, Shaun Salvador and Francis Magundayao—dare unravel the mystery of every gruesome death. They themselves get enmeshed—either cursed or harmed—in their curious, relentless quest for answers.

Both Intalan and Lana have certainly found a different approach to youth entertainment way beyond the trite pagpapa-cute or showcasing various talents. Its Saturday early evening time slot is likewise perfect for its captive audience.

But if #PNA puts the young viewer at the edge of his seat, he gets a bonus with the titillating love triangle in it with Ella (as Charlie) caught between her co-stars’ amorous attention (Shaun and Francis).

No, there exists no affair between Ella and Kiray, Perci and Jun won’t rub it off on them.


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