Although Rico J. Puno, Rey Valera, Nonoy Zuñiga, and Marco Sison—who are collectively known as The Hitmakers—have proven themselves as very good entertainers on the music scene here and abroad, they still cannot say if they will also do well in hosting a noontime show.
These four music icons were introduced yesterday, October 4, as the new hosts of the two-month old daily variety show Pilipinas, Win na Win! on ABS-CBN. They all agreed that hosting a noontime show would be a challenge.
"Talagang hindi puwedeng sabihin na magaling na kami," said Rico in an interview with PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other members of the press after the show.
He added, "This is a very different thing and ang laki ng pasasalamat namin, of course, kay Lord and at the same time sa Channel 2. Sa dinamirami ng puwede, kami ang nakuha.
"Kami naman, this will be a very, very big challenge for us. Sabi nga namin, e, tumagal lang kami ng one week dito, masaya na kami, e."
The singer also said they couldn't answer former ABS-CBN president Freddie Garcia directly when the job was first offered to them.
Rico recalled, "Siya [FMG] ang tumawag, e. September 2 noong umalis kami for the States for one month. Tumawag siya sa akin noong September 2.
"Sabi niya, 'Can we meet?' Sabi ko, 'We're leaving today. What about?' 'Yon ngang show. [Sabi niya] 'I cannot wait for one month.' So, tiningnan namin later on kung talagang sa amin.
"But sabi niya, 'As soon as you get here, text me.' Tapos sabi niya, 'Okay, we'll wait for you kung makakauwi kayo.' Doon namin nakita na naging seryoso.
"Pagdating namin dito noong [September] 29, 30 nag-meeting lang kami, nag-rehearse na kaagad, tuluy-tuloy na."
Rico mentioned that aside from the trust they got from the network's executives, they accepted the offer because they want to entertain more people.
He said, "Natutuwa ako kasi lahat ng nagte-text at tumatawag sa amin, talagang they appreciate it. Kami naman, sa stature naming ito, hindi na namin siguro mas iniisip kung ano ang makukuha namin.
"Dito, kung ano naman ang ibibigay namin na kasiyahan kasi magpapasaya kami sa kanila. At the same time, mapu-prove namin sa kanila, o sa aming sarili na lamang, na maski na may edad ako, may ibubuga pa rin."
Rey, who was beside Rico during the interview, added: "Although alam n'yo naman na kailangan natin ng pera, pero sa tagal na namin sa negosyong ito, alam n'yo minsan ang hinahanap na namin is ibang klase. This time around, history naman."
"IT'S A LEARNING PROCESS." The group is aware that before they joined Pilipinas, Win Na Win!, the program had been struggling to get a good TV rating. But they don't want to dwell on this fact; instead, they want to think positively while at work.
In fact, during the show, Rico repeatedly said before commercial gaps: "Ang number one noontime show!"
When asked about this, Rico smiled and explained, "Naniniwala ako na number one kami talaga ngayon. Siguradong mataas ang rating ngayon. Kasi, sa sobrang lakas ng publicity."
He added, "Malaking challenge ito sa amin ito, pero iba 'yong aming nagiging pulso. Iba 'yong nararamdaman namin. Sana tuluy-tuloy."
Aside from their ability to entertain the audience, the group is banking on their long-standing relationship and track record.
"Hindi namin ito ginawa overnight," said Rico. "We did this for eight years. Ang Hitmakers, modesty aside, is still the number one touring group abroad and here. So, kumbaga sa sundalo or SWAT, may training kami."
However, he still admitted, "[Hosting a show] is a neverending learning process. Hindi naman puwedeng sabihin na magaling na kami. We will try our best using our experiences abroad and here."
Since PWW has the same timeslot as the longest-running noontime show Eat Bulaga! on GMA-7, is the group ready to compete with the popular trio Tito, Vic, and Joey?
"Hindi naman. Wala naman tayong babanggain," answered Rico. "Ang ipe-present lang namin, ito, show ito ng kasing-edad namin at medyo may edad. Hindi kami magkukunwari na kami ay magbabata-bataan. Ang target namin, ang aming mismong audience.
"Magkakasabay man sa Eat Bulaga! ito, siguro 'yon na lang ang aming diperensiya. Kung magkakasabay man ang audience ng Eat Bulaga! at ito, siguro 'yon na lang ang magiging diperensya.
"Makakuha kami ng bata-bata sa Eat Bulaga! but hindi namin sila babanggain in terms of personalan. Tingnan na lang kung sino ang mag-e-enjoy sa dalawa."
Rico also responded to the observation that most of the hosts of PWW don't stay long on the show.
He said, "Alam naman natin na kaya nagkaroon ng palitan kasi bumaba nang konti [ang rating]. That's why kami, pipilitin namin, hindi para sumikat, para matulungan namin ang ipinaglalaban ng istasyon. At the same time, ma-prove namin na masaya kami."
And to improve the show, the four new hosts will accept any comments or constructive criticisms.
Rico said, "We will appreciate your comments, bad or good, para makita naman namin. We will do this not for us but for the viewers."
A VENUE TO PROMOTE OPM. Other than giving away prizes to its audience and televiewers, The Hitmakers also wants to use PWW as a venue to promote Original Pilipino Music or OPM.
For their first appearance on the show, each member performed one of their hit songs—Rey did "Kumusta Ka?," Marco sang "My Love Will See You Through," Rico belted out "May Bukas Pa," and Nonoy carried the message "I'll Never Say Goodbye." The four singers dedicated their songs to the fans who continuously supported the show.
This segment, according to Rico, will always be part of their show to familiarize the new generation with the Pinoy classics.
"Ang aming laging sinasabi, every noontime, sa eight minutes, ang buong bansa at mundo aawit nang sabay-sabay. Bakit? Lahat kasi hits.
"'Yong 'May Bukas Pa,' ang tagal na teleserye noon. 'Yong kanta ni Rey Valera, halos 90 percent ng kanta niya ginamit sa telenovela ng Channel 2. 'Yong sa akin ganun din at 'yong kay Nonoy at kay Marco.
"Kaya this will showcase talaga 'yong mga original Pinoy music na kinalakihan na natin," he said.
Aside from the members of The Hitmakers, Pilipinas Win na Win also introduced two new female hosts: former Wowowee host Janelle Jaymer and Gazelle "Speedy Gee" Canlas of Music Uplate Live. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)