After entertaining possible advertisers last week, Willing Revillame let the families of his staff and crew as well as his avid fans feel the athmosphere in his major TV comeback project Willing Willie, which will start airing tomorrow, October 23, on TV5's early primetime spot. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
The returning TV host dedicated the dress rehearsal for Willing Willie yesterday to the people who have been loyal to him from ABS-CBN to TV5. When he appeared on stage, he shouted, "Handa na ba kayo? Na-miss niyo ba ako?"
The audience, who filled the 600-capacity studio of TV5, responded with their loudest screams.
Willing Willie, according to the host, will change the viewing habits of the Pinoy audience during early evening. The show will be aired daily at 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m and 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays.
"Magandang hapon! Dati 'Magandang Tanghali.' Ngayon, kasama niyo na ang Willing Willie sa panggabihan. Gabi-gabi niyo na akong kasama pero kapag Sabado alas-5 hanggang alas 7 po," Willie told the audience.
In a short speech after singing the theme song for the first game, "123 Go," he said, "Tama na ang bad news. Tama na ang napapanood nating saksakan. Tama na 'yong may naaksidente sa Commonwealth na motorsiklo. Tama na 'yong tatay ginahasa ang anak. Sa hapag-kainan, 'yon na ang pinapanood namin sa ilang taon. Dapat iba na, saya at pag-asa na!
"Tama na lahat 'yan. Tama na ang may nakikita tayong aksidente, may namatay, may gumuho. Papaano tayo aasenso kapag ganyan ang pinapanood mo gabi-gabi kasama ang pamilya mo sa inyong lamesa, sa hapag-kainan, puro na lang negative. Ito na ang Channel 5, puro positive."
And one way of showing positive vibes on the show, Willie randomly gave P1,000 to different people inside the studio. "Pampaswerte 'yan!" he said.
He also offered everyone the chance to win prizes in the games prepared for the show. The games included were "Shoot Mo Baby," "Family Apir," "Wall of Fortune," and "Will Time Big Time."
"TULOY ANG SAYA. TULOY ANG PAG-ASA." The mood during the dry run of Willing Willie was almost similar to Willie's previous show on ABS-CBN, the controversial noontime show Wowowee. In fact, a contestant mistakenly said "Wowowee" while thanking Willie for returning to TV.
The contestant's slip of tongue could be because Willie maintained the image he had during Wowowee days—his passion to give fun and entertainment to the less fortunate. Also his statements during the show yesterday gave more hope to its target audience.
"Tuluy-tuloy ang saya. Tuluy-tuloy ang pag-asa dahil ito ang programa niyo," Willie said at the start of the show.
During one of the games, Willie changed the mechanics of "Will Time Big Time" on the spot to make it easier for the contestants. He reasoned out, "Mas madaling manalo kung mas madali lahat ng games."
Aside from the games, there was also conscious effort to design a set that would make the audience feel important.
Inside the Studio A of TV5, Willing Willie's set was surrounded with white LED lights, which looked like white lines when the lights were turned off. The stage was made of plexiglass flooring with lights. Three LED rectangular billboards and several strobe lights were strategically hung on the ceiling. There were also flat screen TVs placed around the studio to show the audience how the program looks when on air.
Willie did not only focus on the studio, he also took the initiative to renovate some areas of the TV5 network.
"Pinabago ko ito, lahat ng dressing room," said Willie while pointing to his newly renovated dressing room, where the team of PEP and YES! interviewed him last night, October 21.
He continued, "Gumastos ako ng P1.4 million dito. Lahat ito pinabili ko. Lahat ng dressing room ng girls at ng co-hosts. 'Yang mga ilaw [pinaayos ko]. Sabi ko, 'Nakakahiya naman tayo.' Hindi ako nakikialam pero... Pinaayos lahat pati sa likod, pinalagyan ko ng mga kuwarto ang dancers din doon para kapag Sabado, doon ang mga guests."
Willie also acknowledged his new home network for supporting his new show by fully providing for its technical needs.
"They spent about P260 million for the set, lights, cameras, technicals, lahat. But the set is only about P8 million, e, ako ang gumastos niya. Kulang pa, mga P12 million, kasama na ang mga hydraulics.
"They have about eight to 10 cameras, brand new, the sound system, 'yong lang LED, P14 million. All the technicals, hindi lang naman cameras, e. Pati communications nila, binago ang booth nila. Mahal 'yon."
Willie did all this mainly for his audience.
"Dito ko binibigay ang buhay ko, sa mga nangangarap," said Willie. "Ang programa kasi, hindi lang naman din clamor. Hindi lang din naman 'yong pera. 'Yong saya, masaya sila, nag-e-enjoy."
WORKING WITH LOYAL STAFF. Willie also believes that the show will be successful because he has a group of people who are loyal to him, the former employees of ABS-CBN defunct noontime variety show Wowowee.
It can be remembered that Willie owns Wil Production, which entered into an agreement with TV5 to co-produce Willing Willie. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
In the series of feature articles written by PEP, we related how a TV executive, the dancers, and other Wowowee staff members gave up their stable jobs on ABS-CBN to join Willie even before he had an offer from TV5.
"Noong nawala ako sa Wowowee, lahat ng staff ko loyal sa akin because of how I treat them, parang pamilya. Pinadala ko sila sa Hong Kong with their families. I spent about P4 million para sa kanila. Sabi ko, pangregalo ko para sumaya sila. Even the utility [staff] pinakuhanan ko ng passport."
Since they're now in a new home, Willie always reminds the staff members to cooperate with each other and love their job.
"Lagi kong sinasabi sa kanila, mahalin ninyo ang programa ninyo kaysa pamilya ninyo. Bakit? Kasi sabi ko kung hindi niyo mamahalin ang programa ninyo, wala kayong ipakakain sa pamilya ninyo. Di ba, ito ang buhay ng pamilya ninyo. Kaya ang nangyari dito, lahat ng faction dito sa Wowowee, inayos ko 'yon."
Also as a treat, Willie offered a car incentive to those who transferred with him. Today, October 22, 25 cars will be distributed to the dancers and other staff members. Others will get theirs, according to Willie, on the next batch.
"Alam mo kasi ako, hindi ko dinodiyos ang pera, hindi ko dinodiyos ang materyal. Ine-enjoy ko 'yong nakikita ko ang mga tao na masaya, 'yon lang ang kayamanan ko. Ewan ko, happiness ko talaga 'yong may nakikita akong masaya," Willie said.
Willie then related, "Kaya ko lang naisip 'yon, si Atty. [Boy] Reyno, sabi niya, 'Ano ba ang gusto mong ibalik sa mga tao mo?' Sabi ko, 'Gusto ko lang kumportable.' Sabi niya, 'E, di ibili natin ng kotse.' Sabi ko, 'Okay ba sa kumapanya?' Sabi niya, 'Oo, Willie, nagbuwis ng panahon iyan para sa iyo, di ba? They took the risk.'"
He also mentioned, "Kasi, mahal ko ang mga 'yan. They took the risk sa buhay nila. During the time na wala ng Wowowee, hindi pa ako bumabalik, tawag nang tawag sa akin ang mga 'yan, iyakan nang iyakan. Ngayon nakita ko ang pagkatao ng mga staff ko. Ang babait nila."
THREAT ON THE SHOW'S FIRST AIRING. Earlier this month, Willing Willie'sfirst episode tomorrow, October 23, was threatened with delay because Willie's former home network asked Quezon City court to issue a temporary restraining order against its former host.
In the petition filed last October 4, ABS-CBN reiterated that Willie still has a contract with the network, which will expire on September 2011. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
However, during the dry run yesterday, Willie happily told everyone, "Hindi ho kami nabigyan ng TRO sa Sabado. Ewan ko lang sa Lunes."
PEP asked Willie about the issue of former Wowowee staff members who filed a complaint against ABS-CBN last Wednesday at the Quezon city court. The former employees of the Kapamilya network were seeking damages after their decision to resign from the network and join the former host of the defunct program. (CLICK HERE to read related article.)
Willie said he's not aware of the issue. However, he doubted that the complainants were part of the former employees of Wowowee who joined him on TV5.
"Hindi naman sila naghahabol. Bakit sila maghahabol, e, may trabaho na sila," he reasoned out. "Hindi totoo 'yon. Baka ginagamit lang nila ang sitwasyon, hindi ko naman sila nakakausap, e. Hindi ako aware doon."
LONE HOST OF THE SHOW? During the rehearsal, people noticed that he was doing the hosting chores throughout the show. Members of the WW.Girls were alternately helping him in each segment.
Does this mean Willie will be the sole host of the show?
The TV host said it's only for the first month. "Naghahanap pa ako ng someone na gusto kong nakikita ko siyang involved sa tao."
Does he have names in mind?
Willie confirmed a previous entry on PEP Scoopbox about Miss Earth 2009 Sandra Seiffert, but not Isabel Oli because she has an existing contract with GMA-7.
When asked for a short list of possible co-hosts, Willie answered, "Wala pa talaga. Well, we're trying to get Venus Raj kasi galing sa hirap, magandang istorya. Mayroon akong major, major surprise, segment 'yon para sa kanya."
Willie also stressed that he wouldn't get a younger host. For him, "Kukuha ka ng bata, hindi naman niya naiintindihan ang buhay. May umiiyak na baka magulat pa 'yan. Dapat naiintindihan niya, may pinagdaanan."
For the first episode of Willing Willie, Willie told the audience during the rehearsal that they should watch for his surprise guest host tomorrow. And his clue, "Nagbibigay ng mga blind item."
Don't forget to catch the pilot episode of Willie's major TV comeback on Willing Willie tomorrow, October 23 at 5:00 p.m. on TV5.