GMA 7 boss Felipe L. Gozon talks candidly about the effects of those persistent rumorsBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Apparently, GMA 7 executives themselves could no longer ignore those persistent “merger” rumors.
For months now, there has been talk that TV5’s Manny V. Pangilinan has bought GMA 7. Both parties have since denied the scuttlebutt. Still aftershocks have obviously reached the top floor of the Kapuso network’s headquarters in Quezon City—so much so that Felipe L. Gozon, chair and chief executive officer, had to give his team a pep talk.
In a subsequent press briefing, Gozon related candidly that whenever talk of the merger surfaced, the inevitable questions would be: “Who will be jettisoned from the ship? Who will survive?”
Gozon asserted that he has full trust in the current management team of the Kapuso channel. “Our people are the best in the industry,” he said. “They’re not only tried; they are tested. I would think twice before replacing any of them.”
He pointed out that the Kapuso creative team “can now produce original content and drama shows for both the prime time and afternoon time slots,” instead of just relying on remakes of old movies and komiks serials.
He said he told his team “that they should be singing the song ‘New York, New York.’ That’s because if they can make it in GMA 7, they can make it anywhere.”
Did the gossip cause undue tension among Kapuso execs?
Lilybeth Rasonable, officer-in-charge of Entertainment TV, quipped: “We’re always tense in GMA 7. We’re used to pressure. We have no time to be bothered about merger rumors.”
Gozon owned up, gleefully: “I’m the one pressuring them.”
“The assurance from our boss was more than enough for us,” Rasonable added.
Throughout the press conference, which was originally meant to highlight the network’s new shows for the second quarter of the year, the specter of the merger rumor hovered in the room.
Gozon also tackled concerns about his daughter Annette Gozon-Abrogar’s future, should the network ownership change. “My daughter was valedictorian in the University of the Philippines College of Law. She finished masters of law in Harvard. She’s a good lawyer. It’s just that she likes her work here.” Abrogar is president of GMA Films.
(The elder Gozon, also a lawyer, is a UP alumnus himself, and obtained his Master of Laws degree from Yale University. This year he made it to the UP Alumni Association’s elite circle of Lifetime Distinguished Achievement Awardees.)
Business-wise, the controversy seems to have had a positive effect on the price of the network’s shares in the stock market, said Gozon.
He likewise addressed the intrigue surrounding former Kapuso executive Wilma Galvante’s supposed transfer to TV5 as consultant, starting with the talent search “Artista Academy.”
Gozon related: “Wilma wrote me an e-mail telling me about her plans. She clarified her role in the new show. I’ve known Wilma for a long time. She will not do anything against GMA 7. We had a good parting.”
How will the Kapuso execs make sure their shows remain competitive and completely different from the Kapatid lineup? After all, Galvante played a key role in creating the Kapuso brand and undoubtedly left her mark on its shows.
Specifically, observers note that TV5’s “Artista Academy” may be too similar to GMA 7’s “Protégé.”
Also, GMA 7 has new primetime and afternoon soap operas: “Luna Blanca,” “Makapiling Kang Muli,” “One True Love,” “Kasalanan Bang Ibigin Ka,” “Faithfully,” “Together Forever.” Will these shows bear Galvante’s stamp?
Rasonable said there’s no reason to fret: “Even before (when Galvante was senior vice president for Entertainment TV), although she gave her input, we ran the shows.”
Darling de Jesus, assistant vice president of Entertainment, concurred: “In any case, there’s no trademark or recipe in conceptualizing shows.”
Added De Jesus: “When we create shows, our priority is how best to entertain the audience.”
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