Wednesday ∗ 30 Jul 2008

host creation in contemporary times: part 2

Beyond ABS-CBN

It is therefore no surprise that gone are the days when any actor or actress could just gather enough gumption to hold a microphone and instantly become TV host. So much more is at stake now, given the fact that many of these reality shows are expensive franchises. And it is that one host who needs to keep audiences from changing channels at any given time.

But both ABS-CBN 2 and GMA 7 have yet to come up with anyone that’s close to Gonzaga’s stature, if one may call it that. Rodriguez and Gonzales, while both bubbling with personality, seem to be one and the same person, even with their different skin colors and shows. Much can be said about the fact that while Rodriguez has slowly started to move from hosting to acting, she isn’t really much of an actress; and both her and Gonzales’ upper class origins reveals itself when they’re made to relate with the mass audience. The same may be said for Manzano, whose personality has yet to shine in the context of hosting chores that’s predominantly done by females, at least on ABS-CBN.

GMA 7 would seem to have one over the former channel when it comes to male hosts, with its usual suspect Paolo Bediones, but also a new set of younger hosts Raymond Guttierez (for Pinoy Idol and Showbiz Central), Moe Twister (for Showbiz Central), and Drew Arellano (for Unang Hirit and Balikbayan).

Of this batch, it’s Guttierez who got the coveted Pinoy Idol hosting stint, for reasons beyond anyone’s understanding. Suffice it to say that he lacks the maturity and credibility for the job, and one actually reminisces about the witty repartee and personality that at least Ryan Agoncillo leant to the past incarnation of the same franchise.

Meanwhile, it is Twister and Arellano who are more engaging to watch, successful as both are at traversing the line between their fluent-English upbringing and class origins, and the mass audience that the network banks on for profits. Both also reveal much of their personalities in the shows that they do, proving that Gonzaga’s style of silly and quirky – her realness – does work across genders, and networks, even shows.

And yet, both Twister and Arellano are relegated to the shows that they have, all of which aren’ton primetime and really do limit them insofar as flexing their hosting muscles are concerned. Here, it does become clear that as far as GMA 7 is concerned host-creation is at best a flimsy concept that’s barely important.

Something that’s proven further by their decision to have singer Karylle and actress Rhian Ramos, to co-host Pinoy Idol with Guttierez. This trio’s barely there when it comes to keeping the show and its sub-show Pinoy Idol Extra interesting, as the three bank on their pretty faces and articulateness (and obviously their very good managers who got them the hosting stints) instead of on credibility or personality.

Something in turn, that ABS-CBN seems to consciously build in their roster of hosts. Where credibility in contemporary times is represented by the number of product endorsements and projects that the hosts are given, and personality is about selling everything and anything possible about these hosts – talent and skill notwithstanding.

And if the ratings game is any indication, then Pinoy Dream Academy undoubtedly has one over Pinoy Idol – that is, it has Gonzaga, Giland Crawford, over Guttierez, Karylle and Ramos. It’s really no contest.

Posted in: kapitalista, kawomenan, kultura, star creation, TV

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