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  • willie-revillameWilling Willie worked up a fren­zied entrance last Saturday, Octo­ber 23. That day, the once sedate TV5 building along Quirino Highway in Novaliches, Quezon City, was mobbed by a throng that created a great deal of traffic and quite a din. Way after the network’s 600- capacity Studio A was closed to the throng, long lines were left waiting at the gates and at least one fan fainted.The show of Willie Revillame also made it to Twitter’s top trending topics. At about 7:30 p.m, more than an hour after the show began, Willing Willie placed fourth in the world rankings. It was an indication that the Kapatid station’s primetime offer­ing had become hot topic among Tweeters.This, at least, points to the strong promise of the TV come­back of the controversial host. Willie and his staff of course know that, hot as they are, controversy also pursues them. They say that the day before the show’s debut, they all prayed hard for the favor­able decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
    Willie’s former home, ABS­CBN, had lodged an urgent pe­tition for the court to release a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the show. But the QC Court found no urgent reason to release its decision before the launch date, saying it was attend­ing to other earlier cases.FROM WOWOWEE TO WILL­ING WILLIE. Willie Willie is not a new show—not in the strict sense. It is Wowowee resurrected in spirit, except that it has entirely new games, new choreography, and bigger prizes which are sup­posed to be easier to win. But be­cause the host remains Willie, and Willie is his own brand, Wowowee and Willing Willie are kin.

    Willie himself says that the newly launched program is the rebirth of Wowowee, the hugely popular noontime show on ABS­CBN that bridged the gap be­tween the network, once more-identified with elite programming, and the Pinoy OFWs and the poor who make up the greater number of the local population.

    Wowowee first aired on Feb­ruary 5, 2005. It was an original concept by Willie himself, and it banked on the altruistic theme of giving hope to the poor. Within a short span, Wowowee began going head-to-head with GMA-7’s long-running and seem­ingly unbeatable noontime show Eat Bulaga! Advertisements also started pouring in, stretching the show to three hours, and turning Willie into a virtual emperor at Kapamilya land.

    For along with the show’s ris­ing popularity rose Willie’s fame, fortune, and power. He was the regular subject of both good and bad press. He amassed property: several homes of no mean weight; more than a dozen cars all top of the line, except for service cars for staff and bodyguards; two yachts; a chopper, possibly two; and, pretty soon, two buildings, a big one that houses a mall and residential condos and a smaller one that will serve as the home of his new production company, Wil Productions.

     

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