MANILA, Philippines?Willie Revillame has signed up with TV5 for two new shows while its former network, ABS-CBN, has filed a P486-million counterclaim damage suit against the TV host for allegedly violating his contract.
In spite of a pending court case with its former network, Revillame will launch two new shows with TV5 next month: The game show ?Willing Willie? and the talent search ?Born to Be a Star.?
In a phone interview Friday, Revillame told the Inquirer that he inked the deal with TV5 chair Manny Pangilinan at the home of his lawyer Alfonso Reyno and in the presence of his business partner and manager Vic del Rosario last Sept. 7.
He said that ?Willing Willie? will be managed by his own company Wil Productions and co-produced by TV5. ?Born to Be a Star,? on the other hand, will be produced by his own Wire Productions.
Revillame said he had already started rehearsals for the new shows which will be aired ?live.?
?We are now finalizing the time slot, whether noontime or primetime, and the exact launch dates of the shows, but I will definitely return on air in October,? he said.
It was earlier reported that Willie?s new TV5 show would be launched on Oct. 10, 2010, an auspicious date.
?We won?t make the 10-10-10 target launch,? Revillame admitted. ?We are still fixing some things. Basta by October, tuloy ang saya, tuloy ang pag-asa (the fun continues, the hope continues). That?s our show?s slogan.?
Foremost on Revillame?s to-do list is to beat an ongoing court case against ABS-CBN.
In a 139-page answer with compulsory counterclaim, ABS-CBN asked the court to order Revillame to pay P426 million as liquidated damages for breaching their agreement and P20 million each for moral damages, exemplary damages and attorney?s fees.
The P486-million counterclaim was filed on Thursday before Judge Luisito Cortez of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court in compliance with the summons to answer the P11.5-million damage and rescission of contract filed by Revillame against the Kapamilya network.
Revillame, through legal counsel Leonard De Vera, filed the damage suit, claiming that his suspension with pay and placing him under probation were valid grounds to terminate his contract because they were provided for in the agreement.
In its answer, ABS-CBN through lawyer Augusto San Pedro Jr., asked the court to dismiss the complaint claiming it was Revillame who had breached his obligations under the agreement.
In filing the counterclaim, the ABS-CBN cited violations allegedly committed by Revillame including his outburst during the live broadcast of the transfer of the remains of the late President Corazon Aquino to Manila Cathedral that was aired as an inset in his show ?Wowowee.?
ABS-CBN also cited Revillame?s public criticisms against radio and TV host Jobert Sucaldito and network management in the May 4, 2010 episode of ?Wowowee.?
It also said the agreement prevented Revillame from engaging in activities adverse to ABS-CBN and from using the program to make public criticisms or disagreements with the network.
It added that Revillame took an unauthorized leave of absence and refused to perform his obligations as talent despite the existence of his contract.
On Sept. 15, the Kapamilya network issued an official statement, reiterating that Revillame ?continues to be bound to ABS-CBN and we will challenge in court any contract involving his production or exhibition of another program with another network.?
According to ABS-CBN?s head of Corporate Communications Bong Osorio, Revillame?s contract will expire in September 2011.
Revillame had earlier filed on Aug. 20 a case for the ?judicial confirmation? of his move to rescind his contract with ABS-CBN, citing ?10 valid grounds? for his action.
In a phone interview on Friday, Revillame said he was unperturbed by ABS-CBN?s ?official response? to challenge his move to transfer.
?As far as I am concerned, I?ve already rescinded my contract with ABS-CBN,? he explained. ?The case is now in court. It?s not for me to elaborate or talk about that. I?ll just wait for the court?s decision.?
In a prepared statement, Joel Bodegon, Revillame?s lawyer, said ?we wanted to make sure that his transfer will be as smooth as possible, without further legal setbacks and hitches that can hamper his growth in his new network.?
Bodegon said Revillame?s legal team ?had to meticulously scrutinize all the technicalities and legalities of his former contract [with ABS-CBN].?
Bodegon asserted that ?we believe that Willie?s on the clear to work ... anywhere he wants.?
Revillame acknowledged that initially there had been talks with ABS-CBN?s main rival GMA 7. ?That?s why I am thankful to Kapuso executives Jimmy Duavit, Philip Yalong and Felipe Gozon.?
Reyno said that ?it?s our position that the [ABS-CBN] contract was rescinded when ABS-CBN made a counter-offer which was in violation of said contract.?
Pangilinan explained that TV5 signed up Revillame, in response to the ?public clamor ... we look forward to collaborating ... with Willie and Vic del Rosario.?
Del Rosario, for his part, promised to ?raise the bar in primetime entertainment? with Revillame?s two new shows.
Revillame said he?s raring to return to television after his ?extended vacation.?
He related that ?Willing Willie? will feature new game concepts?the highlight of which is called ?Spin a Will.?
?The jackpot is a house and lot, P1-million cash, a vehicle or a scholarship,? he said. ?The prizes will be given by Wil Serve Foundation.?
For the real-estate prizes, he forged a partnership with Camella Homes, owned by the family of Sen. Manny Villar. (Revillame supported Villar?s failed presidential bid.)
Media empire a la Oprah
Revillame also said that he will have three co-hosts on his new game show. ?Surprise kung sino sila (You will be surprised when you find out who they are).?
What?s not surprising is that Revillame intends to build a media empire a la Oprah Winfrey with his new partnership with TV5.
He said that, in two years? time, he plans to mount the shows in his own studios at the Wil Towers which is now under construction on a lot beside ABS-CBN.