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Wowowhy is Willie Revillame So Powerful?
The whys and wherefores of his wealth, will and witchery
By: Karen Pagsolingan   |   Published on: May 12, 2009 - 3:18pm
willie300x400 Every day, at 8:30 a.m., Revillame is in his dressing room in ABS-CBN and makes sure rehearsals promptly begin at 9 a.m. By 12 noon he dutifully assumes his role as host–making the people laugh, cry, dance, sing, narrate their real-life stories, and leave the studio with either a wow experience or prize. Devoting 12 hours a day of his timefrom Monday to Saturday, to his show, Revillame calls this show his life. Wowowee is his most prized possession. Hailed by YES! as the Most Powerful Entertainer in the land, Revillame raised eyebrows but also got heads nodding in approval. His life is an open book. He has a love-hate relationship with the public. And even as his popularity continues to soar sky-high, the never-ending question of the doubtful or just plain curious is: Why him? CHARISMA. One popular definition of the term is "personal magnetism or charm." In the world of showbiz, this is a requisite. It can overshadow physical appearance, overrule flaws. Nora Aunor had it. At the height of her career, she had to be flown onstage via helicopter because multitudes of fans would get riotous at her concerts. Former President Joseph Estrada still has it. Years after he was convicted of plunder, the masa still greets him with much fervor. And Willie? Watch Wowowee and observe the studio audience. Contestants requesting for a kiss or hug or both from the host-comedian-singer is an ordinary occurrence. In one of the episodes, a kid actually proclaimed, "Ikaw ang pinakaguwapo, Pappi." Channel 2's lady boss Charo Santos saw this coming early on, and it was only strategic for ABS-CBN to leverage Willie's star power. Which is probably why despite the bad press he kept incurring in the past, management has given him the "best contract in the whole world," as he likes to put it.
PRO-POOR PACKAGING. He's far from perfect. "Mayabang," "mainitin ang ulo," "mahilig sa babae" are just some of the not-so-pleasant adjectives attributed to him. But the same time, he is called "malambing," "matulungin," and "magaling magpatawa." He calls the elderly "'Nay" ot "'Tay." He treats his viewers as "Kapamilya." He listens to the struggles of the underprivileged. He gives balikbayans the warmest welcome. He underscores great talents. The show encapsulates all of these qualities. And if there are touching stories –the lola who travelled all the way from Nueva Ecija just to see him, the young lady who missed her graduation just to become a contestant, or the boy who walked a great distance with his younger brother to get to the studio–Wowowee underscores them. The pro-poor packaging of the show and its host creates and sustains a deep emotional connection with the viewers. Mr. Good Deeds outshines Mr. Not-So-Good Guy.Non-fans are puzzled: Why does he have power over the masses when he consistently makes fun of his contestants' teeth/feet/peklat or burol-worthy-looks just to get laughs? The objects of his ridicule laugh with him as he laughs at them, as if forgiving him for his insensitive remarks because he's serving a noble purpose. He's their savior, the answer to their suffering and strife. WOWOWEEE = WILLIE. The show was made for him. Edgar "Bobot" Mortiz, a business unit head of the Kapamilya network, said in an interview with YES!: "No script…Hanggang bagsak ng music–siya iyon. Gamay niya." Wowowee was supposedly inspired by the El Shaddai congregation, a concept believed to be pitched by Willie himself. The fanaticism of the studio viewers is hyped. The sequence is very predictable. They do the same thing almost everyday, but people still want to be part of the fanfare, and viewers patronize it. Of course, there's the energy, drama, fun, and wisecracks which constitute the entertainment value of the show. And Willie makes sure every person in the team does his or her job in executing these duties properly. In most cases, Willie's word is the law. Even the advertisers recognize this. He has the power to approve the products being shown on Wowowee, and as mentioned in YES!, he receives a talent fee for plugging these brands in the segments of the show. So if anyone asks about the show's formula, it is simply Wowowee = Willie. People watch (or do not watch) it because of him. When he goes abroad as himself, he'll be treated like any other celebrity. But when he's there as Wowowee host, he wows. WORLDWIDE REACH. The show is watched by millions of Pinoys worldwide. Wowowee has become part of every balikbayan's itinerary (including famed American humorist David Sedaris when he visited Manila in 2006), and booking a slot with ABS-CBN Tours needs to be at least three months in advance. Can you say Oprah? Whenever he brings the show abroad, tickets are usually sold out. To have that Wowowee experience, ticket price becomes a minor concern for our kababayans. (Trivia: For the shows dubbed Wowowillie, private sponsors pay him directly.) Wowowee has captured a large population of Pinoys in the global market, and if its popularity continues to soar, the possibilities are endless. Even politicians have taken note of this, and they are bound to capitalize on Wowowee's reach, given the fast-approaching 2010 elections. Just wait and see.
WILLIE'S WEALTH. Four houses, two yachts, one massive lot, 11 luxury cars–and he's not shy about flaunting it. He likes to talk about his phone call from Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and his brief encounters with Henry Sy, Danding Cojuangco and other tycoons. His wealth has helped him attain formidable clout in the business. The former hawi boy is now perceived as a godfather. His stature has captured the fascination of the public. Some are impressed. Others are skeptical. But whether the reaction is positive or negative, Willie had us at hello. The former sidekick is now the main man. Lastly, his WILL is palpable. Even at his lowest point, he never faltered. Even when people hurled negative comments at him, he was unperturbed. They say he's just masuwerte, but luck came to him as a result of several years of struggling, networking, and proving himself. The man did not achieve his Most Powerful status overnight, but through years and years of trial-and-error pursuits. Until one day, he was able to crack the winning formula: He made Wowowee his life. Image by Paul Mata for
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  • mary ann christine magsalay
    Sana nga makatulong pa si kuya WILLIE ng mga kagaya kong gustong mag-aral.
    Sep 07 2011 @ 11:51am     Reply  
  • layra mae
    willie revillame is a great man. he strives hard, everyday. his a man of dedication, perseverance and determanation. lahat naman ng tao nagbabago. isa siya dun. kasi gusto niya lang gumawa ng kabutihan. mapagbigay siya, di siya madamot. di tilat ng iba dyan, puro paninira sa kapwa. kaya di kayo umaasenso eh. mga nega!!!!
    Feb 11 2011 @ 04:05pm     Reply  
  • evangelina bolt
    i realy want to see willie in person and meet all his host like mariel . i will arrive philippines jan.4 maybe we will see you there.
    Nov 25 2009 @ 11:50pm     Reply  
  • ching-b
    Willie's success went up the roof that he forgot where he came from.
    Show is suppose to be for laughter (comedy) but not to laugh @ the life of the person nor comment on how *gly you are. That is negative criticism, not constructive criticism. I think Pokwang can HOLD the show pretty well...all of wowwowwee staffs are
    eating 'SHIT" from willie...that is sad and that's a shame.
    Oct 22 2009 @ 04:10am     Reply  
  • F Secor
    The guy's a fake, period! You're a woman and you can't his sexism? Shame on you!
    Sep 24 2009 @ 12:41pm     Reply  
  • stela
    my husband hates him, i do sometimes when he corrects his staff on air, everybody else in the show are fantastic but i hate o say this wowowee is not worth my time watching without willie coz we always wait for what he will do and say the anticipaation makes it worth my time watching it over and over 2 or 3 times a day
    Sep 01 2009 @ 12:52am     Reply  
  • Sonny
    Willie running for public office? Wake up my dear kababayan! We all know how corrupt Phil politics is. Wag na nating dagdagan. Lets use our mind not our emotions to choose our leaders. Maawa naman tayo sa mga naghihirap nating kababayan na kumakapit na sa patilim just to survive. Willie makes his millions out of other peoples miseries. Imulat natin ang ating mga mata na hindi sa ganya nanggagaling ang tulong kundi sa mga sponsors who only gain profit in return. At the end of every show, tinanong ba natin ang ating mga sarili kung sino talaga ang nag gain sa mga antics ni Willie? He just made another Million peso and the pinoys are still left to rot in his own country.
    Aug 25 2009 @ 06:27am     Reply  
  • wowo wa?
    he's a piece of sh*t dressed in nice clothing
    he is fake
    Aug 18 2009 @ 09:26am     Reply  
  • gossipmonger
    What if the husband of his manager runs for president and Willie endorses him? Nakupow! Sure win na si Kabayan!
    May 13 2009 @ 12:28pm     Reply  
  • sexy_kapuso
    Life is like a Wheel. Ang Buhay ay parang gulong.
    May 13 2009 @ 08:34am     Reply  
  • topazbeauty
    On that Kris interview, she asked him that with all his money, what does he plan to do to give back to the Pinoy? Ang sagot ba naman ay, "Enough na napatawa ko sila."
    May 12 2009 @ 08:09pm     Reply  
  • lisacheng
    I hope he does not run for President because he will win.
    May 12 2009 @ 05:41pm     Reply  
  • plaid
    Great story. Wowowee!
    May 12 2009 @ 03:59pm     Reply  
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