Talent 'surplus,' opportunity: Why Albee Benitez is producing shows for TV5

Former Negros Occidental representative and TV show producer Albee Benitez said it was the sudden availability of many stars and directors that pushed him to produce shows under his company Brightlight Productions.

The "sudden" availability, of course, was prompted by the shutdown of ABS-CBN after a House committee denied the network a fresh franchise.

During the press conference for Brightlight Productions’ lineup of shows on Monday, October 12, Benitez said that he initially had no plans to produce for TV.

“We were not really looking to going to TV. But when the opportunity came and there was a surplus of talents, stars, and directors and all those things that were available, one of our discussions with TV5 was, maybe we can offer them work and provide some sort of livelihood for them,” he said.

“So that’s how we went from films to TV to answer the call of the sudden surge of supply of all these talents that were suddenly available.”

Benitez clarified that he is only a block timer for TV. “Brightlight Productions has always been in films. We’ve done films in the past and in fact, we have 2 films in our inventory right now,” he said. 

Benitez, who produced the show Game Changer Pilipinas on ANC, was asked by media if his partnership with TV5 was a case of the right place and the right time.

“Siguro. You can probably say that. Because there was really no plans of entering TV. It so happened it fell on my lap. There was an opportunity. I have a very good relationship with the executives of TV 5 and Cignal so it was probably a perfect fit."

“Even as of now we’re still talking with ABS-CBN, they are looking at providing content with us. I think come December, we are having a line production show on a Sunday afternoon slot.”

Benitez’s company will be backed by Corner Studios, a subsidiary of entertainment company Cornerstone, for two of the 6 shows – Sunday Noontime Live and the drama series I Got You. According to Benitez, he sought the help of a line production company to meet the deadline after talks with TV5 were finalized.

“We had to assemble 6 shows in probably 2 months. So because of that, we had to rely on line production companies and Cornerstone is one of those line producing our Sunday Noontime Live and I Got You, which airs right after that. So to meet the deadline given by Mr. Robert Galang (president of TV5), we had to get some support and help from line production companies,” he said. 

With his entry as an independent producer and his shows set to air starting October 18, Benitez said that he welcomes the competition, especially with the noontime show Sunday Noontime Live.

“I always welcome competition because at the end of the day, the viewers, the consumers will gain from competition. I am not a network as I said but a block timer. I think TV 5 allowing more block timer people to produce more content is a step in the right direction. It will encourage more livelihood, more creative work to come out."

“So It would be a good situation where we have a lot of good content providers being welcomed by networks to airing their program.”  – Alexa Villano/Rappler.com