Boy Abunda brings his trademark ‘Fast Talk’ to GMA

He may or may not resurrect his ‘mahiwagang salamin,’ which he started using in his original GMA shows, to coax guests to reveal more of themselves before an imaginary mirror.

Boy Abunda is practically obsessed with interviewing world-famous personalities such as talk show host Oprah Winfrey, broadcast journalist Barbara Walters who passed away just a few weeks ago, and former US First Lady and senator Hillary Clinton.

“I sent letters to each of them introducing myself and sounding them out about my desire to interview them in the US and whenever they may be available for me,” Abunda revealed in a recent presscon at GMA.

“My letter to Oprah got returned, supposedly because her address is unknown. No response from Barbara at all. But Hillary responded and said it’s something she could look into sometime in the future.”

“I’ve stopped expecting that future from Hillary. But I keep the letter up to now, because she addressed me directly in the letter. My name is there,” said Abunda.

Abunda himself is warm, intimate, pleasant, humble, and honest as an interviewee. The TV host is back with the network where his talk show hosting career began in 1994, with Show and Tell which became Startalk in 1995. After that, he moved to ABS-CBN in 1999 where he became the network’s master showbiz talk show host.

But ABS-CBN lost its franchise in 2020, and Covid-19 also attacked, discouraging intimate gatherings and conversations. Abunda’s daily Tonight With Boy Abunda had to go because its format involved the host sitting face to face with his showbiz guest, particularly when they’re doing the segment “Fast Talk.”

Abunda has carried that catch phrase to GMA 7 as the title of his comeback show, which premieres at 4:05 p.m, on 23 January.

Photograph courtesy of GMA
Boy Abunda

At the GMA presscon, Abunda admitted he feels unsure that he would be as well followed now as he was at ABS-CBN, given the sheer number of competitors he has on social media alone where his multi-platform show will also be streamed. Celebrities themselves have their own vlogs where they talk to and play parlor games and naughty quizzes with fellow celebrities.

Abunda said he isn’t as sure now about the demographics of celebrity followers, and that he can’t interview anymore the sizzlers who are highly identified with another network.

Still, he hinted that he may have new ways of teasing out information from his guests to complement his breathless fast talk, in which guests should answer as quickly as they could with the fewest number of words (which means they can’t explain and modify their answers). He may or may not bring back his “mahiwagang salamin”, which he started using in his original GMA shows, to coax guests to reveal more of themselves before an imaginary mirror.

“Susubok din tayong gumawa ng headlines. Kung marami sa social media ang nagiging sources ng kuwento, maghahabol din tayo ng kuwento (We will also go for headlines; If social media is now the source of stories, then we’ll pursue stories [there]),” promised Abunda.

“Malay mo makatisod tayo ng balita na sa atin mag-uumpisa (Who knows, we might stumble on scoops). Because remember, we have access to the GMA artists. We have access to our personal friends,” he added.

“At may konting kredibilidad dahil may fact-checking kami. Kung halimbawa, magbibigay ako ng headline, dadaan ‘yan sa napakaraming tao (And we have some credibility because we do fact-checking. If I give a headline, for instance, that will be vetted by a lot of people) before I’m able to do a commentary. Or an enumeration of headlines for the day).”

The Kapuso network has allowed Abunda to maintain his YouTube channel, though he has assured the GMA bosses that if he gets a scoop interview with controversial celebrities, he would always give it first to his Fast Talk show on GMA 7.

Abunda vows to be good team player at the network. Whatever concepts or interview formats he wants to put in his show, he will have to go through channels of clearances all the way to the top.

For the first week of Fast Talk, Abunda will chat with Marian Rivera (23 January), Glaiza de Castro and her Irish husband (24 January), Alden Richards (25 January), Bea Alonzo (26 January), and Paolo Contis (27 January). He said he is also raring to sit down with the ever-quotable Heart Evangelista.

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