MANILA -- The announced return of co-host Vhong Navarro on "It's Showtime" on March 8 drew a strong viewership for the noontime program, ranking it among the five most watched shows in the Philippines for the day.
The ABS-CBN show registered a national TV rating of 26.6% last Saturday, according to data from Kantar Media, placing it fourth overall as the highest rated program, just below "MMK" (33%), "Wansapanataym" (32.5%), and "Bet On Your Baby" (26.6%).
To compare, the nationwide ratings of "It's Showtime" in the last four Saturdays were: 11.4%, ranking it 10th overall on March 1; 13.2%, ninth on February 22; 14.1%, eighth on February 15; and 14.9%, eighth on February 8.
Kantar Media uses a nationwide panel size of 2,609 urban and rural homes, representing 100% of the total Philippine TV viewing population.
The first teaser for Navarro's return to "It's Showtime" was aired on March 2, triggering speculation that the actor would appear in the Monday episode of the show last March 3.
It was only last Friday, March 7, when the program's co-hosts confirmed that Navarro would be returning to "It's Showtime" after more than six weeks on leave.
Navarro's emotional appearance on the show last Saturday followed a controversial month for the actor, who filed criminal charges against eight people in relation to a mauling incident last January 22.
Amid his recovery from serious injuries, Navarro also had to face two separate rape complaints -- one from model Deniece Cornejo, who alleged the sexual assault took place on the night of the mauling; and the other from former pageant contestant Roxanne Cabanero, who claimed she was victimized by the actor in 2010.
"Isang buwan po tayong hindi nagkita at nagsama-sama," Navarro said in his speech last Saturday, addressing the audience. "Gustung-gusto ko magpasalamat sa inyo nang personal dahil pinagtatanggol niyo ako, pinaniniwalaan niyo ako at pinagdadasal niyo ako."