6 times 'Showtime' hosts survived controversies

By Miguel Dumaual, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Jan 30 2014 06:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 31 2014 07:03 AM

'It's Showtime' hosts (from left) Vhong Navarro, Anne Curtis, Billy Crawford, Kuya Kim, Karylle, Vice Ganda, Jugs & Teddy, Jhong Hilario, Ryan Bang and Coleen Garcia. ABS-CBN

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Between Vhong Navarro being accused of attempted rape and Vice Ganda's controversial concert segment, co-hosts of "It's Showtime" have managed to move on from controversies they were respectively involved in in the last year.

Asked on Tuesday about this apparent streak of challenges, Vice Ganda said he does not believe the program has anything to do with their individual luck.

"Magkakasama man kami sa isang programa o hindi, meron at meron namang mangyayaring magaganda at hindi magaganda sa aming lahat," he said. "Nagkataon lang na nagkasama-sama kami. Hindi kasi ako naniniwala sa gano'n, e."

"Lahat ng ito ay may dahilan kung bakit nangyayari. At hindi lang naman sa amin, sa ibang tao nangyayari rin naman 'yan. Nagkataon lang na magkakagrupo kami."

As a daily live program, "It's Showtime" has become a window of sorts to how its mainstays react to issues involving them. Vice Ganda, for instance, has used the show to directly address critics, while Billy Crawford, in the wake of his controversial breakup, was welcomed warmly by his co-hosts when he returned from an extended vacation.

Navarro, one of the original hosts of the show since 2009, has similarly gotten the support of his colleagues as he continues to recover from a mauling incident last January 22.

The "Gagamboy" star, who has had to undergo reconstructive nose surgery, claimed that he was a victim of extortion, and that he was blindfolded and tied up before being attacked by at least six men led by businessman Cedric Lee.

Model Deniece Cornejo, one of the eight respondents in the criminal charges filed by Navarro, maintained that the actor attempted to rape her. In her account of the incident inside a condominium unit in Taguig, Cornejo claimed she was rescued by Lee's group, who supposedly carried out a citizen's arrest on Navarro.

Since news of the incident broke two days later on January 24, the remaining hosts on "It's Showtime" have turned emotional in a number of its live episodes.

Last Saturday, a crying Anne Curtis led a prayer for the recovery of Navarro in the opening minutes of the program. Jhong Hilario, on the other hand, burst into tears and walked out last Tuesday, admitting it was difficult to carry on with the show amid Navarro's ordeal.

Here are five other recent controversies or challenges that involved the hosts of "It's Showtime":

1. Drunk Anne at a bar

Before the mauling incident involving Navarro, "It's Showtime" last grappled with a controversy when Curtis was reported to have slapped three people, including actor John Lloyd Cruz, at an upscale bar in November 2013. Model-host Phoemela Baranda was also reported to be a subject of Curtis' ire at the time. She later went on record to clarify that Curtis never said anything to the effect of the now-infamous line, "I can buy you, your friends and this club!"

When the report surfaced two weeks after the actual incident, Curtis was quick to apologize on Twitter to her fans for "disappointing" them. A day later on December 2, an unfazed Curtis appeared on "It's Showtime" where she urged viewers to move on, as the parties involved already have.

2. Ryan's tax woes

On January 31, 2013, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) filed tax evasion charges against Ryan Bang, saying the former "Pinoy Big Brother" housemate did not file any income or percentage tax returns for 2010 and 2011, even though he received at least P3.05 million in income from several companies including ABS-CBN Corp., Summit Publishing and Studio 23.

Bang swiftly responded to the case, saying he vows to resolve it the soonest possible time. The Korean star's "It's Showtime" co-hosts expressed support for him, with Vice Ganda even promising to help him pay his debt to the BIR.

3. Jhong's viral photo

In April 2013, a sensitive photo of Hilario made the rounds on social media. The former Streetboys member had posted an Instagram collage of him apparently bathing, including a photo that accidentally showed the tip of his penis. Although he quickly deleted the image, several websites had already re-posted it.

During the live telecast of "It's Showtime" the next day, Vice Ganda tried to make light of the situation, joking that anyone who wishes to get a "clear copy" of the photo can get it from him. A laughing Hilario quipped, "Kalokalike lang 'yon!"

4. Vice Ganda says sorry

On May 28, 2013, GMA News anchor Jessica Soho, in a statement, condemned what she referred to as a "rape joke" made by Vice Ganda during his concert at the Araneta Coliseum last May 17. The comedian had poked fun at Soho's weight in a sketch about celebrities as "bold stars," which also mentioned the likes of Kris Aquino, Gus Abelgas and Boy Abunda.

A day later on "It's Showtime," Vice Ganda took some 10 minutes to address the situation. He related that he immediately called Soho to apologize after her statement came out, but was supposedly turned down by the veteran newscaster. Explaining why he had to take the matter on "It's Showtime," Vice Ganda said it would be best to say sorry in public so it would reach Soho. Soho, later on the same day, "acknowledged" the comedian's apology.

5. Kuya Kim's illness

Weatherman and "It's Showtime" co-host Kim Atienza made headlines last October when he revealed that he had been recovering from Guillain Barre syndrome, which is described by WebMD as "a rare, rapidly progressive disorder that consists of inflammation of the nerves causing muscle weakness, sometimes progressing to complete paralysis."

Atienza's absence from the noontime show coincided with its fourth anniversary celebration, where he was originally set to perform with Vice Ganda. In a taped message, Atienza said his condition has only gotten better, adding he was set to return soon. Atienza resumed his hosting duties on "It's Showtime" a month later on November 19.

6. Billy and Coleen

Coming off his separation from actress-singer Nikki Gil in July 2013, Crawford and "It's Showtime" co-host Coleen Garcia had to repeatedly deny being an item, which was rumored to be the cause of the breakup. A photo of them together in the United States later surfaced -- a matter addressed by Crawford in an interview on "Buzz ng Bayan" in January this year.

The "Brightlights" hitmaker admitted that he is courting Garcia, but emphasized that she was "definitely not part of my past relationship at all." The confession became a subject of teasing on "It's Showtime" the next day. Crawford and Garcia continues to regularly co-host the program, notably without a hint of their off-screen relationship.