MANILA — As the newly minted director of “It’s Showtime,” a daily noontime program with a three-hour telecast, John Prats is admittedly unsure how he’ll be able to juggle that role with his ongoing five-year stint in “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.”
Prats has been a cast member of the hit primetime series since 2016. He portrays Jerome, who has been on the run with Cardo’s (Coco Martin) Task Force Agila, after being framed by a terrorist-infiltrated government.
He joined “It’s Showtime” in May, initially as a director of one of its segments, “Reina ng Tahanan,” before being credited officially in July as the director of the entire show.
Prats was due to enter another cycle of lock-in filming for “Ang Probinsyano” at the end of July. This round, he said, was planned to last three weeks to a month.
“It’s Showtime” will have temporary directors in his stead during that period, with Prats set to return as soon as the quarantined production of the series wraps its latest cycle.
“Iyon pa lang,” Prats told ABS-CBN News. “We’ll see kung ano ‘yung magiging decision ng management kung anuman. Kasi, kami naman, kung saan kami ilagay, we will just do our best.”
Admittedly, Prats sees the prospect of concurrent roles in two major ABS-CBN programs as “really hard.”
“I have to balance not just ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Showtime,’ but also my time for my family,” he said, noting his third child with wife Isabel Oli has just turned a year old.
Prats laughed when asked on the possibility of Jerome exiting “Ang Probinsyano” by being killed off. “Wala pa namang sinasabing ganoon!”
Interestingly, the long-running action-drama is gearing up for major changes, with the back-to-back announcements of Jane de Leon’s departure to start filming the superhero series “Darna,” and the casting of Julia Montes, Martin’s rumored real-life partner, as Cardo’s latest leading lady.
Martin has likened the revamp to creating a pilot episode anew, with a new set of cast members accompanying Montes’ arrival in the series.
As creative head and one of the directors of “Ang Probinsyano,” Martin understands Prats’ own responsibilities of helming a program that similarly airs daily.
“Ibibigay ko sa matalik kong kaibigan, si Coco,” Prats said. “Sobra niyang suportado ‘yung pagdi-direk ko, at nararamdaman ko ‘yun every time nag-uusap kami kung gaano siya ka-proud sa akin, at kung gaano rin ako ka-proud sa kaniya kung ano ang achievements niya.”
Prats recalled that in past instances where his directorial projects overlapped with his schedule for the series, Martin would willingly adjust his scenes.
“Sobra kaming nagtutulungan,” Prats said, providing as examples their brainstorming for the the story of “Ang Probinsyano,” and Martin being open to pitches from the cast and other production staff.
In the same way, Martin has time and again given Prats suggestions for the latter’s own productions, including “It’s Showtime.”
“Talagang ramdam ko ‘yung pagmamahal niya at suporta niya,” Prats said. “Natutuwa kami sa pagkakaibigan namin, na parehas kami ng tinatahak. Magkaiba lang kami ng field na dinidirek, but we have the same objective.”
Referring to the twin crises of the coronavirus pandemic and ABS-CBN’s franchise denial, Prats said he hopes to give back to his home network of nearly 30 years by helping produce quality programs that continue to provide jobs.
“Bilang empleyado at Kapamilyg ng ABS-CBN, nandito na kami sa sitwasyon na na direktor na kaming dalawa, more than sa pag-aartista,” he said, pertaining to Martin. “Mas malaki na ‘yung naitutulong namin at naibibigay namin, sa pakiramdam namin, para sa kumpanya na nag-alaga sa amin.”