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Kuya Kim reveals he initially went to TV for politics

Kuya Kim is iconic for his television persona but did you know that he initially entered TV to further his career in politics?

In an interview on "The Howie Severino Podcast," the new Kapuso said that his passion had always been television and he'd dreamed of being on camera.

"I wanted to be in the big channel doing real thing, doing television. Until my dad told me, sabi niya, 'Kim, why don't you just run for politics? You come from family of politicians anyway. Try it out. Limelight din naman 'yan. Mapupunta ka rin sa TV diyan.' So I did try it out. I became a barangay chairman, I became a councilor," he said.

Kuya Kim was in politics for 12 years, and his father Lito Atienza had wanted him to succeed him as mayor of Manila City.

"Sabi ko, it's going to be very difficult for me to become mayor right away. So I thought of a way to get exposure. Like any other politician, I used television for exposure," he said.

He pitched the idea of him being the Steve Erwin of the Philippines, thinking that he could "wrestle with crocodiles, talk about animals."

"Bata pa ako passion ko na talaga 'yan. Bata pa ako mahilig na ako sa animals," he said.

And so Kuya Kim was given a shot — and his segment was a hit!

As luck would have it, he caught the eye of none other than journalist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Maria Ressa.

Kuya Kim recalled that Ressa invited him to dinner and offered him a job at her network. However, he said that Ressa is a "stickler" to the Code of Ethics, which he didn't have the "sense" for back then.

"She said, 'I want you to work for me. You sign this contract and I'm gonna pay you and make television your career or get into politics. If you get into politics, then you have to stop what you're doing right now because it's against my Code of Ethics, my book of Code of Ethics,'" Kuya Kim said.

He thanked Ressa and asked for a few weeks to think about it, seeing as his "whole family was counting on [him]."

Kuya Kim then prayed for a sign.

And then, on national television, the late broadcaster Ernie Baron anointed Kuya Kim as his successor. Unexpectedly, Baron passed away a few weeks after, and Kuya Kim was assigned to cover his wake.

"Ka Ernie Baron died a day before my birthday," Kuya Kim said. "And on my birthday, I was covering the wake of Ernie Baron, who told me that I was going to replace him because he was going to die soon. Sabi ko, 'Lord, that's a sign,'" he said.

"So my next prayer was 'Please give me the courage now to tell my dad na papalitan ko si Ernie Baron, hindi siya,'" he added.

Kuya Kim invited his father to his home to tell him about his decision to stay in TV. However, he had a hard time breaching the topic.

"And then, you know what my dad said, sabi niya, 'Kim, you don't have to talk. I can see. I know what you're going to tell me. Whenever I watch you on television, I see how happy you are. I see the joy in your eyes whenever I watch you. When I see you in City Hall, I don't  think it's your vocation. You don't have to tell me. I give you my blessing. Go and do what makes you happy. Sige na, diyan ka na. As for me and your family, don't worry about us. We'll be okay,'" Kuya Kim shared.

"I hug my dad. I was in tears, it was a very emotional morning but that was the beginning of me becoming Kuya Kim on national TV," he added.

And now Kuya Kim is embarking on a new chapter in his television career after signing with GMA Network.

He made his "24 Oras" debut with his segment #KuyaKimAnoNa. —JCB, GMA News