When Kids Take Over Showbiz

TV programs such as ABS-CBN’s ‘Bet On Your Baby’ have shifted their attention to young children making an impression in front of a television audience. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

The age requirement for people entering the world of showbiz is getting younger. Some years ago ‘Starstruck’ and ‘Star Circle Quest‘ were responsible for extending their hand to teenage talents looking to break into the entertainment world. Now it’s the turn of ‘Bet On Your Baby’ and ‘Anak Ko Yan’ for encouraging even pre-teens and elementary school youngsters to make their mark.

The two talent departments in GMA’s Artist Center and ABS-CBN‘s Star Magic have the responsibility of finding diamonds in the rough, regardless of age. However, in recent years the trend is on preschool and grade school children getting their seat warm. Last night ABS-CBN introduced another child wonder in five-year-old Raikko Mateo in the new teleserye ‘Honesto’, continuing what has been a hot trend for young children to enter the world of showbiz. And it has also extended to programs such as ‘Bet On Your Baby’ and on GMA’s ‘Anak Ko Yan’.

ABS-CBN’s ‘Bet On Your Baby’ focuses on toddlers trying to win various challenges in order to win the top prize of P 1,000,000. The game show proved to be a ratings hit in its first three weeks on the air, peaking after Dello Gatmaitan won the top cash prize of P 1,000,000. ‘Bet on Your Baby’ has been praised for its fresh format and its positive handling of toddlers during the show, and with the high ratings and reviews, it looks like ABS-CBN has found another winner in its long tradition of acquiring franchises of foreign shows.

GMA’s ‘Anak Ko Yan’ follows in the vein of prior reality talent search programs, where young children showcase their talents in hopes of becoming the ultimate winner. The format is nothing new; ‘SCQ Kids’ and ‘Starstruck Kids‘ have used this approach in the past. However, ‘Anak Ko Yan’ also pays attention to the children’s parents who will play key roles in guiding their children in every challenge. The series, while billed as a ‘fresh take’, has not been able to capture most viewers’ attention since it is basically reusing a tried and tested format from older reality series.

Both networks have found a new outlet in discovering talent from the preschool/grade school group. However, the talent centers remain the source of finding new talent. With the exception of a Ryzza Mae Dizon who became an instant celebrity simply by winning a noontime talent competition, most top child stars today came from the talent centers, and were extensively trained by experienced actors and directors. An example of that training is on the ABS-CBN comedy show ‘Goin’ Bulilit‘, whose priority is to prepare young children into more prominent roles later on.

It is not bad for children to become famous early in their lives. However, a little guidance and growth is needed to sustain that level of fame as they get older. And of course, education will remain a priority.

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