entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

Studio 7: GMA’s Primetime Version of ASAP

Call it a ‘new era’ for GMA.

On Sunday, GMA will embrace this culture change with a new variety show called ‘Studio 7’. The program, which airs every Sunday night, will highlight the network’s young but oftentimes underappreciated talent, plus some newcomers to go along with it.

‘Studio 7”s first two episodes will feature performances from the likes of Christian Bautista, Julie Anne San Jose, Mark Bautista, Gabbi Garcia, Rayver Cruz, Kyline Alcantara, Migo Adecer, Mikee Quintos, Kate Valdez, and twins Mavy and Cassy Legaspi. There will also be a comedic skit from DonEkla, composed of comedians Donita Nose and Tekla.

In addition, the finalists of ‘The Clash’, led by grand winner Golden Cañedo, will make an appearance. Golden will be joined on stage by Jong Madaliday, Garrett Bolden, Josh Adornado and Mirriam Manalo.

‘Studio 7’ will also feature interactive segments such as Trending (stories of viral, heartwarming and interesting personalities online), G na G (a challenge where the hosts must perform a task given by netizens), and On the Spot (a vocal showdown between the network’s top singers). And finally, audiences are encouraged to join in alongside the performers and interact during their performances.

For starters, GMA is once again working on a brand new variety show. However, there is one glaring omission on ‘Studio 7’ that piqued the audience’s interest.

When ‘Studio 7’ was announced to the public two weeks ago, Regine Velasquez was conspicuously absent. The erstwhile host of ‘The Clash’ officially became a free agent as soon as the show ended, but at the moment she remains undecided on her future plans.

It is also worth noting that ‘Studio 7’ will air on primetime every Sunday, in contrast to past GMA Sunday variety shows. Perhaps the network’s inability to defeat ‘ASAP’ (and subsequent yielding of the noontime slot to APT Entertainment for ‘Sunday PinaSaya’) that became the impetus for ‘Studio 7”s move to primetime.

Still, ‘Studio 7’ will have its hands full against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Kids’ Choice’ in its timeslot. While the latter has not been a favorite of viewers from the start, its decent ratings will still pose a test to ‘Studio 7”s resolve.

That said, getting a few victories should give ‘Studio 7’ and GMA’s young talent a sense of vindication. For now, though, the show is slated to air only 14 episodes, and if executives are satisfied perhaps it might run a little while longer.

‘Studio 7’ airs every Sunday after ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ on GMA.

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entertainment, music, Philippines, songs, talent show, television, variety show

The Inevitable: Moving to ABS-CBN Might Rejuvenate Regine Velasquez’s Career

From Kapuso… to Kapamilya?

The future of Regine Velasquez’s career has been hanging in the balance over the past month. As Regine’s contract with GMA is set to expire, there were reports of her moving to ABS-CBN to join her husband Ogie Alcasid.

Those rumors escalated further when Regine unexpectedly showed up at the ABS-CBN Ball Saturday night despite making an appearance on ‘The Clash’ for its final weekend (Saturday’s episode was pre-taped while Sunday’s episode was aired live). With all things considered, is Regine of no use to GMA and would be better off joining ABS-CBN?

First things first, let’s look back at recent history. Back in 2015, Regine was a host and performer on ‘Sunday All-Stars’, but low ratings and changing timeslots forced GMA to give up the show and allow APT Entertainment to take over the Sunday noontime slot with ‘Sunday PinaSaya’.

Regine did not join ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ because of a perceived ‘lack of familiarity’ and from that point on her career with GMA stalled. Her two acting projects in ‘Poor Señorita’ and ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ failed to beat Coco Martin”s long-running series ‘Ang Probinsyano’, while a primetime variety show in ‘Full House Tonight’ ran for only four months.

While Regine remained visible as an on-air talent via the cooking show ‘Sarap Diva’, it was clear that her days with GMA are being numbered. The fact is, Regine is no longer that relevant as a Kapuso star with all those recent projects that did not work out.

It only got worse when her one-time co-performers on ‘SOP’ (namely Ogie Alcasid, Jaya, Kyla, Jay-R and Janno Gibbs) found a new outlet in former rival ‘ASAP’. With GMA lacking any capable recording artists to keep up with ABS-CBN’s, Regine finds herself helpless to cope with the dearth in talent.

Which is why moving to ABS-CBN might help rejuvenate her career. Not only will she expected to make appearances with her former ‘SOP’ brethren on ‘ASAP’, she will also have an opportunity to become a judge in one of ABS-CBN’s upcoming talent shows (rumor has it that she might join ‘The Voice’ as a judge).

More importantly, Regine’s love for performing will be rekindled within Kapamilya walls, especially during ‘ASAP’. That alone may be a long shot given the abundance of performers on ABS-CBN, but given Regine’s track record that may be too good to pass up.

Still, it will be up to Regine Velasquez to decide the next phase of her career. Let’s just hope that she chooses something that will be best for her.

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comedy, humor, Philippines, television

Ogie Added to Home Sweetie Home, Now Up Against Bitoy Every Saturday

From co-stars to opponents.

Ogie Alcasid and Michael V were the faces of ‘Bubble Gang’ for a majority of the show’s run. Many of ‘Bubble Gang”s most memorable skits were focused on the two men, whether it is Yaya and Angelina, Cheche Bureche, Pickup Lines or the Sexballs boy group.

However, Ogie moved on from ‘Bubble Gang’ and GMA in 2013, and after a three-year spell with the then-TV5, he joined ABS-CBN last year. Yet despite gaining prominence as an occasional performer on ‘ASAP’, as well as composer and judge on several ABS-CBN talent shows, the itch to rekindle those comedic chops soon got the best of him.

Earlier this week, ABS-CBN announced that Ogie Alcasid would be added to the cast of the sitcom ‘Home Sweetie Home’. Ogie’s role in the sitcom will be similar to what Jodi Sta. Maria (‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’) and Erich Gonzales (‘The Blood Sisters’) do: that of playing at least two different characters.

In ‘Home Sweetie Home’, Ogie plays fraternal twins Ireneo (or Neo) and Irenea. Neo is the childhood friend of Julie (Toni Gonzaga) who soon invests on the Walang Kapares pastry shop and restaurant, while Irenea becomes JP’s (Piolo Pascual) love interest.

With the addition of Ogie Alcasid to ‘Home Sweetie Home’, a very interesting subplot develops. ‘Home Sweetie Home”s archrival ‘Pepito Manaloto’ stars Michael V, and his former ‘Bubble Gang’ co-stars in Ogie and Rufa Mae Quinto now find themselves on the opposite side of the fence.

But don’t expect this rivalry to be a fierce one. In fact, off the camera, Ogie, Bitoy and Rufa Mae remain friendly to each other despite their different network allegiances.

Already one of ABS-CBN’s top-rated programs on Saturday nights, ‘Home Sweetie Home’ could only get better with the entry of one of the Philippines’ most versatile talents. Still, it will be interesting to see how Ogie’s addition will spice up this popular sitcom.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

No Surprise: Aljur Abrenica Joins ABS-CBN

It was a transfer three years in the making.

On Monday, July 31, former GMA contract artist Aljur Abrenica officially joined ABS-CBN in a deal that was of no surprise to everyone. Welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp are ABS-CBN executives and producers Laurenti Dyogi, Deo Endrinal and Cory Vidanes.

A GMA contract artist and a ‘StarStruck’ alumnus for 11 years, Aljur’s tenure with the network has had some ups and downs. While the early part of his career was a fruitful one with a few successful projects, the last few years saw his stock drop dramatically.

In 2014, Aljur filed a petition to rescind his contract with GMA Network in hopes of restarting his career. Although Aljur and GMA settled the dispute nearly two years later, it was clear that his popular appeal was waning.

Proof of that was Aljur’s final GMA project ‘Once Again’. Paired alongside Janine Gutierrez, Aljur’s swan song turned out to be a bust, as ‘Once Again’ lasted only 59 episodes and was completely overwhelmed by the LizQuen-starred ‘Dolce Amore’.

Aljur was given no further projects by the network following the failure of ‘Once Again’, and his contract officially expired in March 2017. A few months later, speculation run rampant when Aljur suddenly appeared inside the ABS-CBN compound, hinting at the possibility of joining the network.

Although Aljur has yet to ink an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, the network said a few projects and appearances are lined up for the actor. That said, it is likely that Aljur will be seen on ABS-CBN noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘ASAP’, and talk shows such as ‘Tonight with Boy Abunda’ while his upcoming projects are being planned.

There is also a possibility that Aljur and brother Vin will be seen together, but that will be for another time. In any case, Aljur’s decision to join the network should help resurrect his career, given that ABS-CBN has had a reputation of reviving an artist’s declining fortunes.

It remains to be seen if Aljur will be the latest in a series of Kapamilya reclamation projects, but with the right mindset, he could be on the path back to success. Good luck.

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documentaries, lifestyle, Philippines, public affairs, television

Gina Lopez’s G Diaries This Sunday on ABS-CBN

Gina Lopez has come home.

After a controversial 10-month run as environment secretary, Lopez embarks on a new role, that of a television personality. Her 13-episode series, ‘G Diaries’, serves as a platform of her past experience, as she dives deep into the country’s most scenic locations while continuing to advocate environmental protection.

As previously mentioned, ‘G Diaries’ is a homecoming of sorts for Lopez. Prior to her stint as environment secretary, Lopez served a variety of roles within the ABS-CBN family, most notably as managing director of the Lingkod Kapamilya foundation.

In ‘G Diaries’, Lopez pays a visit into some of the country’s must-see attractions, and along the way she will meet new friends and talk about preserving the environment. According to Lopez herself,

“‘G Diaries’ seeks not only to entertain viewers and promote the Philippines as a majestic travel destination but also to inform and incite action, for everyone to be part of the collective effort to preserve the environment and bequeath it in its healthiest state to the next generation.”

All 13 episodes of ‘G Diaries’ will be directed by esteemed Hollywood director, producer and writer Wil Harper. The series will kick off with a signature prelude film featuring celebrities such as Sharon Cuneta, Eddie Garcia and Charo Santos-Concio.

While ‘G Diaries’ may be just another travel program, there is one aspect of the show that is worth looking at. Not only will viewers see some new destinations, but they will also look at the environmental and aesthetic aspect that each locale presents.

That said, awareness of one’s surroundings is put to a premium in this series. And for those who want to become environmentalists someday, this show is worth watching.

The premiere episode of ‘G Diaries’ will air this Sunday before ‘ASAP’, after which it will air every Saturday at 8:00 a.m. on ABS-CBN. The series will also be seen on Lifestyle Network and the ABS-CBN News Channel.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, talent show, television

Overexposed Luis Manzano Finally Gets a Break

Luis Manzano had a three-year stretch of near non-stop hosting commitments which made him overexposed on TV for a long period. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

Thank goodness it’s over.

For much of the last three years, Luis Manzano became a part of every household thanks to a multitude of hosting commitments he accepted during that span. Whether it’s a game show or a talent show, it seems like viewers can’t get enough of this popular Kapamilya host.

Luis’ lengthy run began on October 26, 2014, when he joined Toni Gonzaga to host ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ season 2. The season ran for 36 episodes, concluding on March 1, 2015.

At the tail end of ‘The Voice of the Philippines” run, Luis accepted the job as host of the new season of ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal’. Running from February 9, 2015 until March 4, 2016, the fifth season of ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal’ aired a total of 278 episodes.

Next up for Luis was ‘The Voice Kids’ season 2, which ran from June 6 to August 30, 2015. A total of 26 episodes were aired during that season.

On November 14, 2015, Luis replaced Billy Crawford as host of ‘Celebrity Playtime’, and was present for the game show’s final 41 episodes. Then on January 23, 2016, Luis and Billy joined forces to host the fifth season of ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’, which ran for 35 episodes until May 22, 2016.

By that point, signs of overexposure become more evident for Luis. Unfortunately for the viewers, ABS-CBN is not yet finished with him.

April 9, 2016 saw Luis take over as host of the newly-acquired ‘Family Feud’ franchise, and he presided on all of its 111 episodes. A few months later, on July 18, 2016, Luis returned to host the second season of ‘Minute to Win It’, adding another 208 episodes to his resume.

And if that is not enough, another run as host of ‘The Voice Kids’ awaited Luis. From May 28 to August 28, 2016, Luis was the presenter on all 28 episodes of ‘The Voice Kids” third season.

Finally on April 16, 2017, Luis accepted another hosting stint within ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ franchise. This time, he became the host of ‘The Voice Teens’, which has now aired seven episodes and counting.

This does not include his additional responsibility as one of the hosts of ‘ASAP’. That said, for all intents and purposes, ‘ASAP’ will not be added in this count.

It was clear that ABS-CBN is paying the price for their overreliance on Luis Manzano. Overall, the host accumulated a total of 770 episodes within nine shows (as of May 7, 2017) in a span of 925 days, which speaks of how ABS-CBN became too dependent on this star hosting-wise.

While ratings for Luis’ nine shows were not a problem, it is ABS-CBN’s utilization that became a dilemma. Let’s face it, they have a deep plethora of talent who can be just as proficient in hosting, yet they stuck with Luis for some reason because, he’s the only guy they can depend on to deliver a good show.

Now that Luis is freed of the burden of hosting too many shows on a daily basis, the time is definitely now for ABS-CBN to develop more hosts. After all, there are plenty in the pipeline so why not breed at least one or two of them to relieve some pressure on the veterans.

For now, Luis Manzano can breathe easily. A period of less strenuous activity is all he needs at this point.

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