entertainment, Philippines, talk show, television

1995 Flashback: Startalk Takes a Bow

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

The final episode of ‘Startalk’ will air tomorrow afternoon.

After nearly 20 years of leading the showbiz talk show circuit, GMA realized that the time has come. Like ABS-CBN did when ‘The Buzz’ went off the air last April, GMA knows that the changing needs of its audience (e.g. social media, internet) would become a huge factor, and as result, they finally decided to let go of an institution that has served them well.

‘Startalk’ debuted on October 8, 1995 as a Sunday afternoon talk show, with Boy Abunda, Lolit Solis and Kris Aquino as its hosts. For the next three years, the show competed against ‘Showbiz Lingo’, but it became clear that ‘Startalk’ would never make its presence felt if it were to face another showbiz talk show.

Thus, in June 1998, ‘Startalk’ moved to Saturday afternoons (after ‘Eat Bulaga’), and it would remain that way for nearly 16 years. By then Kris Aquino left for ABS-CBN, and after Dawn Zulueta briefly filled in, ‘Startalk’ hired sexy star Rosanna Roces, and with her controversial antics, the show finally won the hearts of viewers nationwide.

‘Startalk’ suffered a slight dip in its audience when, in May 1999, Boy Abunda joined Kris Aquino at ABS-CBN to host another long-running showbiz talk show in ‘The Buzz’. They quickly recovered, however, when Butch Francisco replaced Boy, and for the next five years, the trio of Butch, Lolit and Osang would lead ‘Startalk’ to unprecedented heights.

Osang’s tenure came to an end in June 2004 after a series of controversies that culminated in a well-publicized feud with co-host Lolit Solis and Dra. Vicki Belo. After that, Butch and Lolit would be joined by the likes of Lorna Tolentino, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo and Heart Evangelista for the remainder of the show’s run.

At almost the same time, ABS-CBN tried to counter ‘Startalk’ with a variety of showbiz talk shows on Saturday afternoons, none of which were able to win. It became clear that a rivalry between ‘Startalk’ and ‘The Buzz’ was something viewers would like to see, and in January 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Sunday afternoons in order to face ‘The Buzz’ (albeit under the name of ‘Buzz ng Bayan’).

The experiment was a disaster, however, and after ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ reverted to ‘The Buzz’ name in May 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Saturday afternoons, this time cutting the show’s duration by 45 minutes.. The declining ratings would only continue from there, and GMA realized the end was near.

On September 12, GMA announced that ‘Startalk’ will air its final episode. The said episode will feature a list of 20 questions submitted by netizens on ‘Startalk”s official Facebook, during which the hosts will answer each of them throughout the show.

‘Startalk’ will always be remembered as ‘The Only Showbiz Authority’, as well as the longest-running showbiz talk show in the country. But with the show finally taking a bow, it marked the end of an era, for ‘Startalk’ was the benchmark in which all other showbiz talk shows were measured.

A new era beckons in the showbiz industry. Thanks for the memories, ‘Startalk’.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, talk show, television

The Buzz Bids Farewell, For Now

‘The Buzz’ officially bade farewell last Sunday afternoon, after a run of nearly 16 years. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

An unexpected announcement awaited the viewers of ABS-CBN’s ‘The Buzz’.

On Sunday, April 5, host Boy Abunda announced that ‘The Buzz’ would go off the air and take a long and indefinite hiatus, citing changes in showbiz reporting, production staff and the viewing public. The cancellation ends the show’s initial 15-year run.

First airing on June 13, 1999, ‘The Buzz’ became one of the network’s top-rated and long-running shows. The show’s lineup of hosts would change over the years, but ‘The Buzz’ will always be identified with the duo of Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda.

‘The Buzz’ lengthy run is only rivaled by ‘Startalk’, now entering its 20th year. The two shows briefly faced off early last year, with ‘The Buzz’ (then called ‘Buzz ng Bayan’) prevailing in the ratings.

As ‘The Buzz’ takes a break of sorts, expect ABS-CBN to counterprogram against GMA’s upcoming game show ‘Wowowin’ and its succeeding program ‘InstaDad’. It is possible that ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ will take over ‘The Buzz”s slot from April 12 onwards, but no confirmation is made at the moment.

It should also throw the network into a state of uncertainty. Even though ‘The Buzz”s hiatus was intended to be a temporary one, there also remains a possibility of a new talk show taking the place of ‘The Buzz’ instead.

Another likely scenario will be the tweaking of schedules on ABS-CBN’s weekend afternoon lineup. Declining ratings of ‘The Buzz’ in recent months may play a big role in convincing the network to change their programming approach on weekends.

Any of these possibilities may come into play, but for now, sacrifices will have to be made on the Kapamilya camp.

For nearly 16 years, ‘The Buzz’ stood tall for its credibility, balance and truthful showbiz reporting, one that gave the show high ratings and numerous awards. But with the show now taking a much-needed break, viewers can only wonder when and what time will it return.

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