entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

In 100 Words: GMA Teased Upcoming Season of StarStruck on Facebook

Even GMA is itching to find a new star.

As ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ continues to look for future artists among its housemates, GMA teased its audience by updating the Facebook page of ‘StarStruck’, implying that a new season will come around very soon.

‘StarStruck”s most recent season came in 2015 when it crowned Klea Pineda and Migo Adecer as the Ultimate Female and Male Survivor respectively. However, that season of ‘StarStruck’ was a disaster as it endured poor ratings while airing in the early primetime slot.

It remains to be seen if GMA will indeed produce another season of ‘StarStruck’. Considering how bad last season turned out, it will not be a surprise if viewers have seen the last of the country’s original ‘artista search’ program.

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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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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television, variety show

Star Circle Quest Returns as Segment of It’s Showtime

‘Star Circle Quest’ returns soon as a segment of ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. (Screenshot and logos courtesy of ABS-CBN)

Remember ‘Star Circle Quest’?

Before ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ became the so-called ‘instant ticket’ to stardom for some of ABS-CBN’s top stars, there was the reality talent search show called ‘Star Circle Quest’. Between 2004 and 2011, two teen and three kids editions of SCQ were produced, and several of its alumni made their mark in the business.

While ‘Star Circle Quest’ proved to be no match for ‘StarStruck’ in terms of popularity and star factor, it was nevertheless credited for discovering stars that soon became mainstays on ABS-CBN programming. Here is a look at some of the network’s most memorable personalities whose careers began as Questors on the show:

  • Sandara Park
  • Joross Gamboa
  • Roxanne Guinoo
  • Melissa Ricks
  • Michelle Madrigal
  • Nash Aguas
  • Sharlene San Pedro
  • Erich Gonzales
  • Jason Abalos
  • Arron Villaflor
  • Bugoy Carino
  • Izzy Canillo
  • Xyriel Manabat

Six years after its last edition aired, ABS-CBN announced that ‘Star Circle Quest’ will be revived as a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’. Auditions for the segment commenced last month, with teenagers aged 13 to 19 years old trying to impress the judges with their dancing, singing and acting skills.

As SCQ will now be relegated into a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’, reality show elements will be minimized due to the live nature of the program. Nevertheless, for the many people who became fans of SCQ from the beginning, the prospect of its revival is an exciting one to say the least.

ABS-CBN has yet to announce the start date of the competition, so stay tuned for further updates.

In a related development, a kids’ edition of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will take the place of the just-concluded adult edition starting today. Auditions for the competition were well underway, and will follow the same format as the original.

And finally, a second installment of ‘Funny One’ will also begin soon. Auditions for ‘Funny One’ began last month alongside SCQ, with the aim of discovering the country’s next great comedian.

The resurgence of ‘It’s Showtime’ following the Pastillas Girl-Kalyeserye debacle is a breath of fresh air for ABS-CBN. And following the success of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, expect a lot more from the show once it unveils ‘Star Circle Quest’, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids’ and ‘Funny One’ to its menu.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Underrated Series Sa Piling ni Nanay Down to Its Final Week

It was a quiet but lengthy run for ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’.

The GMA afternoon series’ final episode will air this Friday afternoon, completing a run of 150 episodes that began on June 27, 2016. Although its tenure was impressive, ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ will forever be overshadowed by two ABS-CBN dramas that gained even greater attention.

For starters, ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ was pitted against ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘The Greatest Love’, two equally compelling dramas on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. While ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘The Greatest Love’ boast of an impressive cast of actors, ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ was no slouch either, as it starred ‘StarStruck’ batch 1’s Yasmien Kurdi, Mark Herras and Katrina Halili.

The story of ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ was a complicated yet relatable subject, that of surrogacy. It was in this series where one daughter’s rights were challenged by two women: one who actually gave birth to, and the other demanding to adopt the child as her own.

Despite the fact that ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ was an inspiring tale, its performance leaves a lot to be desired. ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay”s 12% average rating may be decent for the afternoon slot, but against both ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘The Greatest Love’, it was still 2% short at best.

What derailed ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ were two standout moments that defined ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘The Greatest Love’. ‘Tubig at Langis’ featured several memorable confrontations between Irene (Cristine Reyes) and Clara (Isabelle Daza), while ‘The Greatest Love’ stood tall thanks to Gloria’s (Sylvia Sanchez) emotionally-charged portrayal of a woman gradually afflicted by Alzheimer’s disease.

Needless to say, ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ still performed well despite its shortcomings. The final count of 150 episodes should give its loyal viewers a reason to cheer and applaud.

As it enters its final week, one can only hope that ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ will leave with a lasting impression. They may not be victorious at the end, but what a run that was.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Dominant Tubig at Langis Faces New Rival

It is no secret that ‘Tubig at Langis’ is a clear ratings winner in its timeslot.

From the moment it premiered, the ABS-CBN afternoon series captivated audiences with its controversial and intense storyline. While the acrimonious departure of Vivian Velez helped fuel the fire, the frequent confrontations between Irene (Cristine Reyes), Clara (Isabelle Daza) and occasionally Lucy (Dionne Monsanto) only added to its mystique and popularity.

Along the way, three rival series went down to ‘Tubig at Langis’. First it was ‘Buena Familia’, then ‘Hanggang Makita Kang Muli’ (currently ongoing, but is now up against ‘Doble Kara’), and most recently ‘The Millionaire’s Wife’.

Now they await a fourth opponent. Enter GMA’s newest afternoon series ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’.

The upcoming GMA drama reunites three former aspirants from season 1 of ‘StarStruck’: Mark Herras, Yasmien Kurdi, and Katrina Halili. The three will play a central role in a plot that tackles the issue of surrogacy.

In ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’, Ysabel (Yasmien) works as a personal assistant to Scarlet (Katrina). But Scarlet is unable to bear a child, so Ysabel agrees to become a surrogate in order to pay the bills for her daughter Maymay’s bone marrow transplant.

Tragedy struck Ysabel when Maymay dies in an unfortunate accident. Depressed and lonely, she decides to break up her surrogacy agreement with Scarlet and flees alongside her daughter, naming her Maya (Sofia Jayzel Cabatay) in honor of the fallen Maymay.

Unknown to Ysabel, Jonas (Mark) is secretly in love for her. But upon realizing Ysabel’s intentions of raising Maya instead of giving it to Scarlet, Jonas decides to cease ties with her, and the battle is on between Ysabel and Scarlet for the rights of Maya.

‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ also stars Nova Villa, Bettina Carlos and Antonio Aquitania. It will be directed by Gil Tejada, Jr.

As ‘Tubig at Langis’ prepares for a new opponent, how much longer can they keep up their momentum? And for ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’, how will they be able to overcome the odds placed against them?

These and more will come starting this Monday afternoon. ‘Sa Piling ni Nanay’ airs weekdays after ‘Hanggang Makita Kang Muli’ on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Poor Señorita to Challenge Ang Probinsyano Starting Tonight

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, meet Coco Martin.

After easily disposing both ‘MariMar’ and ‘Little Nanay’, ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ now awaits a new opponent. This time, young stars will not be the focus of this new GMA teleserye, but rather, a still-relevant 40-year-old Asia’s Songbird

Yes, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid remains a visible figure after nearly three decades in the industry. Although she earned her stripes as a singer, she also had major success as an actress, and starting tonight, the latter aspect of her talents will be shown on the upcoming series ‘Poor Señorita’.

In ‘Poor Señorita’, Regine plays Rita, a successful yet obsessive-compulsive owner of a perfume company. After suddenly losing her wealth, she stumbled upon five children who would try to help her get back on her feet, and in the process, show her the true meaning of love and happiness.

Joining Regine on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Mikael Daez, Sheena Halili, Kevin Santos, Valeen Montenegro, Jaya, Ervic Vijandre, Jillian Ward, Miggs Cuaderno, Zymic Jaranilla, Caprice Cayetano, Ralph Noriega, Snooky Serna, Ayra Mariano and Elyson de Dios. For Ayra and Elyson, it will be their first project after winning ‘StarStruck’ season 6.

Playing special roles on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Ricky Davao and Dingdong Dantes. Dominic Zapata will be the series’ director.

‘Poor Señorita’ is the latest in a series of attempts by GMA Telebabad to make their dramas lighter and more family-friendly. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out, and the fact that ABS-CBN (with the help of Dreamscape and Star Creatives) succeeded with dramas that appeal to the everyday Filipino made it more difficult for GMA to thrive.

That said, a daunting challenge awaits ‘Poor Señorita’ on its very first week. With ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ on a roll, the former needs to prove that they can also keep up and make lighter series just as appealing to viewers.

‘Poor Señorita’ airs starting tonight after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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