While The Manila Times News Section has thoroughly broken down the year that saw the end of ABS-CBN’s public broadcast over free television and radio across the country, The Sunday Times Magazine rounds up for its year-ender how Kapamilya celebrities rightfully went on with life to pursue careers either through their home studio’s complimentary platforms, or with totally new management groups and stations.
Actress and activist Angel Locsin very publicly advocated for ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal and despite what she hoped wouldn’t happen, continues to host “Iba Yan!” a docuseries that features the inspiring lives and bayanihan stories of Filipinos under lockdown. The show airs on cable’s Kapamilya Channel and TFC and streams online via iWantTFC (previously known as iWantTV and iWant) and Kapamilya Online Live.
Homegrown talents Kathryn Bernardo and boyfriend Daniel Padilla, who were also vocal in supporting ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal, are still very much Kapamilya talents. Their screen tandem KathNiel, in fact, served as Star Cinema’s first digital movie series release via a sequel to their blockbuster hit, “The Hows of Us. Titled “The House Arrest of Us,” the show streamed on KTX.ph, where the real-life twosome play a newly-engaged couple whose relationship is tested because of their families’ clashing personalities.
Kim Chiu remains ever loyal to ABS-CBN even after her hit series “Love Thy Woman,” ended over Kapamilya Online Live at the height of the pandemic. Speaking out on the franchise denial, it can be recalled that the actress suffered intense social media lashing when she wrongly likened the situation to the now infamous “Bawal Lumabas ng Classroom” spiel.
Emerging triumphant from the unforgiving bashing, she pulled herself together, turned Bawal Lumabas into a hit single with matching merchandise, and just in December, premiered an iWantTFC series with the same title. And yes, the online sitcom has been well received and continues to draw viewers on streaming.
Ria Atayde, despite co-hosting TV5’s morning talk show “Chika, Besh!” (along with former Kapamilya talent Pokwang and GMA’s Pauleen Luna), completely remains a Star Magic artist.
Others who followed suit were RK Bagatsing, Beauty Gonzalez, and Dimples Romana, who despite appearing in blocktimers for TV5 (either produced by former congressman Albee Benitez’s Brightlight Productions and Viva Entertainment) follow an announcement by Star Magic founder and former head Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan that anyone from the stable should accept projects outside ABS-CBN.
Nevertheless, if they choose to stay with Star Magic as Atayde did, they will be guided in pursuing their careers. Manahan got his cue from TV5 Chairman Manny Pangilinan who almost simultaneously announced that his network is open to hire artists, directors, cameramen and other employees from ABS-CBN as the erstwhile “third player” on free TV experiences another renaissance.
And as if to prove that network wars should be a thing of the past, Manahan left his post as Star Magic’s main man, a position that now belongs to director Laurenti Dyogi.
Mr. M now hosts TV5 and Brightlight Production’s Sunday noontime show “Sunday Noontime Live,” which features the likes of Piolo Pascual, Maja Salvador and 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray.
No longer Kapamilya
Comedian and actress Pokwang confirmed she officially transferred to TV5 as the host of “Chika, Besh!” and gameshow “Fill in the Bank.” Pokwang had been with ABS-CBN for 15 years and under Star Magic management. She last appeared in the cancelled series “Make it With You,” and guested on GMA Network blocktimer “Eat Bulaga!” before officially making the move.
Without expounding, Pokwang simply announced that the reason for her transfer is the fact that she is a breadwinner and needs to continue working. She had her former studio’s permission before the transfer as well their support for her decision.
Among the main hosts of TV 5’s “Sunday Noontime Live,” it was Maja Salvador who officially announced she had left Star Magic to follow her mentor, Johnny Manahan.
Kapamilya stars who decided to go with their network’s erstwhile competition to GMA Network were Khalil Ramos in October and just before Christmas, Richard “Ser Chief” Yap.
Hands down the biggest shocking move was that of Bea Alonzo who in November announced she decided against renewing her contract with Star Magic to be managed completely by industry veteran Shirley Kuan, who used to only handle her commercials.
ABS-CBN’s Corporate Communications office quickly released the statement, “Even if Bea is no longer with Star Magic, she will always remain a Kapamilya,” before the move became a big issue.
The buzz is that Alonzo may work with GMA or TV via Brightlight Productions in a reunion project with Star Cinema leading man John Lloyd Cruz.