In the not so distant past, a show biz star would consider himself lucky if he became a multimillionaire. These days, top stars are clinching much heftier contract packages for some five years of exclusive service to major TV-movie conglomerates. So, the new theme song they’re singing is “A Billion Thanks to You!”

Even top bank executives will agree that a billion bucks are a very big deal. As for the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), it cites some stars among the leading taxpayers in the land, paying more than quite a number of much wealthier business moguls, because their talent fees are harder to finesse away.

So, the word’s out: Despite the continuing slump in local mainstream film production, the high-flying TV trade has taken up the slack and now pays some stars much more than they ever earned before—and they’re making [a lot of] hay while the show biz sun shines!

Other denizens of the entertainment world envy the top-earning stars’ extremely good fortune, but the few anointed ones point out that they’re simply reaping the rewards of many years of consistent popularity and hard work.

The bountiful likes of Sharon Cuneta, Nora Aunor and Aga Muhlach point out that they have spent decades building up the strong and loyal following that has literally earned them the right to demand and expect top money.

AGA Muhlach

Further, they argue that most of their contemporaries’ own careers are no longer vibrant or even extant—proof positive that longevity in the biz cannot be presumed, and should thus be especially rewarded in a very big way, when it does occur.

To sweeten the top-drawing and thus top-earning stars’ pot further, they also earn a lot from the product endorsements they agree to make.

An interesting aside in this connection is the fact that some popular endorsers of food products are reportedly preferred when they have gained weight and become literally heftier!

What’s the operative logic here? Advertisers surmise that a plump endorser adds to a food product’s psychological appeal, because his or her heftiness makes the product look more nutritious—and delicious!

Figure that out, but could this be a reason why some “substantial” product endorsers refuse to lose weight?

In any case, some veteran stars’ billion-peso contracts have made not just their employers but also the country’s millions of viewers expect more from them as performers.

“If they’re paid that much, they’d better come up with amazing performances!” That seems to be the huffy and snitty expectation.

NORA Aunor

So, are the top-earning stars measuring up?

Aga Muhlach has energized his hitherto lackadaisical “Explorer” TV show, but Sharon Cuneta’s own daily talk-variety program is sometimes still too predictable and laid-back to be consistently involving.

Of course, it’s difficult to keep a daily show exciting—but the program’s Mega talent-host is the Sharon Cuneta, so its production team should work extra hard for the show to deserve that iconic stellar connection and the hefty financial investment involved!

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