PH showbiz in 2020: With ABS-CBN’s shutdown, where are its Kapamilyas now?
MANILA, Philippines — “This is ABS-CBN, now signing off.”
These were the words Peter Musñgi, the man behind the Kapamilya network’s golden voice, said for the last time as the country’s biggest network signed off at exactly 7:52 p.m. on May 5.
This was hours after the National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) order to shut down ABS-CBN’s operations after its franchise expired a day before.
Two months, 70 lawmakers killed ABS-CBN’s bid for a fresh franchise.
For many of ABS-CBN’s biggest stars, it was a heartbreak hard to bear — with some either making the painful decision to leave the network that they called home, or parting with ABS-CBN’s talent arm, Star Magic.
With ABS-CBN’s shut down, where are some of its stars and personalities now?
The Kapamilya stars who left
One of those who left the Kapamilya network was comedienne Pokwang.
In an interview with Inquirer Entertainment, Pokwang, or Marietta Subong in real life, revealed that she was not with ABS-CBN anymore.
“I don’t have a contract with ABS-CBN anymore. The management understands that I also need to make a living. I’m not as rich as the Zobels and the Ayalas,” Pokwang said.
Moving forward, she is now one of the hosts of TV’s talk show “Chika BESH (Basta Everyday Super Happy)” alongside Ria Atayde and Pauleen Luna. Aside from this, she also hosts another TV5 show, “Fill in the Bank” with Jose Manalo.
“Right now, my contract is on a per-show basis,” Pokwang stressed.
Maja Salvador, who starred in ABS-CBN’s most successful teleseryes such as “Wildflower” and “The Killer Bride”, also crossed over to the Kapatid network.
These days, Salvador is one of the presenters of TV5’s Sunday variety show “Sunday Noontime Live” (SNL) with beauty queen Catriona Gray, Jake Ejercito, Donny Pangilinan, and Piolo Pascual.
But Salvador, in an Instagram post back in September, somehow hoped her fans would still support her despite the move to TV5.
“Mga kapamilya, sasamahan ko po muna ang aking tatay na si. MR.M kaya sana wag po kayo magulat kung makikita niyo akong lumabas sa ibang network at patuloy makapagbigay ligaya sa inyo kahit sa anong paraan at plataporma.”
(Kapamilyas, I will join Mr. M so I hope you won’t be surprised if you see me in another network and continue to give joy to you through a different platform.)
Mr. M is Johnny Manahan, co-founder of Star Magic and veteran TV and live show director. Manahan is now also the director of “SNL”.
It was also through Manahan that Brightlight Productions, TV5’s most recent blocktimer, that many of ABS-CBN’s stars were featured in different shows under the Kapatid network.
Though making the tough decision, Salvador said that switching networks would somehow help people who were displaced by the pandemic
“A big part of why I said ‘yes’ was because I wanted to help people displaced by the pandemic and the network shutdown get back up again,” she said in a media gathering.
“I’m thankful to Mr. M for trusting me,” she added.
Not only did ABS-CBN lose some of its brightest stars and employees, but also some of its longtime faces of broadcasting journalism.
Ted Failon, who has been with ABS-CBN for 30 years, bade adieu to the network as he also crossed over to TV5’s Radyo Singko 92.3 FM.
On his last day, Failon could not help but be emotional as he looked back on his journey with the Kapamilya network.
“Mahal na mahal ko ang radyo, alisin niyo na lahat sa akin, ‘wag lang ang radyo. Bata pa lang ako talagang gusto ko na maging radio announcer. I fell in love with radio since I was a child,” Failon recalled as he once turned down a job as a TV anchor.
(I really love radio. Take everything from me, but not radio. Since I was a child, I’ve always wanted to be a radio announcer.)
These days, the veteran journalist, along with co-host DJ Chacha, now hosts “Ted Failon at DJ Chacha sa Radyo5.” Failon added that he could not be certain whether he would be back on television, saying he wants to focus on radio for now.
“I want to be able to watch my grandkids grow and kiss them when they wake up in the morning,” he told Inquirer in an interview. “I’ve come to a point in my life and career when I want more time for myself.”
TV host Billy Crawford also found it hard to leave ABS-CBN. At one point, he let his tears flow as he told his friend, comedian Vice Ganda, how much he valued their friendship.
During their conversation, Vice hinted that Crawford was set to transfer to another network — which was later revealed to be TV5.
“I love you at gagalingan mo sa mga gagawin mong trabaho at alam mo, sa pamilya, ‘di ba, sa pamilya meron kang kapatid na lilipat ng bahay (I love you, and do well in the work you will do and you know that with family, you will have a sibling who will move away),” Vice told Crawford, his former “It’s Showtime” co-host.
“Pero hindi porke’t lilipat siya ng bahay, hindi mo na siya kapatid, hindi mo na siya kapamilya. Hindi mo na siya mahal (But just because they move to another place, that does not mean you are no longer siblings, you are no longer family. That you no longer love them),” the comedian added.
Crawford now hosts TV5’s noontime variety show “Lunch Out Loud”, as well “Masked Singer Philippines.”
For Crawford, he says that ratings and competition between TV networks is not a big deal these days, as the opportunity to work is what matters the most.
“I think, we all speak on behalf of every artist na lumipat or pumunta dito. We’re really just trying to spread humility as well and just be humbled na we are here and we are still given the opportunity to work,” Crawford said in a press conference.
“So the playing field para sa mga ratings, parang ‘yun ‘yung last na iniisip namin,” he added.
The Kapamilya stars who remained
Angel Locsin. Image: instagram/@therealangellocsin
And while there were stars who chose to leave ABS-CBN, there were also those who remained a Kapamilya — one of which was Angel Locsin.
The actress, who has been vocal in support of her network’s fight for a franchise permit, was also undaunted in calling out her fellow celebrities who remained silent in the wake of ABS-CBN’s shutdown.
“Sa mga kapwa kong artistang hindi nagsasalita, may career pa ba kayo? Wala na kayong network!” she said in a noise barrage outside ABS-CBN headquarters in Quezon City last July.
(To my fellow actors who are not speaking, do you still have a career? You don’t have a network anymore!)
“Kahit magpa-cute kayo diyan sa Instagram, nagsend kayo ng mga sad face, hindi n’yo nadadamayan ang mga katrabaho n’yo na dahilan kung bakit kayo sumikat!”
(Even if you try to look cute on Instagram, sending a sad face, you are not sympathizing with your fellow workers who are the reason why you became famous.)
Locsin, who was hailed as one of this year’s “Leaders of Tomorrow” by Tatler Asia’s Gen T list, currently hosts the inspirational program “Iba ‘Yan” aired on the Kapamilya channel and A2Z, ABS-CBN’s joint venture with Zoe Broadcasting Network through a block time agreement.
While she was fighting for her mother network, Kathryn Bernardo once again talked about politics — a topic which, she said, had a “traumatic” experience with as she and her family I were attacked for it.
“Pero ngayon, andito ako kasi pakiramdam, ko kailangan. Pakiramdam ko kahit walang kasiguraduhan na marinig ‘to, at least may ginawa ako. Pakiramdam ko, kailangan kong maging boses ng iba,” Bernardo previously said.
(But now, I am here because I feel it is needed. I feel that even if there is no certainty that this will be heard, at least I did something. I feel that I need to be the voice of others.)
But as her network was not granted a franchise, Bernardo said she chose to stay with ABS-CBN out of gratitude.
“Ito ‘yung way ko para pasalamatan ‘yung network sa kung ano ang meron ako ngayon. Lahat ng blessing namin ay dahil sa kompanya,” the young actress then said in a press conference for hers and Daniel Padilla’s digital series, “The House Arrest of Us.”
It was all thanks to ABS-CBN that made Bernardo the star that she is today — from her child actress days until she reached “Phenomenal Box Office Queen” status.
Bernardo felt that she made a wise decision on choosing to stay as a Kapamilya, as she feels ABS-CBN’s toughest times are actually the times where the network needed her the most.
Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil
One of ABS-CBN’s most popular love teams “LizQuen”, consisting of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, is not going anywhere despite being offered projects from GMA, TV5 and entertainment company Viva, manager Ogie Diaz assured.
Diaz, in his YouTube channel last August, even said that ABS-CBN was not willing to let go of the reel-to-real couple, and that the network will do what they can to keep the love teams.
“May ginagawa sila para maitawid ang mga love teams na pinoprotektahan nila, sinesecure nila,” Diaz said.
(They are doing things for the love teams that they are protecting, that they are securing, so they could get by.)
At one point, ABS-CBN issued a statement standing by Soberano after she was warned by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. to withdraw her support of women’s group Gabriela, which, he claims, is part of a terrorist organization.
Soberano, in her own words, said that she was remaining a Kapamilya.
“That is true I have received offers and I’m grateful for them but I told my manager Tito Ogie that for now, I want to be here and support ABS-CBN, especially at a time like this,” she previously said in an interview over ANC’s “Headstart.”
“I think what they need is unity and they need to see that they are supported by the people that have been there with them since the beginning.”
Enchong Dee is also one of the stars that ABS-CBN was able to keep.
Last Dec. 4, the 32-year-old actor was one of the artists who renewed their contracts with Star Magic, ABS-CBN News reported.
But despite staying, Dee believes that the loyalty of Kapamilya artists shouldn’t be questioned when he/she decides to stay with the beleaguered network or find work to rival networks.
Dee also said that the fact he decided not to accept any work from rival networks does not make him any better than other ABS-CBN artists who chose to do so.
“One of the things that I realized was that it’s not right to judge people in relation to loyalty at a time like the present. A lot of my colleagues are breadwinners,” Dee said in a press conference for a financial services company.
“You can’t take away from them the opportunity to work elsewhere, especially now that we’re battling a pandemic and our home network has shut down,” he added.
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