IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Reality-based TV shows that were revived | Inquirer Entertainment

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Reality-based TV shows that were revived

/ 11:32 AM August 28, 2023

reality-based TV shows

Reality-based TV shows (top, from left) “Face to Face,” “Tawag ng Tanghalan,” (bottom, from left) “StarStruck,” and “Extra Challenge” are just some of the Philippine programs that were revived. Images: Facebook/ Face to Face on TV5, StarStruck, Tawag ng Tanghalan, and Extra Challenge

Revivals in Philippine television are nothing new to viewers, but still bring in a lot of excitement, especially to loyal fans who have built a connection with their original versions.

With this, the challenge for a revived program seems to be preserving key elements that made the original memorable, while departing from the shadow of previous versions by injecting new ideas that will make it relevant to the times.


Billed as the original prank show of the country, “Wow Mali” recently made its comeback on Aug. 26 after almost a decade. Joey de Leon, who was the face of the show and original host when it made its debut in 1996 has passed on the hosting duties to his “EAT” co-hosts and longtime comedic tandem Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola.


Aside from “Wow Mali,” which currently airs as “Wow Mali: Doble Tama,” we take a look at other reality-based TV programs that were brought back to life after leaving our TV screens for some time.

Face 2 Face

Amy Perez and Karla Estrada

Karla Estrada (right) replaces Amy Perez as host of “Face 2 Face.” Screenshots from TV5 Philippines’ YouTube channel

Earlier this year, “Face 2 Face” (previously “Face to Face”), which claims to be the “original barangay hall on air,” aired its first episode in almost a decade. Former “Magandang Buhay” mainstay Karla Estrada, referred to in the show as “Mama Karla,” replaced original host “Tyang” Amy Perez.

Estrada is joined by comedian Alex Calleja who’s in charge of interacting with the audience — still called “sawsaweros” and “sawsaweras.” In the original version, which made its debut in 2010, Perez had the late Hans Mortel as co-host.

Similar to the original set-up, as Estrada facilitates the discussion of personal affairs or issues of opposing parties — and yes, the show’s signature heated confrontations and screaming showdowns were present from the revival’s first episode — opinions are sought from the “Trio Tagapayo,” which consists of a legal expert, spiritual adviser, and a psychologist.

In the Perez era of the Kapatid show, the studio audience chose sides by raising either white or red boards, while in the revival, a poll on the issue is conducted, where audience members send their answers electronically. Also, the original version’s B1 and B2 — who try to prevent any physical altercation between guests — were replaced by Marife 1 and 2 or the mareng referees.

Actress Gelli de Belen, who substituted for Perez in several episodes, would go on to co-host the show’s “revamped version” “Face the People” with Christine Bersola-Babao and Edu Manzano.


Tawag ng Tanghalan

Marielle Montellano and JM Dela Cerna

Duets edition winners Marielle Montellano (left) and JM Dela Cerna. Image: Facebook/Tawag ng Tanghalan

The origin of singing competition “Tawag ng Tanghalan” — currently a segment on the Kapamilya noontime show “It’s Showtime” — can be traced from the 50s, when “Purico Amateur Hour” pitted the best musicians across the country against one another. In its debut, performances were broadcasted on radio, but the program will eventually shift to a televised set-up. The beginnings of “Tawag ng Tanghalan” also featured actor Jaime de la Rosa and the tandem of Patsy and Lopito — who entertained with their comical exchanges — as hosts of the program.

During the show’s pre-”It’s Showtime” broadcast, it showcased the vocal prowess of several aspirants who would later make their mark in the entertainment industry. Among them is the “Superstar” Nora Aunor, whose rendition of “Moonlight Becomes You” clinched her the win in 1967 at just 14 years old. The inaugural champion of the talent search is the late TV host-actor Pepe Pimentel, who probably is best known for his work in the game show “Kuarta o Kahon,” which ran for decades.

What sets apart the singing competition from its contemporaries is the presence of a gong in the contest, which, if struck, signals the automatic elimination of a contestant. The feature was said to have been present even before “It’s Showtime” revived the show decades after in 2016. The gong, however, was removed when the current version held a kid’s edition in 2017. Apart from a kid’s edition, the revived competition — which is in its seventh year — had also organized special editions for celebrities and former contestants, and even held a duets edition which concluded during the variety show’s debut on GTV.


Ryza Cenon and Sef Cadayona

Major throwback: Ryza Cenon (season 2 ultimate female survivor) and Sef Cadayona (season 5 alum) when they were competing on “StarStruck.” Screenshots from StarStruck’s YouTube channel

While there seems to be a variety of ways to crack the entertainment industry, especially now with the rise of social media and digital influencers, one option that has proven to be an effective bridge to show business is a talent search program. One of the more popular ones since the 2000s is the Kapuso artista search “StarStruck.” 

While still recognizable, probably due to the long list of stars associated with the show, the program has been off the air for almost four years already. Its most recent season, its seventh, which concluded in September 2019, crowned Kim De Leon and Shayne Sava as ultimate male and female survivor, respectively. Currently, there aren’t any reports hinting at the show’s comeback, but based on its history, a return to the small screen could still be in the cards. 

After four consecutive seasons from 2003-2007 — among the winners of these seasons include Jennylyn Mercado, Mike Tan, and the late Marky Cielo, among others — the program took a break for over two years before crowning Steven Silva and Sarah Lahbati as ultimate survivors on its fifth season. Moreover, there was a five-year gap between the conclusion of season 5 and the premiere of season 6. The show, which capped off its sixth season in December 2015, also took a break for almost four years before making a comeback in June 2019.

The show, originally hosted by Dingdong Dantes and former actress-singer Nancy Castiglione, has launched the careers of several personalities such as Paulo Avelino (season 4), Vaness del Moral (season 3), Rocco Nacino (season 5), Liezel Lopez (season 6), and Miss World 2013 Megan Young, and bride-to-be LJ Reyes, who were contestants during the show’s second season.

Extra Challenge

Paolo Bediones and Marian Rivera

Original host Paolo Bediones posts a snap with revived “Extra Challenge” host Marian Rivera. Image: Instagram/@paolobediones

Another show the Kapuso network revived in the 2010s was the reality competition “Extra Challenge,” which aired its last episode in 2013. Before Richard Gutierrez, Marian Rivera, and comedian Boobay took over as hosts in 2012, the show — which featured contestants engaging in missions or challenges of varying nature — said goodbye to its viewers in 2006.

Prior to rebranding itself as “Extra Challenge,” the show premiered as “Extra! Extra!” a magazine show presented by Paolo Bediones and Karen Davila. Following the departure of Davila, who would transfer to ABS-CBN, former beauty queen Miriam Quiambao joined the program and worked as a co-host until 2004. Even before Quiambao left, the show had already transitioned into “Extra Challenge.”

The program invited five participants to compete for the vacated hosting position, with model-businesswoman Phoemela Baranda earning the right to co-host with Bediones. Popular with viewers, singing comedienne Ethel Booba, who competed against Baranda, was also made a co-host. Former “Pinoy Big Brother” mainstay Mariel Rodriguez, at one point, co-hosted the show with Bediones and Booba.

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?

Vic Sotto

Vic Sotto succeeds Christopher de Leon as host of the local version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Image: Facebook/Who Wants to Be a Millionaire Philippines

Through the years, Philippine television has adapted shows from abroad including game shows. The local adaptation of a knowledge-based game show from the UK, “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” first aired on IBC in 2000. The local version of the show, which had contestants answer multiple-choice questions with corresponding amounts of money, was originally hosted by award-winning actor Christopher de Leon until late 2002. Throughout its run, the grand prize doubled from P1 million to P2 million.

After a hiatus of more than six years, the program was revived and started airing on the Kapatid channel in May 2009. For its second run, Vic Sotto was tapped to host the game show. The top prize was still set at P2 million until the revival concluded in November 2015. However, during its final season, the number of questions decreased from 15 to 12. Also, throughout its run on TV5, the program introduced some changes in the show’s format including those related to the contestants’ lifelines — which should assist them in answering questions.

While viewers of the original local adaptation did not witness anyone walk away with the top prize, its revival had multiple players clinch the jackpot. One of them is actress-singer Sharon Cuneta, who won the top prize in 2010. For her P2-million question, Sotto asked the Megastar to identify one of the ingredients that the witches utilized in creating a potion, per Act 4 of William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” Cuneta correctly chose lizard’s leg among the choices which included serpent’s fang, dragon’s tail, and bat’s tooth. In 2001, Cuneta also participated in the game show and was only a question away from taking home the jackpot.

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TAGS: Extra Challenge, Face 2 Face, Starstruck, Tawag ng Tanghalan, Who wants to be a millionaire

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