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13 reality show winners who switched networks

by James Patrick Anarcon
6 days ago
Sarah Geronimo, Aljur Abrenica, and Myrtle Sarrosa are three reality show winners who decided to transfer networks.
PHOTO/S: @sarahgeronimoshots / ABS-CBN / @kapusoprgirl on Instagram
ILLUSTRATION: Mixi Ignacio

Many reality show graduates start their rise to fame as homegrown talents of the network that discovered them.

But then, nothing is permanent in show business.

Some reality show graduates found opportunities outside their mother network, others signed up with a rival station.

There were those who returned to their original station years later.

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) lists down 13 winners from different reality competitions of ABS-CBN, GMA-7, and TV5 who switched rival stations for better offers and more career opportunities.

Note that this list only includes reality show winners who did, or has continued to do, regular projects with the network they transferred to.

Sarah Geronimo

Sarah Geronimo won the grand prize in VIVA Television’s reality sing competition, Star For A Night in 2003. It aired on IBC-13.

Soon after her win, Sarah joined GMA-7's variety show, SOP, where most talents of VIVA Artists Agency were regular performers.

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A year later, in 2004, VIVA Artists Agency transferred its talents, including Sarah, to ABS-CBN.

Sarah then joined ABS-CBN’s longest-running variety show, ASAP, and had a segment called “Champions Showdown,” together with other reality singing competition winners and finalists.

She also starred in several teleserye, including Sarah The Teen Princess (2004), Bituing Walang Ningning (2006), Pangarap na Bituin (2007), and iDOL (2010).

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Sarah also top-billed movies co-produced by VIVA and ABS-CBN’s talent arm, Star Cinema, including A Very Special Love (2008) and You Changed My Life (2010).

In 2011, there were rumors about Sarah transferring to TV5, but she denied them and remained a Kapamilya.

She continued appearing in ASAP, in movies under Star Cinema, and even had her own show called Sarah G. Live, which ran from 2012 to 2013 in the Kapamilya network.

In 2013, Sarah was supposed to top-bill her own drama anthology called Sarah G. Presents, but it was shelved when she took the offer to become one of the four coaches in The Voice.

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Sarah remains one of the main performers in ASAP and a coach in The Voice Teens.

Both programs air on the Kapamilya Channel, the home of ABS-CBN shows after Congress denied the broadcast franchise renewal of the network.

Sarah Geronimo

Rachelle Ann Go

Rachelle Ann Go was the grand champion of Search for a Star in 2004, an annual talent competition co-produced by VIVA Television and GMA-7, and hosted by Regine Velasquez.

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After winning the contest, Rachelle Ann had a very brief stint in GMA-7’s variety show SOP. Later, she transferred to ABS-CBN, along with other VIVA talents.

Rachelle Ann joined ABS-CBN’s ASAP and became part of the segment “Champions Showdown,” together with fellow VIVA talents Sarah, Mark Bautista, Raymond Manalo, and Star In A Million winners Erik Santos and Frenchie Dy.

Later, Rachelle Ann, Sarah, and then newcomerYeng Constantino would have their own segment in ASAP called “YRS,” which became popular with the show's viewers.

In 2007, Rachelle Ann was supposed to top-bill ABS-CBN’s remake of the Sharon Cuneta-Cherie Gil movie Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas, together with Sarah and Yeng .

However, VIVA Artists Agency turned down the offer because Rachelle Ann was given the kontrabida role that Cherie originally played. The project was shelved.

In 2010, VIVA Artists Agency transferred Rachelle Ann back to GMA-7, where she joined Party Pilipinas, the rival show of ASAP at that time.

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As a Kapuso, Rachelle Ann did acting projects, like in Nita Negrita (2011), Amaya (2013), Biritera (2012), and Indio (2013).

In 2013, Rachelle Ann left VIVA Artists Agency and joined Cornerstone Entertainment.

In 2014, Rachelle Ann left GMA-7’s Sunday All Stars after she passed the audition for the role of Gigi in the West End revival of Miss Saigon.

Later, Rachelle Ann bagged the role of Fantine in the 30th Anniversary staging of Les Miserables in 2015.

Rachelle Ann had her Broadway debut in 2017 when she reprised her role as Gigi in the Broadway revival of Miss Saigon. She also did the musical Hamilton.

In 2018, Rachelle Ann surprised her Filipino fans when she became a part of GMA-7’s Christmas Station ID, “Ipadama ang Puso ng Pasko.”

Rachelle Ann Go

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Ryza Cenon

Ryza Cenon won the Ultimate Female Survivor title in GMA-7’s StarStruck in February 2005.

Ryza did several supporting roles in teleserye of the Kapuso network. One of the shows was the 2005 TV remake of Darna, starring Angel Locsin.

In 2016, more than ten years after she won StarStruck, Ryza got a lead role in the movie Ang Manananggal sa Unit 23B, an entry in the annual QCinema film festival.

In the same year, Ryza got her break on TV as the kontrabida Georgia in Ika-6 Na Utos.

Georgia is the mistress of Rome (Gabby Concepcion) perennially tussling with Rome’s legal wife, Emma (Sunshine Dizon).

Ryza and Sunshine’s scenes went viral on social media, including the one where Georgia pointed a nerf gun at the pregnant Emma.

In June 2017, Ryza left GMA Artist Center for a management contract with VIVA Artists Agency.

The viewers of Ika-6 Na Utos thought that Ryza would also leave the show and transfer to ABS-CBN, especially when Angelika dela Cruz entered the show as the new kontrabida.

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However, Ryza remained as the main villain of Ika-6 Na Utos until its finale on March 2018.

Weeks after Ika-6 Na Utos aired its finale, Ryza inked an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN. She appeared in the prime-time series FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano before doing her first official Kapamilya teleserye, The General’s Daughter, in 2019.

On July 1, 2020, Ryza announced she is five months pregnant with her boyfriend, Miguel Antonio Cruz.

Ryza Cenon

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Hero Angeles

Hero Angeles was hailed the Grand Questor of ABS-CBN’s Star Circle Quest in 2004.

ABS-CBN tapped Hero and his love-team partner, Sandara Park, to appear in several teleserye and movies.

However, Hero's career had been in limbo after a dispute with ABS-CBN in 2005.

In 2008, he transferred to GMA-7. In the same year, Hero did the teleseryes Dyesebel and Luna Mystika.

After his third teleserye with the network, Paano Ba Ang Mangarap? (2009), Hero took a break from showbusiness.

He returned to ABS-CBN in 2015 via a guest appearance in the prime-time series Nathaniel. He also appeared in Kapamilya drama anthologies Ipaglaban Mo and Maalaala Mo Kaya.

In 2018, Hero got a breakthrough role in the prime-time series Halik as the gay friend of Yen Santos. He was also paired with Christian Bables in the teleserye's subplot.

While waiting for his next project, Hero was one of the Kapamilya artists who expressed support for the beleaguered network.

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Hero Angeles

Jonalyn Viray a.k.a Jona

Jonalyn Viray won the first season of Pinoy Pop Superstar in May 2005.

She then became a part of GMA-7’s variety show, SOP. Jonalyn was also tapped to sing most of GMA-7’s theme songs for its teleserye, including Bakekang (2006), Kung Mahawi Man Ang Ulap (2007), Darna (2009), and My Husband’s Lover (2013).

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In 2008, Jona became a part of the singing trio La Diva that included other Pinoy Pop Superstar graduates: Aicelle Santos (from season two) and Maricris Garcia (from season three).

Together, they performed some of GMA-7 teleserye theme songs, such as Gaano Kadalas Ang Minsan (2008), Ang Babaeng Hinugot Sa Aking Tadyang (2009), Rosalinda (2009), and One True Love (2012).

In 2013, Jonalyn left La Diva to pursue a solo career, which eventually caused the disbandment of the group in 2014.

However, Jonalyn continued her music career at GMA-7.

In February 2016, Jonalyn surprised the press when she appeared at the press conference of ABS-CBN’s teleserye, We Will Survive, to perform its theme song.

She then inked a contract with Star Music and Star Magic, ABS-CBN’s music arm and talent management unit, respectively. Henceforth, she was introduced as Jona.

Jona became part of the ASAP segment called “ASAP Birit Queens” composed of Angeline Quinto, Morissette Amon, and Klarisse de Guzman.

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She also performed the theme songs for the teleserye Pusong Ligaw (2017), Asintado (2018), and Ngayon at Kailanman (2018).

The Himig Handog entry “Tinatapos Ko Na,” which was interpreted by Jona in 2019, currently plays as the theme song of the K-Drama The World of a Married Couple, which airs on Kapamilya Channel.

On July 11, 2020, a day after Congress denied the renewal of ABS-CBN’s broadcast franchise, Jona got this tweet from a basher: “Mabuti nga sayo, lipat-lipat ka pa kasi, wala ka na trabaho, wala ka ng career.”

Jona responded, “Wow...that's the kind of spirit Filipinos have? Nagsasaya sa kawalan ng iba? One thing i'd like to tell these people, just keep following and be updated [praying emojis]”

Jona

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Aljur Abrenica

Aljur Abrenica won the Ultimate Hunk title in StarStruck: The Next Level in 2006.

After his StarStruck win, Aljur did several projects with co-finalist Kris Bernal, who became his love-team partner.

In 2009, Aljur and Kris top-billed the series Dapat Ka Bang Mahalin?, which became the number one afternoon program during that time.

In late 2010, GMA-7 made Aljur and Kris appear in separate shows.

Aljur top-billed the remake of Machete in 2011. The show suffered low ratings and ran for only eight weeks. Its time schedule was also moved down to fourth from the second slot of GMA Telebabad.

After Machete, Aljur and Kris were paired again in Coffee Prince (2012) and in Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko (2013).

In 2014, Aljur played the leading man of Louise delos Reyes in Kambal Sirena.

Weeks after Kambal Sirena aired its finale, on July 24, 2014, Aljur filed for termination of his contract with GMA-7. His contract had yet to end in 2017.

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According to a source, there were several reasons Aljur decided to cancel his contract with GMA-7.

First, he lost an endorsement because of GMA Artist Center, the talent arm of GMA-7.

Second, to quote a source of PEP.ph at that time, "He's being made to sing naughty songs and puro kalaswaan na ang pinapagawa sa kanya sa soap."

in 2015, a year after his legal battle with the network, Aljur was asked to play a lead role via the daytime series Dangwa with Janine Gutierrez. This was followed by another TV series, Once Again, in 2016. In the same year, his legal dispute with GMA-7 was settled.

In March 2017, GMA-7 decided not to renew Aljur’s contract. Months later, in July 2017, he began appearing on ABS-CBN.

Aljur joined the cast of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. He also played one of the leads in the afternoon teleseryes Asintado (2018) and Sandugo (2019-2020).

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In a recent interview with PEP.ph, Aljur was asked about his stand on the non-renewal of ABS-CBN franchise.

Aljur’s answer: “Actually, pro-franchise po ako. Siyempre, that’s my mother network now. Marami rin silang naitulong sa akin. Pero it’s beyond me. Ibig kong sabihin, their fight is their fight.”

At present, Aljur is preparing for a new movie titled Escape from Mamasapano.

Aljur Abrenica

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Jewel Mische

Jewel Mische won the Ultimate Sweetheart title in StarStruck: The Next Level in 2007.

After StarStruck, GMA-7 gave Jewel important projects, such as a lead role in the weekly anthology Magic Kamison and a leading-lady role in Richard Gutierrez’s teleserye, Kamandag.

After Kamandag, however, Jewel took a break from show business.

In June 2010, she returned to acting via a supporting role in the Kapuso series Pilyang Kerubin.

In December 2010, Jewel transferred to ABS-CBN where she made several projects: 100 Days To Heaven (2011), Maria La Del Barrio (2011-2012), and Precious Hearts Romances: Paraiso (2012-2013).

In 2013, Jewel decided to quit showbusiness to become a pilot.

In 2015, she married her American fiancé Alister Kutzer. They now have two kids and are based in Michigan, USA.

Jewel Mische

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Martin Escudero

Mart Escudero was originally a Kapamilya when he had a short stint in the reality show Qpids in 2005. After Qpids, in 2006, he appeared in TAPE Inc.’s afternoon series for GMA-7, Agawin Mo Man Ang Lahat, starring Marian Rivera.

In the same year, Mart joined Kapuso's reality talent show StarStruck: The Next Level, where he won the Ultimate Loveteam title with Kris Bernal.

However, their love team did not flourish as Mart was paired with Jennica Garcia in most of his projects.

In 2011, after several years with the network, Mart transferred to TV5 and used the screen name Martin. One of his major projects was the weekly series Positive, where he played the role of a man living with HIV.

After TV5’s entertainment department was dissolved, Martin focused on doing independent films.

He returned to GMA-7 in 2017, when he did a guest appearance in the sitcom Pepito Manaloto.

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In July 2019, Martin joined the cast of ABS-CBN’s FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

Martin Escudero

Sarah Lahbati

Sarah Lahbati won the Ultimate Female Survivor in StarStruck V in 2010.

Sarah then appeared in several GMA-7 teleserye, including a title role in the remake of Kokak in 2011 and a leading-lady role in the 2012 drama series Makapiling Kang Muli with Richard Gutierrez, whom she had a romantic relationship after doing the series.

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In January 2013, however, Sarah got into a dispute with her mother network, and declared a one-month leave of absence. She posted on Twitter her complaints against GMA Artist Center, which, in turn, sued the actress.

Both parties, however, settled their legal dispute in 2014, and Sarah continued appearing in the GMA-7 variety show Sunday All Stars.

In 2015, Sarah surprised her fans when she performed in the Kapamilya variety show ASAP.

Sarah was supposed to be part of the series Written In The Stars together with Toni Gonzaga, Piolo Pascual, Jolina Magdangal, and Sam Milby. However, the project was shelved when Toni got pregnant.

Sarah then appeared in the prime-time series My Super D.

Her most recent guesting was in Eat Bulaga!

In March 2020, Sarah and Richard got married in a simple ceremony after they decided to postpone their grand wedding because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sarah Lahbati

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Vin Abrenica

Vin Abrenica won the Best Actor title in TV5’s reality program, Artista Academy.

TV5 then gave Vin several leading roles in its shows, including the drama series Never Say Goodbye (2013), Misibis Bay (2013), and My Fair Lady (2015).

Vin was openly disappointed when TV5 gave the lead role in the remake of the K-Drama series Baker King to Mark Neumann, his runner-up in Artista Academy.

After My Fair Lady, in late 2015, Vin did a guest appearance in ABS-CBN’s drama anthology, Ipaglaban Mo.

Vin’s transfer to ABS-CBN became official in 2016 when he signed a contract with Star Magic. He did the teleserye Wildflower (2017-2018) and the iWant series Past, Present, Perfect? (2019).

Currently, Vin appears in the Kapamilya drama series A Soldier’s Heart, which airs on Kapamilya Channel.

He is also in a real-life relationship with Kapuso actress Sophie Albert, who won Best Actress in Artista Academy.

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Vin Abrenica

Sophie Albert

Sophie Albert won the Best Actress title in TV5’s Artista Academy in 2012.

Sophie did the drama series Never Say Goodbye with Artista Academy Best Actor and real-life boyfriend, Vin Abrenica, in 2013.

She also top-billed episodes of Wattpad presents.

In 2016, after the entertainment department of TV5 folded up, Sophie appeared in an episode of Ipaglaban Mo.

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Sophie’s stint with ABS-CBN was shortlived. In 2017, she signed a contract with GMA-7 and GMA Artist Center.

Sophie played kontrabida roles in the shows Pamilya Roces (2018) and Bihag (2019).

She also became the love interest of Alden Richards in the prime-time series The Gift (2019-2020).

Sophie Albert

Myrtle Sarrosa

Myrtle Sarrosa was hailed the Big Winner of Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition 4 in 2012.

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She got her first TV show via the prime-time series Kahit Puso’y Masugatan in the same year. She was also added in the cast of the sitcom Todamax.

In the following years, Myrtle appeared in several Kapamilya shows: Kapamilya Deal Or No Deal (2015), Forevermore (2015), FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (2016), La Luna Sangre (2017), and Wansapanataym (2019).

She also did movies with Regal Entertainment and Star Cinema.

In February 2020, Myrtle inked a management contract with GMA-7 and GMA Artist Center after seven years with ABS-CBN.

Myrtle was recently seen in some episodes of Bubble Gang and Tadhana.

Myrtle Sarrosa

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Miko Manguba

In 2015, GMA-7 launched a boyband competition called To The Top.

Five winners were declared to become part of the boyband: Mico Cruz, Louie Pedroso, Adrian Pascual, Joshua Jacobe, and Miko Manguba.

Called the TOP: Top One Project, the boyband was able to release an album.

They were also tapped to perform the theme song of Mulawin vs. Ravena, which was “Ikaw Nga,” a revival of Southborder’s 2004 hit that was also the theme song of GMA-7’s 2004 fantasy series, Mulawin.

The group became inactive in 2018.

But just before the year ended, Star Music announced that Miko Manguba, who now goes by the screen name JMKO, has signed up as one of its artists.

Miko’s transfer to Star Music confirmed that Top One Project had disbanded.

In Star Music, Miko was able to record a number of original songs, including “Aahon,” which was used as the theme song for the K-Drama The Story of Yanxi Palace, which aired on ABS-CBN.

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In January 2020, Miko headlined a concert titled Song Feels with Jeremy Glinoga, Miguel Odron, and Sam Mangubat.

Miko Manguba

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Sarah Geronimo, Aljur Abrenica, and Myrtle Sarrosa are three reality show winners who decided to transfer networks.
PHOTO/S: @sarahgeronimoshots / ABS-CBN / @kapusoprgirl on Instagram
ILLUSTRATION: Mixi Ignacio
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