ANATOMY OF A VARIETY SHOW: GMA-7's Studio 7

IMAGE Roselene Flores (photos) / GMA-7 (Studio 7 logo)

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) dives deep into the ins and outs of producing a variety show in the digital age with GMA-7's newest variety program, Studio 7.


Musical variety shows have become a staple of Philippine television.

Since the 1960s, Filipinos have been fed with musical extravaganzas and grand production numbers.

By the '80s, GMA-7 lorded over Sunday noontime programming, airing variety programs which came by different titles, first as Germside, then Germspesyal, before eventually settling on GMA Supershow. All were hosted by the late German "Kuya Germs" Moreno.

The year 1997 saw GMA-7's more youthful and fresher take on musical variety shows, as it launched Sobrang Okay Pare, or SOP, featuring unforgettable numbers and segments. It was dubbed the network's "Concert TV."

After SOP stopped airing in 2010, the network launched Party Pilipinas (2010 to 2013) and Sunday All Stars (2013 to 2015).

In 2015, the Kapuso Network scrapped the concert TV-variety show format from its Sunday noontime programming. Instead, management launched the comedy-variety show Sunday PinaSaya.

While it enjoyed high ratings, Sunday Pinasaya was not enough to satisfy the demand from Kapuso viewers who continued to miss the concert TV genre.

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For this reason, Channel 7 gave it another try, but this time, for the prime-time arena.

This new show was called Studio 7, which started airing on October 14, 2018.

By February 10, 2019, the show aired its 17th episode.

Viewers might have noted similarities and differences between Studio 7 and its predecessors.

Studio 7 may have also sparked questions from people who are curious about the creation of variety shows on TV. 

How are segments and production numbers conceptualized?

How are performers chosen for a certain production number?

Do TV ratings affect a production number, a segment, a performance by an artist?

PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) wanted to find the answers to these questions by going straight to the source: Studio 7's business unit head and GMA-7 Vice President for Business Development III, Darling de Jesus-Bodegon.

De Jesus-Bodegon, who is called DDB in the industry, gave PEP.ph a glimpse into how Studio 7 works, from being GMA's comeback show in the variety-show genre, to choosing the segments, to monitoring feedback from viewers.

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This PEP Special Report is divided into five parts: The Comeback of a Variety Show (conception of Studio 7); Casting and Directors (how the network tapped its regular hosts and directors); Conceptualization and Live Shows (how the staff conceptualizes production numbers and how tapings are held); Growth Pains (the early struggles of the show and how they overcame these); Ratings and Feedback (how the show deals with audience feedback and its TV ratings), and SOP vs. STUDIO 7 (how the producers want Studio 7 to live up to SOP's legacy).

Photos featured in this PEP.ph Special Report are shots of Studio 7 live.

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This is the Studio 7 stage, where Kapuso artists showcase their singing and dancing talent.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

 

COMEBACK OF A VARIETY SHOW

It has been three years since GMA-7 had a musical-variety show in its roster of programs.

In this span of time, rumors circulated that the Kapuso Network had been planning a reboot of SOP.

However, in September 2018, the Kapuso Network announced that its new variety show, Studio 7, was in the works

The title Studio 7 was taken from GMA Network Center's Studio 7, where big shows and variety programs are taped.

GMA Network is also known as Channel 7.

How did management decide it was finally time for a variety-show comeback?

In an exclusive PEP interview, De Jesus-Bodegon said they were already feeling the need for a variety show in their programming line-up.

"Well, kahit kami, we feel na matagal na nawala," she explained. "'Tapos we have the talents to show for, and we needed a disruptor. 

"Something different on the timeslot, kasi ano na siya, e, for years pare-pareho yung papanuorin mo kahit dito o sa iba.  

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"So we thought, 'Yeah, let’s try something, anyway we have the talents for it already.'"

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Cassy and Mavy Legaspi, Kate Valdez, Kyline Alcantara, Julie Anne San Jose, Mikee Quintos, and Gabbi Garcia entertain the audience with their song and dance numbers. With them is Zel Bautista (holding a guitar), vocalist of December Avenue.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

The timeslot for Studio 7, which airs every Sunday at 7:40 p.m., was filled with reality show programs and sitcoms in the past.

De Jesus-Bodegon recalled that even GMA-7's chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Felipe L. Gozon—or FLG everywhere in the network—agreed it was the right time for a variety-show comeback.

De Jesus-Bodegon continued, "We’ve been trying that idea for a while. Pinapag-usapan namin, ganyan.

"After, when we were deciding what’s going to replace The Clash, meron pang iba, but the programming committee decided, si FLG, that 'Now it’s time, I think that is the better program, I like that better now.'"

While FLG would make suggestions, the network's upper management gave the producers the freedom to work out the show's content.

De Jesus-Bodegon says, "Nothing's really dictated. Ang ano lang namin, yung core value—the audience is our boss. 

"So we have ideas, we dish it out. It starts with the pitch, and then you get responses, and then from the responses you put something out, wait for more feedback, and grow from there. 

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"Wala siyang clear cut na, 'Kailangan ganito.'"

But from the get-go, the producers already know the one, single mandate from the higher ups: "You have to rate. It may be a mandate, but at the same time, as producer, it’s your mandate to yourself, e, na panuorin ka, di ba? 

"Otherwise, futile yung lahat ng effort mo kapag hindi ka naman pinanuod, like we wouldn’t feel also good about the things we do, walang sense of fulfillment kung hindi ka naman pinanuod."

Aside from its timeslot, De Jesus-Bodegon believes that Studio 7 can easily be distinct from its predecessors SOP, Party Pilipinas, and Sunday All Stars

"Kasi unang-una, you have different people in it. Mas mahirap i-produce ang different show with the same people or with the same ingredients. 

"Parang pag nagluluto ka, mas mahirap yung umimbento ka ng panibagong dish with exactly the same ingredients. But if you are given different ingredients, it comes natural na iba yung magiging mix. 

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"So I think yun yung key—you get fresh talents, you have fresh ideas from fresh staff, new director. It’s a new mix. They’re not all new, but the mix is new, like putting them together."

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(L-R) Kyline, Julie Anne, Mikee, Zel, Jong Madaliday, Mark Bautista, Garrett Bolden, Anthony Rosaldo, Christian Bautista, together with guest band December Avenue, give a surprise birthday cake for Gabbi Garcia (center, holding bouquet of roses), who celebrated her birthday last December.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

CASTING AND DIRECTORS

Studio 7 currently has 17 regular hosts and performers.

Kapuso singing royalty Christian Bautista, Mark Bautista, and Julie Anne San Jose lead the pack of the cast.

Former Kapamilya Rayver Cruz made his Kapuso debut via this TV show. 

Soap-opera stars Kyline Alcantara, Gabbi Garcia, Kate Valdez, Mikee Quintos, and Migo Adecer, who are known for doing music and dance numbers, were also handpicked for this project.

Showbiz royalty Cassy and Mavy Legaspi plunged into performing via the variety program.

Comedians Super Tekla and Donita Nose are also regulars on Studio 7.

The Clash grand winner Golden Cañedo—including finalists Jong Madaliday, Josh Adornado, Mirriam Manalo, and Garrett Bolden—complete the musical TV show's roster of talents.

Ruth Mariñas, a program manager for Studio 7 and the reality program The Clash, explained in a previous PEP.ph interview how these singers are selected as show regulars.

She said that the origins of Studio 7 can be traced to the good feedback received by The Clash. For this reason, the singers—called "The Clashers"—were immediately included in the show.

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Kyline was fresh from a concert, while Migo, Gabbi, Kate, and Mikee, being soap opera actors, were given an avenue to showcase their other talents.

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The performers of Studio 7: (Standing, L-R) Super Tekla, Donita Nose, Mikee Quintos, Gabbi Garcia, Julie Anne San Jose, Kate Valdez, Cassy Legaspi, Kyline Alcantara, Golden Canedo, Mirriam Manalo, Jong Madaliday.
(Kneeling, L-R) Mavy Legaspi, Migo Adecer, Mark Bautista, Christian Bautista, Rayver Cruz, Josh Adornado, Garrett Bolden
 IMAGE Noel Orsal

According to De Jesus-Bodegon, singing is the show's main requirement for its regulars.

"All of them sing, that is the requirement. Hindi na ngayon pwede yung...

"Di ba, organic na lahat? Ayaw na nila ng hindi organic. 

"So if you sing, then you sing. If you dance, then you dance. Or if you’re an actor but can do something else, then it is an opportunity to show that other side."

Still, Studio 7 surprises viewers with guest appearances of other Kapuso artists, such as Bianca Umali, Miguel Tanfelix, Winwyn Marquez, Rodjun Cruz, and Ruru Madrid.

The Clash finalists Lyra Micolob, Kyryll Ugdiman, Mika Gorospe, and Anthony Rosaldo also appear in most episodes.

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Bianca Umali (left), who shows her dance moves with Migo Adecer and Kate Valdez, has been a guest of Studio 7 for several episodes.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

In fact, a lot of GMA artists who are not regulars are also seen on the opening billboard of Studio 7.

De Jesus-Bodegon explains, "We try to showcase the talents, we try to provide an avenue for all our talents. 

"Siyempre, not at the same time. Kaya if you would notice, yung aming billboards, walang picture. Kasi, di ba, ano siya, tambayan? Kung tambayan, you just go there and, in fact, ewan ko lang kung na-notice niyo, noong first episode, meron doon who just came. Tambayan siya, e. Tambay ako diyan, ganun."

In SOP and Party Pilipinas, De Jesus-Bodegon and her staff used to handle bigger and more established performers, such as Regine Velasquez, Jaya, Janno Gibbs, and Ogie Alcasid.

PEP.ph asks her if it is easier for them to handle younger and homegrown talents.

She says about the veteran talents, "In fairness, they have their own quirks. Kahit sabihin mo pang late palagi si Janno, pero relatively, they’re easy. 

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"Parang kung meron man, kahit tayo, we have our own days when we’re not ano… pero relatively, they were easy to handle. 

"Ngayon, yung mga bagets, para kasing tambayan, e. Chill lang sila, walang problema. Walang bilangan ng numbers, walang ganyan. 

"They don’t mind if, 'This is what you want me to do now, then I’ll do it. If you don’t want me to do anything, fine.' Okay lang sila."

Apart from the new roster of talents, GMA-7 also tapped a fresh pool of staff to helm the variety program, led by TV director Miguel "Miggy" Tanchangco, concept director Paolo Valenciano, and musical director Mark Lopez.

Paolo and Miggy are part of families that are showbiz performers.

Paolo is the son of singer Gary Valenciano, and proved himself as a director for the 2018 Kapuso concert series, 3 Stars, 1 Heart, top-billed by Julie Anne, Christian, and now-Kapamilya singer Regine Velasquez.

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Miggy, on the other hand, is the son of Geleen Eugenio, the long-time resident choreographer of SOP and Party Pilipinas. Miggy also showed his chops for performing and dancing in the two shows.

How were they tapped for Studio 7?

The VP for business development reveals, "Si Paolo, siya yung kinuha namin sa Three Stars, One Heart. I have known him from before, napanuod ko pa yan nung nagba-banda banda siya." 

GMA management sees no conflict with Paolo working as concept director of Studio 7, while his dad Gary is a mainstay of ABS-CBN's ASAP Natin 'To, Studio 7's indirect competitor. (ASAP airs on Sundays, and went head-to-head with SOP and its successors).

Of Paolo, the Kapuso executive says with a laugh, "Malaki na siya! He decides for himself!

"'Tapos okay naman siya to work with us, I asked him. He was excited about it. 

"It’s doing well. Okay yung dynamics namin, okay yung mga brainstorming sessions namin."

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As for Miggy, who is Studio 7 director, the GMA executive explains, "Alam mo si Miggy, four years old pa lang 'yan, nagsasayaw na 'yan sa amin sa Superstar. Choreographer kasi namin doon, si Geleen. 

"Then nagsasayaw siya, then he became choreographer na rin, and then nakita ko yung work niya kasi he would do mga events, yun. Okay siya, e. So we gave him a try."

 

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Guest Winwyn Marquez rehearses for her dance number with Rayver Cruz.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


De Jesus-Bodegon believes that Miggy can handle TV directing easily.

She elaborates, "I think what works for Miggy, kasi choreographer siya. 

"Madaling mag-memorize ng kanta, may lyrics 'yan, pwede ka i-cue, although you have to be musical, kasi kung hindi ka musical, wala ka rin sa tiyempo, di ba? 

"'Tapos mas mahirap mag-memorize ng sayaw. At what point in the dance na ba? Naka-ilang eights na ba 'yan? Kelan na ba ito ta-tumbling? Yung timing na yun. 

"Mas medyo challenging siya, i-remember. Ang hirap magbilang ng from the beginning if you just rely on counting. It’s really a memorization of what’s happening on stage. 

"But since he is a choreographer, it is natural to him. 

"Kaya niyang abangan, alam niya kung ano yung susunod."

CONCEPTUALIZATION AND LIVE SHOWS

At present, Studio 7 holds its tapings Thursdays, with two episodes taped as live.

Before a taping day, the production staff and creative department go through meetings.

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As De Jesus-Bodegon puts it, "Siyempre, dapat before that week, naplantsa mo na yung dapat plantsahin mo."

What happens during these meetings and brainstorming sessions? 

"Merong kaming mga wishlists at saka may Viber group kami, e. So kapag may idea, pasok lang nang pasok doon. 

"'O, tignan niyo 'to, is this okay?' They pitch. 'I found this, is this okay with you or can we do that?' 

"Then, tina-try namin to sort through it, and then we put those that will gel together, parang ganon."

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Donita Nose (right) gets oriented for her spiels in the episode.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


The pitching for the show is a continuous process, and it does not happen only during face-to-face production meetings.

The lady executive adds, "When we sit down, that’s when we really finalize na, 'O sige, ito na yung laman, ha.' 

"Ito, na-approve na kasi ito. Ito, ito na yung requirements niyang lahat. 

"But in the middle of the course of the week, maraming Viber exchanges, nagsa-suggest ano yung mga gagawin. 

"Kasi dati ang hirap mag-usap kung di kayo nagkikita, di ba? Ngayon marami nang remote control. 

"Halimbawa, ito ang peg ng istorya nila o costume, so nakikita niyong lahat, di niyo kailangan [magkita]. 

"Like everybody’s busy, hirap din naman na lagi kayong nagmi-meeting na ganyan. But only for some small details, di ba? So nakikita mo sa Viber."

Compared to her previous shows, which ran live for almost three hours, DDB says Studio 7 is easier to handle as it airs for only one hour.

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In the past, the production staff for variety shows used to work seven days a week.

The Kapuso executive recalls, "I used to work seven days a week, kasi Sunday 'yan. 

"If you have a Sunday live show, you work seven days a week. Kasi yung Sabado’t Linggo mo, yun yung crucial days mo."

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Ruru Madrid, Kyline Alcantara, Anthony Rosaldo, Mark Bautista, Gabbi Garcia, Jong Madaliday, and Mikee Quintos jam with Raymund Marasigan (center, holding guitar) and his alternative rock band Sandwich
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

Studio 7's one-hour run time also allows the staff to conceptualize different themes for every episode.

The GMA executive explains, "Kasi madali siya i-sustain, one hour lang, e. You can have something like a theme, or an idea that is going to hold them together. 

"Sa SOP, medyo mahirap yun kasi ang haba-haba. Mahirap siyang i-sustain throughout the show. 

"Sa Studio 7, kasi maikli lang siya, it’s easy to do that, doable siya. 

"So, of course, we work on that, and then we try to see what do we need. So, ano yung numbers? Then ano yung kailangan ng numbers? It’s more like that."

The staff and creatives are also not afraid to introduce new things on the show.

DDB says, "We like to see, do new things if there are really good, worthy new ideas. Masaya, e, it’s fun.  

"Sabi ko noon, I used to tell my staff, it’s easy to be efficient. Halimbawa, ito yung mga segments natin. Tapos ipi-fill in the blanks mo na lang, uulit-ulitin mo, papalit-palitan mo yung tao. It’s easy, but it’s boring."

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DDB reveals she always starts the meeting with a blank sheet of paper—saying that no exact templates are being followed for the show.

"When we start the meeting, I have an empty, a clean sheet of paper. So what’s the new thing that we’re going to do this time? 

"Meron siyang… there are sort of things na meron kang kini-keep. Meron kang some sort of staple, like clash, pero hindi mo alam kung anong clash ang gagawin mo. So it still is new. 

"Hindi siya yung ang clash, palaging girl at boy. Mapapalitan mo lang na this week, sinong girl, next week, sinong boy, then it becomes boring. 

"But right now, the way we’re doing it, what kind of clash are we going to do now? Who is going to clash? 

"Yun yung parang back-to-back because it’s really just straight singing."

 

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Rayver Cruz rehearsing for a dance number in Studio 7.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


NEW TECHNOLOGY HELPS BIG TIME

The staff also actively look for content from social media, especially since they feature these viral moments in their "Trending" segment.

For the producers, looking for these talents does not take as much effort than the process they used to follow.

De Jesus-Bodegon compares the current process to the time she was still a production assistant (P.A.) in one of her early shows.

"Ang dali na nga ng buhay ngayon. Everything is on your fingertips. Kahit ano, pwede mong i-Google. Ang daming search engines na pwede mong gamitin. 

"Noong araw, mahirap 'yon. Noong P.A. ako, ang lyrics, kukuha ka ng tape, papakinggan mo, at ita-type mo isa-isa. Pag mali ang dinig mo, patay ka. Magkakamali yung singer. 

"When I was a P.A., I do that. After doing that, I also look at mga jingles, song hits, song books, so tama ba yung dinig ko? 

"Sometimes, hindi naman lahat ng songs, may nakasulat na something lalo na kung hindi very popular.

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"But now, it’s not like that anymore. Like you search it, and then, you still have to check but you have something there. Mas mabilis, di ba?

"It’s not really that difficult. Ang mahirap na part yung hanapin mo na in person yung nahanap mo online. Yun ang medyo tricky part."

So far, DDB is proud to say that they are able to look for the viral content they want to feature in the show.

"Meron kaming mga hinahanap pa rin, pero okay naman yung batting average namin so far, magaganda yung mga nahahanap namin, masaya naman kami."

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The Clash grand winner Golden Canedo meets her two-year-old fan who went viral on social media after the girl's parents uploaded a video of her crying while looking for Golden on the TV screen.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

 

When it comes to the show proper, De Jesus-Bodegon says that a one-hour episode takes two to three hours to tape.

They tape the show as live, with production numbers and sequences in the order they are meant to be seen onscreen.

She reasons out, "As much as possible, iyon na yung kinakasa namin, para yung feel, hindi siya napuputol, yung build, yung mood."

Having done live shows for SOP and Party Pilipinas, the GMA executive says there are only little differences when doing a taped-as-live show like Studio 7.

"You do the same thing. Kasi what you can do in editing na lang is you embellish it. I e-enhance na lang.

"Hindi siya putol-putol tine-tape. Humihinto kami sa number, after a number, parang commercial gap. 

"But yung buong segment, hindi kami humihinto, kaya masaya. Parang ganun lang din na nang-ko-commercial gap."

GROWTH PAINS

Of course, every newly launched show goes through growth pains, and Studio 7 is no exception.

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She quips about this, "Aba, yung matapos ka nang madaling araw!"

She then explains, "Like any other show, siyempre, bago yung set mo, matagal bago natapos. 

"Nag-umpisa ka, medyo siyempre, yung ilaw. Those things, pretty much that. 

"'Tapos you have to edit, you edit, you edit, you edit. Kasi siyempre, ginagawa niyo pa, wala pa siyang template, e. So, medyo matagal."

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The staff of Studio 7 prepares props and lights needed for its next segment.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


Since they had already passed through these growth pains, De Jesus-Bodegon says there were no intense challenges when they started the show.

She continues, "Everything was matagal [before] than now. But all shows pass through that, e. 

"Wala naman extraordinary pain. Hindi siya Cesarean."

How did they know they were ready to launch the program?

She answers, "It’s like getting married, you never really get ready. 

"Every day, parang merong nababago, nababago, nababago, until it’s already the wedding day and you just have to immerse yourself and let go. 

"Parang kapag manganganak ka, alam mong manganganak ka, pero hindi mo kasi alam kung kailan lalabas, kung paano lalabas, pero basta ilalabas mo na lang, di ba? 

"When it’s time, it’s time to go. Hindi siya masyadong maraming… it wasn’t all so painful or difficult."

The female Kapuso executive notes that this does not mean they are always perfectly geared for battle. 

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As she puts it, "Siyempre, interesting ang production na live because no two days are the same. 

"So you have new problems, but these are the normal things."

After doing their first live show, were there practices and segments that were discontinued?

She answers, "Tweak, but not really totally discontinue—yung the way that it was being handled or treatment lang. 

"Di ba, meron kaming yung audience participation na nagka-clash? Parang when we first staged it, parang masyadong mabagal. Ang bagal!"

DDB was referring to a segment where audience members were chosen for a dance showdown. This segment was needed as Studio 7 stays true to its format: to make the audience participate in segments. 

She continues, "We want the audience to have fun by being participants also, kaya we allow them to dance, e. You can stand, you can dance. Masaya nga doon, e, kasi kantiyawan. 

"'Tapos yun nga, yung part na yun na noong una naming ginawa, medyo ang bagal. Ang bagal niya so we have to devise a way to trim it, trim it, trim it."

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Studio 7 also allows its audience members to participate and jam with the show's performers. Here is a number where selected audience members got the chance to dance onstage.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


When it comes to performances, De Jesus-Bodegon has only good words for their talents.

"The kids are easy to work with. And I think they’re also having fun, they’re just enjoying."

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Still, the kids were not spared from these growth pains.

DDB explains, "Siyempre, yung mga bagets medyo ninenerbiyos-nerbiyos pa. We try to tape as live, e. 

"Meron namang cuts at times, pero as much as possible we open the show with the opening and close the show with the closing, or when we start singing, dahil live singing siya, you have to make it, you just have to make it."

A few weeks after the show's premiere telecast, Mark Bautista revealed that Studio 7 has no prompters for spiels and song lyrics.

This was proven true when PEP.ph went to one of the show's taping days.

De Jesus-Bodegon reveals the reason why they removed these prompters.

She says nonchalantly, "I make them memorize. Bata pa sila. Madali pa silang mag-memorize, so better that they learn kasi they are performers, e. 

"They better learn to memorize kasi pag hindi sila nag-memorize, pinakanta sila sa labas, di na sila makakanta. Maraming singers na ganun. Hindi makakanta kasi walang memorized. 'Tapos ilan lang yung memorize na kanta so paulit-ulit lang."

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Christian Bautista in one of his performances for Studio 7.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


De Jesus-Bodegon admits that she felt the jitters before launching Studio 7.

She reasons out, "Meron kang anxiety, siyempre, hindi mo pa na-try, ang tagal, bago. 

"Sa timeslot, hindi naman kami naglalagay ng ganung show. 

"So meron kang anxiety, but we’ll never know until you do it, e. Talagang we’re holding our breath until the ratings came out. Hindi kami humihinga, hahaha! 

"Kasi we don’t know, e, if people will accept it or not. I mean, that’s the most difficult part, the waiting, something that is going to validate that what you did was right. 

"We’re happy and thankful and we’re trying to continue to make it better."

PILOT EPISODE RATINGS 

Speaking of ratings and feedback, Studio 7 showed impressive performance in the ratings game during its pilot episode.

In fact, the pilot episode scored 12.2% compared to the 10.4% rating of its rival program back then, The Kids' Choice, based on AGB ARIANNA NUTAM People ratings.

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De Jesus-Bodegon says about this achievement, "We just have to continue [our practices]. It’s more challenging to continue to keep it more exciting for people to continue to watch. 

"'Tapos, siyempre, may mga episodes na di nila gusto minsan. E, hindi mo naman pwedeng i-please lahat. Natapat sa hindi mo playlist, e."

To have a deeper view of people's feedback, they drill down an episode's ratings from the segments to the minutes they aired.

What are their viewers' favorite segments so far?

"'Spotlight' is doing very well, and then also yung the segment where we invite like bands, wherein they sing. 

"Yung banda, they sing their songs, 'tapos they jam."

Another proud moment for the show's staff was when, in one of the episodes, they tapped comedian Super Tekla to sing for Studio 7's "Spotlight" segment. 

"Tekla did very well ha, noong 'Spotlight.' Kahit may mga bashers. Showstopper kaya si Tekla!

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"It’s straight singing, but there is comedy into it, very subtle. Pinanuod siya. It rated very well. It’s kind of risky for us, aminin na natin, pero nag-work, e!"

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Ruru Madrid and Kyline Alcantara performed with Raimund Marasigan of Sandwich for the "Versions" segment.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDBACK

Just like other shows, Studio 7 has had its share of bashing and negative comments shared on social media.

Some netizens say that Studio 7 does not have a powerhouse line-up in its roster of performers, compared to GMA-7's other variety programs.

De Jesus-Bodegon says about this, "Magaling naman sila, e. E, ano ngayon kung sikat ka nga, di ka naman magaling? 

"I mean, di ba ngayon, iba na yung values ng tao, e. 

"I think with the advent of the Internet, mas willing na manuod ang mga tao ng hindi nila kilala. Nagba-viral nga kahit di nila kilala, e. 

"Interesado na sila sa mas maraming tao, mas willing sila na, 'Sige nga, show me what you have.' Mas ganun na ngayon, e. 

"Of course, siyempre, kumbaga yung mainstream viewers, you still have to cater to them, na kailangan may sikat. 

"But, I think, willing sila to listen to those who are good. 

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"Di ba dati, pwede lang na artista, yung maganda? 'Tapos pwede na rin yung hindi masyadong kagandahan pero magaling, di ba? I think yun, e. Pwede na, di ba?

"Gusto na nga nila pinapanuod mga sarili nila, e. Ang dami daming uploads ng iba’t ibang tao and many people watch them."

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Cassy and Mavy Legaspi showcase their dancing skills in Studio 7.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


There are also comments saying that the show is "bitin," since Studio 7 only runs for an hour.

Are there plans to lengthen the show's airtime?

The female executive answers, "Diyos lamang ang nakakaalam, yun lang ang sagot ko sa 'yo. Okay na yung bitin kesa sa naumay ka na, di ba!"

How about going live?

"Darating din tayo diyan. When the time is right."

Overall, what do they want the show to achieve?  

"I want it to continue to be fun, not just for the audience but for everyone in the show.

"Kasi makikita mo kung fun or effort na siya gawin, e."

She also sees Studio 7 as a venue for performers to hone their craft in performing.

"I encourage them to continue training, like for singing. Hone everybody’s talent kasi they’re young. Ang dami pa nilang pwedeng gawin, e, na hindi pa nila nagagawa."

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STUDIO 7 VS. SOP

Studio 7 is indeed a fresh take on the usual variety fare often seen on television.

Even so, the legacy that SOP left is unforgettable, particularly its segments and performances.

Is there an effort on production's part to match or even surpass what SOP has achieved?

De Jesus-Bodegon says, "Sa akin, anak ko 'yan lahat, e. Lahat sila, may kanya-kanya silang katangian. May kanya-kanya silang time. 

"Kapag nag-shine naman sila at their own time, and I hope it continues to shine, it’s their own time. 

"Sana lang tumagal ang Studio 7 kagaya ng SOP siguro, kasi yun ang pinakamahaba. I’m not just sure now kung the audience still has the temperament for something like that."

When SOP announced its final remaining episodes in early 2010, many were surprised and shocked.

But De Jesus-Bodegon saw this another way. 

"I believe that it was time to go. Ang haba na noon, it was time for change for everything and for everyone. I got married after SOP!" she quipped.

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In fact, the demise of SOP also turned out well for some of its staff members, namely Perry Lansigan (SOP's executive producer) and production unit manager Hazel Abonita.

These two have now ventured into different endeavors after the show: Lansigan has more talents to manage, including the careers of Dingdong Dantes, Jolina Magdangal, Sunshine Dizon, Angelika dela Cruz, and Gabby Eigenmann, to name a few.

Abonita, on the other hand, is now a production unit manager for GMA-7 teleseryes, such as Juan Happy Love Story (2016), Meant To Be (2017), The Stepdaughters (2018), and the upcoming teleserye, Kara Mia.

De Jesus-Bodegon says about them, "Noong nawala yung SOP, I am happy that they were able to find their own paths, dahil si Perry, siya ang EP noon. Manager na siya, e. Si Miss Hazel, gumagawa na siya ng soap. They all grew.

"Some went to Sunday PinaSaya. Marami akong staff na nasa Sunday PinaSaya

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"So ayun, I am happy dahil it means marami silang natutunan, they are able to go on their own."

Julie Anne San Jose shares a duet with the lead vocalist of December Avenue.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores


With Studio 7, De Jesus-Bodegon hopes that the show will also leave its own, distinct legacy, like that of SOP's memorable segments.

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"I want it to also have a segment or names, kasi di ko na alam ngayon, e, di na natin pwedeng gamitin yung parameters ng SOP, because of the temperament of the audience, audience behavior. It has changed dramatically. 

"So ngayon, yung audience, mas kailangan polished. Mas kailangan may attention ka to details. 

"Na up sync ka nang konti, nag lip sync ka na daw. Hindi, editing yun. Nalihis! 

"Mahirap to say dahil nga magkaiba na ng audience at saka baka hindi fair sa Studio 7 to use the parameters [of SOP]. 

"But, siguro lang, if I will have to, magkaroon siya ng segment na maging top of mind. 

"That if you think of entertainment, of music, of dance, ito yung top of mind. Like SOP had 'Back to Back to Back.' Something like that."

 

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Studio 7 airs every Sunday at 7:40 p.m.
 IMAGE Roselene Flores

To know how GMA-7 and ABS-CBN produce their drama programs, read: ANATOMY OF A TELESERYE: How do ABS-CBN and GMA-7 produce their teleseryes?

ABOUT STUDIO 7's TV EXECUTIVE:

Darling De Jesus-Bodegon is GMA-7's Vice President for Business Development Department III. Her department specializes in producing specials and alternative programs, like talk, magazine, musical, and variety programs. She is known as the head of production of GMA-7's hit noontime variety programs SOP and Party Pilipinas. She also headed the production team of the reality competitions Pinoy IdolAre You The Next Big Star?, and The Clash. Her unit also produced the weekend romance-drama Usapang Real Love, the talk show Yan Ang Morning, and the comedy-variety program Full House Tonight.

SPECIAL THANKS TO:

Angel Javier-Cruz, Marian Domingo, and Coleen dela Rea of GMA Corporate Communications

Ruth Mariñas and Ian Roxas, program managers of The Clash and Studio 7


Stories We Are Tracking

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Mark Bautista reveals one change made in Studio 7
COMMENTARY: Studio 7 needs to elevate standards
COMMENTARY: Studio 7 needs to elevate standards
GMA-7 executive reveals why Studio 7 won't go against ASAP
GMA-7 executive reveals why Studio 7 won't go against ASAP
GMA-7 to launch new variety show; is Regine included?
GMA-7 to launch new variety show; is Regine included?





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