Stars are not just plucked out of the evening sky to entertain and lend glitter to the lives of their fans. They come a long way from who knows where.
Celebrities start out as virtual nobody's, with dreams of making it to the top. To realize that goal, they need a stage to showcase their talent, a home where they can grow and cultivate their potential.
Now that our favorite celebrities have earned their laurels, we remember when they were just starting out as nervous newbies. We also fondly recall the programs that started it all for our beloved idols.
PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) lists five legendary TV programs that brought us fresh, inexperienced talents long before reality shows and similar talent searches became a trend.
THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT. You can't blame German Moreno if he considers his popular '80s youth-oriented show, That's Entertainment, as the crown of his illustrious career.
That Kuya Germs gave the spotlight to young showbiz wannabe's while relegating himself to the background and being proud of them makes his show even more admirable. His fervent desire to serve as mentor to a bunch of inexperienced kids is perhaps the greatest gift Kuya Germs ever bestowed to Philippine entertainment.
Launched on January 4, 1986 by GMA-7, That's Entertainment gained popularity almost overnight among young audiences who simply could not relate to the Nora-Vilma rivalry that preceded their generation. The bagets of the '80s were on the lookout for idols of their own.
At a time when television was starting to assert its presence as the primary medium of entertainment, the show ushered in new stars and would signify the changing of the guards in local show business.
Boasting an impressive lineup, That's Entertainment served as the nesting ground for most of today's popular names—Ara Mina, Rufa Mae Quinto, Manilyn Reynes, Donita Rose, Janno Gibbs, Jean Garcia, Smokey Manaloto, Francis Magalona, Vina Morales, Ruffa Gutierrez, Billy Crawford, and Lea Salonga—among many, many others. Even Piolo Pascual and Kyla became part of the show during its later years.
Explaining the show's concept a few years after it ceased programming in 1996, Kuya Germs said that his primary objective was to develop and hone the strengths of each and everyone, whether in singing, acting or dancing.
But he was also very particular in cultivating a sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the members. That pretty much explains why the members were divided into groups for the production number every weekend.
Recalling his stint with the show, child actor-turned-song composer Chuckie Dreyfus told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview:
"Masaya. Para lang talaga kaming naglalaro. Excited ka laging mag-report sa That's Entertainment, kasi andun yong barkada mo, yong crush mo. Almost all of us are there because of the fun and friendship. Hindi rin pera kasi we're all young back then to worry about money. Honestly, magkano lang naman din ang nakukuha namin sa show dahil nga ang dami namin so hindi s'ya malaki. So friendship talaga ang reason why we love doing that show."
ANG TV. If the '80s were epitomized by glam and hair sprays, the '90s, on the other hand, were represented by youthful indifference, individuality, and the kids' desire to create enough distance between themselves and their parents.
ABS-CBN punned the title of a hip international music video channel, widely known as MTV (Music Television). Ang TV made obvious how the Lopez- owned network duly recognized its target market for their new program.
Directed by Johnny Manahan, Ang TV was launched in 1992 with the obvious intent of introducing fresh faces to capture the growing teenage market. Everything about the show was unbelievably catchy: from the program title to its popular slogan, "4:30 na! Ang TV na!," all the way to its theme song, Do Wah Diddy Diddy, a tune popularized by the '60s British band, Manfred Mann.
People often compare Ang TV and That's Entertainment when talking about the '80s and the '90s. In truth, the only similarity was the role they both played in introducing a hefty number of new talents. While Kuya Germs and his wards performed well-rehearsed production numbers, Ang TV made use of the studio, complete with a makeshift set design to create a sitcom-like vibe.
Ang TV introduced a number of now very popular names, like Jolina Magdangal, Rica Peralejo, siblings John and Camille Prats, Paolo Contis, Katya Santos, Patrick Garcia, Carlo Aquino, Angelu de Leon, and Claudine Barretto, to name a few.
Significantly, the launching of these new talents carried ABS-CBN's new image to greater heights. Ang TV's success would eventually set the pattern for youth-oriented programs, which continues to be felt even today.
ANG BAGONG KAMPEON. Hosted by the late Bert "Tawa" Marcelo together with Asia's Queen of Songs, Pilita Corrales, Ang Bagong Kampeon, laid down the blueprint for singing competitions that are now prevalent both in local and cable television.
Described as a nationally televised amateur singing contest, Ang Bagong Kampeon, used to air on Radio Philippines Network or RPN channel 9.
The show gave birth to popular names such as Donna Cruz, Geneva Cruz and Josephine "Banig" Roberto. But the program's greatest find was Asia's Songbird Regine Velasquez who joined Ang Bagong Kampeon when she was only 14-years-old.
Ang Bagong Kampeon had its television debut on July 1, 1985 and ended on October 1988.
TAWAG NG TANGHALAN. Before Ang Bagong Kampeon, there was Tawag Ng Tanghalan hosted by Lopito and Patsy.
The performers sang, danced and did stage acts, all with a distinct Pinoy touch. Tawag Ng Tanghalan witnessed the emergence of aspiring talents who turned into big acts, such as Eddie Peregrina, Pepe Pimentel, Edgar Mortiz, Bobby Ledesma—and the brightest of them all, Superstar Nora Aunor.
According to Pepe Pimentel, Tawag Ng Tanghalan captured the Filipinos' natural delight in watching talent shows and contests, especially when television was just starting to gain popularity.
"It's an old tradition. Mahilig naman talaga tayo manood ng mga contests, kahit sa mga probinsiya kapag piyesta," said Pimentel. "So ganun ang epekto ng Tawag ng Tanghalan, this time sa TV naman."
EAT BULAGA. For a noontime variety show that started on July 30, 1979 and continues to exist until now, an incredible span of 28 years, it is no wonder that Eat Bulaga! witnessed a lot of talents who rose from obscurity to fame.
The country's longest-running variety show jumpstarted, and for some, helped, the careers of Aiza Seguerra, Jericho Rosales, Samantha Lopez a.k.a. Grasya, Inday Garutay, Lalaine Edson, Mickey Ferriols, Nadine Schimdt, Lana Asanin, Danilo Barrios, Jessa Zaragoza, Alicia Mayer, Kristine Florendo, Toni Gonzaga, The Sex Bomb Dancers, Allan K, Paolo Ballesteros, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola... the list goes on.
Young actress Pauleen Luna, who is now part of the show as one of the hosts, was a former Little Miss Philippines contestant, like Aiza Seguerra.
Even some of the country's most bankable acts of today have joined the show one way or the other, like Megastar Sharon Cuneta and Diamond Star Maricel Soriano.
With decades of TV supremacy to its name, the show topbilled by Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon has built a massive cult-like following that assures any personality affiliated with it with as much exposure and audience recall.