Atom Araullo on transferring to GMA Network: "I have to prove that I'm worth the hype."

IMAGE Noel Orsal

Atom Araullo on causing a stir with his decision to transfer from ABS-CBN to GMA-7: "Ang masasabi ko lang, journalists do good work wherever. It's not which organization they are a part of. Certainly the organization plays a key role in supporting the journalists, but it's all about the work, e. Whether or not you're affiliated with one company or the other. It's not the most important thing.You just have to prove that you're doing good journalism wherever you are."


Atom Araullo confirmed that his two-year contract with GMA Network mainly requires him to do work for GMA News and Public Affairs and not for entertainment-related engagements.  

At his first presscon as a returning Kapuso, the 34-year-old broadcast journalist said, “Well, I’d rather focus on news and public affairs.

“That is my core competency. That is where I find my relevance and my fulfillment.

“So, even though I’m a very open-minded person and I don’t say no to opportunities, kailangan din naman malinaw sa akin kung ano ang aking focus.”

Atom went on to say that during his initial talks with the GMA Network, he was clear about wanting to produce "regular documentary shows."

Did he point out any particular work that he doesn't want to do?  

He answered, "When I made a statement that there are a lot opportunities opening up, I want to have the freedom to do work with other organizations that are not in direct competition with GMA, para lang ma-maximize ko yung opportunities to learn more from other groups.

"As far as things that I don’t want to do, wala naman akong nabanggit.

"Although sabi ko nga, baka hindi ako sumabak sa entertainment, kasi hindi ko naman talaga [forte yun]."

Atom spoke to entertainment reporters, including PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), at the launch for his first docu-show in GMA-7 titled "Philippine Seas," which is slated to air on November 5. 

The presscon was held at Limbaga 77 Cafe & Restaurant in Quezon City, earlier today, October 6. 

ABS-CBN COUNTER-OFFER? Atom moved to GMA-7 on September 21, six days after announcing his formal resignation from his home network of 13 years, ABS-CBN.

Did ABS-CBN make a counter-offer before his network transfer?

Atom chose not to answer that, saying, “Hindi ko kayang sagutin ‘yan. Baka I’m not the best person to ask.”

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He clarified that his reason for moving to GMA-7 has nothing to do with any hidden “away” or “bitterness” with ABS-CBN.

According to Atom, he had long talks with his former bosses at ABS-CBN before he finally made his big career move.  

He elaborated, “Of course, mahabang talakayan yun.

“Sa simula, naging transparent at naging bukas naman sa mga nangyayari at sa mga bagong opportunities na dumadating.

“Yun naman yung mahalaga, e. Na hindi nalilimutan na tumanaw ng utang na loob. Na maging bukas at maliwanag sa iyong mga gustong mangyari at iyong mga intentions.

“Kung hindi man nag-work yung usapan, wala naman kailangang magalit.

“It’s just that sometimes there are differences in our approach, in our priorities, so ganun lang yun.

“Then, eventually, we made a mutual decision that this is the best thing.”

While he did say that GMA News and Public Affairs is known for producing good docu-shows, Atom quashed netizens' impressions that he transferred to the Kapuso network because his former company, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs, doesn't offer that kind of platform. 

Atom explained, “I don’t want to compare. I’ve worked with ABS for many years.

“I was happy with my work there. I grew as a journalist.

“It just so happened that this is a new stage, and GMA has been wonderful in giving me opportunities to develop my journalism.

“I want to maximize that. I want to make the best out of that.”

Aside from joining the long-running documentary program, I-Witness, Atom said that his other duties are yet to be finalized. 

When asked who initiated his transfer to GMA-7, he answered, smiling, “Who approached who? I think we met each other in the middle. Hahaha!”

It should be noted that Atom started his career in TV hosting via the '90s educational children's show, 5 and Up, which aired on TV5 from 1992 to 1994 and then on GMA-7 from 1994 to 2002. 

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He also had his own segment "ATOMic Sports" in GMA-7's 24 Oras in 2004.  

GRAND WELCOME AS A KAPUSO. Atom described how he feels about being given a grand welcome as a returning Kapuso—starting with a mystery teaser, his first appearance in 24 Oras, and a docu-special about his education and career as a journalist in Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho.

Atom said, “Obviously, I’m very flattered and very honored that they would go out of their way to produce this kind of welcome for me.

“At the same time, it’s also a little unusual.

"I guess, bilang isang reporter din, alam naman natin na, usually, yung camera nakatapat in the other direction, not towards you.

“So, when you get that kind of attention, I’m not used to it. Let’s just put it that way.”

He continued, “Pero then again, I’m just happy that people are interested enough to talk about it.

“But, again, I have to prove that I’m worth the hype. Or worth all of this attention that’s swirling around this particular move.”

A longtime broadcast journalist and TV host, Atom certainly caused a stir in the news and entertainment industry with his unexpected transfer to GMA-7. 

But he pointed out that it all boils down to the quality of work that he will put in, rather than the "hype" about him switching networks. 

He stressed, “Ako naman, ang masasabi ko lang, journalists do good work wherever.

“It’s not which organization they are a part of.

"Certainly the organization plays a key role in supporting the journalists, but it’s all about the work, e.

“Whether or not you’re affiliated with one company or the other. It’s not the most important thing.

“You just have to prove that you’re doing good journalism wherever you are.”  

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PEP ASKS AROUND. Curious about the hype around Atom, PEP.ph asks random television watchers and broadcasters why they think there is, indeed, hype around Atom.

Even within the Kapamilya network, there is noise, with comments divided on the transfer to the rival network of one of its more popular TV hosts.

Some say ABS-CBN should have fought to keep Atom and, if giving him documentary work is what it takes, then he should have been given that.

At the same time, some say the network's big investment is in the entertainment programs that make it rule prime time, and investing in documentaries may be too much investment for just one person who still has to prove himself in that genre.

Meantime, GMA-7 knows that it is getting a good deal with Atom. He is young, driven, talented.

But maybe the savviest comment about the hype around Atom is this one from a fellow broadcaster at ABS-CBN: "Of course, pagkakaguluhan siya! He's smart and he's gwapo! There are very few of those around."

There may be something to that. Netizens light up the comments section whenever the story is about Atom Araullo.


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