No idle hours at franchise-less  but booming ABS-CBN

Content supplier ABS-CBN seems to be amply rewarding the stars and talents who have chosen to stay put with the company after it lost its broadcast franchise. The loyal ones are hardly without a project that keeps them busy and (hopefully) well-compensated for what they do best.

These stars include Maricel Soriano, Angel Aquino, Kathryn Bernardo, Andrea Brillantes, JM Guzman, Belle Mariano and screen sweetheart Donnie Pangilinan, Chie Filomeno, Kaori Ozuma and Anthony Jennings. Actors, hosts, singers, record producers and comic talents who have stayed with the network remain “well-oiled” cogs in the ABS-CBN entertainment machine.

With Cory Vidanes and Lauren Dyogi as the media company’s top honchos, as well as production divisions that conceptualize and execute projects from beginning to end (such as Dreamscape, JRB Creative Production, Project 8 and Rise), there are no idle hours in the ABS-CBN corporate offices and studios.

There are also directors (such as FM Reyes, Emmanuel Palo, Richard Arellano and Jojo Saguin), creative managers (such as Carmi Raymundo and Jay Fernando) and musical scorers who get projects one after the other even if only on a contractual basis.

Romantic leading men
A change of mindset and attitude has occurred among the big stars. They have become really professional entertainment artists who have realized they don’t have to play lead roles all time. They remain adored and respected even when they portray vicious personalities who make life hard for the lead characters. They can then reemerge in their next projects as virtuous lead characters.

Romantic leading men Ian Veneracion and JM de Guzman did contemptuous characters in the action series Iron Heart, topbilled by Richard Gutierrez, Jake Cuenca and Albert Martinez. The show is slated to end in two weeks (with major scenes shot in Japan though the series’ main setting is Cebu).

De Guzman has just attended the media conference for the series Linlang (Deception), which he headlines along with Paulo Avelino and Kim Chiu.

A major supporting actor in the new series that begins airing on 5 October is Maricel Soriano, whose “special participation” in the afternoon series Pira-pirasong Paraiso started only a few weeks ago. Soriano portrays a well-off grandmother in Pira-piraso and Linlang.

Linlang is helmed by FM Reyes, who directed the ongoing ABS-CBN and TV 5 co-produced afternoon series Nag-aapoy na Damdamin. The new series is a suspense-thriller that will stream exclusively on Prime Video, available in the Philippines and in more than 240 countries and territories worldwide. Linlang has only 14 episodes, and new episodes drop every Thursday at midnight.

Surely favorable to the finances of stars and talents is the invariably large cast of ABS-CBN series these days. For instance, Iron Heart features in major roles Albert Martinez, Dimples Romana, Christian Vasquez, Sofia Andres, and young actors Enzo Pineda, Louise Abuel (who is male) and Iggy Boy Flores.

It has had as guest actors Maja Salvador, Sue Ramirez, Meryl Soriano, Maricel Laxa, Joem Bascon, Pepe Herrera, Roi Vinzon, Carmen Soo, Fabio Ide, Richard Quan, Ruby Ruiz, Anna Luna, Ruben Soriquez, Krystal Brimner, Cris Villanueva, Alex Medina, Anna Marin, child star Althea Ruedas, Al Tantay, Diether Ocampo, Karina Bautista, Victor Silayan, Kyle Echarri and Lou Yanong.

The show also has four directors: Richard Arellano, Lester Pimentel Ong, Wang Yan Bin and Ian Loreños.

As for Linlang, its support cast includes Karla Estrada, Jaime Fabregas, Raymond Bagatsing, Albie Casiño, Jake Ejercito, Heaven Peralejo, Adrian Lindayag, Race Matias, Benj Manalo, Lovely Abella, Frenchie Dy, Ross Pesigan, Hanna Lexie, Juno Advincula, Connie Virtucio, Lotlot Bustamante, Meann Espinosa, Danny Ramos, Bart Guingona, Vance Larena and Marc McMahon.

Whew! Who said ABS-CBN was a goner with the loss of its franchise?