GMA7 has been making quite some stir with the recent reveals of the newest additions to their media family. Seeing as their longtime rival ABS-CBN has been inactive on free TV since last year, one might understand why the Kapuso network is making notable productions in introducing new people, especially if they were former Kapamilyas. The most recent welcome in that vein has been Bea Alonzo, who was interviewed by Jessica Soho last week. This past Monday, GMA7 teased on social media that they have a “pillar in Philippine entertainment” joining the organization. And today, Tuesday, he is officially revealed.
Brace yourself, Kapusos: Johnny Manahan is now one as well, according to GMA News. The Kapuso network spilled the beans this July 13, after giving an advance notice only the day before, July 12. Manahan, also known in showbiz circles as Mr. M, has just done an online contract signing with GMA7, bringing his roughly half a century experience as actor, director, producer and talent manager on film and TV to bear with his new network. At present, his initial position in the Kapuso organization is as consultant to GMA Artist Center, familiar ground given his previous work at ABS-CBN.
“This is like a homecoming of sorts and I’m very proud,” says Manahan following his contract signing. In his capacity as Artist Center consultant, he and his team will work to develop a new batch of Kapuso talent within 6-7 months, while at the same time learning from the artists who have already been at GMA7 longtime. Mr. M’s remark of “homecoming” might be a surprise to some, but when he started working on TV in the early 1970s, he was a freelancer and actually did direct an old-time GMA show (“Two for the Road”), and flitted between other networks like IBC and RPN before settling with ABS-CBN in 1986.
It was there that Johnny Manahan would spend the lion’s share of his career in entertainment. He would be the founding chairman of ABS-CBN Talent Center, later called Star Magic, which produced many of the Kapamilya long-runners that made the network the juggernaut it was. Following the shutdown of ABS-CBN in 2020, Mr. M departed the network and briefly worked as production consultant on TV production outfit Brightlight, which strived to create competitive noontime variety programming for TV5. Now, he is a Kapuso, and GMA7’s talent prospects are looking brighter.
Image from Philippine Entertainment Portal