Angel Locsin’s controversial network shift

Angel Locsin’s controversial network shift

Nobody expected it, but July 2007 marked young actress Angel Locsin’s flight from GMA-7 to ABS-CBN. Angel was the Kapuso Network’s most treasured property after her four successive primetime shows became certified top-raters, consequently popularizing the so-called fantaserye genre.

Angelica Colmenares’s rise to fame was meteoric. Discovered by a talent scout while loitering inside SM City North EDSA in Quezon City, the young Bulakena’s truancy turned out to be a blessing, instead of her earning serious reprimand in school.

Before she knew it, the dusky beauty was auditioning for commercials before eventually signing an exclusive contract with the GMA-7 network. Assuming the screen name Angel Locsin, the young talent was introduced to the public as part of the 1999 teen-oriented program Click where she portrayed the tomboyish role of Charley.

Tackling teeny-bopper roles in local showbiz is a pre-requisite for stardom and Angel dutifully played the part for a good number of years. Her image changed suddenly in 2004 when she bagged the role of Alwina in GMA-7’s Mulawin alongside budding heartthrob Richard Gutierrez.

SPREADING HER WINGS. Mulawin turned out to be a huge success and its impressive showing made Angel an overnight sensation. The show’s success also ushered in the so-called “fantaserye” genre, which GMA-7 was determined to exploit to its full potential.

Angel’s next project turned out to be bigger and far more challenging. Taking on the role of Mars Ravelo’s legendary heroine Darna, Angel’s stock went full blast, making her a tri-media darling. When the show ended on November 25, 2005, Angel Locsin was a certified household name.

Angel’s next television assignment was Majika where she portrayed the role of Sabina opposite Dennis Trillo. Majika debuted on March 20, 2006 and ended its run on September 29, 2006.

Almost immediately, the network listed Angel in its most ambitious project opposite action superstar Robin Padilla. Given the caliber of its two lead stars, the budget for Asian Treasures reportedly skyrocketed to almost P150-million. The program, shot in various locations—Thailand, China and Mongolia—was once again well received. Asian Treasures aired its farewell episode on June 29, 2007.

Nobody knew that the action-fantasy series would be Angel’s swan song as Kapuso’s hottest property.

Angel’s career was so successful that the notion of leaving her home network to join its rival station ABS-CBN was simply unimaginable. When a rumor leaked out that the country’s hottest young star was gearing up to fly over the fence, people scoffed at the news as cheap talk.

In reality, celebrities changing alliance is a common practice. But there was little to suggest that Angel would trade all the attention showered on her by her home network for something new.

Not even the expiration of her five-year contract was enough reason to cast doubts on Angel’s loyalty. In fact, it only raised expectations that a contract renewal, complete with lucrative stipulations, was a sure thing to happen.

THE BIG DEAL. The transfer rumors were repeatedly denied by Angel’s manager Becky Aguila and GMA-7, which consistently assured the press that an offer for a renewal of contract was already in the works.

During the second week of July 2007, speculations intensified with some gossip columnists claiming that network insiders confirmed that, indeed, a transfer was most likely and that Angel’s handlers were negotiating simultaneously with both networks. Sources claimed, however, that manager Becky Aguila’s eyes were already fixed on ABS-CBN and that her mind was made up.

On July 21, 2007, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) stunned showbizlandia with the news, “Angel Locsin’s transfer to ABS-CBN is not all about money, says manager.”

PEP reported in detail a meeting between Becky and ABS-CBN executives that took place on July 20 in Angel’s new home in Quezon City. They discussed the definite transfer.

“Inabot ng mahigit isang oras ang meeting ng dalawang kampo. Right after the meeting, naganap ang exclusive interview ni Boy Abunda sa The Buzz kay Mr. Angel Colmenares, ama ni Angel, at pagkatapos ay sinamahan siya ni Becky,” wrote PEP contributor Julie Bonifacio.

Bukod sa show at pelikulang gagawin ni Angel sa ABS-CBN, pumayag diumano si Becky na maging co-manager niya ang network sa pagha-handle ng career ng alaga niya. Matatandaang co-manager din ni Becky ang Artist Center ng GMA-7 bago nag-expire ang kontrata ni Angel rito.”

After the lid was lifted wide open, Becky revealed the determining factor that prompted her to pull Angel out of GMA-7. The controversial manager claimed that her ward was overworked and not properly compensated. ABS-CBN’s offer, on the other hand, provided her talent enough leeway without sacrificing the financial aspect.

Angel, of course was one of the busiest stars of her generation. Aside from the teleseryes, she was also doing movies, numerous endorsements, photo shoots, and other showbiz engagements. Angel’s career was being managed by GMA-7 with Becky sharing the task.

HAPPY ENDING. Slighted by the abandonment, GMA-7 officials and Becky traded words against each other in public. The network dismissed Becky’s claims, saying that they felt betrayed by the way Angel’s camp carried out the entire deal. GMA-7 asserted that the network was still in the middle of negotiations with Becky, unaware that secret talks were going on with the rival network.

Angel faced a tidal wave of criticism as well as sympathy from the public. Some people painted the young actress as ungrateful. Aggravating Angel’s woes was the fact that her separation from her former home network was far from amicable.

Some people however sympathized with the young actress, saying that the entire issue was simply blown out of proportion and that it was Angel’s right to weigh her options since her contract had already expired. It was just a matter of choosing what she deemed best for her career, they argued.

In August 2007, Angel Locsin—the former darling of GMA-7—officially inked an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, marking a new chapter in her career.

In the midst of all the controversy surrounding Angel’s sudden change of heart, one important footnote of her young career’s history was revealed. A year before she signed an exclusive contract with GMA-7, a shy, naive Angelica almost joined ABS-CBN’s talent arm Star Magic. But she was restrained by her father, Mr. Colmenares.

Years after that first attempt and still proving herself a bankable actress and commercial endorser, it’s safe to say that Angel Locsin’s transfer to ABS-CBN was perhaps written in the stars.

BONG GODINEZ
Philippine Entertainment Portal

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