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Entertainment

John Lloyd Cruz makes TV comeback via GMA

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
John Lloyd Cruz makes TV comeback via GMA
John Lloyd Cruz (a.k.a. JLC) signs up with Willie Revillame’s WBR Productions, Inc. to appear in a TV special on GMA 7 come June 6.
Photo from JLC’s Instagram

MANILA, Philippines — John Lloyd Cruz is coming out of his showbiz hiatus to make his TV comeback via GMA Network, after signing up with Willie Revillame’s WBR Entertainment Productions, Inc.

In a video furnished to The STAR, the Wowowin host confirmed the 37-year-old star as the special guest for his GMA show’s 6.6 Shopee Super Mega Fiesta TV special on June 6, 2 p.m., during a contract-signing last May 29 at his Wil Tower in Quezon City. Willie is a blocktimer producer on GMA.

Present at the contract-signing were the veteran host’s lawyer Ferdie Domingo and executives from the e-commerce platform Shopee.

“Tonight is history,” Willie said in the video. “John Lloyd is signing a contract now para siya mag-guest this coming Sunday at Araneta Coliseum — and more to come.”

“Welcome to your new family, my production (company),” Willie told John Lloyd.

The surprise announcement released on Sunday was welcomed by fans who have been waiting with bated breath for the actor’s showbiz return after he took an indefinite leave from his former home network ABS-CBN in 2017. Just last month, John Lloyd was introduced as the new talent under Maja Salvador’s talent management agency, Crown Artist Management (CAM).

Willie (center) with the actor and direk Edgar Mortiz, Wowowin production head, during the contract-signing.
Photo courtesy of GMA

Prior to his confirmed appearance on the Kapuso station, sources said that he had sought the “approval” of no less than ABS-CBN president and CEO Carlo Katigbak, who had messaged their former prized talent that he had no “objections” to him appearing in Wowowin and the planned sitcom to be co-produced by WBR and GMA.

No contractual obligations

In an exclusive interview with The STAR on Sunday, GMA confirmed reports (which first came out on PEP) of John Lloyd’s TV comeback via GMA.

Annette Gozon-Valdes (who is GMA Network board director, programming consultant to the chair/CEO of GMA Network, and GMA Films president) said that while they’ve always wanted to have John Lloyd, they had to be sure he didn’t have contractual obligations that might cause problems.

She said, “First of all, GMA has always wanted to have John Lloyd be with the Kapuso network also. And ngayon kasi, we just had to check if he really has no more contractual obligations with any other network. I was the one who talked to John Lloyd and he assured us that na wala na daw talaga siyang contractual obligations. So wala ng hadlang, wala ng obstacle in the way for him to appear on GMA.”

This was very important to them so as to avoid a repeat of what happened in the past. Gozon-Valdes revealed that John Lloyd was supposed to move to GMA some 20 years ago. “Kasi nangyari na yan before. He was supposed to transfer almost 20 years ago, kaya lang nagkaroon ng legal obstacle… He assured us na wala na talaga. So, sabi ko nga (sa kanya), finally, yun na, baka ito na yung time na sa GMA ka na.”

Annette Gozon-Valdes, GMA Films president and programming consultant to the GMA chair.

Asked what her father, GMA chairman and CEO lawyer Felipe Gozon, said of this development, she said, “Gusto niya talaga. He’s very vocal to everyone in the network na we’re interested in John Lloyd and dati naman nung mga 20 years ago, gusto na niya eh and so ngayon gusto pa rin niya.”

Gozon-Valdes, nevertheless, believes that John Lloyd is taking it slow with his future projects with them. “Siempre, he wants to choose his projects. Then, Willie and John Lloyd are talking about producing and pitching a sitcom to GMA.”

They’re just waiting for the sitcom to be pitched before officially meeting the actor. “I know that they’re brainstorming and super excited na sila so baka maging totoo na yun,” she said, adding that what she knows so far is that “gusto nila na it will be a heartwarming family sitcom with good values. Something like yung feel ng John En Marsha, kasama si Willie and John Lloyd in the sitcom.”

A PEP report quoted Willie as saying that they’re eyeing Legal Wives star Andrea Torres to be part of the sitcom. “Nagulat nga ako… kasi very early stages of development yung concept nila,” Gozon-Valdes reacted. “Why not?”

She, however, denied speculation that the soon-to-be-pitched sitcom will replace the timeslot of Pepito Manaloto, which aired its “season finale” over the weekend after an 11-year-run on the network.

“Hindi. Naghahanap pa kami ng timeslot for it but, of course, we’re waiting for the pitch first and then we’ll look for a timeslot but it won’t replace Pepito Manaloto.”

Gozon-Valdes said she was told by Willie that John Lloyd might also do regular guestings on Wowowin. She also dreams of having GMA Films make a movie with John Lloyd. “He’s open naman so sana nga.”

Will they offer an exclusive contract to John Lloyd? She said, “Let’s see. Siempre after so long na ABS siya and Kapamilya siya, now he’s going to appear on GMA, (again) I think he’s also taking things slow. Yung hindi naman biglaan. But we want to make him feel very welcome with us and comfortable enough to consider that in the future.”

Bea also moving to GMA?

Meanwhile, The STAR also sought Gozon-Valdes’ reaction to reports that they have a standing offer for Bea Alonzo, John Lloyd’s perennial screen partner at ABS-CBN, to join GMA.

She said, “Well, may talks kami with her. Let’s see kasi di ba we have a movie with her to be co-produced with Viva and APT, siya at si Alden Richards. And alam ko rin, Bea has no contractual obligations also anymore with any network. So, we would also love to welcome Bea in the Kapuso network.”

Bea and Kapuso star Alden will topbill the Philippine adaptation of the hit South Korean movie A Moment to Remember.

JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
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