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Freeman Cebu Entertainment

Looking Back at Memorable Moments of ‘It’s Showtime’

Januar Junior Aguja - The Freeman

It’s surreal to witness how much ABS-CBN’s “It’s Showtime” went through since it premiered

on October 24, 2009. Now on air for 14 years, the program is considered to be the Kapamilya network’s

longest-running noontime variety show to date.

From format shake-ups to its historical, once-impossible airing on GMA Network today, April 6, let’s look back at the history of “It’s Showtime”:

Pre-noontime show

Before it became the iconic noontime series that the Madlang People came to love, it was simply called “Showtime”, a talent search for the best dance group in the Philippines to be judged by the audience and its rotating set of judges. Vice Ganda served as permanent judge, while one of the judges will be eliminated at the end of the week through a public vote.

That time, the show had big shoes to fill as it replaced the iconic “Pilipinas, Game Ka Na Ba?” hosted by Kris Aquino and Edu Manzano, so going from a game show format to a talent show format was a huge risk for ABS-CBN. However, the strong chemistry between pioneer hosts Vhong Navarro, Anne Curtis, Teddy Corpuz, Jugs Jugueta, and Kuya Kim Atienza made the show a worthy successor.

Even though Vice Ganda wasn’t a host yet at that point, the comic’s antics made him a household name. Who could forget the “May nag-text?” running joke?

The show also launched the career of Korean comedian Ryan Bang, being so well-loved that he stayed on as a judge for a year, making him the longest-staying ‘hurado’ in the show’s history.

“It’s Showtime” eventually became ABS-CBN’s flagship noontime show after attempts to replace Wowowee with “Pilipinas Win na Win” and “Happy Yipee Yehey!” failed to recapture the success of Willie Revillame.

It also saw its hosting roster expand with the inclusion of Karylle, Jhong Hilario, Billy Crawford, and Coleen Garcia, while Ganda and Bang were promoted as permanent hosts. Crawford and Garcia left the show in 2018 and 2016, respectively.

Kalokalike

Since becoming a noontime show, “It’s Showtime” was allowed to have new segments apart from dancing. One of these is the impersonator talent search “Kalokalike”, which continues to be a fan-favorite among Madlang Pipol. Some memorable contestants include Taylor Lautner impersonator Christopher Diwata (named Taylor Laughter) whose impersonation of the “Twilight” star garnered laughs with his line “What happened Vella? Why are you cryen [sic] again? I will sure you die, Edward! I will sure you die!” that continues to be an online meme to this day.

Other impersonators include Nicki Minaj look-a-like Jennifer Catayong whose performance of “Starships” went viral because she fell from one of the balls that she threw on stage, as well as Jay Failanga from Lapu-Lapu City who impersonated Vice Ganda almost too closely.

Karylle also interacted with Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera impersonators in separate episodes as their infamous love triangle was referenced. The show even jokingly called for a ceasefire with its competitor “Eat Bulaga” when Joey De Leon impersonator Roberto Tobillo appeared.

If there’s one segment that the Madlang People would love to see return, it would be Kakalolike.

Troubles with MTRCB

Just three months after its debut, “Showtime” was already in trouble with the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) due to the remarks left by guest judge Rosanna Roces when she infamously said that “teachers are just repeaters,” angering teachers and netizens alike.

Her comments led to the show’s 20-day suspension by MTRCB. “It’s Showtime” was temporarily replaced by “Magpasikat” which is essentially the same show but with celebrities as contestants. They were eventually allowed to air again after six days after the Court of Appeals issued a temporary restraining order on MTRCB’s decision.

The show was under fire again with MTRCB in October 2023 due to a “cake icing” interaction between Vice and co-host/partner Ion Perez which some thought inappropriate in a segment involving kids. With their first appeal denied, ABS-CBN served the 12-day suspension order. The timeslot was filled in temporarily by “It’s Your Lucky Day” hosted by Luis Manzano, Melai Cantiveros, and Jennica Garcia from October 14 to 27, 2023.

Tawag ng Tanghalan

It’s clear that “It’s Showtime” was no match against the AlDub phenomenon of 2015, with Vice Ganda openly admitting in 2021 that they thought the show would get canceled as it was consistently being pummelled in the ratings.

While “It’s Showtime” did try to have its own AlDub via Angelica Yap’s Pastillas Girl, it was obvious that a copycat wouldn’t work and the show needed to come up with something more unique.

ABS-CBN decided to revive its former singing show “Tawag ng Tanghalan” as a segment in “It’s Showtime.” It worked in their favor as it continues to be the show’s flagship segment for eight years, with various spin-offs featuring kids and duets.

The popular segment also propelled some of its contestants to mainstream fame, such as TNT Boys consisting of Keifer Sanchez, Mackie Empuerto and Francis Concepcion, as well as the iconic singing duo JMielle, made up of Cebu’s Marielle Montellano and JM Dela Cerna.

Three-way chicken ‘brandagulan’

A huge part of the show’s success is its main hosts who are effective endorsers. This was evidenced in a late 2023 episode between Vice, Anne, and Kim Chiu who are endorsers of McDonald’s, Jollibee, and Chowking respectively. The hosts jokingly taunted each other with their respective brand’s slogans.

Pandemic, franchise loss

2020 proved to be a low point in “It’s Showtime” history with the denial of ABS-CBN’s franchise. Making things more uncertain was the COVID-19 pandemic which barred live audiences from attending as part of quarantine protocols. The following year, creator and original director Bobet Vidanes departed from the show.

The show only had a limited reach, being stuck with ABS-CBN’s available platforms that time which were Kapamilya Channel on cable, Kapamilya Online Live on social media, and A2Z on free TV.

It was able to recapture its past glory when it allowed live audiences again in 2022 and was given a bigger platform when it started to air on TV5 from July 16, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

Madlang Kapuso

It’s Showtime’s simulcast on TV5 would be short-lived when the Kapatid network brought in the TVJ crew to continue with their show after their controversial departure from TAPE Inc. ABS-CBN declined TV5’s offer to move “It’s Showtime” to a pre-primetime slot.

Not soon after, it was announced that the Kapamilya noontime show would cross over to the Kapuso shores by landing on GTV starting July 1, 2023. Its debut on the Kapuso sister channel was an unprecedented moment on Philippine television. Then GMA Network Chairman and CEO Atty. Felipe L. Gozon declared: “TV war is finally over.”

The Fall of the Network Walls was further strengthened when GMA and ABS-CBN signed a contract to have “It’s Showtime” move to the network’s main channel starting April 6 after TAPE Inc.’s “Tahanang Pinakamasaya” was canceled.

“Kasi nung nasa GTV tayo, parang one-fourth ganun…parang nabuksan yung bakuran, pero nung GMA na eh binuksan na talaga yung pinto, ‘O, halika, dito tayo sa sala’,” Vice said at the contract signing in GMA Network Center last March 20.

With heavy promotions by ABS-CBN and GMA, as well as the appearance of some of its hosts as contestants in “Family Feud” this April 8, there’s no doubt that It’s Showtime’s debut on GMA will be as grand as its GTV premiere – if not more.

Beginning today, “It’s Showtime” will air Mondays to Saturdays, 12 noon on GMA, GTV, Kapamilya Channel, and A2Z on TV, as well as TFC and GMA Pinoy TV for international viewers. It can also be seen online via Kapamilya Online Live, Kapuso Stream, and It’s Showtime’s YouTube channel. Its GMA debut broadcast today starts at 11:30 am.

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