Sharon Cuneta has just signed a five-year guaranteed contract with the Kapatid network on Nov. 22. That officially ends her 23-year ties with ABS-CBN.
Present at the signing are TV5 president and CEO, Atty. Ray Espinosa, TV5 chief operating officer Robert Barreiro, and Cuneta’s managers, Sandra Chavez and Vic del Rosario of Viva Artists Agency, Inc.
On Sept. 20, during the press conference of Pinoy Biggest Loser at the ABS-CBN’s Dolphy Theater, the reality series’ production manager said that Sharon will still be part of the program’s second season, which is set to air at the second quarter of 2012. After the announcement one entertainment scribe asked, “So, does it mean Sharon is not transferring to a rival station?” It was answered plainly, “The series will still be hosted by Sharon.”
Speculation that Sharon has considered TV5’s lucrative offer grew stronger when she did the final taping for Sharon at Home, a lifestyle show airing on an ABS-CBN subsidiary channel. Subsequently, tabloids started making wild presumptions of the loyalty shift when they did not see the megastar in the network’s Christmas station ID this year.
In early October, the 45-year-old star said she has no reason to leave the Kapamilya Network. She insisted that she is happy working with her mother studio and is content with the way she is being treated by the executives.
“At this point in my career, I don’t see yet any reason to leave ABS-CBN. I love Ma’am Charo (Santos-Concio, ABS-CBN’s president and chief operating officer) very much,” she told ABS-CBN News.
Meanwhile, in the same interview she also mentioned that she is open to entertain other offers and opportunities. But it is enough to jump into a conclusion that she is leaving channel 2? It is and it is not. While big wigs of both TV5 and ABS-CBN are giving out intriguing hints about Sharon’s exit, still the public does not get any concrete answers.
Linking her connection with TV5’s Manny V. Pangilinan, a good friend of Vic del Rosario (Sharon’s manager) and a cousin to Sen. Francis Pangilinan (Sharon’s husband), makes good sense and everyone is correct. But the real question is: Is Sharon worth it for the P1 billion investment made by TV5?
When Sharon, the Sunday musical cum talk show that the megastar hosted from 1998 to 2004 and then from 2006 to 2010, ended, nobody dared to ask why ABS-CBN was axing the program. Simply, during its final year, Sharon has turned into a crappy show. During its early years, the show promised to make a difference on Philippine television. It aimed to be relevant by featuring great stories and interesting talks with people from all walks of life. But what happened was, Sharon turned into a cheap comedy-bar like production. But Sharon was able to bounce back. She was given an assignment to host a talent search, a rather fitting a job since she is a singer to begin with, then, there was Biggest Loser Pinoy edition that most critics said a show tailored-fit for her. Both shows posted high ratings.
There’s no doubt Sharon can still make big bucks. In fact according to an entertainment magazine, the full-figured megastar is already a billionaire as her popularity has translated well into the field of advertising, where she is one of the highest paid and most effective celebrity endorsers to date.
I just wonder why ABS-CBN let her go. Does the station feel she is no longer the big star that she was a couple of years ago?
Them station hoppers
Sharon Cuneta is not the first big name that cut her (or his) ties with ABS-CBN. Three of the controversial station hoppers recently were Aga Muhlach, Maricel Soriano and Dolphy.
Aga’s career had been dormant after the end of his sitcom on ABS-CBN, but with Pinoy Explore, his program with TV5, it seems that his career move is a good decision as his first project with the Novalichez-based station has been receiving massive support from the audience.
Same thing goes with the 83-year-old Comedy King and with the Diamond Star, both already had waning or stagnant careers even before they moved to TV5. Their non-exclusive deals with the comparatively small network don’t seem to bear fruit. With Dolphy, he has proven that he is one of the respective artists in the local tinseltown through longevity, everyone would understand if chooses to have a graceful exit. On the other hand, Maricel must accept the fact that actresses are becoming less desirable when they age and her star is just following the natural cycle, which means she can just wait for the natural death of her career.
There are stars who had an aggressive move, not to TV5 though, but with GMA Network. Cesar Montano and Edu Manzano left their mother studio hoping to find a greener pasture, but where are they now? Shifting loyalty can mean good career move, but if it did not do anything to make someone’s star shines even brighter, we know of course that jumping from one station was a bad decision.