ABS-CBN Boss On Partnering With Former Network Rival GMA On Filipino Variety Series ‘It’s Showtime’

The CEO of ABS-CBN has lifted the lid on how the media conglom’s first variety show collaboration with former network rival GMA typifies a new era of business for the Filipino company.

ABS-CBS teamed with GMA to air the popular midday variety show It’s Showtime, which will air from April 6 on GMA’s main channel.

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The series is a long-running franchise that first premiered in 2009 on ABS-CBN, 11 years before the company lost its broadcasting license due to a Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission order in 2020.

Since then, the Filipino media giant has pivoted to focus on content production, partnering with other companies to distribute shows domestically. It’s Showtime is ABS-CBN’s second collaboration with GMA, after previously working together on drama series Unbreak My Heart last year. In exclusive comments made to Deadline, ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak explained the strategic pivot.

“Since the non-renewal of our franchise and our exit from the broadcast business, we have viewed other broadcasters as our partners and not our rivals,” he said. “Our focus now is purely on content creation, and we have decided to rely on our industry partners to handle terrestrial distribution.”

Katigbak also addressed the It’s Showtime collaboration, saying: “GMA today has the largest reach and viewership among all the broadcasters, and that will give Showtime a natural advantage. “On the other hand, prior to the shutdown of ABS-CBN’s broadcast business, Showtime was the leading noontime show in terms of ratings. It’s a powerful collaboration in the sense that we are bringing together the strongest program at noontime and airing it on the network with the largest reach.”

The show was the first non-narrative format from ABS-CBN to be franchised internationally, after Indonesia’s MNCTV created a spin-off titled It’s Showtime Indonesia, which was broadcast from 2019 to 2020.

It’s Showtime is hosted by a large ensemble cast comprising Vice Ganda, Anne Curtis, Vhong Navarro, Jhong Hilario, Kim Chiu, Ogie Alcasid, Karylle, Amy Perez, Teddy Corpuz, Jugs Jugueta, Ryan Bang, Ion Perez, Jackie Gonzaga, MC Muah Calaquian, Lassy, and Cianne Dominguez.

The show will also continue airing on ABS-CBN and GMA’s digital platforms, as well as on GMA Pinoy TV, which is GMA’s international channel.

ABS-CBN was recently forced to issue a statement to the Philippine Stock Exchange following a newspaper article claimed it is looking at a return to broadcasting. The statement noted it had sold its broadcasting assets and did not intend to apply for a new franchise.

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