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Why ‘Sunday Noontime Live’ ended early, according to Johnny Manahan

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Why ‘Sunday Noontime Live’ ended early, according to Johnny Manahan

CANCELLATION. Johnny Manahan believes that 'Sunday Noontime Live' was canceled because it was not earning enough.

File photo by Rob Reyes/Rappler

The Star Magic founder and director also opens up to Summit Media Network editors about why he left ABS-CBN

Sunday Noontime Live director and Star Magic co-founder Johnny Manahan believes that Sunday Noontime Live was canceled because it was not earning enough money.

Sunday Noontime Live or SNL was the show Manahan directed under Brightlight Productions. The show was hosted by Piolo Pascual, Maja Salvador, Catriona Gray, Jake Ejercito, Ricci Rivero, and Donny Pangilinan.

“It wasn’t generating enough money,” Esquire quoted Manahan as saying in an interview with Summit Media Network editors. “I wish it didn’t have to happen. It was a surprise, but we can roll with the punches.”

On January 16, Brightlight CEO and former Negros Occidental representative Albee Benitez announced that SNL and another show, Sunday Kada would air its “season-enders” on January 17. Their other shows however continue to air on TV5.

In a Pep report, Manahan said that he was told during a discussion with Benitez that SNL’s earnings were not enough to recuperate the expenses. Benitez also mentioned TV5’s weak signal.

Manahan said that they were already preparing for the second season when Benitez announced they were discontinuing the show.

“He told us late. We were already preparing for the next cycle of taping. Tapos bigla na lang sasabihin (Then all of a sudden, there was an announcement) that we have to pack up the show, it’s a big loss, I’m bleeding money, blah blah,’” he said.

Although the show had a short run, Manahan said that he felt that ABS-CBN was threatened by SNL’s pilot episode last October 18. At that time, ABS-CBN’s show ASAP Natin To! got all of the network’s biggest names to grace its episode.

“But, I think for the first show, we rated higher than all those stars. Medyo kinabahan sila (They got a little nervous) of the first 3 shows,” he said.

“Then the weaknesses of Channel 5 began to show – their signal, some people didn’t even know Channel 5 was on the air…. They don’t have everything, all the elements, in place, not like ABS,” he said.

Manahan said that what was disappointing with SNL’s cancellation was that they were assured of at least two seasons or until March 2021.

When they reached out to TV5 chairman Manny Pangilinan to give them at least one more week to say goodbye, they were informed that the Sunday slot was already given to someone else.

Sorry, ha. Naibigay na namin sa iba. And ‘iyong iba’ happens to be ASAP!” he said. (Sorry, it was given to somebody else. And that “somebody else” happens to be ASAP!) (READ: ‘ASAP Natin ‘To’ to air on TV5)

Manahan said he apologized to Piolo and Maja after he initially convinced them to come with him to start the show.

“I talked to them and I said, ‘I’m so sorry for dragging you into this,’” he said.

Leaving ABS-CBN

Manahan also answered questions about why he left ABS-CBN. In the Esquire interview, Manahan – who co-founded Star Magic and was its chairman emeritus – cited the “shadow talent center” at the network.

“They had their own managers, and they managed their own stars, who were the people from Pinoy Big Brother. We expected to manage these people, but they set up their own organization. That didn’t sit too well with my people,” he said.

Pinoy Big Brother is the reality show aired on ABS-CBN that has produced some of today’s big names such as Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Robi Domingo, and Maymay Entrata.

The people behind PBB are also behind Star Hunt, an audition caravan that looks for promising talents and auditions in different reality shows of the network.

Manahan felt that the setup was redundant and made Star Magic feel “irrelevant.” He even took it up back then with management led by Charo Santos but nothing happened.

‘“I don’t think they understood. It was a corrosive thing to do, having another talent management center there. We were proud of the fact that, when we were there, Talent Center was always number one. We held it at that level,” he said.

“That wasn’t a nice thing to do. That was one of the things I thought about that led me to think that maybe I should forget about it. And think about other things,” he added.

Manahan said that when he decided to leave the network, he went around the ABS-CBN hallways feeling nostalgic. “All of a sudden, I can see in the corner Panchito. I can see the ghost of so and so,” he said in a separate Pep interview.

“So I said, ‘Oh my God, I had been here so long.’ Fifty years on the whole. This is gonna be my 50th or 51st [in the industry], 35 or 40 of those in ABS-CBN, so I’m really old,” he said. “So I said, ‘Maybe time to go.’ So I just dropped the hat.” –

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