Network exclusivity has long been among the biggest hurdles for any local artist who aspires to explore their artistry. It remains a nearly unsolvable crux today, although the local entertainment scene came on the heels of ABS-CBN’s shutdown.
Arguably, ABS-CBN had the largest stable of exclusive stars before it lost its franchise to broadcast on free television last year.
Over the years, switching networks has become commonplace in the industry. Many artists whose exclusive contracts with their home network have lapsed as they jumped to the other networks. These movements warrant chaos—at least on social media, where teeming fans express either disappointment or support for their idols.
The year 2020 saw some of the biggest transfers between TV networks, with the most shocking ones coming from ABS-CBN. The network’s once-mighty enterprise of stars continues to lose some of its most prized talents this year, as GMA Network aggressively asserts its newfound power as the number one TV network in the country.
That said, exclusive contracts are dated and last for a definite period. Many of the entries to the list that follows have successfully gone back-and-forth between networks.
Here are some of the biggest transfers by female artists in the last two decades.
Ai-Ai de las Alas (from ABS-CBN to GMA Network).
Delas Alas was with ABS-CBN for 15 years before she moved to its rival station, GMA Network, in 2015.
She was already the Comedy Concert Queen and has scored several box-office hits. She has produced platinum-selling albums and performed in various sold-out concerts.
Delas Alas earned the Box Office Queen and the Phenomenal Box Office Sta by Guillermo Mendoza Memorial Scholarship Foundation (GMMSF) Box Office Entertainment Awards, four times and twice, respectively.
She acquired these titles due to the success of her Ang Tanging Ina serialized films with Star Cinema.
On television, she appeared on several top-rating TV series, including Super Inggo and My Binondo Girl. She also co-hosted the morning talk show, Ruffa and Ai, and served as a member of the judging panel of the first three seasons of Pilipinas Got Talent. Following her move to GMA Network, de las Alas appeared in many movies. She became one of the judges for the talent-reality search, The Clash.
Angel Locsin (from GMA Network to ABS-CBN).
Locsin’s sudden transfer to ABS-CBN, at a time she was still GMA Network’s biggest female star, was a major shocker in 2007.
She grew to be a real actress as she envisioned to become upon moving to ABS-CBN camp. Among the most iconic TV roles she took on included were Lyka Raymundo in Lobo, Jillian Mendoza in Only You, Lia Ortega in Imortal, Monica Santiago-del Valle in The Legal Wife, and Rhian Bonifacio in The General’s Daughter.
As a film actress, Locsin received multiple accolades for various roles she portrayed in movies. Among her most remarkable films were In the Name of Love, Unofficially Yours, One More Try, Four Sisters and a Wedding, and Everything About Her.
She has received top accolades from the Film Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences of the Philippines (FAMAS), the Film Academy of the Philippines (FAP), and the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC) for her performances as a lead actress in her films. The actress now hosts her public service program, Iba ‘Yan.
Bea Alonzo (from ABS-CBN to GMA Network).
Among the most recent celebrity departures from ABS-CBN, Alonzo’s is arguably the most shocking, and to ABS-CBN loyalists perhaps, most heartbreaking.
Her contract signing on Thursday, July 1, took social media by storm and sent several hashtags linked to her transfer, on top of trending topics on twitter.
Alonzo was with ABS-CBN for almost two decades.
Her movies with the Network’s film production outfit, Star Cinema, earned her multiple box-office titles. She was named her generation’s movie queen during her tenure as an exclusive Kapamilya talent.
She left her long-time talent management agency, Star Magic last year. Before her transfer, she was slated to star on a Kapamilya TV series and an upcoming Star Cinema film, along with her onscreen partner, John Lloyd Cruz.
She is reportedly set to make her teleserye comeback soon, while a movie with Alden Richards is also in the works.
Claudine Barretto (from ABS-CBN to GMA Network).
Barretto was with ABS-CBN for 17 years and was on top of her TV and film career when she switched networks. She stayed as an exclusive Kapuso talent from 2009-2012 before switching [again] to another TV network—this time to TV5.
She returned to ABS-CBN in 2015 via an episode of the long-running drama anthology, Maalala Mo Kaya.
As a prized Kapamilya talent, Barretto made stellar achievements in both film and television. She was named both a Box Office Queen and Best Actress by various award-giving bodies.
She was most remarkable in films like Milan, Dubai, Kailangan Kita, and Sukob–where she mostly earned her top accolades.
Heart Evangelista (from ABS-CBN to GMA Network).
Evangelista was among ABS-CBN’s fast-rising stars and was en route to a queen stature when she transferred to GMA Network in 2008.
Her most memorable ABS-CBN projects include the teen-oriented series, Berks and the primetime drama Hiram.
With GMA Network, she starred on a streak of TV series that included Luna Mystika, Full House, and My Korean Jagiya.
She is slated to return to doing teleseryes via the upcoming rom-com series, I Left My Heart in Sorsogon.
Iza Calzado (from GMA Network to ABS-CBN).
Calzado was among GMA Network’s most prized female stars when she moved to ABS-CBN, in 2012. She was first catapulted to fame when she portrayed Amihan, in the Kapuso telefantasya, Encantadia, in 2006. Her other important Kapuso projects include Te Amo: Maging Sino Ka Man, Impostora, and All About Eve.
While Calzado was already a Kapuso queen, she arguably grew to be a better actress in ABS-CBN. Since her transfer, Calzado already starred in a number of TV dramas, including Kahit Puso’y Masugatan, A Love to Last, and Ngayon at Kailanman.
Her most recent Kapamilya drama, Ang Sa Iyo Ay Akin was wildly popular online.
Jolina Magdangal (from ABS-CBN to GMA Network to ABS-CBN).
Magdangal was among the biggest-selling recording stars in the country and was a leading TV and movie star when she left ABS-CBN in 2000. She then stayed at GMA Network for the next 15 years, before returning to the Kapamilya Network in 2015.
Prior to her shift to GMA Network, Magdangal was best remembered for her movies and TV shows she starred with a long-time onscreen partner, Marvin Agustin.
Some of her most memorable TV shows are Labs Ko Si Babe, Arriba, Arriba, and Flordeliza. She currently co-hosts the morning talk show, Magandang Buhay.
Maja Salvador (from ABS-CBN to TV5).
Salvador’s exit from Star Magic, her previous talent agency, was among the biggest talked-about network/talent-management shifts since ABS-CBN’s shutdown.
The actress started as a teen actress in ABS-CBN in 2003 via the TV series, It Might Be You.
As a Kapamilya, Salvador achieved incredible successes in television, film, and recording.
In 2017, she starred in the wildly sensational revenge drama Wild Flower. In the film, she scored Gawad Urian and Luna Best Actress trophies for her role in the 2012 sports drama Thelma.
A dance icon, Salvador was named a dancefloor queen by her former home studio. She currently appears on a TV5 primetime series Niña Niño as one of the lead stars.
Regine Velasquez (from GMA Network to ABS-CBN).
Velasquez is without any doubt GMA Network’s most successful singer when she officially joined the Kapamilya network in 2018.
She was with GMA Network for two decades doing various shows, including hosting and judging stints. As an actress, she took on major roles in various Kapuso primetime dramas, including Ako si Kim Sam-Soon, Totoy Bato, and Poor Señorita.
In movies, Velasquez’s most memorable performances are in Kailangan Kita, Till I Met You, Paano Kita Iibigin, and Urduja. Following her transfer to ABS-CBN, she has since been appearing as one of the lead presenters and performers of the long-running musical variety show, ASAP Natin ‘To.
Sunshine Dizon (from GMA Network to ABS-CBN).
At the time when most of ABS-CBN’s prized talents are leaving the network, Dizon’s sudden arrival is undoubtedly a major shocker.
First catapulted to fame via the weekend drama, Anna Karenina in 1996, she went on to become GMA Network’s most important female star. Among the biggest projects that further brought her to public attention include the original Encantadia series, Bakekang, Impostora, La Vendetta, and All About Eve. Her most recent breakout drama, was the sleeper daytime series, Ika-6 Na Utos.
With her first lead teleserye in ABS-CBN, Dizon ended her nearly 25-year tenure as a Kapuso talent. Her first ABS-CBN teleserye project, Marry Me, Marry You, is slated for airing, sometime this year.
As ABS-CBN continues to hurdle the challenges of losing its franchise and its bid to establish a presence in the digital space, and as more Kapuso homegrowns get inevitably displaced by the arrival of Kapamilya transferees, this trend of network-switching celebrities is more likely to carry on.
Any new network shift between GMA Network and ABS-CBN shortly should no longer come as a surprise, but I bet the kind of reaction we saw in Alonzo’s transfer is very likely to happen again.