Startalk: The Only Showbiz Authority is the longest-running weekly entertainment news and talk show in Philippine television aired every Saturday afternoon after "Wish Ko Lang" on GMA Network and simulcast over Super Radyo DZBB. Premiering on October 8, 1995, It is currently hosted by Butch Francisco, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo, Heart Evangelista and Lolit Solis.
The show premiered on October 8, 1995 on a late Sunday afternoon timeslot as GMA Network's answer to ABS-CBN's top-rating Sunday showbiz talk show "Showbiz Lingo". The original hosts of the show were Boy Abunda, Lolit Solis and Kris Aquino. Despite criticisms on its initial telecasts, "Startalk" continued its run by featuring entertainment stories and reports, for example, Gabby Concepcion and Jenny Syquia's separation, Mel Tiangco and Jay Sonza's sentiments against ABS-CBN and the Hilda Koronel - Dr. Minguita Padilla feud, among others. One explosive story after another, Startalk finally earned its tagline "The Showbiz Authority". In October 1996, Startalk won its first award as Best Showbiz Oriented Talk Show from the Philippine Movie Press Club's Star Awards for Television (PMPC Star Awards for TV).
1996-1997: Aquino's departure, Zulueta and Osang as replacements, introduction of segment hosts
When Aquino left the show in 1996, award-winning Dawn Zulueta came in to fill the vacant slot as host. During the show's second year, it slowly gained significant loyal following and considerable commercial load. Unfortunately, Zulueta didn't last long as she married Davao businessman Anton Lagdameo in 1997. Sexy star Rosanna Roces or Osang was named as the new host and immediately blended with Abunda and Solis. Although Abunda became famous for his Mahiwagang Salamin (Magic Mirror) when he grills controversial showbiz figures in the show and Solis for her never-ending greetings, Rosanna proved that she can be a crowd-drawer. Her tactless remarks and flimsy gowns became the most anticipated moments in the show, thus earning the ire of MTRCB.
Aside from Rosanna (or Osang), "Startalk" also gave a big break to a trio of newcomers anonymously known as Steve, Fayatollah and Pepita. The new loud segment hosts handled "Startalk"'s tabloid segment "T! Tigbak Authority" where they criticize the senseless headlines printed on tabloid and the fashion statements of the movie/TV stars during awards night. Fayatollah later on became a regular fixture in other GMA shows while Pepita posed for FHM magazine last August 2003. Steve has become the regular voice-over of the show since his inclusion.
1998-2001, 2014: Move to Saturdays, Boy's departure, Francisco's arrival
From June 1, 1998 to January 18, 2014, the GMA management decided to move "Startalk" to an early Saturday afternoon slot right after Eat Bulaga!, switching timeslots between S-Files, another showbiz talk show. The move was due to the reason that it never gained headway against its rival show Showbiz Lingo. The move favored Boy, Lolit, Osang and the staff of "Startalk" (led by Floy Quintos) since they can dish out more exclusive showbiz news earlier in the weekend. The show's popularity rose to new heights as new portions such as Da Who and Startalk True Stories were introduced. Solis also earned a portion entitled Alok Bati (Offer a Greeting).
"Startalk" reigned in the Saturday afternoon ratings where drama shows from ABS-CBN used to dominate the slot. In May 1999, the show had to say goodbye to one of its pioneer hosts, Abunda, after he got an offer from ABS-CBN to host the new Sunday talk show "The Buzz" and was given several shows. The GMA management hired former "Showbiz Lingo" host Butch Francisco (who just came fresh from his migration to America) to replace Boy Abunda in the show. Boy's farewell from "Startalk" left Lolit Solis as the sole pioneer host from the show. The show's ratings slightly suffered after Boy left the show. However, the quality of the show's entertainment news content and no-nonsense reporting became the main attraction among the viewers, regardless of the hosting changes. Butch, Lolit and Osang's newfound chemistry was evident as the show was provided a fearless trio that can facilitate, comment and report the latest entertainment news when it happens, where it happens.
2002-2004: New segments, Osang's controversies
In 2002, "Startalk" unwittingly pioneered a "seamless" patch segment at the start of its show where the Master Rapper and TV Host Francis Magalona would shout out from the top of his lungs and cry out: "Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao... SEAMLESS NA!" (IT'S SEAMLESS!). Always brimming with energy, Magalona was given the task of turning over for a smooth transition the concluding portion of Eat Bulaga!’s Saturday edition to Startalk. The Startalk hosts would pick it up from there and the mainstays of both shows exchange on-air banter for a couple of minutes, punctuated with a lot of friendly jeers, private jokes and ribbing. After Magalona died on March 6, 2009, the "Eat Bulaga" and "Startalk" hosts continued with the seamless tradition until it was stopped in the later part of the year.
"Startalk" also pioneered the no-nonsense segment, "Walang Takot Sasabihin (WTS)", (lit. Not Afraid to Tell) where the show speaks out its opinion about the week's biggest showbiz news. It usually starts by giving a blow-by-blow account on what really happened, and why did it happen. At the end of the segment, the show gives an unsolicited advise to the persons involved in the controversy and the show's final stand to it. Overall, the segment serves as a mouthpiece of the show to praise, crucify, criticize, and open the eyes of the Filipino public to awareness.
Through the viewers, viewers have observed Osang as too frank with her comments and occasionally displays her lewd conduct in front of her guests. The MTRCB even issued a warning against Osang for wearing gowns that are too provocative, two of them when she hosted the 1998 Star Awards for Television where she just wore a body paint to cover one of her breasts, and one where she wore an all-black nun costume with a silver cross at the front, with a see through satin at the back, revealing her buttocks. A very emotional Osang later on appeared in the show a week after the awards night wearing a black T-shirt that printed "Down with Hypocrisy" as her response to MTRCB's warning. She stressed that MTRCB should not single her out and instead look after the slew of sex movies that came out in theatres almost weekly.
Another controversy that put Osang in hot water was her statement regarding the stories surrounding the mysterious death of matinee idol Rico Yan in 2002. Yan died from acute hemorrhagic pancreatitis (or more popularly known in Filipino parlance as bangungot) but Osang claimed on the air that he died of drug overdose and that Rico's friend Dominic Ochoa is also into it as well. Osang's controversial statement drew irate reactions from Rico's legion of fans and threatened to boycott "Startalk" for as long as she is there. As a result, the GMA management suspended Osang for a month. The Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) was also one of the governing bodies that censured Osang in 2003, together with newscaster Mike Enriquez. It triggered GMA's withdrawal of its membership from the said group.
On year 2004, Osang had a widely publicized feud with close friend and dermatologist Dra. Vicki Belo. The said feud had something to do with Osang allegedly violating the contract she signed with Belo's company, Forever Flawless, where she was the main endorser. As a result, Osang was replaced by Lorna Tolentino and Katya Santos. Osang retaliated the move by not acknowledging Forever Flawless on-air (which she was supposed to do as part of the exchange deal) and instead started to acknowledge Dra. Belo's rivals in the dermatology industry, Drs. Manny and Pie Calayan. She also revealed on air that her liposuction sessions with Dra. Belo was not something she was really proud of and called Dra. Belo just a gym instructor.
When Osang jointly celebrated her birthday with co-host and manager Lolit Solis during a special episode of "Startalk" during May 2004, not too many people knew that it would be her last live appearance on the show. A week later after the joint birthday celebration, she was a no-show during "Startalk"'s regular live telecast and instead had a phone patch with co-host Butch Francisco (who was alone at the studio when the episode happened). During the on-air phone patch, she called Lolit various names and threatened to boycott the show as long as Lolit is there. It was reported that after the said phone interview, GMA management tried to pacify Osang and Lolit's feud by calling the two for a meeting. But the two warring hosts declined. The "Startalk" staff also reportedly sided with Lolit and threatened to leave the show if GMA decided to side with Osang. In the first week of June 2004, Osang finally bade goodbye to "Startalk", by appearing on GMA's other talk show "S-Files" and declared that she was out of the show. After her farewell with GMA Network, Osang appeared at The Buzz where she revealed her issues with Vicky Belo and Lolit Solis.
2005-2007: Tolentino and de Leon joins Startalk, 10th year anniversary
After Osang's farewell, GMA Network took in several celebrities (see Guest Hosts) to join Lolit and Butch on board. Grandslam actress Lorna Tolentino was later on taken in as guest co-host and went on to appear in the show as such for three months, until she was named as Osang's permanent replacement in the show which duplicated with Joey de Leon.
During Joey's second suspension from the noontime show "Eat Bulaga!" in 2004, "Startalk" became his second official home as he guested in the show for several occasions. His funny repartee with Lolit (who happened to be his classmate in elementary school) and his biting wit and sarcasm served as an attraction to the viewers. Even when he returned to "Eat Bulaga" later on, Joey continued to appear on the show until he was named as the fourth co-host of the show.
2005 marked the 10th year of Startalk in the Philippine TV Industry, making it the longest running showbiz-oriented talkshow on Philippine TV. It released a commemorative magazine, featuring the present hosts and former hosts of the show (except for Rosanna Roces).
2008-2009: Tolentino's crisis, competition with other shows
In 2008, "Startalk" suffered a hosting crisis when one of its hosts, Lorna Tolentino took a leave from the show to take care of her ailing husband, action star Rudy Fernandez. The show had weekly updates on the actor's battle with periampullary cancer until his recent death last June 6, 2008. After Fernandez's burial, it was unclear whether Lorna will stay on as host of the show. More than a month after her husband Fernandez's death, Lorna appeared live for the last time on "Startalk" as special guest. In her last guesting appearance, she told stories about her recent trip to Jerusalem which gave her time to heal emotional wounds brought about by Daboy's death. Last Friday, September 19, 2008, she finally bade goodbye to GMA executives after she decided to accept ABS-CBN's offer which included movie appearances on Star Cinema, a recording deal with Star Records and a soap opera which will feature her alongside Gabby Concepcion. Entertainment columnist Ricky Lo of The Philippine Star was taken in to replace her.
In the Philippine television industry, the 2 pm to 4 pm time slot was widely regarded as a "dead time slot" primarily because no advertiser would place their spots where fewer people are watching television. But GMA Network brought life to the Saturday time slot of 2-4 pm by airing showbiz talk shows starting in the late 1980s. "Startalk" is the fourth showbiz talk show to air on that slot starting in 1998, preceded by "Movie Magazine", "Channel S" and "ETChing". Its consistent dominance in the Saturday afternoon timeslot thereafter prompted rival network ABS-CBN to do away with producing weekly dramas in 2003 and instead, put another showbiz talk show to compete with "Startalk". The show has survived competition from 3 Saturday showbiz talk shows that were produced by ABS-CBN from 2003-2007. These were: "S2: Showbiz Sabado" (2003-2004), "EK Channel" (2004-2005) and "ETK: Entertainment Konek" (2005-2006). The longest competitor of "Startalk" in the same slot is "Entertainment Live", which aired from 2007-2012 and was replaced by "Showbiz Inside Report", which aired from 2012-2013.
2010-2013: Renaming of the show to Startalk TX
A new and improved Startalk was introduced on April 2010 with a new set as part of the combined forces of The League of Intrigues, Startalk and Showbiz Central. The show was named now as Startalk TX. The four hosts: Francisco, De Leon, Solis and Lo are promising to bring Three Times (TX) more aggressive at getting the hottest and Totally Xplosive showbiz news, and Three Times more fun to the viewers.
Startalk TX has always been pre-empted during Black Saturdays which observed as a non-regular programming. However, the first time the network has pre-empted the show as a regular programming was during Manny Pacquiao's World Press Tour.
On October 8, 2011, it was temporarily named as Startalk TX Now. The following year, (2012) it was reformatted as "Startalk: The Only Showbiz Authority". In 2013, coinciding with its 18th anniversary, the show welcomed a new female main host in Heart Evangelista, who impressed viewers with her wit and candor when she appeared as guest co-host for a few weeks.
2014-present: From Saturday to Sunday and back to Saturday again
In January 17, 2014, entertainment website Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) reported that "Startalk" will move back to its original Sunday afternoon timeslot starting January 26, 2014 after 15 long years as a Saturday showbiz-oriented talk show. It will be GMA Network's answer to ABS-CBN's newly reformatted The Buzz, retitled as "Buzz ng Bayan" which just started airing last year.
"Buzz ng Bayan" is hosted by former "Startalk" original male host Boy Abunda. Buzz ng Bayan was again reformatted back to the original The Buzz, premiering on May 18, 2014 to celebrate its 15th anniversary. "Startalk" returned to its Saturday timeslot last May 31, airing on a much later time slot at 4:00 pm. Consequently, the show's running time was also reduced from its usual one-and-a-half hour to just 45 minutes (including commercials).
Recently, Startalk aired its 1,000th episode last March 22, 2015.
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