Monday, July 19, 2021

JOHNNY MANAHAN Starts Consulting Work with GMA ARTIST CENTER Online Auditions


It was considered to be one of the biggest TV network coups in recent history, when the news broke last week. Having a significant figure in talent management from a major network (broadcast inactivity notwithstanding), and pioneer in said network’s in-house talent center to boot, suddenly appearing as a “consultant” in a rival network, certainly triggers a lot of showbiz conversation. Several days have passed since GMA7 confirmed that former ABS-CBN Star Magic head Johnny Manahan has become a consultant in their own GMA Artist Center. But what exactly is he doing with them now? A peek at Artist Center’s official website might offer hints.

As The Manila Bulletin tells it, former Kapamilya talent guru Johnny “Mr. M” Manahan has started his duties as a new GMA Artist Center consultant with the Kapuso network. That work, of course, lies in the discovery of fresh new talent that might get a shot at breaking into showbiz with GMA7. Artist Center of course is a rival of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic in talent discovery and management, and it fields its own formidable stable of actors, recording artists and commercial endorsers on television nationwide. And the best way to find those new stars of tomorrow is by holding auditions.

There is a catch however. The COVID pandemic makes face-to-face talent auditions risky, so since March of last year GMA Artist Center’s website has been facilitating online auditions, where Kapuso executives, directors, talent managers, trainers, and recruitment teams watch aspirants do their thing on teleconferencing. Now, Manahan is part of the wall of faces in a shared Artist Center Zoom call, with the telltale Mr. M nickname at the bottom border of his video feed. He will be seeing the would-be Kapusos auditioning online alongside the Artist Center veterans, and will have a say on who gets to go further.

Regarding his preferred choice in the online auditions, Manahan would say, “We want to work with the younger ones. That’s our goal.” He also has ideas on improving styling, imaging and marketing for all existing talents under the GMA Artist Center umbrella. The agency’s existing organization all pay close attention to what Mr. M says, for even though he is new with them he has been in the business for long enough that he originally considered retirement. Furthermore, he did freelance production work with the network in the 1970s, so many just feel Manahan’s becoming Artist Center consultant was just going full circle at last.

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