'Bubble Gang' won't replace Ogie as ‘Boy Pickup’ – Michael V

The Philippine’s longest running comedy program “Bubble Gang” is celebrating its 18th year on television tonight, Friday, October 18, and its first anniversary without one of its former pillars, singer-songwriter Ogie Alcasid.
Among “Bubble Gang’s” original cast members when it launched in 1995, only three remain in the show eighteen years later namely, Michael V., Diego “Diego” Llorico and Antonio Aquitaña.  Just a few months ago, original cast member Ogie Alcasid left the show after signing an exclusive contract with another network.
Ogie’s transfer was sad news for the rest of the “gang” especially since Ogie was considered a senior cast member and has become one of the figures identified with the show.  Ogie’s long-time friend Michael V., however, understands where his friend is coming from and respects his decision to transfer.  Unlike Ogie, Michael V. has no existing network contract with GMA Network or any network for that matter.  He said his contract with GMA Network is for two shows only: the weekly sitcom “Pepito Manaloto” and “Bubble Gang” (His contract with “Eat Bulaga” is between him and TAPE, Inc.). 
After close to eighteen years of starring on the show, Ogie has left a mark on “Bubble Gang” and that mark was made indelible in the recently-popularized character of “Boy Pick-up,” an eccentric hip-hopper who impresses girls with his mind blowing pick-up lines.  The character has become so popular and so associated with Ogie that people begin to refer to the singer-actor by this character name.
For as long as Ogie is absent from the show, Bitoy thinks “Boy Pick-up” will have to take a back seat until – if ever – Ogie returns in the future.  “No one can replace Ogie as ‘Boy Pick-up;’ ‘Pag sinabing ‘Boy Pick-up,’ Ogie Alcasid na ‘yan e. Besides, maayos naman na nagpaalam ‘yung tao, bakit mo naman siya ide-dethrone ‘diba?,” the comedian said.
According to Bitoy, the producers of the show sent invitations to former cast members including Ogie. However, he does not expect Ogie to come since he knows how busy he is right now with his new responsibilities and with family-related matters.
While one long-time cast member has left, the show has welcomed new cast members this year including Andrea Torres, Paolo Contis and Mikael Daez. It also launched a search for new recruits dubbed “Bagong Gang,” the format of which was inspired by talent competitions on TV. 

Last August, “Bubble Gang” presented the final 10 “Bagong Gang” cast members namely, Nicole Borgonia, Juancho Trivino, Arny Ross, Roehl Mendoza, Maricris Garcia, Abel Estanislao, Joyce Ching, Jan Manual, Denise Barbacena and RJ Padilla. They were selected from over a hundred aspirants who went through the auditions.
This week, the judges will reach a decision as to who, among the remaining three male and three female contestants, will be crowned as the ultimate “Bagong Gang” members.  The announcement will be made in the anniversary episode.
Tonight's episode will open with a full-house performance featuring a mash-up of the show’s theme songs from then up to the present. Also worth watching are the “live” comic sketches of popular segments including “Mr. Assimo,” “Next Big Star” and “Ikaw at Ang Ina.”
Don’t miss the 18th anniversary episode of “Bubble Gang” tonight, October 18, after the finale episode of "My Husband's Lover" on GMA Telebabad.
- Neil Celeste T. Rara, GMA Social Media

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