MANILA — “Teleserye Queen” Judy Ann Santos’ television comeback in a lead role, “Starla,” cast a blinding glow on primetime Monday, scoring double its rival’s viewership.
According to data from Kantar Media, the ABS-CBN fantaserye registered a nationwide rating of 29.2%, while its competing program, “The Gift,” trailed by half with only 14.5%.
The TV audience of “Starla’s” premiere made it the No. 1 program in its time slot, cementing Santos’ draw as a soap opera icon — albeit with a twist to her usual lead portrayals.
Santos, this time, is a ruthless real estate executive motivated by vengeance — a far cry from her past underdog roles on television.
As Teresa, Santos is bent on owning the entirety of Barrio Maulap, her hometown which she only regards with bitterness because of a tragic past involving her father, Greggy (Joel Torre), whom she believes abandoned her.
Caught in the crossfire are residents of the farming village, including runaway orphan Buboy (Enzo Pelojero), whom the recluse Greggy takes in out of necessity due to his ailing health.
Teresa’s plans, as seen in the series’ trailers, will encounter roadblocks as Barrio Maulap gets showered with great fortune — with the help of the titular wishing star Starla (Jana Agoncillo) — eliminating the need for residents to sell their land.
“Starla” continues the tradition of ABS-CBN of offering inspirational stories starring child actors, following the likes of “May Bukas Pa,” “100 Days to Heaven,” and “Honesto.”