Johnny Manahan

Juan "Johnny" Ledesma Manahan (born 11 February 1947), also known as Mr. M,[2] is a Filipino film and television director, actor and writer.

Johnny L. Manahan
Juan Ledesma Manahan[1]

(1947-02-11) 11 February 1947 (age 74)
Quezon City, Philippines
Other namesMr. M, Mr. Mystery Man[2]
  • Film and television director
  • actor
  • screenwriter
Years active1971–present
Height6 ft 2 in (188 cm)[1]

He is known for managing actors, being the manager for ABS-CBN's Star Magic (formerly the Talent Center), as well as the senior vice-president of ABS-CBN.

Early life and educationEdit

Manahan was born on February 11, 1947 in Quezon City, Philippines. His parents were Dr. Constantino Perez Manahan and socialite and television host (Two For The Road) Elvira Ledesma Manahan. Manahan attended high school at the Ateneo de Manila in 1964, and finished his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, AB Art History, in 1969.[1]

Before becoming the director-manager, Manahan was a visual artist, painter, and sculptor. In fact, he received the "Special Citation" award at the Paris Biennale of Art in 1979.[1]


Career as a freelancer, and at ABS-CBN/Star MagicEdit

Manahan began his career directing for television soon after his studies around 1971. He was a freelancer and directed shows for the various local channels such as Two for the Road (GMA), For the Boys (IBC), The Big Big Show (BBC/City2), and Kaluskos Musmos (RPN). Right after ABS-CBN re-opened in 1986, he was appointed as a resident director at the network. He directed the leading shows of the history of local television, such as Chika Chika Chicks, Palibhasa Lalake, Tonight with Dick and Carmi, and Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata.[3]

In April 1992, Manahan, then the program director, and Freddie Garcia, then ABS-CBN executive vice president and general manager, formed the idea of creating a stable of new stars exclusively for the network.[4] This gave birth to Talent Center. In its early years, the Talent Center's project was Ang TV. The show auditioned thousands of people and accepted chosen ones into the program. The series soon led to mall shows, live concerts, and record albums. It also became a springboard for the careers of Claudine Barretto, Jolina Magdangal, Camille Prats, Victor Neri, and Paolo Contis among others. The Talent Center continued its search through the launching vehicle Star Circle in 1995.

While he was busy discovering and developing new talent, Manahan continued to direct television shows, movies, concerts, and specials. In particular, he directed the first collaboration of Martin Nievera and Gary Valenciano, a major concert in September 2009 at the Mall of Asia concert grounds, as well as foreign celebrities' Barry Manilow, Diana Krall, and Andrea Bocelli's concerts in the Philippines.[5]

He is the man behind the television coverage of the Miss Earth pageants, the Christmas and anniversary specials of ABS-CBN, celebrity weddings and debut specials, election specials, and many more. In addition, he also managed the grand world tours and concerts outside the country which includes ASAP '05 in USA and Japan, Wowowee in Las Vegas, Chicago, Hawaii, Star Magic World Tour in Canada and USA, among others.[6]

Manahan held various positions in ABS-CBN management. He was the Director in the Talent Center (1992-1994); Program Director in the Production Department (1994-1996); and Vice President in the Talent Development & Management Center (1996-2003); Senior Vice President of ABS-CBN's Star Magic (2003-2007). He retired in 2007 but remained as Head and Consultant of Star Magic until 2020.[6]

Move To Brightlight Productions/TV5Edit

In 2020, following the closure of ABS-CBN 2 for not having their renewal franchise of the TV network by both NTC & Congress, Manahan signed up as Production Consultant with Brightlight Productions, an independent company owned by former Negros Occidental 3rd District Rep. Albee Benitez. The said production outfit secured a blocktime agreement with TV5, allowing Manahan to handle two variety shows: the daily noontime show Lunch Out Loud and the now-defunct Sunday noontime musical variety show Sunday Noontime Live!. Joane Laygo filled his former directorial duties in ASAP.


Manahan was a mentor to a number of people who went on to become well-known in show business in the Philippines; among these are Star Magic talents Piolo Pascual, Claudine Barretto, Angelica Panganiban, Diether Ocampo, Bea Alonzo, Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, John Lloyd Cruz.[2]


Pre-resident directorEdit

from 1971-1986

As a DirectorEdit

Year Film Studio
1989 Si Aida, Si Lorna, O Si Fe Filmstar Productions
1993 Home Along da Riles da Movie RVQ Productions, Star Cinema
1996 Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure Star Cinema
1999 Oo Na, Mahal Na Kung Mahal
Television series
Year TV series Network
1984-1991 Chika Chika Chicks ABS-CBN
1987-1998 Palibhasa Lalake
1991-1997 Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata
1992-1997 Ang TV
Home Along Da Riles
1993-2000 Oki Doki Doc
1997 Kaya ni Mister, Kaya ni Misis
1999 Wansapanataym
2001 Da Pilya en da Pilot
Eto Na Ang Susunod Na Kabanata
2002-2003 Klasmeyts
2005-2006 Bora: Sons of the Beach
2006 Komiks : "Bampy" episode
2008 I Am KC: "Love 2 Dance"
Variety shows
Year Title Network
1988 Tonight with Dick and Carmi ABS-CBN
1995-2020 ASAP
2003 Masayang Tanghali Bayan!
2005 Wowowee
2006 Sharon
2010 Shoutout!
Pilipinas Win Na Win
Star Power
2011 Happy Yipee Yehey!
2012 The X Factor Philippines
2013 Minute to Win It
The Voice of the Philippines
2014 The Voice Kids
2015–2016 I Love OPM
2020 Lunch Out Loud TV5
Sunday Noontime Live!
Year Title Network
2005 Bea's Wildest Dreams at 18: Birthday TV Special ABS-CBN
2006 Ang Pagbabalik ng Bituin: A Mega Celebration
2008 Martin Nievera's Martin XXV
Lea Salonga's My Life On Stage
2009 Sharon Cuneta's Mega 30
2011 Binibining Pilipinas 2011: The Pageant
2012 Binibining Pilipinas 2012
Miss Philippines Earth 2012
2013 Binibining Pilipinas Gold: The 2013 Pageant
2014 Binibining Pilipinas 2014: The Grand Coronation Night

As an ActorEdit

Year Film Character/Role Studio
1996 Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure Head Tulisan Star Cinema
1998 Ang Babae Sa Bintana Regal Films
2006 The Bet Collector Mang Poldo MLR Films Inc.

As a WriterEdit

Year Title
1996 Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure
2002 Kung Ikaw ay Isang Panaginip
2005 Bea's Wildest Dreams at 18: Birthday TV Special


Year Award-Giving Body Category Work Result
1979 Paris Biennale of Art Special Citation award[1] Won
2009 PMPC Star Awards for TV Ading Fernando Lifetime Achievement Award[7] Won


  1. ^ a b c d e "PMPC honors Johnny Manahan as 2009 Lifetime Achievement Awardee". Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  2. ^ a b c "Dial Mr. M for Star Magic". Philstar. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  3. ^ "Johnny Manahan continues to create magic". Push. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  4. ^ "History of Star Magic". Archived from the original on 9 March 2014. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  5. ^ "PMPC honors Johnny Manahan as 2009 Lifetime Achievement Awardee". Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  6. ^ a b "PMPC honors Johnny Manahan as 2009 Lifetime Achievement Awardee". Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  7. ^ "ABS-CBN named Best TV Station at the 23rd Star Awards for TV". Retrieved 2014-05-14.

External linksEdit