Thursday, May 13, 2021

Nickelodeon South East Asia to Premiere New 'Blue's Clues & You!' Episode 'Blue’s Big Baking Show' on Friday 14th May 2021

Nickelodeon South East Asia will be celebrating International Family Day on Friday 14th May 2021 with the premiere of the brand new Blue's Clues & You! episode  “Blue’s Big Baking Show” at 9:00am (PH)!

In the all new episode, fans will meet Josh’s “lola” as Josh and Blue spend the day making bibingka, a cake from the Philippines that is “masarap” (delicious)!

Blue's Clues & You! is a curriculum-driven interactive series that follows Blue as she invites viewers to join her on a clue-led adventure and solve a puzzle in each episode. The series features Filipino-American theater actor/presenter Josh dela Cruz following in, not just Blue’s paw prints, but also the footsteps of former Blue’s Clues hosts Steve Burns (1996-2002), Donovan Patton (2002-2006) and Kevin Duala (1998-2003, in the United Kingdom), as well as Duarte Gomes in Portugal and HyunShup Shin in Korea!

Josh dela Cruz on being the fresh new face of ‘Blue’s Clues,’ his Filipino roots

It’s something that viewers both young and old don’t need a trail of clues or blue paw prints to figure out.

Indeed, one of the reasons that makes Josh dela Cruz a snug fit for his role as the host of “Blue’s Clues & You,” the latest iteration of Nickelodeon’s hugely popular children’s show “Blue’s Clues” first hosted by Steve Burns (who played Steve, from 1996 to 2002) and Donovan Patton (as Joe, from 2002 to 2006), is the actor’s protean ability to channel a diversity of characters beyond his millennial upbringing.

After all, the 32-year-old performer had cut his thespic teeth playing a variety of characters on Broadway before he bested 3,000 other hopefuls for “Blue’s Clues & You”—from his stint as the understudy of the lead in Disney’s “Aladdin” to his role in Stephen Sondheim’s “Merrily We Roll Along.”

We realized we even saw Josh in the ensemble of the wildly immersive musical about Imelda Marcos when we watched David Byrne’s “Here Lies Love” at the Public Theatre in New York in 2013. How’s that for serendipity?

In “Blue’s Clues & You,” Josh has taken over the seat vacated by his cousins, Steve, now a private eye at the Blue Prints Detective Agency, and his younger brother Joe, who’s now in charge of the Present Store.

But this heart-warming blast of nostalgia isn’t the only thing that excited us about the return of “Blue’s Clues” on TV. As it turns out, Josh has been revealed to be a proud Filipino American, onscreen and off.

In fact, Nickelodeon is commemorating International Family Day in the series’ upcoming “Bibingka” episode—at 9 a.m. on Friday (channel 33 on Cignal; channel 45/105 on SkyCable)—by acknowledging Josh’s Filipino roots and Asian American identity. In the episode, he and his clue-loving female pooch Blue whip up the Pinoy delicacy before his Philippine-based lola (Carolyn Fe) comes for a visit!

So you can imagine how thrilled we were when ViacomCBS agreed to help Inquirer Entertainment arrange this exclusive one-on-one interview with Josh last weekend via Zoom before the episode’s March 14 telecast.

And it couldn’t have started better than seeing a beaming Josh greeting us with “Hello, Kuya (older brother)!”—instantly demonstrating how Pinoy tradition has been heartwarmingly instilled in the value system of this handsome new face in children’s entertainment!

“The opportunity to represent Asians, Filipino Americans and Filipinos around the world is so special to me,” Josh admitted to us. “I feel so honored to be here. I got this audition from my agent, and I was like, ‘This is amazing! The show’s coming back on its 25th anniversary!’ I used to watch this with my little sister!

“I found out in the middle of my auditions that they saw so many people for this. I didn’t hear back from them for a month, so I thought, ‘Oh, it’s over. Let’s just move on.’ Then, my agent sent me an email about a final callback, and they said, ‘Oh, by the way, they had just auditioned over 3,000 people.’ So I got really excited—I was like, ‘OK, looks like I’m doing well!’ But then, I was terrified because I never thought I’d ever become a TV actor!

“I studied theater (he has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Montclair State University). I became a theater actor because I saw people onstage like Lea Salonga and BD Wong, so that’s why I thought, ‘OK, I could be a theater actor.’

“But it didn’t cross my mind that I could be a television actor because I never saw characters who looked like me on TV! It was always caricature—[Asian characters are always portrayed] as a villain or a foreigner. I never quite identified with those.

“So, when I came into this opportunity, I felt so honored. Just looking back at where I came from—my family immigrated to the States when I was 2 years old—and now, this. Suddenly, it’s like, anything is possible!”

The Dubai-born son of homegrown Filipino expats said he has vivid recollections of watching “Blue’s Clues” as a child.

“My little sister was 4 at the time, so that would put me around 7 years old when I watched it with her,” Josh recalled, smiling. “I still remember my Tita’s (aunt’s) pink rug, because she was the only one with cable. So, we’d go over her house, switch the channel to Nickelodeon, and watch ‘Blue’s Clues’ with my cousin Gabby.”

Our Q&A with Josh:

Can you talk about your Filipino roots?
My dad’s name is Roger and my mom’s name is Adelfa. They immigrated from the Philippines to the Middle East. My mom and dad essentially grew up in the Manila area. My mom was a nurse, who just retired this year. She got sponsored to work at a hospital in the Middle East with a bunch of friends.

My dad was working for a company in Germany, but was in the Middle East at the time. Through their mutual friends, they met, of all places, in church (laughs). I was just talking to my mom about this—my parents just celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary yesterday!

So, that’s how they met. My older sister and I were born in Dubai. Then, when I was 2, the hospital that my mom recently retired from sponsored us to go to the States, so we lived in Yonkers for the first three to four years of my life before ultimately moving to New Jersey, where my parents bought a house. That’s where I attended high school and college.

You know, my mom grew up in a one-bedroom house with her six other brothers and sisters, and I look back to that with gratitude, because my sisters and I were all able to go to school, coming from so little. Then, I got to be on this show and platform. I’m thankful for the chance to do my parents proud by taking the opportunities that they gave me and running with them.

Have you ever been to Manila?
It’s been so long. I’m 32 now. I was in the Philippines when I was a sophomore in high school, when I was 15, 16—that was the last time I’d ever gone there. We were supposed to go to the Philippines last year, but with everything that happened (with the pandemic), that didn’t end up happening.  

You’ve managed to make the role your own. Did you feel any pressure measuring up to people’s expectations of you hosting “Blue’s Clues,” given that both Steve and Donovan were popular around the world?

I absolutely felt that pressure, because the show is important to me, my little sister, and my friends—that’s where the expectation is coming from. Of course, you don’t want to be the host that was bad (laughs)!

But I will say that after I got the role, Steve and Donovan came up to me when we were on set preparing to film it. They pulled me aside and said, “Josh, we don’t ever want you to feel like you have to replicate anything that we did, the way that we did it. They cast you because we all love what you bring to the role. So we want you to continue to explore that.” Since Day One. I have felt like I belonged, and that I’m able to do that every day on the set.

Steve has directed some episodes. What was that like?
Yeah, he wrote and directed a few episodes. He’s amazing! There’s always that fear of what it’s like being directed by the guy who created the role. But he’s so supportive, and Donovan just recently directed a few episodes, as well. If there’s anyone who knows about what’s necessary for this job, it’s them!

Steve, especially in the beginning, when we were doing a lot of crouching and I was kneeling a lot, he knew how much that hurt because I had knee surgery six years ago. He was always trying to find ways around it.

It’s been an amazing collaborative experience, where we’re always playing on set, so I’m so excited whenever he or Donovan is directing or whenever they’re in the show. Oh my gosh, it’s just magic!

Can you talk about the “Bibingka” episode?
It’s proof that the show or the network is all about inclusion—and we’re just continuing on that path. I’m so honored and proud that they’re not ignoring what I look like.

You know, I wasn’t cast because of my ethnicity—I was cast because I was the best for the role. So, they didn’t have to acknowledge my ethnicity at all. But they’re acknowledging and celebrating it!

It’s so important for me because, when I was growing up, nobody knew what a “lola” was—people thought Lola was just a name. But because of this episode, there’s a sharing of cultures that is bringing us closer together as a people. It’s such a source of pride for myself, my family, and other Filipinos—to know that we’re seen.

Watch the special episode of “Blue’s Clues & You” on Friday (May 14) at 9 a.m. on Nickelodeon (channel 33 on Cignal; channel 45/105 on SkyCable).


It’s Filipino day on ‘Blues Clues and You’

Filipino culture and family traditions take center stage in a special “Blue’s Clues and You” episode, which premieres today at 9 a.m. on Nickelodeon.

Part of the long-running children’s program’s International Family Day celebrations, current host Josh dela Cruz — the Filipino-American featured in last night’s episode of The Manila Times CSI: Celebrity, Style, Inspiration — and everyone’s favorite imaginative puppy Blue will whip up a sweet Filipino treat for a special visitor to their home.

“[The show is] bringing in my ‘lola,’ who’s portrayed by this awesome actress named Carolyn Fe, which is huge, right? We’ve all heard about someone’s grandma or nana but never someone’s lola, and we might be putting [the term of endearment] to the lexicon,” dela Cruz shared in his exclusive interview with Lifestyle and Entertainment editor and CSI host Tessa Mauricio-Arriola.

“We’re sharing so much of our culture and we are so excited for that,” he added.

The special episode will have encores on May 21 and May 28, both at 9 a.m.

For almost 25 years now, “Blue’s Clues” and its latest version “Blue’s Clues and You” have been part of many family’s lives around the world, wherever there little children. The curriculum-driven interactive series follows Blue as she invites viewers to join her and Josh on clue-led adventures and solve puzzles episode after episode.

With each signature paw print, Blue identifies clues in her animated world that propel the story and help kids clue in on literacy skills and build self-esteem.

In the Philippines, the show airs on cable channel Nickelodeon across carriers Sky Cable (Ch 45 for Mega Manila, Ch 105 for other regions), G-Sat (Ch 57), Cignal (33), and Cable Link (Ch 24), among others.


GMA Pinoy TV triumphs at Communicator Awards

NEW YORK  - GMA Network’s flagship international channel GMA Pinoy TV was recognized by the New York-based Communicator Awards 2021 for its initiatives that have exhibited creative excellence for marketing and communications.

GMA Pinoy TV received two Awards of Distinction for its campaign "One in Heart with Pinoys abroad vs. COVID-19” under the Integrated Campaign: Social Responsibility Category as well as its "Becoming Pinoy: Carolyn Fe” episode under the Video-Branded Entertainment (Diversity and Inclusion) Category.

At the onset of the COVID pandemic a year ago, GMA Pinoy TV wanted to assure its key stakeholder – Filipinos all over the world and their families – that it remains one in heart with them no matter the adversity. Whether on-air, online, and through public relations and partnerships, the "One in Heart with Pinoys abroad vs. COVID-19" campaign launched a slew of tactics to spread awareness on the pandemic and honor the selfless contributions of Filipino frontliners all over the world.

The integrated campaign generated on-air and online content such as ‘Stories from the Frontlines,’ ‘Stories of Survival,’ ‘In Memoriam,’ and ‘Tribute to Frontliners’. There were also information drives, advisories, and tribute e-mails, an online fund-raising event to support Filipino nurses, and free entertainment to audiences abroad to help alleviate stress brought about by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the multi-awarded GMA Pinoy TV original series "Becoming Pinoy" gained another recognition for its episode featuring Filipino-Canadian actress Carolyn Fe of "Blue's Clues & You!" Becoming Pinoy profiles successful and influential personalities of Filipino descent where they share their stories of coming to terms with their uniqueness and overcoming hurdles which can be a source of inspiration to other Filipinos of mixed culture and ancestry.

The winning episode is about Carolyn Fe, who defied cultural barriers as she pursued what her heart truly desires. She is a Filipino actress in Canada who landed major roles in different arts - dance, music, theater, and now TV acting. In her early days in the industry, she realized that she had to do something to stand up for diversity when she was compelled to adjust her physical appearance in performances in order to blend in. This prodded Carolyn to establish an employment agency with multi-racial personnel ready to be deployed in different companies just to push diversity and inclusion. She accepted roles on TV and film based on her ethnicity and received numerous acting awards for them.

Carolyn is now fondly called ‘Lola’ as she is seen by the world on Blue’s Clues & You! by Nick Jr. promoting Filipino culture both on TV and on social media.

“It’s only been in the past 10 years that we’re seeing and recognizing more and more Filipinos up front and center. Game changing shows like Nickelodeon’s ‘Blue’s Clues & You!’ and GMA Pinoy TV’s ‘Becoming Pinoy’ make this happen. When I viewed the episodes of Becoming Pinoy, it was clear that the show was a platform for Filipinos to be seen and heard by cultures other than my own. What an honor it is to have been interviewed by the team. A heart-felt congratulations to all at GMA Pinoy TV and the Becoming Pinoy show. Sige na! Tuloy na tayo, marami pa tayong gagawin!,” Carolyn urged her fellow Filipinos.

“We are grateful to the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA) for giving GMA Pinoy TV this welcome recognition at this year’s Communicator Awards. We, at GMA Pinoy TV, share this victory with our Kapuso abroad as their inspiring stories truly serve as our driving force to create meaningful content that would likewise empower Filipinos all over the world as we are indeed #StrongerTogether no matter the adversity,” said GMA Network First Vice President and Head of International Operations Joseph T. Francia.
GMA Pinoy TV joins a stellar roster of agencies from around the world that have been lauded by the Communicator Awards. Some of the notable organizations include Univision, Tencent TIMI Audio Center, Google (for Accenture), Museum of the City of NY, State of Arizona, HCL, NFL, American Bankers Association, PwC, Comcast Advertising, IBM, and HK Trade Development Council.

Widely recognized as one of the largest awards of its kind in the world, the Communicator Awards is the leading international creative awards program honoring creative excellence for communication professionals. It is organized by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts, the 27th Annual Communicator Awards received over 5,000 entries from ad agencies, interactive agencies, production firms, in-house creative professionals, graphic designers, design firms, and public relations firms.


Originally published: Tuesday, May 04, 2021.

Original source:

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