entertainment, fantasy, Japan, Korea, Philippines, suspense, television

A Halloween Special: GMA’s Dark, Cruel, and Twisted Weekends

Call it one scary Halloween this year for the folks at GMA.

For much of 2014, GMA has been airing not one, but two horror series every weekend. Anyone who became a fan of both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ must have their hairs raised from all that fear.

Both series have one thing in common: they air nothing but Far Eastern (particularly Korean and Japanese) horror flicks. In addition, both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ occupy the mid-afternoon slots.

These two series were symbolic of how bad GMA’s programming has been through the past several years. Both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ were considered inferior efforts on the part of GMA to stay relevant on weekends, and had no answers to rival ABS-CBN’s programs.

There was a time when GMA used to rule the weekends. Those who grew up in the ‘glory days’ of the network must have heard of shows like ‘Kakabakaba’ and ‘Wag Kukurap’, two locally-produced shows that once helped GMA win the ratings war against its ABS-CBN counterparts like ‘Oka Tokat’ and ‘Nginiig’.

That was then. Now, it looks like the ghosts of programs’ past are beginning to haunt them.

Case in point: the movie-infested daytime slot (e.g. ‘GMA Blockbusters’) on Sundays. Why? Because they are too repetitive and are overly dubbed in the Filipino language, in the process scaring away viewers at every turn.

For GMA executives, the fear of being upstaged by an archrival is real. Whereas before they had the ability to counter and outdo what ABS-CBN is doing, now it seems like they are hiding away from it.

As Halloween approaches, the mood inside the Timog headquarters appear dark and frightening. And for those who know all too well about GMA’s programming every weekends, there is always a reason to feel scared.

Announcement: From the Tube will take a break from October 31 to November 3, in observance of Halloween and All Saints’ Day. The U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 songs for November 8 will posted on November 4.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Homecoming for Jolina and Maxene That Further Hurts GMA

Jolina Magdangal returned to ABS-CBN after 12 years with GMA. Magdangal blossomed as a Kapamilya artist during her teen years. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN Official Facebook)

It only gets worse for GMA and its roster of artists.

Yesterday, ABS-CBN confirmed that homegrown star and former Kapuso talent Jolina Magdangal has rejoined the network for a reunion project with fellow ‘laking Kapamilya’ Marvin Agustin. Their project, ‘Flordeliza’, is expected to premiere on the first week of December as a late-morning romantic series.

This was after Magdangal teased a return to her original network back in July, when she visited the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center in Quezon City.

Magdangal blossomed under the watch of Star Magic’s Johnny Manahan, appearing in shows such as ‘Ang TV’, ‘Gimik’, ‘Labs Ko si Babe’ and ‘Arriba Arriba’, and in movies like ‘Hey Babe’, ‘Labs Kita, Okey Ka Lang?’ and ‘Gimik: The Reunion’. Her initial team-up with Marvin Agustin became highly popular among adoring fans.

But after departing ABS-CBN for GMA in 2002, Magdangal was gradually reduced to a mere bit player. While she was given major roles in shows like ‘I LUV NY’, ‘Unang Hirit’ and ‘Iglot’, she was increasingly upstaged by GMA’s own homegrown artists, particularly those who blossomed after ‘StarStruck’.

This was in contrast to another returning Kapamilya artist, who will be seen in an upcoming project late this year.

For Maxene Magalona, a return to ABS-CBN opened a new opportunity. After all, while she began her career as an ‘Ang TV’ kid, it was on GMA where her career truly blossomed, beginning with the long-running sitcom ‘Daddy Di Do Du’.

Maxene later proved her worth as a villain in various Kapuso teleseryes, particularly in the afternoon block. Her last project with GMA was ‘Mga Basang Sisiw’, which aired for much of last year.

Her recent guestings on shows like ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘The Singing Bee’ were simply a hint of things to come, though she has yet to specify which project she will work on.

The departures of both Magdangal and Magalona proved to be another blow on the part of GMA’s artist roster. For a network who’s becoming increasingly overdependent on its older but still serviceable stars, this is a bitter pill to swallow, considering the lack of development among its younger artists.

That said, expect more of GMA’s disgruntled stars to leave and find opportunities in other networks. And for the leadership group in both the entertainment and talent divisions, it is time for a change, all in hopes of regaining lost credibility among loyal viewers.

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action, drama, entertainment, lifestyle, Philippines, Taiwan, television

Remembering Sunday Chinese Theater on RPN-9

Before there were Asianovelas on the big networks, and before the news invaded RPN-9 (now 9TV), there was ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’.

During the 1990s, RPN-9 aired the said program block at around 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. As the title suggests, the program featured Chinese drama series that were undubbed and with little edits.

‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ primarily catered to the Chinese Filipino community, considered as one of the largest ethnic groups in the country.

One of the more popular Chinese dramas aired on ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ happen to be ‘Justice Bao’, whose title sequence was iconic among older television viewers.

The series focused on the legend of Bao Zheng, a Chinese government official during the Song Dynasty. Bao was instrumental in upholding justice and honesty in ancient China, while punishing various erring citizens for their troublesome deeds.

‘Justice Bao’ lasted 236 episodes in total, and ran for much of 1993 in Taiwan. RPN would later air the series during the mid-to-late 90s, after which ABC-5 (now TV5) picked up the series (as ‘Judge Bao’) and aired it from 2007-08, albeit dubbed in Filipino.

In addition to ‘Justice Bao’ and other Chinese dramas, ‘Sunday Drama Theater’ also aired a cooking show hosted by the legendary Fu Pei-mei. Older viewers should recall the famous banner written in Chinese characters as part of its set.

Fu’s cooking show was aired to close out ‘Sunday Drama Theater’ for several years. And along the way, thousands of dishes were featured and created thanks large part of Fu’s iconic wok.

After its initial run on RPN-9, ABS-CBN picked up the series and aired them after ‘Honey, Watch Out’ on Saturday mornings. Both Fu’s cooking show and ‘Honey, Watch Out’, like ABC-5’s airing of ‘Justice Bao’, were dubbed in Filipino (see example of a Tagalized version of Fu’s cooking show above).

Today, undubbed Chinese programs are now seen on the Chinese Entertainment Channel (CEC), which is exclusive to SkyCable subscribers.

Gone but not forgotten, ‘Sunday Chinese Theater’ will always be identified among RPN-9’s best shows. For any kid who used to channel surf in the 90s, looking at a bearded Chinese judge wielding a stick and a chef tossing her ingredients in a steel wok for a few moments will always be remembered in their minds, and in their hearts forever.

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entertainment, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

The Voice PH Returns, Poses Huge Challenge to Bet ng Bayan

A new challenger awaits ‘Bet ng Bayan’ this Sunday.

The second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ will air starting October 26 and every weekend thereafter on ABS-CBN. The popular reality singing show will replace ‘I Do’, whose finale is set tomorrow night.

The first season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, which ran from June 15 to September 29, 2013, was won by Team Lea’s Mitoy Yonting. A spinoff, ‘The Voice Kids’, ran from May 24 to July 27, 2014, and was won by Team Sarah’s Lyca Gairanod.

Returning as judges for season 2 will be Sarah Geronimo, apl.de.ap, Bamboo Manalac and Lea Salonga. Toni Gonzaga and Luis Manzano will reprise their roles as hosts, while Robi Domingo and Alex Gonzaga will join as its ‘V-reporters’.

Since it premiered in June of last year, ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ became one of ABS-CBN’s highest-rated programs. TVPH season 1 finished in the top five in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen, with ratings usually hovering over 20% or better.

The success of the show (and its spinoff ‘The Voice Kids’) was so tremendous that GMA’s attempts to tweak their programming on weekends always backfire. Not even the entry of ‘Marian’ helped GMA’s dire weekend situation.

Perhaps due to apparent jealousy over ABS-CBN’s reality show success, GMA finally decided to create their own talent show, which became ‘Bet ng Bayan’.

Nevertheless, GMA’s weekend problems continued even with their latest creation on board. ‘Bet ng Bayan’ was pitted against ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, easily GMA’s biggest weekend threat, and as expected, the former struggled in the ratings.

Without a Saturday show to begin with (‘Bet ng Bayan’ has a 15-minute recap show on weeknights instead), it is clear that ‘Bet ng Bayan”s chances against ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ won’t be any better. Considering TVPH’s overwhelming ratings success in Season 1, it will be a very daunting task for GMA to overcome this juggernaut.

The season premiere of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ should give GMA every reason to fear. Better act now, or else.

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hits, music, songs, United States

Billboard Hot 100 – November 1, 2014

Here are the Top 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of November 1, 2014.

1. Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass. No. 1 last week.

2. Taylor Swift – Shake It Off. No. 2 last week.

3. Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj – Bang Bang. No. 5 last week.

4. Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora – Black Widow. No. 3 last week.

5. Tove Lo – Habits (Stay High). No. 4 last week.

6. Jeremih feat. YG – Don’t Tell ‘Em. No. 6 last week.

7. Maroon 5 – Animals. No. 7. last week.

8. Sam Smith – Stay With Me. No. 9 last week.

9. Bobby Shmurda – Hot Boy. No. 10 last week.

10. Ed Sheeran – Don’t. No. 13 last week.

All videos of the Top 10 songs can be viewed above. Our thanks to Billboard for this week’s Hot 100 Top 10.

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hits, music, Philippines, radio, songs

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM Reloaded

Retro 105.9 DCG-FM has a new look, in the on-air department that is.

On the morning of October 20, a new but familiar voice took over Retro 105.9’s morning slot. King DJ Logan, last heard on Wave 891, was brought in to host ‘The Morning Show of Mass Destruction’, alongside a retainee from the now-defunct ‘The Breakfast Club’, Karen.

This is a risky hire for Retro 105.9 because of King DJ Logan’s past reputation as a loudmouth and a magnet of controversy. But then again, he remains an iconic and legendary name on radio that his addition to the Retro 105.9 staff was just too good to pass up.

Plus, he is a definite improvement over JJ Sparx, who never clicked with listeners during his stint in the mornings.

Another new hire on Retro 105.9 was Sgt. Pepper, formerly of Magic 89.9 and 103 1/2 Max FM. Pepper took over the evening slot on October 20, replacing Joey Pizza.

The brains behind the now-famous ‘Friday Madness’ on Magic 89.9, Pepper is no stranger to Retro 105.9 listeners, having previously guested on Triggerman’s ‘Saturday Retro Onstage’.

Like King DJ Logan, a name as memorable as Sgt. Pepper is just too irresistable for the bosses at Retro 105.9.

A new station manager also surfaced on the station. Cris Cruise (real name Cris Hermosisima) replaced JJ Sparx (real name Jonathan Jabson) in the task of creating Retro 105.9’s signature playlist, among other roles.

The new hires were teased during the weekend in various online forums. Meanwhile Retro 105.9 went on music automation as part of its latest realignment.

Effective October 20, this is now the current schedule of DJs on Retro 105.9 during weekdays:

6:00 a.m. – King DJ Logan & Karen (‘The Morning Show of Mass Destruction’)

10:00 a.m. – Joshua

2:00 p.m. – Jimmy Jam

6:00 p.m. – Sgt. Pepper

10:00 p.m. – Andy Tuna

2:00 a.m. – Music automation

As for Triggerman, Rudolph Rivera and Joey Pizza, they are slated to come on board during weekends. Their on-air times will be determined this Saturday.

It’s been over seven months since Retro 105.9 DCG-FM was launched, and so far, their flexible and deep playlist has been well-received by listeners. What they needed now are on-air talent to back up these positive vibes, and with the hirings of King DJ Logan, Sgt. Pepper and Cris Cruise, it looks like they made a wise and honest decision to improve their staff.

It remains to be seen if these new hires will help the station attract more listeners, but for now, it’s best to give them some time before they are finally get used to being ‘retro-fied’.

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