comedy, entertainment, game show, humor, Philippines, television

Endangered Specie: Celebrity Bluff’s Status in Doubt

Is this the end for ‘Celebrity Bluff’?

Last Saturday marked the season finale of this celebrated GMA game show. But ‘Celebrity Bluff’ as it truly was effectively ended two years ago following its first four years on the air.

The first run of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ began on November 17, 2012 and ended on February 20, 2016. The original trio of Eugene Domingo, Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo immediately clicked with viewers, and ‘Celebrity Bluff’ became a worthy and oftentimes popular adversary amid the dominance of franchised reality and talent shows from ABS-CBN.

Even as Wally was replaced by Boobay and Isko ‘Brod Pete’ Salvador and Jose left for other commitments, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ remained a force to be reckoned with on Saturday nights. The show also received some accolades along the way, including two PMPC Star Awards for Best Game Show.

The death of director Uro dela Cruz in February 2016 forced ‘Celebrity Bluff’ to take a long break after 12 consecutive seasons on the air. Then on June 3, 2017, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ got underway, this time with Edu Manzano as one of the ‘bluffers’ and Rico Gutierrez as the director.

Unfortunately, this latest season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ failed to capture the magic of the previous 12 seasons. Once averaging around 12-13% in the ratings during its first four years, the most recent incarnation of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ only managed ratings of around 6-7% per episode.

It also did not help that Edu Manzano was a bad fit to the ensemble. In March, Manzano left ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in order to join ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’, leaving Eugene, Boobay, Brod Pete and some guest ‘bluffers’ to hold the fort.

Suffice to say, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ was doomed to fail this time around. The once-colorful game show had lost its luster.

So what does the future hold for ‘Celebrity Bluff’? Considering the poor performance of its most recent season, perhaps GMA should just retire the show for good and concentrate on a new concept.

If they intend to resuscitate ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in the near future, the only recourse is to convince Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo to return to the show. After all, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ reached its peak with Eugene, Wally and Jose at the forefront.

But for all intents and purposes, consider ‘Celebrity Bluff’ an endangered specie that borders between cancellation and renewal. For now, the show is on hiatus, and unless GMA decides to give it another shot, this hiatus may become permanent after all.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Tawag ng Tanghalan 2 Finale Scores Big, But Not Big Enough

Talk about a complete turnaround.

Saturday’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ finale on ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ scored a whopping 31% in the Kantar ratings. On the other hand, GMA’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ earned a paltry 9.5% as it tried to keep up with Seen-A-Like, Sing-A-Like, Guhit Bulaga and other promotional gimmicks.

The finale of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ saw 16-year-old Janine Berdin outlast five other aspiring singers to win P2 million, a house and lot and a management contract among other prizes. Her final piece saw her belt out a medley of hits from Bamboo, which immediately trended on social media and received millions of views on YouTube.

Despite the blowout win, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan”s 31% rating was still a far cry from the 40.1% rating of ‘Eat Bulaga”s Sa Tamang Panahon in 2015. Nevertheless, ‘It’s Showtime’ should be more than satisfied with the finale’s ratings considering the segment’s consistently strong performance since its 2016 debut.

For now, though, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will not continue after a run of over two years (this includes two adult editions and a kids’ edition). Instead, ‘It’s Showtime’ will devote its time to a couple of other segments such as Miss Q&A and Mini Me.

But without ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ to hold the fort, it remains to be seen if ‘It’s Showtime’ will remain a winner despite the temporary hiatus of its most popular segment. That said, an imposing challenge awaits this noontime show as it tries to pick up the pieces post-‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

As for ‘Eat Bulaga’, there is nothing to worry about its poor ratings that day. Considering the show has no chance of pulling off the upset, the best that they did was to reveal a couple of old tricks to satisfy its loyal fanbase (being a show that is nearing 39 years old, it looks like they have nothing left to prove).

Oh, and one more thing: stop putting Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together once and for all. With all due respect to AlDub Nation, they have outlived their usefulness as a love team (in fact, Maine already said that she and Alden were only friends and not in a relationship) and they should be better off thriving on their own.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

Eat Bulaga’s Suffer Sireyna Problem

Super Sireyna and Suffer Sireyna will forever be synonymous to one another.

Super Sireyna had been a recurring segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ for the past several years. The segment invites transgender men to compete in a beauty pageant akin to the more prestigious Binibining Pilipinas contest, and each contestant had to assume the persona of a particular female celebrity, whether local or foreign.

Suffer Sireyna, on the other hand, was introduced as a response to Super Sireyna by host Joey de Leon. First held in 2014, the segment involves ordinary but mostly ugly men dressed in drag (with a corresponding pseudonym to mock a particular celebrity) that were forced to compete in ridiculous challenges (hence the word ‘suffer’).

While the Suffer Sireyna segment had been mostly entertaining, not all were pleased by its mocking depiction of ordinary men with obvious physical flaws. Nearly four years ago, John Ryan Mendoza of Outrage Magazine criticized Suffer Sireyna for parading the candidates as ‘freaks for the whole country to laugh at’.

When Suffer Sireyna returned earlier this year, another critic stepped in and picked up from where Mendoza left off. Facebook user Alwyn Ignacio commented on the matter, saying that it is not funny and is disrespectful to the LGBT community.

TAPE Inc., the producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’, have not responded in kind to either Mendoza’s or Ignacio’s post. Regardless, it is one thing to take pride towards the LGBT community, but it is another thing to degrade and make fools out of them for the sake of entertainment.

For a noontime show that has nothing left to prove after nearly 39 years of unparalleled success, Suffer Sireyna may probably go down as one of its weakest points. No matter how entertaining and engaging this segment is, it is clear that the LGBT community is not happy with what Suffer Sireyna is doing (unless you’re Allan K or Paolo Ballesteros).

This Saturday, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will hold the next stage of Suffer Sireyna competition under the name Suffer Sireyna Intergalactic (a mock response to Super Sireyna Worldwide). If this is the ‘end’ as Joey de Leon claims for the segment, then one can hope for a good riddance.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Since I Found You to Air on Primetime Bida Tonight

It seems like romantic comedies on Primetime Bida are a bad fit.

Over the last two years, the fourth slot of Primetime Bida was dominated by romcoms, yet despite winning in the ratings, viewers were left unsatisfied and bored over the direction ABS-CBN took. One commenter even went so far as labeling these evening romantic comedies as ‘antok-seryes’.

Last year, ABS-CBN went the more serious route and aired ‘The Good Son’ on the fourth slot. Somehow it worked; the series averaged around 20% and viewers were once again invested into its heart-wrenching and heavy storyline, a far cry from the romance and good vibes of its predecessors.

However, ABS-CBN decided to replace ‘The Good Son’ with yet another romantic comedy. Only this time, it will feature an unlikely love team.

Remember the movie ‘Kita Kita’ starring Empoy and Alessandra de Rossi? After the surprising success of the film, ABS-CBN will look to capitalize on the popularity of AlEmpoy by giving them a more prominent role in the upcoming series ‘Since I Found You’.

Also starring Piolo Pascual, JC de Vera and Arci Muñoz, ‘Since I Found You’ features the story of five individuals whose lives soon change in a heartbeat. The lead characters are as follows:

  • Nathan (Piolo), an accomplished businessman and boss of a construction company, is charismatic and good-looking yet employees are scared of his strict leadership.
  • Dani (Arci), the company practicumer, soon falls in love with Nathan.
  • Ginno (JC), Nathan’s assistant, becomes Dani’s own boss, but later on shows some affection for her.
  • Janice (Alessandra), Nathan’s secretary, also expresses her feelings towards Nathan.
  • James (Empoy), the company driver and comic relief, has a crush on Janice even as she constantly rejects him.

The cast of ‘Since I Found You’ will also include Carmi Martin, John Lapus, Vivoree Esclito, Isabel Oli, Cholo Barretto, and Michael de Mesa. It will be directed by Antoinette Jadaone.

If the performance of more recent primetime romantic comedies is of any indication, then ‘Since I Found You’ is in for a real challenge. Anything more than 20% in the ratings is vindication for the genre, but anything less than that is deemed a failure even if it still wins.

The ball is now on ABS-CBN’s court to prove its doubters wrong. Good luck.

‘Since I Found You’ airs weeknights after ‘Bagani’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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comedy, humor, Philippines, television

Ogie Added to Home Sweetie Home, Now Up Against Bitoy Every Saturday

From co-stars to opponents.

Ogie Alcasid and Michael V were the faces of ‘Bubble Gang’ for a majority of the show’s run. Many of ‘Bubble Gang”s most memorable skits were focused on the two men, whether it is Yaya and Angelina, Cheche Bureche, Pickup Lines or the Sexballs boy group.

However, Ogie moved on from ‘Bubble Gang’ and GMA in 2013, and after a three-year spell with the then-TV5, he joined ABS-CBN last year. Yet despite gaining prominence as an occasional performer on ‘ASAP’, as well as composer and judge on several ABS-CBN talent shows, the itch to rekindle those comedic chops soon got the best of him.

Earlier this week, ABS-CBN announced that Ogie Alcasid would be added to the cast of the sitcom ‘Home Sweetie Home’. Ogie’s role in the sitcom will be similar to what Jodi Sta. Maria (‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’) and Erich Gonzales (‘The Blood Sisters’) do: that of playing at least two different characters.

In ‘Home Sweetie Home’, Ogie plays fraternal twins Ireneo (or Neo) and Irenea. Neo is the childhood friend of Julie (Toni Gonzaga) who soon invests on the Walang Kapares pastry shop and restaurant, while Irenea becomes JP’s (Piolo Pascual) love interest.

With the addition of Ogie Alcasid to ‘Home Sweetie Home’, a very interesting subplot develops. ‘Home Sweetie Home”s archrival ‘Pepito Manaloto’ stars Michael V, and his former ‘Bubble Gang’ co-stars in Ogie and Rufa Mae Quinto now find themselves on the opposite side of the fence.

But don’t expect this rivalry to be a fierce one. In fact, off the camera, Ogie, Bitoy and Rufa Mae remain friendly to each other despite their different network allegiances.

Already one of ABS-CBN’s top-rated programs on Saturday nights, ‘Home Sweetie Home’ could only get better with the entry of one of the Philippines’ most versatile talents. Still, it will be interesting to see how Ogie’s addition will spice up this popular sitcom.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

Still Undisputed: Gandang Gabi Vice Claims Another Victim

‘Bossing & Ai’ was cancelled by GMA after only 20 episodes and low ratings opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, no one can stop ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’.

The latest victim of this ABS-CBN Sunday night talk show was ‘Bossing & Ai’, a game show/talk show hosted by Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas. Following its last episode on February 4, GMA quietly cancelled the program without any explanation.

First premiered on September 24, ‘Bossing & Ai’ marked Vic Sotto’s first foray into late-night television after years of producing primetime sitcoms. It also became his first television project with Ai-ai delas Alas following a string of box-office films.

From the moment it first aired, however, it became clear that ‘Bossing & Ai’ was destined to fail. The program only mustered an average of 6% in the Kantar ratings whereas ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ scored around 11%.

The mismatch between ‘Bossing & Ai’ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ was of no surprise considering that ‘Eat Bulaga’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ are also running in the same vein in recent years. It can also be said that Vice Ganda has had Vic Sotto’s number on television unlike in the Metro Manila Film Festival where the two comedy legends seem to be evenly matched.

Overall, ‘Bossing & Ai’ only aired a total of 20 episodes. While it was still eight episodes better than ‘Pare & Pare’ and nine more than ‘Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To’, the run of ‘Bossing & Ai’ remains short by GMA’s standards.

After the cancellation of ‘Bossing & Ai’, GMA reverted back to airing ‘Sunday Night Box Office’ opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ (with occasional airings of Manny Pacquiao’s drama anthology ‘Stories for the Soul’ in between). Perhaps this is their last resort considering the numerous shows that failed against Vice Ganda’s talk show.

It remains to be seen whether or not GMA will once again try to beat ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ with a program of their own. But if ‘Bossing & Ai’ is definitely the last straw, then what a way to wave the white flag of surrender and concede to an unbeatable opponent.

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