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

In 100 Words: Eat Bulaga Set to Move to a New Studio

The inevitable is about to happen.

‘Eat Bulaga’ announced Saturday that they are expected to move to a new studio anytime next month (dubbed ‘lipat bahay’ in the teasers). The new studio, aptly named the APT Studio (after ‘Eat Bulaga’ producer Tony Tuviera), is located at Marcos Highway in Marikina.

This will mark the fourth time that ‘Eat Bulaga’ moved to a different studio, and the first to be independently funded. The program previously occupied the following studios:

  • Broadcast City Studios (1979-88; with RPN-9)
  • Celebrity Sports Plaza (1988-89; with RPN-9)
  • Dolphy Theater (1989-95; with ABS-CBN)
  • Broadway Centrum (1995-2018; with GMA)

Broadway Centrum is expected to be demolished shortly after ‘Eat Bulaga”s move to the APT studio. It will be replaced by a high-rise condominium unit developed by Megaworld’s Empire East Holdings.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Take It Back: PNP, DILG Express Support to Ang Probinsyano in Joint Statement

The threat has been retracted, for now.

A week after the Philippine National Police and the Department of the Interior and Local Government expressed concern over ‘Ang Probinsyano”s supposed unfair portrayal of the police force, a joint statement was issued following a meeting Wednesday between the DILG and ABS-CBN executives. Here is the full statement.

“ABS-CBN and the Department of Interior and Local Government met yesterday (Nov. 21) in Camp Crame and resolved the issues related to the program “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.” It was a fruitful dialogue wherein both parties were thankful for the chance to express their views directly to each other.

The PNP stated the importance of the support and respect of the people to its organization, while recognizing ABS-CBN’s freedom to create and convey the story of the program.

For its part, ABS-CBN assured them that the program will continue to portray Cardo Dalisay as a police officer with integrity, who is dedicated to serve and protect the people.

The DILG, including its attached agency the Philippine National Police, will continue to support “FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” as it continues to inspire Filipinos with the valuable lesson that in the end, good will always triumph over evil.”

It can be recalled that PNP chief Oscar Albayalde criticized ‘Ang Probinsyano’ for its unfair portrayal of the police force, something that the DILG initially agreed upon. In response ABS-CBN said that “all elements in the series are purely fictitious as stated in the disclaimer in the beginning of each episode” and that “they have no intention to smear the reputation of any person or organization.”

DILG undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said that the meeting was simply set up to explain the two parties’ views to each other and that there was no mention of any changes to the plot. In the meantime, ABS-CBN executives are currently considering a meeting with PNP chief Oscar Albayalde to similarly iron out this situation.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Not a Good Sign: The Declining Interest of Late-Morning Dramas on Philippine Television

‘Playhouse’ is only averaging around 13% in the ratings, a far cry from past late-morning teleseryes aired on ABS-CBN. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

There was a time when late-morning teleseryes on television were a thing in this decade.

It started in 2012 when the unlikely pairing of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap took off with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. The series became an immediate hit, reaching ratings of as high as 27%, and ran for over two years.

From then on, ABS-CBN kept the wheel rolling, airing either romantic comedies such as ‘Oh My G!’, ‘Be My Lady’ and ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ or kid-oriented tear-jerkers like ‘Ningning’ and ‘Langit Lupa’. ABS-CBN even tried to get serious for once with the triathlon-themed ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

But in the past several months, late-morning dramas began to lose viewer interest. By August, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ slumped to around 13-15% in the ratings (this despite having Jodi and Richard in the series), and this decline only continued through its successor ‘Playhouse’.

Over on GMA, the network already waved the white flag at the start of the month. Their most recent local late-morning drama, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, was cancelled last November 2, and after only two weeks, GMA moved the Koreanovela ‘Woman of Dignity’ to an earlier timeslot due to poor ratings.

Prior to that, GMA tried to counter ABS-CBN with their own dramas that were either self-produced or under the TAPE Inc. production team. Unfortunately for GMA, each of their dramas backfired, with the likes of ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ ending after only two or three months.

While ABS-CBN continues to claim victory over this timeslot, the declining ratings of ‘Playhouse’ is something that should cause a lot of concern to the network. If the 13% ratings are of any indication, then there must be something wrong.

Either that viewers are getting tired of watching too much of the same thing, that the story in itself lacked substance and originality, that the cast is boring, or that they just can’t wait for ‘It’s Showtime’ to start. Whatever the case, it is up to ABS-CBN to regroup and see what needs to be corrected.

It is too early to tell if this will spell the end for Filipino late-morning dramas. That said, one can only hope that a turnaround in fortune is imminent, but if this spell continues, then a programming reboot is necessary.

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digital television, movies, online, Philippines, television, video on demand, VOD service

iWhat?: iWant Encounters Loading Issues Upon Launch

The new iWant is off to a rather inauspicious start.

Hours into its highly anticipated launch last November 17, iWant encountered a temporary slowdown caused by high volume of users. Many of them downloaded the new iWant in order to watch some of its new and original content, which included the hotly-discussed film ‘Glorious’ featuring a viral kissing scene involving lead stars Angel Aquino and Tony Labrusca.

In response, iWant issued a statement saying that they are increasing capacity in order to meet the demands of its users. As of 10:00 p.m., the iWant app is now updated to version 4.0.2.

iWant also reported that the app now has over one million downloads and is used by over 10,000 users per hour. But with so many consumers knocking on the door, it was clear that ABS-CBN is not prepared for such high demand.

If the old iWant TV was smooth sailing to watch at times, then the same cannot be said to its successor. With some additional content such as the aforementioned original films and music to complement on-demand programs, films and live streams, ABS-CBN’s digital team found themselves in a conundrum over the possible increase in consumer demand.

Suffice to say, they failed to anticipate what took place next. And unfortunately for users of iWant (myself included), they took notice by bombarding iWant’s social media pages with plenty of complaints.

This is already the third day of iWant’s official operations and so far the ‘temporary slowdown’ that was revealed Saturday continues to linger. Even I began to question the capabilities of the new iWant, especially after my attempt to watch ANC’s live stream was constantly disrupted despite enjoying a strong internet connection.

Call it growing pains or simply impatience. For now, ABS-CBN’s digital team is working round the clock to improve and increase the capacity of iWant, but this is going to be a painful ordeal, so users must wait and see what happens in the next several days.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ang Probinsyano’s Latest Threat: PNP and DILG

It has been a mostly smooth-sailing run for ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’, until now.

Earlier this week, the Philippine National Police, led by Director General Oscar Albayalde, criticized ‘Ang Probinsyano’ for its supposed unfair portrayal of the police force. This led to the PNP withdrawing any further support to the long-running ABS-CBN action series.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) also sided with the PNP’s opinion on the show and considered filing legal charges against the producers of ‘Ang Probinsyano’. In response, ABS-CBN issued this statement.

“FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano” assures the Philippine National Police (PNP) that the characters, places, and incidents in the program are purely fictitious as stated in the disclaimer aired at the start of the show every night. There is no intention to smear the reputation of any organization or portray any person in a negative light.

The program has also portrayed its main character, Cardo, as a hardworking police officer dedicated to saving lives and serving his fellowmen. As in the past years, “FPJAP” has highlighted that good shall always triumph over evil and has shared valuable lessons and family values that have resonated with viewers.

— Kane Errol Choa

Head, Integrated Corporate Communications

Senator Grace Poe, Gabriela, Jasmine Curtis-Smith and the group Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) sided with ABS-CBN over the matter and chided the PNP and DILG over its perceived censorship of the series. Meanwhile, DILG secretary Eduardo Año would seek a meeting with the MTRCB and ABS-CBN executives regarding the matter.

As of November 16, 2018, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has aired 813 episodes and is the highest-rated primetime series in the country with an average of 40% in the ratings. But with this latest issue facing the show, it appears as though its dominance may soon taper.

At this point, viewers of the show can only hope against the inevitability of cancellation should the PNP and DILG file and perhaps win its case against ‘Ang Probinsyano’. If that happens, it may become a repeat of ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’ getting banned from television under the Marcos regime, and it will be utter humiliation for media freedom.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Cain at Abel: Ang Probinsyano’s 11th Challenger

Coco Martin finds a familiar challenger yet again.

The last time Dingdong Dantes took on Coco Martin”s top-rating series ‘Ang Probinsyano’, he was unable to overcome said juggernaut. Dingdong’s ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ (season 2) only lasted a month before it was demoted to a later timeslot.

Now he teams up with Dennis Trillo in a new primetime series ‘Cain at Abel’. And in the lead-up to the series premiere, Dingdong himself conceded that ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is in a different league altogether and his only objective for ‘Cain at Abel’ is to keep loyal Kapuso viewers happy and excited regardless of ratings performance.

From GMA’s Public Relations team:

“‘Cain at Abel’ is an action-family drama about two brothers, Daniel (Dingdong) and Miguel (Dennis), who grew up in two very different worlds. As children, they were separated by fate. Daniel was raised comfortably in the city by his father. Miguel, on the other hand, was taken by his mother who later changed his name to Elias. They relocated to a poor fishing village where they struggled to make ends meet.

Years later, Daniel and Miguel/Elias were drawn together by their mutual affections: the father who brought them apart, the mother they yearn for, and the woman they both love.”

Solenn Heussaff (Abigail) and Sanya Lopez (Margaret) will play the respective love interests of Daniel and Miguel/Elias. The rest of the cast includes Eddie Gutierrez, Chanda Romero, Dina Bonnevie, Ronnie Henares, Tommy Abuel, Bing Pimentel, Renz Fernandez, Ervic Vijandre, Marc Abaya, Carlo Gonzalez, Boy 2 Quizon, Pauline Mendoza, Vince Vandorpe, Shyr Valdez, Leandro Baldemor, and Euwenn Aleta.

For the first few episodes of ‘Cain at Abel’, Yasmien Kurdi, Diana Zubiri, Gio Alvarez, Rafael Rosell, David Remo, Seth dela Cruz, and Ashley Cabrera will appear as younger versions of the lead characters. It will be directed by Don Michael Perez, Toto Natividad, and Mark Reyes.

If Dingdong’s prognostication were to be believed, it is clear that defeating ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is out of the question. The long-running series, as Dingdong said, is ‘in a different league’ now and for ‘Cain at Abel’ the aim now is to just make Kapuso viewers entertained.

So much for the ‘rivalry’. Anyway, good luck to ‘Cain at Abel’ as it gets underway this Monday.

‘Cain at Abel’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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