Next Challenge for A Love to Last: I Heart Davao

It’s another rom-com vs. rom-com starting this Monday.

On GMA, the picturesque setting of Davao will be the focus of this soon-to-air primetime series. Enter ‘I Heart Davao’, the network’s newest offering on the Telebabad block.

In this up-and-coming series, Carla Abellana will play the role of Hope, a heart transplant recipient who goes to Davao in hopes of saving her family’s chocolate business. There, she meets Ponce (Tom Rodriguez), the proud yet pragmatic son of a chocolate haciendero who happens to be the former boyfriend of Hope’s donor.

Unfortunately for the two, their cultural differences and personalities become a challenge as they try to help each other out. It only gets more complicated when Hope’s childhood friend and businessman Paul (Benjamin Alves) arrives on the scene to rekindle their relationship.

According to GMA, 80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao in an effort to highlight the province’s amazing scenery. The network also made good use of the Davaoeño dialect by incorporating speaking lines in the said tongue.

‘I Heart Davao’ will also star Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Ricardo Cepeda, Glenda Garcia, Racquel Villavicencio, Joel Saracho, Geraldine Villamil, Natileigh Sitoy, Kevin Sagra, Philip Lazaro, and Catherine Rem, with special participation by the Davao theater group Cine Madayaw. The series is directed by Marlon N. Rivera.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ should be a must-watch, they will face a very serious challenge from the start. ABS-CBN’s ‘A Love to Last’ is coming off a highly-rated wedding episode between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo), and with latter still raking in episode victories on a consistent basis, the former’s winning aspirations will not be an easy one.

Add to that is the fact that it will be GMA Public Affairs who will shoulder the series’ burden. Considering the division’s many non-news programs that primarily focused on winning awards than ratings, it will not be a surprise to see ‘I Heart Davao’ follow the same path.

In any event, good luck to GMA in making ‘I Heart Davao’ a success. There is no doubt about its potential, but will it be more than enough?

‘I Heart Davao’ airs weeknights after ‘My Love from the Star’ on GMA Telebabad.

Meant to Be Down to Last Five Episodes

The search for ‘the one’ is down to its last week.

In the final week of ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie Forteza) has a choice to make. For the past 118 episodes, Billie’s heart is chased by four men: Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken Chan), Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan Dorschner), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy Raj) and pure-blooded Filipino Andoy (Jak Roberto), and now, she must pick who among the four will fit her best.

In an unprecedented move, GMA asked viewers and fans the same question as Billie. Voting for ‘the one’ took place from June 4 to 18 on GMA’s official website, with each entry qualified for the opportunity to win a Samsung J7 smart phone and a meet-and-greet with the ‘Meant to Be’ cast.

The winner of the poll will be determined throughout the final five episodes of ‘Meant to Be’. That said, viewers must wait with bated breath to see who among their favorites won Billie’s heart.

First aired on January 9, 2017, ‘Meant to Be’ premiered on the same night as its current rival ‘A Love to Last’. But for the first two weeks of its run, ‘Meant to Be’ was pitted against ‘Till I Met You’, the ABS-CBN drama series that starred James Reid and Nadine Lustre.

Luckily for ‘Meant to Be’, they began their run on a strong note, as they took advantage of an underachieving opponent. But once ‘A Love to Last’ moved down to challenge the former, the tables turned against them.

While ‘Meant to Be’ still enjoyed impressive ratings (on average, the series raked in 14% per episode), they were unable to contain ‘A Love to Last”s 18% or better mark. Nevertheless, ‘Meant to Be’ still had some memorable moments that could make Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) say wow, such as Billie’s bikini moment with the boys.

Summer came early for JEYA and Billie! 🔥😍 #MTBBeachBodyReady 📷 : @akosila

A post shared by Barbie Forteza (@barbaraforteza) on

According to Ken Chan on Pep.PH, ‘Meant to Be’ was initially aimed to last six weeks. But the surprisingly positive reception from viewers (notwithstanding its shortcomings against ‘A Love to Last’) extended the series to a mere six months, which is still noteworthy.

As ‘Meant to Be’ enters its final week, the chase for Billie’s heart is on. Regardless of the outcome, viewers and fans alike should be pleased with how this feel-good story turn out.

La Luna Sangre, Third in the Lobo Franchise, Premieres Monday

The third series in the ‘Lobo’ franchise is about to unfold.

Starting Monday, the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will grace the small screen anew in ‘La Luna Sangre’, the third installment in a saga that began with ‘Lobo’ and continued with ‘Imortal’. The new series, which will be set in the world of werewolves and vampires, will also have Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz playing special roles.

Picking up from where ‘Imortal’ left off, ‘La Luna Sangre’ begins with the former’s lead characters Lia (Angel) and Mateo (John Lloyd) now living a simple life as mortal beings. During their transition to normalcy, they raised a daughter named Maila (Kathryn).

Unknown to them, a prophecy called “La Luna Sangre” is about to haunt them. The prophecy says that “the child of the most powerful vampire and the chosen wolf will end the evilness of the vampire imprinted with the cursed ink”.

Shortly after raising Maila, a vampire named Sandrino (Richard Gutierrez) arrived in an attempt to kill Lia and Mateo, and in the process turn Maila over to the dark side. Try as they might, Lia and Mateo have no more powers to save them, and in the end, Maila was orphaned to Sandrino’s world in hopes of fulfilling the prophecy.

But after turning 21, it turns out Maila was still a mortal woman, and she decided to leave the dark side in order to resume her normal life. There, she met and befriended Tristan (Daniel), a young man who seeks to kill one of the vampires that killed his father.

As the story goes along, Maila’s thoughts will be conflicted between vampire hunter Tristan and the dark world she left behind. That said, expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to encounter some twists and turns in this haunting struggle between immortality and justice.

The supporting cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’ will include the likes of Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Desiree del Valle, Niña Dolino, Dino Imperial, Bryan Santos, Ina Raymundo, Nikki Valdez, Mike Agassi, Joross Gamboa, Tony Labrusca and Sue Ramirez. It will be directed by Cathy Garcia Molina and produced by Star Creatives.

If the previous small screen success of KathNiel (and of Cathy Garcia Molina) is any indication, then expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to enjoy a similar path. Still, it will not be easy to follow a pair of popular predecessors in ‘Lobo’ and ‘Imortal’, so let’s see how this upcoming series will unfold in front of millions of viewers.

‘La Luna Sangre’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

Legally Blind Concludes This Friday

So long, ‘Legally Blind’.

The finale of this tension-filled GMA Afternoon Prime drama will air tomorrow afternoon, 83 episodes after the story of blind lawyer Grace (Janine Gutierrez) began. But while its episode total is more than enough by typical teleserye standards, ‘Legally Blind’ proved to be anything but a success.

When ‘Legally Blind’ first premiered, it had to face stiff competition against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Better Half’, an equally dramatic series starring Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, JC de Vera and Denise Laurel. While the former earned some victories against the latter, on average, ‘The Better Half’ scored 15%, 2-3% better than ‘Legally Blind’.

On April 24, 2017, ABS-CBN premiered another kabitserye in ‘Pusong Ligaw’, which stars Beauty Gonzalez, Bianca King, Joem Bascon and Raymond Bagatsing. But instead of replacing ‘The Greatest Love’ in its vacated timeslot, the network decided to place ‘Pusong Ligaw’ opposite ‘Legally Blind’.

As it turned out, ‘Pusong Ligaw’ became even more dominant than ‘The Better Half’ was in its original timeslot. A new opponent spelled doom for ‘Legally Blind’, as ‘Pusong Ligaw”s 18% average ratings were 4-5% better than the former.

It also didn’t help that viewers who watch the surprisingly successful lead-in drama ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ failed to turn out in droves to support ‘Legally Blind’ on a majority of occasions. Such is the cruel fate for GMA’s teleseryes.

Still, for Janine Gutierrez, ‘Legally Blind’ turned out to be a much better outing for her than the short-lived series ‘Once Again’. Notwithstanding its shortcomings in the ratings, its 83-episode run was nothing to be ashamed of.

The finale of ‘Legally Blind’ should be a very gripping one. Now that Grace (Janine) has regained her sight, will justice finally prevail, or will she end up behind bars?

Viewers can only hope that this impending finale will make a lasting impression. This is ‘Legally Blind”s last chance to stand out, and they look to go out with a bang.

UPDATE: For some unknown reason, GMA extended ‘Legally Blind’ for another two weeks. Thus its finale will now be aired on Friday, June 30.

My Dear Heart’s ‘Last Heartbeats’

This is indeed the ‘Last Heartbeat’.

The impending conclusion of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw ABS-CBN promote its final episodes as the ‘Last __ Heartbeats’. And if this is indeed the last heartbeat for Heart Ramos and company, what a way to go.

‘My Dear Heart’ made its way to Primetime Bida’s lineup on January 23, 2017. Although the series is considered a family drama in the mold of other classic series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and ‘Honesto’, the popularity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the early primetime slot forced ABS-CBN to bump ‘My Dear Heart’ to a later time.

Nevertheless, ‘My Dear Heart’ proved to be a ratings success in its own right. The series averaged 28% in the Kantar ratings, with some episodes peaking at 30% or better.

While ‘My Dear Heart’ began its run against the Dingdong Dantes-starred ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, it was against the AlDub-starred ‘Destined to Be Yours’ that defined its tenure. Facing the seemingly formidable love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘My Dear Heart’ dominated the former with relative ease, shocking the entire AlDub Nation in the process.

The final few weeks of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw the series compete against the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. But like Alden and Maine, the duo of Gil Cuerva and Jennylyn Mercado could not overcome Heart’s determination to survive.

Overall, ‘My Dear Heart’ will have logged a total of 103 episodes by the time it ends this Friday. The episode count was very impressive considering the series worked behind ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the pecking order.

Come this week, all eyes are on child star Heart Ramos, whose role as a coma-stricken daughter and angelic spirit captivated viewers throughout the country and around the world. The final episodes of the series will also see how the characters of Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde and Eric Quizon react to Heart’s life-or-death struggle.

The ‘Last Heartbeat’ for ‘My Dear Heart’ is on. As for Heart Ramos, her budding career as a child star has just begun.

Lethal Weapon: ABS-CBN’s Latest Tagalized American Series

ABS-CBN has once again imported an American series and dubbed it in Filipino.

Unfortunately, viewers will not get to see a third season of ‘Jane the Virgin’, whose first two seasons were aired by the network last year with lukewarm results. Instead, ABS-CBN will premiere another American TV series which, based on the title, should be familiar to moviegoers worldwide.

Remember the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series of films? Between 1987 and 1998, the franchise released four films starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh, each of which were commercially successful.

Fast forward to 2016, and the ‘Lethal Weapon’ franchise now has its own TV series. This time, the roles of Martin and Roger were given to Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans respectively.

The ‘Lethal Weapon’ series also stars Jordana Brewster, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Johnathan Fernandez, Michelle Mitchenor, Chandler Kinney and Dante Brown. Recurring cast members include Floriana Lima, Richard Cabral, Tony Plana, Hilarie Burton and Thomas Lennon.

In the United States, ‘Lethal Weapon’ premiered on September 21, 2016, and was aired on FOX. The series was renewed for a second season following a strong performance in the ratings.

But as ‘Lethal Weapon’ makes its way to Philippine free TV, there are some doubts as to whether or not this series will fare well with most Filipino viewers. For starters, the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series is currently aired on Warner TV Philippines, which means some are already familiar with the story.

And considering their unenthusiastic response to ‘Jane the Virgin’, ABS-CBN may have taken a huge risk with this move. While ‘Lethal Weapon’ is only a mere filler for the network in anticipation for yet another franchised reality show (the first season has 18 episodes in total), it only defies the fact that ABS-CBN wanted nothing more than to dominate every chance they get.

That said, the next several Saturdays could see ABS-CBN slip up a bit after a long reign atop the ratings game. ‘Lethal Weapon’ may only be a temporary fix, but a period of losing could be in the offing.

‘Lethal Weapon’ airs every Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ on ABS-CBN.