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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

Here is Part I of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The Return of Tawag ng Tanghalan

‘It’s Showtime’ was on the brink of waving the white flag when rival ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye segment (starring AlDub) became wildly popular in the second half of 2015. So in order to get back on track, they decided to revive a singing competition that was successful in the era of black and white television.

Thus on the second day of 2016, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ was brought back as a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’. The segment would set the tone for ‘It’s Showtime”s renaissance, as it recaptured the ratings lead from ‘Eat Bulaga’ by the third week of January.

Speaking of ‘Eat Bulaga’…

Kalyeserye Concluded, Revived, Then Concluded Again

The long-running Kalyeserye segment had been on a roll since its debut on July 16, 2015. Unfortunately, the return to form of ‘It’s Showtime’, coupled by the presumed seven-month suspension of Paolo Ballesteros (a.k.a. Lola Tidora) and fans’ apparent frustration over repetitive and predictable storylines, led to a decline in popularity for the segment.

Along the way, Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza took time off to record and promote the film ‘Imagine You and Me’. With the desire to push the duo to new territory, ‘Eat Bulaga’ decided to end Kalyeserye on September 3, although they revived the skit from October 15 to December 17 with a new chapter.

Both Alden and Maine are scheduled to star in the upcoming GMA teleserye ‘Destined to Be Yours’ beginning next year, putting Kalyeserye’s future in doubt.

KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine’s Reign on Primetime Continues

ABS-CBN’s ‘Big Three’ love teams continued to roll in 2016. The year began with ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, reigning on the 8:40 timeslot, followed by its replacement ‘Dolce Amore’, starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, which debuted on February 15.

Unfortunately, although James Reid and Nadine Lustre began the year with the highly successful ‘On the Wings of Love’, they failed to keep the momentum going when ‘Till I Met You’ premiered on August 29 to a rather lukewarm reception in the ratings. As a result, on September 19, ABS-CBN moved the series’ timeslot to 9:30 p.m., which eventually paid off.

But for every successful pairing, there are some love teams that did not click at all, as seen in this next entry.

AnBie, AlNine and ElNella: The Lost Love Teams

Barbie Forteza and Andre Paras were paired in the long-running afternoon drama ‘The Half-Sisters’, which finally came to an end on January 15. Two weeks later, they received a primetime push with ‘That’s My Amboy’, but the series ended in late April with just 68 episodes and little fanfare.

Its successor, Aljur Abrenica and Janine Gutierrez’s ‘Once Again’, did not even come close, clocking at only 59 episodes from May to July. Over at ABS-CBN, Janine’s ex-boyfriend Elmo Magalona was paired with Janella Salvador in ‘Born for You’, but the series made little impact either, lasting 65 episodes from June to September.

It remains to be seen if the three love teams will have a chance to redeem themselves next year. But in the meantime, let’s move on.

Sexy Time in 2016

The trend towards sensually mature programs continued in 2016. On ABS-CBN, ‘Pasion de Amor’, ‘Tubig at Langis’ and ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ stood out, with Coleen Garcia, Ellen Adarna, Arci Muñoz, Isabelle Daza and Cristine Reyes emerging to showcase their newfound abilities in a more raunchy setting.

Over on GMA, ‘Sinungaling Mong Puso’, ‘The Millionaire’s Wife’ and ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’ provided a new dimension for stars Rhian Ramos, Andrea Torres and Joyce Ching to show their chops. But perhaps their greatest contributions were ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ and ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, both of which feature a mix of comedy and sensuality.

If 2016 set the tone for more sexual themes with SPG ratings all over the place, then what else is in store come 2017? Find out soon.

In the meantime, Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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It’s Showtime’s Fall and Rebirth Amid the AlDub Saga

What a difference a year makes.

Back on July 16, 2015, viewers of the then-hit noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ were suddenly stunned to see the debut of the popular AlDub tandem on ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Kalyeserye’ segment. Thanks to the split-screen magic between Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was able to win by just 0.2% in the national ratings that day.

The surprising love team took not only the nation, but the entire world by storm. Twitter went abuzz as Alden and Maine exchanged Dubsmash replies through song each and every day, while Lola Nidora (played by Wally Bayola) tried to play it as if it is only fictional in nature.

While the AlDub phenomenon was hitting its stride, ‘It’s Showtime’ tried its best to keep up. They answered the AlDub love team by trying to give Angelica Yap (a.k.a. Pastillas Girl) a new partner in the skit ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’, which did not work out.

The peak of the AlDub fever took place on October 24, when ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ charity concert at the Philippine Arena drew not only 50,000 or so fans, but also millions of viewers around the world. The national ratings reflected that success as well, as ‘Eat Bulaga’ scored a 40.1% rating over ‘It’s Showtime”s 10.2%.

The lopsided ratings could have ended ‘It’s Showtime’ as viewers know it. Instead, they persevered and finally came up with a segment that took the steam out of AlDub.

Enter ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, the 1950s classic singing competition that returned as a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’ on January 2. The premise of the segment was simple: singers must perform well to win, then defend the title the next day against other aspirants from around the country.

Thanks to the presence of the revived TNT, the show gradually rebounded, and by January 11, ‘It’s Showtime’ overtook ‘Eat Bulaga’ for good in the ratings. The aura that once enveloped AlDub on ‘Kalyeserye’ disappeared.

Many factors were given as to why ‘Kalyeserye’ suddenly fell flat. But perhaps the most notable of these was the fact that Maine Mendoza, whose real voice had been withheld from the public for months (except for an interview on ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’), was finally ‘given’ an ability to talk fluently during the ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ concert.

Skits soon became predictable and repetitive, and as a result, viewers who were once part of the AlDub fever were switching back to ‘It’s Showtime’. Even after the July 16 episode in which Alden and Maine celebrated their first anniversary as a couple, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was unable to recapture past glory.

On the other hand, ‘It’s Showtime’ was back to its old entertaining self. They not only have the hit ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment, but also ‘TrabaHula’, a skit where players had to guess the real worker among the four in the audience.

Indeed, the recent dominance of ‘It’s Showtime’ in the first half of the decade is manifesting itself once again. And for Vice Ganda and company, they have no intention of letting it go.

So what’s next for this noontime rivalry? One can only hope that ‘Eat Bulaga’ can find a way to regroup their ‘Kalyeserye’ strategy, otherwise, ‘It’s Showtime’ and TNT will continue to assert their place atop the noontime charts.

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It’s Showtime Brings Back Tawag ng Tanghalan

‘It’s Showtime’ has promised to do things their way this year.

No longer having the desire to oppose the popular Kalyeserye of ‘Eat Bulaga’, ‘It’s Showtime’ decided to clean house to begin the year. One of the changes they implemented was the revival of the iconic ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ singing competition as its main segment.

The original ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ was initially a radio program of the original Bolinao Electronics Corporation (forerunner of ABS-CBN) before making a successful jump to television. During its run in the 1950s and 1960s, the show discovered some of the industry’s future icons, such as Nora Aunor, Pepe Pimentel and Bobot Mortiz.

In the new ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, four contestants face off in hopes of impressing the audience and the judges. The winner will receive P25,000 and may defend his/her crown against other contestants in subsequent episodes, while the runners-up will receive P5,000 as consolation.

In the event that a singer goes out of tune, a gong will be hit to signal the end of their performance. The gong will be operated by Jhong Hilario.

‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ on ‘It’s Showtime’ kicked off last Saturday, with Michelle Arcain of Davao emerging as the first winner of the revived competition. Arcain returned during Monday’s episode, but lost to Israel Alano of Batangas.

The segment is hosted by Vice Ganda, Amy Perez and Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla. The latter two were recently introduced as new co-hosts of ‘It’s Showtime’, and are no stranger to hosting variety shows.

Judges on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will vary each week. This week’s episodes will feature Rey Valera, Rico J. Puno, Bobot Moritz, Nyoy Volante and Yeng Constantino as judges.

After a tough 2015 where ‘It’s Showtime’ plummeted to new lows following the emergence of AlDub, they now begin 2016 with a clean slate. The hope of entertaining the ‘madlang pipol’ the only way they can is something they need to address, and the revived ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ is a good way to start.

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It’s Showtime Finds AlDub Antidote in Pastillas Girl, Or So They Thought

It appears that ‘It’s Showtime’ has found a solution in their battle against ‘Eat Bulaga’ and the AlDub phenomenon.

Enter viral video sensation ‘Pastillas Girl’ (real name Angelica Yap), who has appeared recently in the AdVice Ganda segment (an obvious copycat of ‘Eat Bulaga”s defunct Problem Solving segment). On last Monday’s episode, Yap wanted to know when was the best time to fall in love again after a breakup.

Pastillas Girl’s question followed her revelation Friday in the same segment, where she opened up about her ex-boyfriend falling in love with her best friend. On Monday, the hosts of ‘It’s Showtime’ were willing to find her a new flame, only to see an audience member stand up in hopes of winning the heart of Pastillas Girl.

The audience member wasn’t the only one, though. Thousands on Twitter also volunteered in hopes of earning Pastillas Girl’s love, but in the end, it was Jess Verano Senido who caught their attention, with Vice Ganda going as far as inviting Senido on a future episode just for this chance meeting.

The skit became the top national and global trending topic on Twitter, outtrending the ‘Kalyeserye’ segment where Alden Richards and Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza regained their ‘kilig’ ways. For ‘It’s Showtime’, it was a rare victory against the AlDub phenomenon.

Not all were pleased with the segment, however. Some thought it was an imitation of the ‘Kalyeserye’ that AlDub popularized, as ‘It’s Showtime’ attempted to create a similarly spontaneous and unexpected love team with Pastillas Girl.

Still, it was good to see ‘It’s Showtime’ regain some measure of confidence. But whether or not the Pastillas Girl segments will result in improved ratings remains to be seen.

Until then, AlDub remains on top for now, unless ‘It’s Showtime’ finds a way to make good use of Pastillas Girl.

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