drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television, variety show

It’s Showtime Going Overtime Not a Good Sign for ABS-CBN

Overtime has become a trend for ‘It’s Showtime’ of late.

The ABS-CBN noontime show normally runs for three hours at best. But in recent episodes, ‘It’s Showtime’ went beyond that allotted time duration and ended up lasting for another 20-30 minutes (see most recent episode video below).

As a result, the rest of ABS-CBN’s lineup wound up airing at a later timeslot than they usually do. Not a good sign for a network that prides itself for excellence and consistency from morning till night.

Take for instance, ‘TV Patrol’. ABS-CBN’s flagship newscast usually begins at 6:28 p.m., but because of ‘It’s Showtime”s extended run, it was now pushed to 6:45 p.m.

While its ratings were not affected at the moment, many feared that the late start of ‘TV Patrol’ could push more viewers to switch to GMA’s ’24 Oras’. And worse, the longer-than-expected run of ‘It’s Showtime’ could give GMA Afternoon Prime (or at a lesser extent ‘Eat Bulaga’) a much-improved spike in its ratings.

‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ may be ‘It’s Showtime”s most popular segment right now (and the one that essentially ended AlDub as a formidable tandem), but the unnecessary banter could drag the noontime show’s viewership down. And the fact that ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ runs opposite ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is perhaps the biggest concern coming out of ABS-CBN management.

No offense to Vice Ganda and company, but the trio of Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion is having ‘It’s Showtime”s number, particularly once ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ takes place. One thing ABS-CBN would like to do is to eliminate most of the talking and focus solely on the singing itself in order to save a lot of time and viewers.

In doing so, ‘It’s Showtime’ will return to its normal three-hour duration and perhaps add motivation to a struggling Kapamilya Gold. Not only that, ‘TV Patrol’ will be able to start on time and save whatever grace it has left.

But the decision to reduce some of the talk on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will only depend on management convincing Vice Ganda and company to lessen all the banter. Which is not an easy thing to do considering Vice’s mass appeal.

Still, preventing the inevitable loss of viewership is a must for ABS-CBN, particularly when it comes to ‘It’s Showtime’. They may be the No. 1 network in the country ratings-wise, but even ABS-CBN has its own weaknesses that needs to be addressed.

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

A Look Back at TAPE’s Pre-Noontime Programs

With the cancellation of ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ earlier this February, TAPE decided to cease production of pre-noontime shows after nearly five years. (Photo credit: TAPE Inc. and GMA Network)

Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap.

It all started with this love team, and it all ended with this love team. The duo forever changed the pre-noontime landscape.

Yet one production outfit tried to make things a little more interesting. That outfit happens to be Television and Production Exponents Inc., better known by the acronym TAPE Inc.

The producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’ decided to take a crack at the Jodi-Richard love team by premiering a pre-noontime talk show hosted by a then-seven-year-old Ryzza Mae Dizon. In April 2013, GMA and TAPE launched ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, and for nearly two years, it engaged with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ in a tough battle for ratings supremacy.

Yet ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ continued to roll, and so did its successors ‘Give Love on Christmas’, ‘Oh My G!’ and ‘Ningning’. When TAPE realized that ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’ has outlived its usefulness, they decided to replace the talk show with a light drama in ‘Princess in the Palace’, starring Ryzza alongside Eula Valdes and Aiza Seguerra.

But the move to a drama format did not change its fortunes, and neither did a sitcom in ‘Calle Siete’. Meanwhile, another ABS-CBN series in ‘Be My Lady’ extended the network’s reign in the timeslot.

In October 2016, GMA and TAPE canceled ‘Calle Siete’ and in its place came a coming-of-age light drama in ‘TROPS’, starring the That’s My Bae quintet of Kenneth Medrano, Kim Last, Jon Timmons, Tommy Penaflor, Miggy Tolentino, and Joel Palencia. The said series also ended Ryzza Mae Dizon’s three-year run in the pre-noontime slot amid her physical changes and the emergence of AlDub.

Unfortunately, ‘TROPS’ also failed to make a difference in the ratings. Over at ABS-CBN, their dominance continued with ‘Langit Lupa’ and ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

In a last-ditch effort to make an impact in the pre-noontime slot, TAPE and GMA returned to the talk show format in September 2017 with ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by the lolas of Kalyeserye (portrayed by Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros). It couldn’t have come at a worst possible time, as AlDub was no longer a difference-maker by the time this show premiered.

Sadly, the return of Jodi and Richard (plus Robin Padilla) in ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ put an end to TAPE’s pre-noontime aspirations. As a result, TAPE cancelled ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ after 95 episodes on February 2, 2018, and ceased production of pre-noontime shows.

Give TAPE and GMA a lot of credit for trying to give ABS-CBN a run for its money. But at the end of the day, the latter’s superiority in the pre-noontime slot became too much to overcome, especially with the unlikely duo of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap giving plenty of ‘kilig’ to its viewers.

Now that TAPE ends its production of pre-noontime shows, time will only tell when GMA decides to strike on its own. But for now, the competition is over and GMA will have to live and die with Tagalized movies as a way to wave the white flag.

action, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not 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.

HOT: La Luna Sangre

The tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla returned to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida in June to star in ‘La Luna Sangre’, which also starred Angel Locsin (initially in a special participatory role as Lia before returning full-time as Jacintha) and another comebacking star in Richard Gutierrez. The series became an immediate hit scoring well over 30% in the nationwide ratings.

The success of ‘La Luna Sangre’ also revitalized the third slot of Primetime Bida following the lukewarm reception of predecessors ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. But while KathNiel did not lose their magic upon returning to the small screen, the same cannot be said for another popular love team.

NOT: AlDub and More

Good news: AlDub did not need to face KathNiel as ‘Destined to Be Yours’ ended weeks before ‘La Luna Sangre’ premiered. Bad news: 63 episodes is more than enough to justify the lack of success of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the first primetime series to star Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together.

Things only got worse for the duo from that point on. In late November, Maine revealed on social media that she and Alden are only friends in real life and that she ‘deserves all the hate in the world’ for being a ‘coward’ and a ‘selfish little brat’.

Perhaps the pressure and the expectations are starting to take its toll on Maine. Much like her harrowing portrayal of a depressed workaholic in the ‘Eat Bulaga’ made-for-TV film ‘Love Is…’, somebody should help her overcome these stresses.

HOT: Ika-6 na Utos and Afternoon Prime

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ premiered late last year to lukewarm reviews. But thanks to some campy moments that elicit plenty of laughter from its viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became unexpectedly popular, so much so that GMA decided to add Saturday episodes starting in April to capitalize on its success.

The series also boosted the fortunes of Afternoon Prime which had been left for dead earlier in the year. By August, succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were winning over their ABS-CBN counterparts thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

NOT: The Entire Kapamilya Gold Post-Doble Kara

Led by back-to-back ‘kabitseryes’ in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, Kapamilya Gold lost ground to Afternoon Prime that by the late third quarter of 2017, it was the latter that stood tall. Not even ‘The Greatest Love”s critically-acclaimed run saved the block from its sudden fall from grace.

The end of ‘Doble Kara”s year-long run in February foreshadowed a decline in Kapamilya Gold’s performance. Soon after, Afternoon Prime closed the gap and overtook Kapamilya Gold in the ratings for the rest of the year, much to the dismay of Kapamilya viewers everywhere.

HOT: Wildflower

Also in February, ‘Wildflower’ premiered on Primetime Bida’s pre-newscast slot. It didn’t take long for the series to make an impact as it constantly registered ratings of over 20 to 25%, putting it among the top five programs in the country.

The success of ‘Wildflower’ also spawned numerous memes on social media, some of which depict the various confrontations between Ivy/Lily (Maja Salvador) and Emilia (Aiko Melendez). With that kind of impact, ‘Wildflower’ truly turned viewers’ heads upside down whenever these two go at it.

NOT: Kapamilya Game Shows

The slogan ‘In the Service of the Filipino’ does not apply to ABS-CBN game shows. That said, ‘Minute to Win It’, ‘Family Feud’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ continued to alienate audiences by utilizing celebrities more often than ordinary people throughout their runs this year.

Luckily all three shows’ seasons came to an end this year: ‘Minute to Win It’ in February, ‘Family Feud’ in May and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ in September. Perhaps ABS-CBN should stop producing game shows and defer these to ‘It’s Showtime’ since they do not even have a clue how to utilize the power of the viewing public.

Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

Maine Takes LOA from Eat Bulaga; Pastillas Girl Resurfaces on FHM

Remember the infamous yet short-lived rivalry between “Yaya Dub” Maine Mendoza and “Pastillas Girl” Angelica Yap?

Last week, the two noontime ladies were in the headlines anew for various reasons. First off, the most obvious one.

‘Eat Bulaga’ co-host Maine Mendoza recently posted an open letter thanking her fans for all the support. She then clarified that she and on-screen partner Alden Richards were just friends in real life and not in a relationship.

The open letter elicited some negative responses from other netizens. Soon after, Maine posted this tweet.

Maine was last seen on ‘Eat Bulaga’ on November 27, and has apparently left the show in the wake of her social media outrage. Netizens were quick to speculate regarding her future in entertainment, with some even going as far as spreading rumors that she would transfer to ABS-CBN.

Regardless, some fans still kept the faith, and they showed that by staging a “white rally” outside Broadway Centrum last November 30. However, with ‘Eat Bulaga’ currently struggling behind ‘It’s Showtime’ in the ratings and support for the AlDub tandem continuing to wane, how will the show be affected by Maine’s absence?

Speaking of noontime, “Pastillas Girl” Angelica Yap resurfaces with a new name and a new image. The bubbly girl that was a fixture of ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas’ segment two years ago is now sexier and stronger than ever.

FHM released its December 2017 issue featuring Yap and model Debbie Garcia. Like most FHM covers, these two women are photographed in lingerie and other revealing attire.

Yap first gained notoriety through the ‘Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas’ segment (mostly forgotten now due to ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’), where ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts tried to find a man that would help her move on from a break-up. She has since reconciled with the man who broke up with her and are now engaged.

In the years leading up to her FHM cover debut, Yap gradually shed her innocent image by posting sexy and provocative images on social media. Though out of the limelight for some time, Yap signed up with Viva Entertainment and she even started a YouTube account with her fiance.

Perhaps posing for FHM is just the tonic Angelica Yap needs to restart her career. One can only hope that the former “Pastillas Girl” will embrace the small screen and possibly the big screen in the near future.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No More Extension: My Love from the Star Ends Friday

This week will be the last hurrah for ‘My Love from the Star’.

On Friday, August 11, GMA will give viewers one final glimpse into the love story of Steffi and Matteo. Since its premiere on May 29, the unlikely pairing of Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva breathed new life into the characters originally portrayed by Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and people who watched the original series looked in awe at the performance of the duo.

Notwithstanding the story and the actors involved, it is very surprising to see ‘My Love from the Star’ run for only a short period of time. Clocking at only 55 episodes, this series joined a dubious list of Filipino teleseryes that did not last at least 80 episodes (this included its predecessor ‘Destined to Be Yours’ which ran for only 63 episodes).

But unlike AlDub’s ill-fated debut series, the brief run of ‘My Love from the Star’ has nothing to do with the ratings (the series regularly fell victim to ‘My Dear Heart’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’ throughout its tenure). In fact, GMA planned it to run for only a short period of time in order to remain faithful to the original Korean series.

It was a shame that ‘My Love from the Star’ had to air for only a few months. The brief tenure of the show did not allow enough time for veteran Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva to develop their much-needed chemistry.

Still, as far as GMA is concerned, the pairing between Jennylyn and Gil is only temporary. Unless GMA plans to give the duo another series to work with in the future, all signs point for this on-screen duo to move on and focus on other opportunities.

In short, Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva together is like a one-off project. But if GMA is satisfied with their performance, perhaps another, longer series could be in the offing for the two.

The final five episodes of ‘My Love from the Star’ should be a great one. This will be the final opportunity to see how Steffi (Jennylyn) and Matteo (Gil) forge their love for each other.

P.S.: The final week of ‘My Love from the Star’ will be dedicated to former cast member Spanky Manikan, who unexpectedly left the show due to health reasons (it was later revealed that the actor is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer).

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.