drama, entertainment, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, television, Thailand

FTT Wonders: Who Really Aired the First Asianovela in the Philippines?

Taiwanese drama ‘Amazing Twins’ was considered by some viewers to be the first Asianovela to air in the Philippines when it was broadcast on IBC-13 in early 2003. (Photo credit: CTS)

Tagalized Asian dramas are a thing these days.

Also popularly known as ‘Asianovelas’, these programs are imported from neighboring Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Although the initial wave of Asianovelas were of Taiwanese origin, Korean dramas (colloqiually known as Koreanovelas) became a more common sight on Philippine television as the years pass.

But in order to understand the origin of the Asianovela, one must go back to 2003, the year these Tagalized Asian dramas first arrived. For many years, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’, given that they were responsible for bringing ‘Meteor Garden’ to the small screen around 15 years ago.

However, there is also an argument that IBC-13, with help from Viva Entertainment, was actually the first station to air an Asianovela. Just months before ‘Meteor Garden’ arrived, IBC-13 aired a Taiwanese action series called ‘Amazing Twins’ (locally known as ‘The Legendary Siblings 2’).

Unfortunately for IBC-13, ‘Amazing Twins’ tanked in the ratings, mainly due to the network’s poor reception and reach that persists to this day. It also did not help that the series aired once a week, which makes some viewers impatient given the daily nature of Filipino dramas.

Meanwhile, ‘Meteor Garden’ became a smash hit, turning F4 and Barbie Hsu into household names. The series also benefited from its near-daily airings on ABS-CBN, thus making viewers wait less for the next episode.

Following the success of ‘Meteor Garden’, ABS-CBN, GMA and occasionally ABC/TV5 began to air more Asianovelas. But as time passed, Korean dramas became the most preferred choice thanks to series such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Endless Love’ and ‘Lovers in Paris’.

GMA also made history in 2005 by airing ‘Gokusen’, the first Asianovela hailing from Japan. Then earlier this month, the network premiered the Thai drama ‘You’re My Destiny’.

Given that ‘Meteor Garden’ became popular to begin with, it is safe to assume that this series gave birth to the modern-day Asianovela. As much as people would argue about ‘Amazing Twins’ being the first Asian drama to air in the country, it did not quite fit the mold of today’s Asianovela since it failed to become a hit and was only seen once a week.

Still, the jury is on the viewers to decide. Who really is the first Asianovela to air in the country?

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

That’s My Amboy Premieres Tonight

The AnBie love team takes its act to primetime.

Fresh from a successful run on ‘The Half-Sisters’, Andre Paras and Barbie Forteza now gear themselves up for their first lead role in a primetime series. The duo star in ‘That’s My Amboy’, a light-hearted series that airs starting tonight.

‘That’s My Amboy’ tells the story of Maru (Barbie), a young but determined girl, and Bryan (Andre), a rising actor. Their story began when Bryan was blamed for the accident that involved Maru’s stepfather, and in order to pay for the damages, Maru was hired as his personal assistant.

At first, Maru and Bryan’s relationship was tense and jittery. But an incident that affected Bryan soon brought the two together, and the once distant relationship turned into a friendly, and eventually, lovely one.

Also starring in the series are Tonton Gutierrez, John Arcilla, Donita Rose, Kiko Estrada, Jazz Ocampo, Matet de Leon, Meryll Soriano, Maritoni Fernandez, Jerald Napoles, Pam Prinster, Jan Manual, Philip Lazaro, Pauline Mendoza, Kryshee Grengia, and Rob Walcher. It will be directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal, with the help of Dominic Zapata.

‘That’s My Amboy’ was slated to replace ‘MariMar’ in the network’s Telebabad block (the latter ended January 8). However, the series premiere was delayed for two weeks due to a conflict of interest, since ‘The Half-Sisters’ was still ongoing at the time.

That led to a rather unusual programming lineup on Telebabad, where the block only had two teleseryes, a movie block, and a two Koreanovelas. This week, Telebabad will go back to its usual lineup of three teleseryes and two Koreanovelas, and thus, changes in schedule will be utilized.

‘That’s My Amboy’ will be placed opposite ABS-CBN’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, which means that the KathNiel-starred series will have faced all three ongoing Telebabad dramas in a three-week span. Although ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will only have two more weeks in its run, it remains an imposing challenge to ‘That’s My Amboy’, considering the series has beaten ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘Because of You’ in those three weeks.

That said, the AnBie love team will have its work cut out for them. Although they’ve been successful in the afternoon, primetime is a very different animal, which only adds pressure to the duo.

‘That’s My Amboy’ premieres later tonight after ‘Little Nanay’ on GMA Telebabad.

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The Demise of Asianovelas on ABS-CBN

Once known for introducing F4 (above) and ‘Meteor Garden’ to Filipino audiences, ABS-CBN has effectively ceased its importation of Asianovelas since the middle of this year. (Photo credit: Meteor Garden ABS-CBN Official Facebook)

Asianovelas on ABS-CBN are now a thing of the past.

The premiere of the teleserye ‘You’re My Home’ last November 9 signaled the end of an era. Gone are the days when ABS-CBN usually reserves the final spot of their weekday afternoon and evening blocks for Asianovelas.

Now they are leaning more towards local programming in an effort to make use of their deep roster of talents. This makes sense, considering that ABS-CBN has the resources and the technology to produce their own programs.

The last Asianovelas aired on ABS-CBN were ‘Let’s Get Married’ and ‘My Lovely Girl’, whose final episodes were aired on June 19 of this year. When the recently-concluded ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ premiered on the weekday slots three days later, many thought this was only a temporary break for Asianovelas on the network.

As it turned out, ABS-CBN has bigger plans in mind. With so many programs currently kept under wraps, management thought it was best to finally devote more time to locally-produced shows.

This led to the entry of more recent teleseryes such as ‘Ningning’, ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’, and the aforementioned ‘You’re My Home’. A few other programs are still being planned, with a target date set for early next year.

Today, the Prime Tanghali, Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida blocks air a combined total of nine teleseryes. More than half of the network’s roster of contract artists are currently utilized in these teleseryes, ranging from child stars like ‘Ningning”s Jana Agoncillo to forty-somethings like ‘You’re My Home”s Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta.

ABS-CBN’s new path should benefit the network in the years to come. Having recently launched ABS-CBN HD, they now strive to take advantage of this new technology by committing more towards local programs, with the intent of broadcasting a purely Filipino programming lineup in the near future.

As for Asianovelas, it’s now GMA’s responsibility to continue airing them. After all, they still have Heart of Asia mornings to keep fans company.

Note: ‘Angel Wings’ is excluded here as it is considered a spiritual successor of the long-running anthology series ‘Chinese Variety Show’. Asianovelas only refer to imported series from Eastern Asian countries that air on weekdays.

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Pressure On for Second MariMar Remake

Don’t expect the second remake of ‘MariMar’ to be as successful as the first one.

The 2015 version of ‘MariMar’, starring Megan Young as the titular character and Tom Rodriguez as Sergio Santibañez, will officially air later tonight on the timeslot vacated by ‘Pari ‘Koy’. But unlike the 2007 version starring Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, the new ‘MariMar’ will face tougher competition this time around.

When the 2007 adaptation hit the small screen, GMA was at the peak of its powers then, led by their successful mix of fantaseryes and Koreanovelas. The DongYan-led ‘MariMar’ topped the ratings in almost all of its episodes, eventually peaking with a 52.6% rating during its two-hour finale in March 2008.

The first remake of ‘MariMar’ skyrocketed the careers of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes as a love team. It eventually led to an off-screen relationship, culminated by their wedding late last year (mirroring the ‘live’ marriage of MariMar and Sergio in 2008).

Fast forward to this year, and a very different scenario awaits the new ‘MariMar’. ABS-CBN had overtaken GMA in the ratings, thanks in large part to the discovery of new talents, and stories that pay tribute to the Filipinos’ admirable qualities and values.

One such story is ‘Nathaniel’, ‘MariMar”s upcoming opponent. The value-oriented teleserye has been a consistent winner in its timeslot, even though it had to play a supporting role to both KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) in the Primetime Bida lineup.

That said, the new ‘MariMar’ will be under tremendous pressure to succeed against more formidable competition. The series has proven its charm in the past (both the original and 2007 adaptation earned high ratings), so it’s up to the viewers to decide if this is worth a second chance.

‘MariMar’ premieres starting today, August 24, and airs weeknights at 7:45 p.m. on GMA Telebabad.

Note: The first remake of ‘MariMar’ and the upcoming second remake had an eight-year gap between them. No stranger to producing a second teleserye remake within a short period of time, GMA has also produced second remakes of ‘Darna’ and ‘Captain Barbell’ within four and five years of the first adaptation, respectively.

This does not count another Mars Ravelo creation, ‘Dyesebel’, which aired on GMA in 2008 and later remade by ABS-CBN six years later.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: ABS-CBN

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on ABS-CBN, who continued to dominate television ratings this year.

The Positives

High ratings, top trending topics, and a slew of awards. Just another impressive year on Mother Ignacia.

Primetime Bida remained ABS-CBN’s strongest suit in its weekday arsenal, led by the block’s top-rated program of the year, ‘The Legal Wife’. Meanwhile, the Kapamilya network’s reality and talent shows continued to overwhelm the opposition, led by top-raters ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ and the second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’.

Long-running programs ‘TV Patrol’, ‘ASAP’, ‘The Buzz’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ remained at the top of their game, while ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and even the returning ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ became a force to be reckoned with.

ABS-CBN Sports also enjoyed an extremely successful year, starting with the launch of ABS-CBN Sports+Action in late January. High ratings during this year’s NBA Finals and the UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball finals eventually led to the two leagues’ renewal of broadcast rights later this year.

The Kapamilya network’s award closet continued to grow, particularly in November’s Star Awards for Television, where ABS-CBN received a total of 34 awards. They also scored big in the Anak TV and Catholic Mass Media Awards, among other bodies.

The Negatives

Not all news is good, however. ABS-CBN also endured some missteps throughout the year, all of which made a significant impact on the network’s performance.

While Primetime Bida dominated primetime, they also had a fair share of busts. Julia Barretto’s acting debut as ‘Mirabella’ failed to impress, while the reboot of ‘Dyesebel’ and ‘Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon’ never lived up to expectations.

‘Be Careful with My Heart’ may have dominated the headlines in 2013, but it was a different story in 2014. The show’s ratings declined for much of the year, before rebounding on the show’s final episode on November 28.

The last two quarters of 2014 saw the decline in quality of Kapamilya Gold. The network’s last two afternoon soaps, ‘Galema: Anak ni Zuma’ and ‘Moon of Desire’, were replaced by a combination of Asianovela reruns, ‘Bet on Your Baby’, the ill-fated ‘Ana Manuela’, and ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’, a sign that ABS-CBN is letting GMA dominate the afternoon slot.

Speaking of reruns, ABS-CBN brought back the highly successful ‘Meteor Garden’ to rave reviews. Later reruns of Asianovelas and even classic Japanese cartoons such as ‘Princess Sarah’ proved unsuccessful, however.

Controversy hounded ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ from the moment the mostly celebrity cast was selected all the way to late-coming housemate Daniel Matsunaga’s victory. It also spelled doom for ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts Vhong Navarro (beaten by Cedric Lee’s group) and Billy Crawford (post-Star Magic Ball fiasco), thus continuing the infamous curse.

And finally, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs had its own share of problems. February saw a questionable report on ‘Bandila’ regarding a ‘flesh-eating disease’ in Pangasinan, and then several months later, ‘TV Patrol’ anchor Korina Sanchez made an unnecessary remark about Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby), praying that the storm would swerve to Japan.

Outlook

Fortunately for the Kapamilya network, Marc Logan kept things light and loose when his show, ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’, premiered last August. But seriously, this was another successful year for ABS-CBN, even with the problems and controversies surrounding it.

Looking ahead, a reunion between Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin looms in ‘Flordeliza’, even as ‘Pangako sa ‘Yo’ will have its own reboot with Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. This and a lot more will come as the calendar turns to 2015.

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