drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Long Overdue: JoshLia Stars in Ngayon at Kailanman

Call it an ‘I wish they should have done this a long time ago’ moment.

The love team of Joshua Garcia and Julia Barretto have been in the headlines for as long as fans can remember. But while they made some noise in films like ‘Unexpectedly Yours’, ‘Vince and Kath and James’ and ‘Love You to the Stars and Back’, their chemistry has yet to be tested on television.

To their credit, Joshua and Julia already starred in a few teleseryes individually (most recently Julia was included in ‘A Love to Last’ while Joshua last appeared in ‘The Good Son’). However, the incoming teleserye ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will mark the first series in which the two are on the same script.

Via ABS-CBN PR:

“Ngayon at Kailanman” is an ode to classic Filipino teleseryes about star-crossed lovers, who must fight the odds to be together. It stars Joshua as Inno, an heir of the powerful Cortes clan, and Julia as Eva, a streetwise girl who grew up in the slums.

Though they are from different worlds, destiny will bring them together but also tear them apart. While their love will be tested by the Cortes family and the mystery surrounding the identity of Eva, it is up to them to decide what they are willing to risk for their love.

‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ will also mark the return of legendary actress Rosemarie Gil on the small screen as the matriarch to the Cortes clan. Completing the entire cast are Rio Locsin, Iza Calzado, Christian Vasquez, Alice Dixon, Ina Raymundo, Dominic Ocha, TJ Trinidad, Jameson Blake and Joao Constancia.

For all their success in film, Joshua and Julia will have their hands full connecting with the ever-demanding world of primetime television. After all, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman”s predecessor ‘Bagani’ failed to make an impact in spite of its impressive ratings, which only puts great pressure on JoshLia to succeed.

That said, the expectations to excel will be of huge importance to ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’. The series should be more than satisfied in reaching 30% ratings or better during its run, but if it goes below that on a regular basis, then it will be trouble for ABS-CBN.

Directed by Mae Cruz-Alviar and Elfren Vibar, ‘Ngayon at Kailanman’ airs after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

LizQuen Letdown: Disappointing Bagani to End Run Friday

Fantasy remains one of ABS-CBN’s weakest points.

After all, the network is not used to creating big-budgeted fantasy dramas on a daily basis. Unlike rival GMA, they usually produce their teleseryes conservatively, letting the story become the emphasis and not on special effects or gaudy costumes.

But in the case of ‘Bagani’, they decided to be big spenders for once. Unfortunately, not even the power of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil can turn this costly series into a humongous draw.

Even before ‘Bagani’ premiered on March 5, 2018, the series became shrouded with controversy. Not only did it drew unfair comparisons to ‘Encantadia’, it also drew flak for its casting choices (Liza and co-star Matteo Guidicelli were part-Filipino) and its alleged misuse of the term ‘Bagani’.

Despite that, ‘Bagani’ came out strong from the start, earning ratings in the 30s during its first few months. By July, however, the series struggled to get to 30%, mainly because viewers grew tired of the plodding storyline and the fact that ‘Kambal Karibal’ became a strong threat.

Nevertheless, ‘Bagani’ continued to win its timeslot in spite of these difficulties. Still, the series’ unsatisfactory finish has left LizQuen fans with a bitter taste in their mouths; after all, they expected a lot more from this love team after the runaway success of ‘Forevermore’ and ‘Dolce Amore’.

Overall, ‘Bagani’ will wrap up with a total of 118 episodes to its credit. The reason why ABS-CBN decided to end the series now than to extend it further is for Liza Soberano can devote her energies to her first project (film or television) without Enrique Gil, which is ‘Darna’.

In the end, ‘Bagani’ became a total disappointment regardless of its performance. The story became a slow-developing one and the characters simply did not have enough progression to convince viewers.

It was one series that LizQuen fans would like to forget. No disrespect for them but for a big-time draw that is LizQuen, it was a letdown.

They can only hope that ‘Bagani’ will finish on a graceful note come this Friday. After that, move on and let bygones be bygones.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Back to the Serious Stuff: Halik Premieres Monday

It is back to the more serious and daring stuff on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida this Monday.

After not getting the much-needed results with the light-hearted romantic series ‘Since I Found You’, ABS-CBN will use the fourth slot for an intense and more tantalizing drama. But can ‘Halik’ recapture the magic of prior daring teleseryes?

‘Halik’ stars Jericho Rosales and Yen Santos as Lino and Jacky respectively. Once childhood lovers, they were separated when Jacky’s parents disapprove of Lino who is a son of one of their workers, only to renew acquaintances years later.

At this point, however, Lino is married to Jade (Yam Concepcion), an ambitious and headstrong woman, while Jacky lives together with Ace (Sam Milby), a rich man whose sweetness hides a secret. Neither Jade nor Ace are committed and trusty spouses, so it will be up to Lino and Jacky to rekindle their love that was once lost.

‘Halik’ also stars Amy Austria, Alan Paule, Precious Lara Quigaman, Romnick Sarmenta, Cris Villanueva, Almira Muhlach, Christian Bables, Hero Angeles, Chai Fonacier, JC Alcantara, Jane De Leon, and Gab Lagman. The series will be directed by Cathy Camarillo and Carlo Po Artillaga, and is under the Ruel S. Bayani (RSB) drama unit.

Traditionally speaking, the fourth slot of Primetime Bida has long been the domain of mature and daring dramas. This is the slot where ‘The Legal Wife’ became a huge hit, and more recently, this is where ‘The Good Son’ thrived and kept viewers’ senses awake with each captivating scene.

But as ‘Halik’ enters the fray, it remains to be seen if they will be able to follow the footsteps of its more serious predecessors. The series may have the star power bar none, but a rarely-used commodity like Yen Santos could set viewers back a bit.

That said, it will take some time for ‘Halik’ to make its presence felt. Realistically, the opening few weeks of this series should hover within the 17-19% range as far as ratings go, but if they are lucky enough, they might as well surpass the 20% mark.

‘Halik’ airs weeknights after ‘Bagani’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Onanay: A New GMA Series with a ‘Little’ Twist

‘Bagani’ now has a ‘little’ problem, literally.

The ongoing ABS-CBN teleserye will face a new challenger starting Monday, but this is not an ordinary drama series. Instead, GMA’s ‘Onanay’ will be led by an actress who may be physically short as an adult but is big in potential.

The actress in question is Jo Berry, who suffers from dwarfism which causes her to remain short in height as an adult. In ‘Onanay’, Jo is Onay, a mother of two born with Achondroplasia which is a bone growth disorder that impeded her growth.

Her two daughters Maila (Mikee Quintos) and Natalie (Kate Valdez) has contrasting personalities. While Maila is cheerful, obedient and respectful of her mother, Natalie is spoiled, arrogant and ashamed of her mother’s condition.

The series will also feature a special appearance from Ms. Nora Aunor, who will portray Onay’s mother Nelia. In addition, Ms. Cherie Gil will play Helena, Onay’s mother-in-law and a wealthy owner of a fashion magazine, who is determined to give Onay and Nelia’s life a living hell.

‘Onanay”s other cast members include Gardo Versoza, Wendell Ramos, Rochelle Pangilinan, Vaness del Moral, Enrico Cuenca, and Adrian Alandy. The series will be directed by Gina Alajar.

Talk about starting small and dreaming big. For someone as little as Jo Berry, getting into show business takes a little luck and determination, but GMA did not find her short stature as a detriment to conquering the entertainment world.

However, ‘Onanay’ should have a lot to worry about moving forward. While it has the potential to become a critically inspiring drama, it will only depend on how viewers will be able to relate to this series.

And considering that ‘Bagani’ is still dominant in its timeslot, ‘Onanay’ may have a hard time keeping up with the duo of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Regardless, not all are LizQuen fans, and ‘Onanay’ can only hope that they can turn these doubters into believers.

It will be interesting to see how a midget can rise to the occasion and become a bonafide star. This is what ‘Onanay’ will look forward to as they get underway.

‘Onanay’ airs weeknights after ‘Victor Magtanggol’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Bows Out This Friday

After 178 episodes, ‘Kambal Karibal’ will be history.

The GMA Telebabad series will officially come to a conclusion Friday night. And while it enjoyed a long and stellar run, its ratings performance was anything but impressive.

‘Kambal Karibal’ was led by Bianca Umali as Criselda, Pauline Mendoza as Crisanta (Criselda’s dead twin sister), and Miguel Tanfelix as Diego. Kyline Alcantara, as Cheska, played a key role as a villain who made Crisanta’s life a living hell and was eventually possessed by the spirits of both Crisanta and Criselda.

The series had a wider following than everyone thought. Many, in particular, praised the acting chops displayed by breakout stars Pauline Mendoza and Kyline Alcantara, and as ‘Kambal Karibal’ progressed, so did the praise for the two young talents.

Yet despite the fact that ‘Kambal Karibal’ was by far the strongest and most compelling GMA primetime series in recent memory, the series failed to win in the ratings when it mattered most. And it didn’t help that the series went up against two of ABS-CBN’s most popular love teams today.

From November 27, 2017 to March 2, 2018 (70 episodes in all), ‘Kambal Karibal’ went head-to-head with ‘La Luna Sangre’ which starred Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (a.k.a. KathNiel). Then from March 5 until this Friday (108 episodes in all), the series took on ‘Bagani’ led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil (a.k.a. LizQuen).

In all, ‘Kambal Karibal’ averaged better than 17% in the national ratings. Meanwhile, both ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Bagani’ scored in the 29-30% range.

Notwithstanding its unimpressive ratings, GMA insisted that ‘Kambal Karibal’ performed well contrary to other’s expectations. Throughout the course of its run, ‘Kambal Karibal’ received multiple extensions in hopes of proving a point but it doesn’t change the fact that it had no chance of leaping past either KathNiel or LizQuen.

But regardless of how it played out, ‘Kambal Karibal’ will still be remembered for launching Kyline Alcantara and Pauline Mendoza into stardom. And for good reason, since GMA badly needed young stars to beef up their roster of talents amid criticism of their over-reliance towards veteran stars.

Come this Friday, viewers will have one last chance to see ‘Kambal Karibal’ work out its magic. Whatever happens, this series will bow out on a graceful note.

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cable TV, entertainment, movies, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Philippine Cable and Digital Channels Face Issue of Redundancy

Hero is one of several cable channels in the Philippines that was shut down this year due to redundancy in content. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs Inc.)

Redundancy has become a common theme for cable and digital channels in the Philippines.

In the first half of 2018 alone, viewers witnessed a closure of numerous cable channels in the country. On the local side of the spectrum, there was Hero, TAG, ABS-CBN Regional Channel, CT and 2nd Avenue, and on the international front there was Toonami.

There were also some rebrandings and resurrections of several channels as well. CPI made LIGA the second coming of Balls in time for the FIFA World Cup (replacing ARC, TAG and Hero in the process) while rebranding Lifestyle into Metro Channel, and then the MVP Group converted Bloomberg Philippines into One News.

So why do these things happen to our beloved cable and digital channels? The most cited reason is financial constraints, but it goes deeper than that.

When two channels air similar content with one another, redundancy happens. This is exactly the case that befell the likes of Hero, TAG, CT, 2nd Avenue and Toonami because they feature similar themes and genres with one or several channels.

Hero and Toonami, for example, became victims of cord-cutters and other channels such as Cartoon Network, Boomerang, AniPlus, Animax and even Yey!, which show some anime and action series as well. Same with CT and 2nd Avenue who share some of the programming with sister channels Jack TV and ETC.

Going further back, CPI shut down Velvet in 2014 and moved some of its content over to Lifestyle. Four years later, Lifestyle was rebranded into Metro Channel and is now essentially a second coming of Velvet.

There is also LIGA, which was launched for the FIFA World Cup but is expected to face similar redundancy issues as Balls since its only other source of content are events that air on ABS-CBN S+A. Finally, the rebrand from Bloomberg Philippines to One News has made AksyonTV (a former news channel-turned-T5N clone) redundant, something the MVP Group must address moving forward.

However, redundancy is not limited to cable channels alone. Yey!, for example, has a movie block called ‘Kid Sine’, but some of the films shown here are also aired on sister channel CineMo (under the CineFantasya and CineKomedya blocks).

Yey! also airs reruns of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ while CineMo rebroadcasts ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Bagani’ on weekends. Such reruns should have been exclusive to Jeepney TV.

These are just some of the examples that face cable and digital channels today. Considering the competitive nature of this business, trying to stay unique and distinct in terms of content is not as easy as it looks.

So the best that these channels can do right now is to remain innovative and wide-eyed to the audience while keeping themselves afloat. This juggling act may be difficult, but when done properly, they can stay on the air for a long period of time.

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