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

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.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

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

HOT: Ang Probinsyano

Year II of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was no different from Year I. Despite questions surrounding its quality for a series that has run for two years and counting, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continued to dominate the primetime landscape, often reaching 40% or better some nights.

Even as the likes of Maja Salvador, Bela Padilla and Albert Martinez depart, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ soldiered on with new additions such as former GMA stars Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes. The series was also rewarded with yet another extension that will last until an undetermined date in 2018 (barring another extension).

NOT: Ang Probinsyano’s Opponents

Meanwhile, four different opponents from the Kapuso network tried to take down ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its lengthy run of excellence. Unfortunately, neither ‘Encantadia’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ nor ‘Super Ma’am’ were able to take Coco Martin and company down.

None of the four teleseryes breached the 20% mark and worse, the disparity between ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its opponent is around 20% or better. With such a large deficit GMA should start thinking of a new strategy this early or wait for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ to end in order to take advantage of this new opportunity (too bad there’s no end date yet).

HOT: 2016 Miss Universe

The 2016 Miss Universe was held in the Philippines last January 30 and was simulcast on ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA and Solar Entertainment channels. The collaboration marked just the second time that an event of national interest was aired in unison among the country’s broadcast giants; the last being the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing fight two years ago.

France’s Iris Mittenaere was crowned the 2016 Miss Universe while the host’s representative Maxine Medina finished among the top 6. However, she was unable to complete an entire year’s reign as this year’s Miss Universe was held last November 26 with South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters winning the said pageant.

NOT: Pacquiao vs. Horn and the sport of boxing

The declining interest in Manny Pacquiao continued as he fought Jeff Horn in July. The end result was a unanimous decision victory for Horn, some bloodshot eyes from Pacquiao and lukewarm reception from boxing fans in the country.

It was a poor year overall for boxing on Philippine television. Despite the efforts of ALA Promotions to promote the sport via its Pinoy Pride series, the year saw the end of ABS-CBN Sports’ partnership with Top Rank Boxing (coinciding with Nonito Donaire ending ties with Bob Arum’s promotion) and the expected cancellation of ‘Blow by Blow’ on TV5.

HOT: Magandang Buhay

2017 proved to be a coming-out party of sorts for ‘Magandang Buhay’ as the show became a ratings hit each and every morning. The news is an encouraging one for ABS-CBN despite the fact that the show airs at 8:00 a.m., which is typically ‘dead’ time for viewership.

With the trio of Melai Cantiveros, Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada, plus some impressive selection of guests, it is no secret that this talk show has become the talk of the town. With all due respect to Kris Aquino, the trio of Melai, Jolina and Karla should now inherit the ‘queens of talk’ mantra considering ‘Magandang Buhay”s success.

NOT: GMA’s Animes and The Lolas’ Beautiful Show

The traditional morning powerhouse that is GMA’s Astig Authority suddenly became vulnerable with the rise of ‘Magandang Buhay’. Even though the network redubbed ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’ this year with a host of celebrities from their stable, it failed to prevent the inevitable.

One talk show that would have helped is ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros in their alter-egos as Nidora, Tinidora and Tidora. However, the show’s status as a TAPE-produced show (TAPE programs are only allowed an 11:30-2:30 timeslot on GMA most afternoons) prevented it from seriously challenging ‘Magandang Buhay’.

It also didn’t help that ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ is losing to the morning drama ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ on a regular basis. Perhaps GMA should loosen the reins a bit to give the lolas of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a chance to go up against the momshies of ‘Magandang Buhay’.

HOT: ABS-CBN Reality/Talent Shows

Reality and talent shows continue to give ABS-CBN plenty of reasons to celebrate. This year’s winners are:

Pinoy Big Brother Lucky 7 – Maymay Entrata

Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids – Awra Briguela

I Can Do That – Wacky Kiray

The Voice Teens Philippines – Jona Soquite

Currently on the network’s weekend primetime menu are ‘Little Big Shots’ and ‘I Can See Your Voice’, both of which continue to excel and trend among viewers. If 2018 is of any indication, then even more excitement awaits ABS-CBN as it introduces either new seasons of existing reality/talent shows or new programs.

NOT: All-Star Videoke

A poor man’s version of the popular ‘All-Star K’ was introduced to GMA last September. Unfortunately, ‘All-Star Videoke’ failed to live up to the standards of its more successful sibling.

GMA could have used this opportunity to bring back ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’ or acquire ‘Killer Karaoke’. Instead, they rehashed an original Filipino concept that did not work out, and with all due respect to Betong Sumaya and Solenn Heussaff, they are no Allan K and Jaya in that regard.

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

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Hay, Bahay! Ends, All-Star Videoke to Premiere This Sunday

It turns out ‘Hay, Bahay!’ did not exceed expectations.

Last Sunday, the final episode of ‘Hay, Bahay!’ was aired on GMA. But like all previous episodes, the sitcom made little noise among its viewers.

First aired on June 19, 2016, ‘Hay, Bahay!’ succeeded another Vic Sotto-starred sitcom in ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’. The latter’s stars Vic and son Oyo were joined by Oyo’s wife Kristine Hermosa, Ai-ai delas Alas, Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola.

Unlike ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ which lasted for over three years, ‘Hay, Bahay!’ was only able to air for over a year as it had to contend with the long-running ABS-CBN gag show ‘Goin’ Bulilit’. Overall, the sitcom aired 61 episodes, joining a list of more recent Vic Sotto sitcoms that had a short run (e.g. ‘My Darling Aswang’, ‘The Jose and Wally Show Starring Vic Sotto’).

So what’s next for Vic Sotto? According to GMA, a new sitcom starring Vic and Ai-ai delas Alas is in the works, but the premiere date and the show’s title is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, a replacement for ‘Hay, Bahay!’ is set to premiere this Sunday night. The new show will be called ‘All-Star Videoke’, and it will be hosted by Solenn Heussaff and Betong Sumaya.

The game play of ‘All-Star Videoke’ is as follows:

“The game features six celebrity contestants or Videoke stars vying to outwit one another by filling in the missing words on a song in a videoke-type of presentation.

In the event that every player correctly answered the words in each song, a pair of celebrity ‘laglagers’ will choose one player who will be out of the competition.

The two remaining contenders will proceed in the semi-final round for a chance to play in the jackpot round. The winning contestant becomes the All-Star Videoke Champ! and may bring home a cash prize of up to 100,000 pesos.

A “Super Oke” prize is also up for the win if the winner decides to continuously play in the succeeding weeks.”

In short, ‘All-Star Videoke’ shares some similarities with another long-running videoke game show ‘All-Star K’. But whether or not the former will enjoy the same success as the latter remains to be seen.

In the age of foreign franchised programs, it is good to see networks such as GMA maintain a more local approach. Still, the success of a particular program will only depend on the response of the viewers, and for ‘All-Star Videoke’, it will not be an easy task.

‘All-Star Videoke’ airs Sundays after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA.

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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.

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Ismol Family Gives Way to Tsuperhero on GMA’s Sunday Grande

‘Ismol Family’ is officially done.

After a run that began on June 22, 2014, the GMA-produced sitcom aired its final episode last Sunday, November 6. ‘Ismol Family’, which starred Ryan Agoncillo, Carla Abellana, Carmi Martin, Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua, Bianca Umali, Miguel Tanfelix and Marc Justine Alvarez among others, aired a total of 125 episodes that spanned over two years.

When ‘Ismol Family’ premiered over two years ago, it was supposed to replace the game show ‘Picture Picture’ and go up against another family-oriented sitcom in ABS-CBN’s ‘Home Sweetie Home’. Instead, the sitcom was placed on Sunday nights, while ‘Pepito Manaloto’ was moved to Saturday nights to counter ‘Home Sweetie Home”s move.

The unexpected timeslot change proved to be a hindrance to ‘Ismol Family’ once it began its run. Pitted against shows such as ‘Wansapanatym’, ‘The Voice Kids’ and more recently ‘Goin’ Bulilit’, the sitcom failed to find its footing in a crowded Sunday night field.

While ‘Ismol Family’ was not bad, it was clear that GMA made a mistake by placing the show on Sundays. Had it aired against ‘Home Sweetie Home’, it would have given the latter a run for its money.

Still, a run of over two years was a good accomplishment for ‘Ismol Family’. For the viewers who have tuned in for all 125 episodes, let that sink in.

Moving on, a new show is slated to replace ‘Ismol Family’. The newest entry, ‘Tsuperhero’, is a superhero comedy-adventure series that stars Derrick Monasterio and Bea Binene.

In ‘Tsuperhero’, Nonoy (Derrick) is a jeepney driver who transforms into a superhero thanks to a mysterious object from a distant planet. Along the way, he developed feelings for Eva (Bea), a barker who found his kalye attitude both irritating and enduring.

The upcoming weekly series will also star Gabby Concepcion, Alma Moreno, Betong Sumaya, Philip Lazaro, Miggs Cuaderno, Valentin, Annalyn Barro, Jemwell Ventenilla, and Kuhol. ‘Tsuperhero’ is an original concept by Michael V, and will be directed by LA Madridejos.

It remains to be seen if ‘Tsuperhero’ can give the long-running ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ a tough challenge. Hopefully the series can stick just as long as its predecessor did.

‘Tsuperhero’ premieres this Sunday after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA’s Sunday Grande sa Gabi.

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Conan, My Beautician Premieres Sunday

Meet Mark Herras in drag.

Beginning this Sunday, Mark will topbill GMA’s newest comedy series ‘Conan, My Beautician’. This series will feature Mark in a role that he has never played before: that of a gay man.

In ‘Conan, My Beautician’, Mark will play Conan, a straight man who is the most talented yet desperate beautician at Salon Paz. But in order to accept the job, he has to pretend that he is gay; after all, he needs the money for the sake of his sick mother and family, who were banished from their hometown by Chika La Chaka (Cacai Bautista).

Along the way, he met and fell in love with Ava (Megan Young), whom he worked along in a make-up gig. But as the story goes on, his fellow beauticians seem to notice that Conan may not be gay at all.

‘Conan, My Beautician’ will also star Jerald Napoles, Betong Sumaya, Boobsie, Tetay, Lotlot de Leon, Jay Manalo, Balang, Chlaui Malayao, Vangie Labalan and Antonette Garcia. It will be co-directed by Adolf Alix and Rember Gelera.

Continuing the recent trend of Sunday afternoon comedy series that was first seen on ‘Juan Tamad’, a lot is expected on ‘Conan, My Beautician’. Still, winning its timeslot will be a daunting task, considering that ABS-CBN’s ‘Family Feud’ remains the most-watched show nationally every late Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless, expect the series to pull all the stops. Playing a man dressed in drag is a great challenge for Mark Herras, and if the viewers find it awesome and funny, that should help spike ‘Conan, My Beautician”s performance.

‘Conan, My Beautician’ airs every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on GMA.

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Bubble Gang 20th Anniversary Special This Friday

The logo for the 20th anniversary season of ‘Bubble Gang’. The anniversary special airs this Friday on GMA. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

The 20th anniversary of ‘Bubble Gang’ will be celebrated this Friday.

For this year, the annual ‘Bubble Gang’ anniversary special will be treated as a documentary, produced by none other than the GMA News and Public Affairs department. The documentary will highlight the rich history of the 20-year-old gag show, featuring interviews from past and present cast members, as well as behind-the-scenes personnel.

As always, the special will not be complete without the trademark sketches that have made ‘Bubble Gang’ so endearing. The skits will not only feature the current cast, but also some of the former mainstays as well.

Currently one of the country’s longest-running programs, ‘Bubble Gang’ first premiered on October 20, 1995. The show has attracted a loyal following over the years, and continues to gain new fans as technology and popular culture evolved.

One of the show’s driving forces is Michael V, who along with Antonio Aquitania, has been part of ‘Bubble Gang’ since its first episode. Bitoy is currently the show’s creative director, formulating most of the show’s endearing skits.

Just recently, Michael V released ‘The Bubble Bible’, a book that features humorous quotes from some of Bitoy’s memorable ‘Bubble Gang’ characters. In essence, ‘The Bubble Bible’ was considered a tribute to the entertainer who has made ‘Bubble Gang’ the country’s longest-running gag show, and a culmination of the show’s 20th year.

‘Bubble Gang”s other current cast members include Boy 2 Quizon, Betong Sumaya, Mikael Daez, Paolo Contis, Sef Cadayona, Rufa Mae Quinto, Chariz Solomon, Jackie Rice, Sam Pinto, Gwen Zamora, Max Collins and Andrea Torres. Supporting players include Diego Llorico, Mykah, Moymoy Palaboy, Denise Barbacena, RJ Padilla, Arny Ross, Joyce Ching, Jan Manual and Juancho Trivino.

To date, ‘Bubble Gang’ has aired 1,003 episodes during its 20-year history. The documentary this Friday will be the show’s 1,004th.

The hashtag for this year’s anniversary special will be #IMBG20. For those unaware of how ‘Bubble Gang’ started, this should help them understand how it all began, and how it evolved into the gag show it is today.

The ‘Bubble Gang’ 20th anniversary documentary airs this Friday after ‘Beautiful Strangers’.

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