action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Return of Alyas Robin Hood

This is not a rerun.

On Monday, August 14, GMA announced the return of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to the small screen. The second season (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) will bring back almost the same cast with the addition of new actors to spice up the series.

Continuing the same series after a lengthy hiatus is nothing new to Philippine television. In 2007, ABS-CBN’s ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ received a second season after a break of six months; take note that this does not include sequels of a particular series such as the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy or the ‘Lobo’ franchise.

The new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will once again be headlined by Dingdong Dantes as Pepe, the former vigilante-turned-lawyer. New challenges await the protagonist, such as the kidnapping of his mother, the revelation of some of his secrets, and a powerful evil force that threatens the city.

Andrea Torres will reprise the role of Venus, Pepe’s ally and love interest. But instead of bringing back Megan Young’s character Sarri for season 2, GMA brought in Solenn Heussaff to portray Pepe’s other love interest, Iris.

Also returning for season 2 will be Ms. Jaclyn Jose, who will once again breathe life to Pepe’s mother Judy. Rounding out the mix of returning and new cast members are Ruru Madrid, Edu Manzano, Gary Estrada, Paolo Contis, Jay Manalo, Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Gio Alvarez, KC Montero, Lindsay de Vera, Dave Bornea, Rob Moya, Antonette Garcia and Luri Nalus.

The first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ ran from September 19, 2016 to February 24, 2017. The series, while a decent performer with 115 episodes in total, could not get past ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ in the ratings.

On its second season, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will go up against the KathNiel-led series ‘La Luna Sangre’. Considering that the latter is raking in at least 35% in the national ratings of late, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s task became even more difficult now that they face the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (not to mention former GMA star Richard Gutierrez).

Still, for loyal followers of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ who stuck through the difficult times, the return of the series is like a breath of fresh air. With GMA keeping the faith, one can only hope that the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will last just as long as the first.

Directed by Dominic Zapata, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense

La Luna Sangre, Third in the Lobo Franchise, Premieres Monday

The third series in the ‘Lobo’ franchise is about to unfold.

Starting Monday, the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will grace the small screen anew in ‘La Luna Sangre’, the third installment in a saga that began with ‘Lobo’ and continued with ‘Imortal’. The new series, which will be set in the world of werewolves and vampires, will also have Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz playing special roles.

Picking up from where ‘Imortal’ left off, ‘La Luna Sangre’ begins with the former’s lead characters Lia (Angel) and Mateo (John Lloyd) now living a simple life as mortal beings. During their transition to normalcy, they raised a daughter named Maila (Kathryn).

Unknown to them, a prophecy called “La Luna Sangre” is about to haunt them. The prophecy says that “the child of the most powerful vampire and the chosen wolf will end the evilness of the vampire imprinted with the cursed ink”.

Shortly after raising Maila, a vampire named Sandrino (Richard Gutierrez) arrived in an attempt to kill Lia and Mateo, and in the process turn Maila over to the dark side. Try as they might, Lia and Mateo have no more powers to save them, and in the end, Maila was orphaned to Sandrino’s world in hopes of fulfilling the prophecy.

But after turning 21, it turns out Maila was still a mortal woman, and she decided to leave the dark side in order to resume her normal life. There, she met and befriended Tristan (Daniel), a young man who seeks to kill one of the vampires that killed his father.

As the story goes along, Maila’s thoughts will be conflicted between vampire hunter Tristan and the dark world she left behind. That said, expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to encounter some twists and turns in this haunting struggle between immortality and justice.

The supporting cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’ will include the likes of Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Desiree del Valle, Niña Dolino, Dino Imperial, Bryan Santos, Ina Raymundo, Nikki Valdez, Mike Agassi, Joross Gamboa, Tony Labrusca and Sue Ramirez. It will be directed by Cathy Garcia Molina and produced by Star Creatives.

If the previous small screen success of KathNiel (and of Cathy Garcia Molina) is any indication, then expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to enjoy a similar path. Still, it will not be easy to follow a pair of popular predecessors in ‘Lobo’ and ‘Imortal’, so let’s see how this upcoming series will unfold in front of millions of viewers.

‘La Luna Sangre’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

A Secret No More: Richard Gutierrez Joins ABS-CBN

Richard Gutierrez has found a new home.

On Wednesday, May 31, ABS-CBN held a press conference to announce the acquisition of the former long-time GMA artist. In a statement, Richard told the media about his decision to join ABS-CBN.

“I have always been curious how it is to work in ABS-CBN. I only hear great things about this network. Finally, now I’m here, I’m excited that I have been given the opportunity to work here.”

Richard graced the much-anticipated event alongside his mother Annabelle Rama, ABS-CBN COO for Broadcast Cory Vidanes, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos and Finance head for Broadcast and News and Current Affairs Cat Lopez. The news quickly spread like wildfire on social media, with many netizens congratulating Richard on his decision.

Prior to joining ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez made his mark on rival GMA Network, starring in teleseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Lupin’, ‘Sugo’, ‘Kamandag’, ‘Codename: Asero’ and ‘Captain Barbell’. He also starred in films such as ‘Let the Love Begin’, ‘Mulawin: The Movie’ and the ‘Mano Po’ franchise.

Richard’s most recent series was the TV5/Viva production ‘Ang Panday’, which aired last year. He also made a few guest appearances on ABS-CBN programming during a four-year period as a freelancer.

The first salvo for Richard with the Kapamilya network will be the upcoming fantasy-action series ‘La Luna Sangre’, starring alongside Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Although former ‘Mulawin’ co-star Angel Locsin will also make an appearance on the third installment of the ‘Lobo’ franchise, don’t expect the one-time love team to appear on-screen together.

However, ABS-CBN did announce that a planned reunion of Richard and Angel in an upcoming Star Cinema film is in the works. In addition, another untitled Star Cinema movie alongside Angelica Panganiban is also planned for Richard.

Let’s just hope that ABS-CBN will make good use of Richard Gutierrez. With a reputation of turning fading stars back to relevance, this is an opportunity for the network to once again weave their magic on a talent that still has some mileage left.

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action, comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, radio, reality show, talent show, television, variety show

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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concerts, entertainment, live events, Philippines, television

ABS-CBN, GMA to Air Christmas Specials This Weekend

‘Isang Pamilya Tayo Ngayong Pasko’ or ‘Maniwala sa Magic ng Pasko’?

In the past month, ABS-CBN and GMA have been one-upping each other when it comes to creating the perfect Christmas theme this year. For the former, they reached their message through a long-form music video, while for the latter, they used a series of 3D animated shorts to make a statement.

This weekend, the two arch-rivals in the world of Philippine television will once again take their Christmas themes to the next level, this time in the form of a televised concert. It will be ‘Isang Pamilya Tayo Ngayong Pasko: The ABS-CBN Christmas Special’, against ‘The Magic of Christmas: A GMA Christmas Special’.

Both Christmas specials will feature song and dance numbers from each network’s top stars. And while GMA will use this special to unveil upcoming shows for next year, ABS-CBN’s special will focus on stories of ordinary people who inspired others to succeed in their lives.

A lot is expected on the two specials this weekend, particularly with the star power the two networks possess. However, there is special emphasis on the love teams, as ABS-CBN’s ‘Big 3′ of KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla), JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) and LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil), and GMA’s AlDub (Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza) will try to gain the viewers’ attention.

ABS-CBN’s Christmas special will air as a two-part series. The first part will air this Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, while the second part will air this Sunday after ‘Wansapanatym’.

As for GMA’s own Christmas special, it will be shown this Sunday as part of ‘Sunday Night Box Office’. Thus, this Sunday will mark the only time that the two networks’ Christmas specials will cross paths, and considering GMA’s overall deficiencies in their programming, it could pose a disadvantage on their part.

Either way, this promises to be a special ‘week before Christmas’ to remember. Both ABS-CBN and GMA have done their share in impressing their viewers this Christmas season, and now it’s up to their fans to give back.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Despite Wins, Primetime Bida’s Second Slot On a Slump

The second slot of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida used to be as dominant as the first.

In a span of nearly two years, the second slot was given to either KathNiel, the love team of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, or LizQuen, the love team of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. The run began with the latter’s ‘Forevermore’, followed by the former’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and concluded with ‘Dolce Amore’, also of the latter.

These three dramas consistently earned 30% or better ratings during their respective runs. On some occasions, they also reached 40% or better, which is around 20% more than the opposing teleserye that GMA pits against.

But on August 29, the fortunes of Primetime Bida’s second slot began to change. That night marked the premiere of JaDine’s (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) ‘Till I Met You’, which was the first series not to star either KathNiel or LizQuen in the 8:45 slot since ‘Ikaw Lamang’ in 2014.

The said series entered the scene with high expectations, and considering the smashing success of both KathNiel and LizQuen, many looked forward to a similarly dominant performance from JaDine. However, despite beating GMA Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in the ratings, their average mark of 26% is a far cry from the teleseryes of KathNiel and LizQuen.

Three weeks later, ‘Till I Met You’ was demoted to the third slot, where JaDine has had success in the past. Its replacement ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ fared no better, earning only a 25% average rating as of September 20.

To make matters worse, the opposing GMA series began to close the gap. The final week of the Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ averaged well over 22%, and the succeeding series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, seemingly benefiting from the backlash that tagged them as an ‘Arrow’ copycat, earned an average of 21% through its first two episodes.

As victorious as ABS-CBN is, the recent slump in form for Primetime Bida’s second slot should give them a reason to worry. The fact is, people are getting tired of the repetitive formulas that the Kapamilya network use, and as such, have no motivation to continue watching their series.

Still, tagging the second slot of ‘Primetime Bida’ as ‘past its prime’ is premature. If ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ can somehow create some interesting and heart-wrenching scenes in future episodes, the dominant showing of the past could resurface sooner or later.

One can only hope that ABS-CBN pushes the right buttons in order to return to their past dominance. Otherwise, GMA could end up as the winner if this slump continues.

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