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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business, entertainment, fantasy, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

How Did Encantadia and Other Fantaseryes Hurt GMA in the Long Term?

GMA’s big investment on fantaseryes took its toll on the network’s long-term plans. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The upcoming requel of ‘Encantadia’ is worth watching, that is, if you’re really a die-hard Kapuso fan.

But while anticipation is high on the new ‘Encantadia’, the broadcasting and financial aspect of GMA leaves a lot to be desired. It’s already 2016, and yet GMA is still way behind its competitors as far as their broadcast standards are concerned.

Much of the blame was due to the numerous big-budget primetime fantaseryes that GMA produced in the mid to late 2000s. With so much money invested on these projects, their ability to spend on updated equipment, facilities and other production and talent matters was compromised in the long term.

From 2004 to 2011, GMA produced big-budget fantaseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Darna’, the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy, ‘Captain Barbell’ and ‘Dyesebel’, among others. They were able to succeed in the ratings, but the high costs of making these series soon took its toll on GMA.

Looking at how GMA currently stacks up with ABS-CBN and TV5, it is clear that they have a lot of catching up to do. In fact, there were some key factors present on ABS-CBN and TV5 that were absent on GMA, such as:

  • An independent sports division (Shakey’s V-League and Manny Pacquiao fights, among others, were co-produced by other outfits)
  • Experimental 16:9 HD broadcasts (GMA still airs its programs in 4:3 standard definition, save for recent imported programs and TAPE-produced ‘Princess in the Palace; GMA also lacks an HD channel of its own)
  • Sister digital TV channels (ABS-CBN has CineMo and Yey!, while TV5 has Catsup)
  • Cable and satellite TV subscription service (ABS-CBN has SkyCable, while TV5 has Cignal)
  • Video-on-demand, livestream and digital-exclusive online service (ABS-CBN has iWanTV, while TV5 has News5Everywhere and Digital5)

Factor in the ongoing problems within the Artist Center, GMA’s regional networks, sister station GMA News TV, GMA Films and the public relationship department, and you have a network that is now standing on just one leg. Poor GMA.

It’s a pity to see GMA struggle at almost everything in recent years, and now that they’ll produce a requel of ‘Encantadia’, more problems lie ahead. That said, if GMA continues its ongoing slide, they will be in for a rude awakening.

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drama, entertainment, Latin America, Philippines, television

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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comedy, drama, entertainment, movies, music, Philippines, television

The Decline of the GMA Artist Center

Aljur Abrenica and other GMA Artist Center talents have seen their careers take a dip in recent years, owing to the problems that surround the GMAAC. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

Low ratings, financial struggles, and futile programming changes. These attributes have become the standard of the GMA Network in recent years.

And the GMA Artist Center is sharing a part of the blame.

While the Artist Center has been known for making stars out of Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Carla Abellana, Dennis Trillo and others, they also had a fair share of missteps along the way. Missed opportunities, underdeveloped and disgruntled talents, and even poor acquisitions have played a role in the GMAAC’s recent history.

For instance, Jolina Magdangal’s recent visit to ABS-CBN has hinted reports of a possible return to the network. Once one of the most promising talents to come out of Johnny Manahan’s Star Magic, her career gradually went downhill after moving to GMA in 2002.

The Artist Center also acquired other former Star Magic talents such as Heart Evangelista, Christian Bautista, Michelle Madrigal and Claudine Barretto. But while Madrigal became a full-fledged star with GMA, the same cannot be said of the careers of Evangelista and Barretto, who were on the decline by the time they signed with the GMAAC. This despite the likes of Tom Rodriguez receiving a career boost with GMA after lingering under Star Magic.

On the contrary, several former GMAAC artists blossomed under Mr. M’s watch. For example, Cristine Reyes, Jake Cuenca, Coco Martin, Paulo Avelino, and more recently Ellen Adarna were considered raw and underdeveloped talents on GMA, but upon transferring to ABS-CBN, their careers were given a new lease on life.

Even several established former GMAAC stars managed to maintain a high profile after moving to ABS-CBN. Angel Locsin, formerly the lead star of ‘Darna’, ‘Mulawin’ and other fantaseryes, gave a good account of herself with a critically-acclaimed performance on ‘The Legal Wife’. Ditto recent Kapuso-to-Kapamilya transferee Iza Calzado, who currently play the lead role in ‘Hawak Kamay’ after starring in several GMA series such as ‘Encantadia’.

If GMA wants to get back on track, look no further than the GMA Artist Center. Since Ida Henares resigned as head of the GMAAC in 2012, the agency is currently run by various personnel, neither of which share the multi-faceted vision and mission of Johnny Manahan’s Star Magic. The GMAAC clearly needs a multi-purpose leader, not a by-committee leadership group with clashing personalities, in order to develop and manage talents well.

In the end, much of GMA’s fortunes will begin and end with the GMA Artist Center. The success and failure of the network depends on how the GMAAC manages their talents. But right now, the GMAAC is a mess, and its sudden and gradual decline mirrors that of GMA’s. Time to fix a wrecked system, otherwise things will only get worse.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Marian Rivera Won’t Face Angel Locsin in Primetime

Instead of facing Angel Locsin, Marian Rivera will face Kathryn Bernardo as ‘Carmela’ debuts this Monday opposite ‘Got to Believe’.

GMA has announced the airing schedule for the upcoming series ‘Carmela’ and ‘Rhodora X’. And as expected, Marian Rivera will not face Angel Locsin in the same timeslot, even as fans of both camps clamor for the two ex-Darna stars to clash at the same time.

‘Carmela’ will face ‘Got to Believe’ on its timeslot. The latter series, starring Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, have been on a roll of late thanks to high ratings and social media returns, and the entry of ‘Carmela’ gives them the opportunity to battle another veteran star in Marian Rivera. Previously, ‘Got to Believe’ toppled the Dingdong Dantes-starrer ‘Genesis’, leading to its rather premature finish before the end of 2013.

On the other hand, Angel Locsin’s new teleserye ‘The Legal Wife’ will be up against Jennylyn Mercado’s series ‘Rhodora X’. In a lead-up to their upcoming primetime face-off, Mercado made it clear that she wanted no part in her ex-boyfriend Luis Manzano’s reconciliation with Locsin, and she wished them good luck in their romance. Mercado last appeared on the GMA Network via the reality competition series ‘Anak Ko Yan’, which once faced ‘Minute to Win It’ hosted by Luis Manzano. Meanwhile this is Locsin’s first teleserye since ‘Imortal’ in 2010, and during that span, she co-starred in the sitcom ‘Toda Max’ and made several movies.

In addition to ‘Carmela’ and ‘Rhodora X’, GMA will roll out another teleserye in its ‘Telebabad’ block. ‘Paraiso Ko’y Ikaw’ will replace ‘Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko’ in the sunset slot. The new teleserye, starring Kim Rodriguez and Kristoffer Martin, will be the latest in a series of attempts to topple the long-running ABS-CBN series ‘Annaliza’, which has defeated both ‘Home Sweet Home’ and ‘Prinsesa ng Buhay Ko’ since debuting in May 2013. And like Julie Vega in the original series, Andrea Brillantes has been splendid in playing the titular character, leading to its consistently high ratings.

Even as GMA tries to counter ABS-CBN with their new primetime offerings, I expect another ratings beatdown from the Kapamilya network. Simply put, GMA cannot beat ABS-CBN anymore, and I have made it clear that the race has already been conceded.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘Dyesebel’ Teaser on ABS-CBN

Many posts ago, I wrote about my thoughts on ABS-CBN and GMA trading their own shows. It stemmed from the fact that several former ABS-CBN programs were picked up by GMA and later made it their own. But on this example, ABS-CBN returned the favor.

A trailer for the new version of ‘Dyesebel‘ recently aired during the ‘Primetime Bida’ block. The teaser for the new ‘Dyesebel’ came in months after ABS-CBN and the estate of Mars Ravelo signed a contract to produce and air the beloved mermaid heroine, along with other Ravelo classics ‘Darna‘ and ‘Captain Barbell‘. Previously all three were aired on GMA, with ‘Darna’ and ‘Captain Barbell’ being produced on two separate occasions.

The teaser for the new ‘Dyesebel’ can be seen on the video below.

Immediately after the release of the teaser, questions were raised as to who will play the role of ‘Dyesebel’. Some of the candidates mentioned for the role were Kapamilya veterans Bea Alonzo, KC Concepcion, Anne Curtis, Kristine Hermosa, Erich Gonzales, Julia Montes and Julia Barretto. Based on the aforementioned candidates, I think the producers of the upcoming teleserye will be selecting a veteran who is willing and able to show some skin during the series.

The previous version of ‘Dyesebel’ was a big hit for GMA, catapaulting the Kapuso network atop the primetime ladder during its run. With ABS-CBN turning the tables of late thanks to emerging stars such as Jessy Mendiola and the KathNiel tandem (Kathryn Bernardo & Daniel Padilla), it is no doubt that their version of ‘Dyesebel’ will pull the network’s primetime dominance to even greater heights, and perhaps surpass the ratings generated by GMA’s own adaptation.

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