comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

A History of Vic Sotto Sitcoms (Part 1)

The cast of ‘Okay Ka, Fairy Ko’ nearly 30 years after it first aired. Tweetie de Leon was the second actress to play the role of Faye. (Photo credit: Allan K Official Instagram)

It has been nearly 30 years since Vic Sotto left the shadows of TVJ and became a star himself.

On Sunday, June 19, his newest sitcom ‘Hay, Bahay!’ will officially premiere on GMA. This will mark Vic Sotto’s eighth sitcom as a solo artist, and ninth overall.

While he was better known as 1/3 of the fabled trio TVJ alongside Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon, and the host of ‘Eat Bulaga’, it was his individual comedic brilliance on television and film that cemented his legacy. Without further ado, let’s look back at his solo sitcoms over the years (in chronological order), starting with the first four on the list.

1. Okay Ka, Fairy Ko! (1987-97)

Aired on: IBC-13 (1987-89), ABS-CBN (1989-95), GMA (1995-97)

Notable co-stars: Aiza Seguerra, Alice Dixson, Tweetie de Leon, Dawn Zulueta, Charito Solis, Jinky Oda, Ruby Rodriguez, Larry Silva

The sitcom that started it all, ‘Okay Ka, Fairy Ko’ introduced viewers to Enteng Kabisote, the mechanic-turned-husband of the fairy Faye. The character then went on to star in nine box-office hit movies based on the sitcom.

2. 1 For 3 (1997-2001)

Aired on: GMA

Notable co-stars: Ai-ai delas Alas, Charlene Gonzales, Rosanna Roces, Nanette Inventor, Imee Marcos, Allan K, Mickey Ferriols

Believe it or not, ‘Hay, Bahay’ is not the first sitcom to star both Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas. When Charlene Gonzales left ‘1 For 3’ to host ABS-CBN’s ‘Keep on Dancing’, Ai-ai was introduced in the sitcom as one of Gene’s (Vic) housemates.

3. Daddy Di Do Du (2001-07)

Aired on: GMA

Notable co-stars: Danica Sotto, Maxene Magalona, Isabelle de Leon, Cindy Kurleto, Redford White, Ruby Rodriguez, Joonee Gamboa, Jose Manalo, Paolo Ballesteros, Nida Blanca

The first sitcom to feature Vic and daughter Danica, ‘Daddy Di Do Du’ was the second in Vic’s sitcom filmography to feature a mystical theme. Unfortunately, just a few months into the sitcom’s run, Nida Blanca was murdered, and her character was written off afterwards.

4. Ful Haus (2007-09)

Aired on: GMA

Notable co-stars: Pia Guanio, Jose Manalo, BJ Forbes, Joonee Gamboa, Marissa Delgado, Mitoy Yonting, Sugar Mercado

Based on the Koreanovela ‘Full House’, ‘Ful Haus’ marked the debut of child star BJ Forbes, whose claim to fame was via the Tide detergent commercials as ‘Tolits’. This was also the first project for Mitoy Yonting prior to winning season 1 of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ several years later.

For Part 2 of A History of Vic Sotto sitcoms, click here.

Note: ‘Hay, Bahay!’ will air every Sunday after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA. All of his sitcoms are property of M-Zet Productions.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

With Impending Encantadia Requel, GMA Goes for Broke

It’s official: ‘Encantadia’ is returning to GMA.

The announcement was made last night during the evening newscast ’24 Oras’. Throughout the newscast, the upcoming ‘requel’ (portmanteau of reboot and prequel) revealed its main cast members, which are as follows:

  • Glaiza de Castro (as Sang’gre Pirena, originally portrayed by Sunshine Dizon)
  • Kylie Padilla (as Sang’gre Amihan, originally portrayed by Iza Calzado)
  • Gabbi Garcia (as Sang’gre Alena, originally portrayed by Karylle)
  • Sanya Lopez (as Sang’gre Danaya, originally portrayed by Diana Zubiri)
  • Ruru Madrid (as Ybarro/Ybrahim, originally portrayed by Dingdong Dantes)
  • Rocco Nacino (as Aquil, originally portrayed by Alfred Vargas)

They will be joined by Marian Rivera, who will play Dawn Zulueta’s original role as the Inang Reyna.

In addition, the press conference announced the names of the supporting cast members. They are:

  •  John Arcilla (as Hagorn)
  • Rochelle Pangilinan (as Agane)
  • Vaness del Moral (as Gurna)
  • Pancho Magno (as Hitano)
  • Christian Bautista (as Apitong)
  • Carlo Gonzales (as Muros)
  • Kate Valdez (as Mira)
  • Mikee Quintos (as Lira)
  • Klea Pineda (as Muyak)
  • Migo Adecer (as Anthony)
  • Solenn Heussaff (as Cassiopeia)

Mark Reyes will be the director of the new ‘Encantadia’, and he revealed that a few changes will be made on the ‘requel’ without sacrificing the main story of the original series. That said, expect a fresher and more modern ‘Encantadia’ for the new generation.

The original ‘Encantadia’ aired on GMA during the mid-2000s, and spawned two sequels in ‘Etheria: Ang Ikalimang Kaharian ng Encantadia’ and ‘Encantadia: Pag-Ibig Hanggang Wakas’. A planned reboot of ‘Encantadia’ (titled ‘Encantadia: The Second Saga’) was announced in 2010, but was never materialized.

When it first aired, ‘Encantadia’ became one of GMA’s highly-rated series, thanks in large part to the popularity of the fantaserye during that time. But the production of ‘Encantadia’ and its two sequels took its toll on GMA financially, and they have never recovered since.

With the Kapuso network in a crisis of confidence, what chances will they have with the ‘requel’ of ‘Encantadia’? And how will this series be able to thrive amidst a more conservative approach in teleserye production?

Only time will tell.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Shortened Final Week Awaits Little Nanay, You’re My Home

Only five episodes remain for ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘You’re My Home’.

Both series will officially conclude this Holy Wednesday, March 23. Since Maunday Thursday and Good Friday will feature special religious-themed programming, the final week of the two shows will be uncharacteristically abbreviated than usual.

GMA’s ‘Little Nanay’ first aired on November 16, 2015, and will have run for 129 episodes by the time it ends. The series starred Kris Bernal, Chlaui Malayao, Nora Aunor and Eddie Garcia, among others.

‘Little Nanay’ was pitted against ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ from the moment it premiered, but the series endured poor ratings against the KathNiel-starred drama. Not even a change of timeslot from January 11 onward helped change its fortunes, as they didn’t come close to the feats achieved by ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’.

On the other hand, ABS-CBN’s ‘You’re My Home’ first aired a week earlier, on November 9. The series, which starred Dawn Zulueta, Richard Gomez, Jessy Mendiola and JC de Vera, among others, will have a total of 136 episodes once it concludes.

‘You’re My Home’ was created essentially to take advantage of GMA’s weaker offerings during the late evening slot. While the series started slow, it has since earned respectable ratings, and helped consolidate the dominance of ABS-CBN during weekday primetime.

The conclusions of both ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘You’re My Home’ mark a rare occasion in which a drama series will end on Holy Wednesday. As mentioned earlier, regular programming on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are set aside for religious-themed programs, hence the shorter final week.

That said, with only three episodes remaining before the Paschal Triduum kicks in, expect ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘You’re My Home’ to have a compelling conclusion. One can only hope that the two series will make a final impression as they enter the homestretch.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, television

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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

You’re My Home Premieres Tonight

ABS-CBN is adding a fifth teleserye to Primetime Bida’s already formidable lineup.

The latest entry on the block is ‘You’re My Home’, the long-awaited project of Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta. The series was first planned two years ago, but numerous casting and story changes delayed the project until this year.

The original cast of ‘You’re My Home’ would have featured Richard and Dawn along with Enchong Dee, Shaina Magdayao, Iza Calzado, Cherry Pie Picache, Ella Cruz and Francis Magundayao. Instead, ABS-CBN decided to start over and rework the casting process.

With the exception of Richard and Dawn, the rest of the cast will now feature Jessy Mendiola, JC de Vera, Tonton Gutierrez, Paul Salas, Precious Lara Quigaman, Assunta De Rossi, Jobelle Salvador, Mika Dela Cruz, Minnie Aguilar, Peewee O’Hara, Belle Mariano, Bugoy Carino, and Raikko Mateo. The series will be directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Star Creatives will handle production.

‘You’re My Home”s story will revolve around a family’s search for a lost son and the questions that surround his disappearance. The Fontanilla family of Grace (Jessy), Gabriel (Richard), Marian (Dawn) and Rahm (Sam) will have to find a way to not only look for their son Vince (Paul), but also fix a relationship that was ruined by his disappearance.

As mentioned earlier, ‘You’re My Home’ will be the network’s fifth teleserye on the Primetime Bida block. Counting the three other teleseryes on Kapamilya Gold and the late-morning series ‘Ningning’, ABS-CBN will now have a total of nine teleseryes every weekday, further demonstrating the network’s depth, creativity and financial capabilities.

It will be interesting to see if five teleseryes on primetime will translate to better ratings. ‘You’re My Home’ may be a can’t miss, but whether or not it will whet viewers’ appetites in the late-evening remains to be seen.

‘You’re My Home’ premieres tonight after ‘On the Wings of Love’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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entertainment, Philippines, talk show, television

1995 Flashback: Startalk Takes a Bow

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

The final episode of ‘Startalk’ will air tomorrow afternoon.

After nearly 20 years of leading the showbiz talk show circuit, GMA realized that the time has come. Like ABS-CBN did when ‘The Buzz’ went off the air last April, GMA knows that the changing needs of its audience (e.g. social media, internet) would become a huge factor, and as result, they finally decided to let go of an institution that has served them well.

‘Startalk’ debuted on October 8, 1995 as a Sunday afternoon talk show, with Boy Abunda, Lolit Solis and Kris Aquino as its hosts. For the next three years, the show competed against ‘Showbiz Lingo’, but it became clear that ‘Startalk’ would never make its presence felt if it were to face another showbiz talk show.

Thus, in June 1998, ‘Startalk’ moved to Saturday afternoons (after ‘Eat Bulaga’), and it would remain that way for nearly 16 years. By then Kris Aquino left for ABS-CBN, and after Dawn Zulueta briefly filled in, ‘Startalk’ hired sexy star Rosanna Roces, and with her controversial antics, the show finally won the hearts of viewers nationwide.

‘Startalk’ suffered a slight dip in its audience when, in May 1999, Boy Abunda joined Kris Aquino at ABS-CBN to host another long-running showbiz talk show in ‘The Buzz’. They quickly recovered, however, when Butch Francisco replaced Boy, and for the next five years, the trio of Butch, Lolit and Osang would lead ‘Startalk’ to unprecedented heights.

Osang’s tenure came to an end in June 2004 after a series of controversies that culminated in a well-publicized feud with co-host Lolit Solis and Dra. Vicki Belo. After that, Butch and Lolit would be joined by the likes of Lorna Tolentino, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo and Heart Evangelista for the remainder of the show’s run.

At almost the same time, ABS-CBN tried to counter ‘Startalk’ with a variety of showbiz talk shows on Saturday afternoons, none of which were able to win. It became clear that a rivalry between ‘Startalk’ and ‘The Buzz’ was something viewers would like to see, and in January 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Sunday afternoons in order to face ‘The Buzz’ (albeit under the name of ‘Buzz ng Bayan’).

The experiment was a disaster, however, and after ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ reverted to ‘The Buzz’ name in May 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Saturday afternoons, this time cutting the show’s duration by 45 minutes.. The declining ratings would only continue from there, and GMA realized the end was near.

On September 12, GMA announced that ‘Startalk’ will air its final episode. The said episode will feature a list of 20 questions submitted by netizens on ‘Startalk”s official Facebook, during which the hosts will answer each of them throughout the show.

‘Startalk’ will always be remembered as ‘The Only Showbiz Authority’, as well as the longest-running showbiz talk show in the country. But with the show finally taking a bow, it marked the end of an era, for ‘Startalk’ was the benchmark in which all other showbiz talk shows were measured.

A new era beckons in the showbiz industry. Thanks for the memories, ‘Startalk’.

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