drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No More Extension: My Love from the Star Ends Friday

This week will be the last hurrah for ‘My Love from the Star’.

On Friday, August 11, GMA will give viewers one final glimpse into the love story of Steffi and Matteo. Since its premiere on May 29, the unlikely pairing of Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva breathed new life into the characters originally portrayed by Korean stars Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun, and people who watched the original series looked in awe at the performance of the duo.

Notwithstanding the story and the actors involved, it is very surprising to see ‘My Love from the Star’ run for only a short period of time. Clocking at only 55 episodes, this series joined a dubious list of Filipino teleseryes that did not last at least 80 episodes (this included its predecessor ‘Destined to Be Yours’ which ran for only 63 episodes).

But unlike AlDub’s ill-fated debut series, the brief run of ‘My Love from the Star’ has nothing to do with the ratings (the series regularly fell victim to ‘My Dear Heart’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’ throughout its tenure). In fact, GMA planned it to run for only a short period of time in order to remain faithful to the original Korean series.

It was a shame that ‘My Love from the Star’ had to air for only a few months. The brief tenure of the show did not allow enough time for veteran Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva to develop their much-needed chemistry.

Still, as far as GMA is concerned, the pairing between Jennylyn and Gil is only temporary. Unless GMA plans to give the duo another series to work with in the future, all signs point for this on-screen duo to move on and focus on other opportunities.

In short, Jennylyn Mercado and Gil Cuerva together is like a one-off project. But if GMA is satisfied with their performance, perhaps another, longer series could be in the offing for the two.

The final five episodes of ‘My Love from the Star’ should be a great one. This will be the final opportunity to see how Steffi (Jennylyn) and Matteo (Gil) forge their love for each other.

P.S.: The final week of ‘My Love from the Star’ will be dedicated to former cast member Spanky Manikan, who unexpectedly left the show due to health reasons (it was later revealed that the actor is suffering from Stage 4 lung cancer).

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

My Dear Heart’s ‘Last Heartbeats’

This is indeed the ‘Last Heartbeat’.

The impending conclusion of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw ABS-CBN promote its final episodes as the ‘Last __ Heartbeats’. And if this is indeed the last heartbeat for Heart Ramos and company, what a way to go.

‘My Dear Heart’ made its way to Primetime Bida’s lineup on January 23, 2017. Although the series is considered a family drama in the mold of other classic series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’ and ‘Honesto’, the popularity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the early primetime slot forced ABS-CBN to bump ‘My Dear Heart’ to a later time.

Nevertheless, ‘My Dear Heart’ proved to be a ratings success in its own right. The series averaged 28% in the Kantar ratings, with some episodes peaking at 30% or better.

While ‘My Dear Heart’ began its run against the Dingdong Dantes-starred ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, it was against the AlDub-starred ‘Destined to Be Yours’ that defined its tenure. Facing the seemingly formidable love team of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘My Dear Heart’ dominated the former with relative ease, shocking the entire AlDub Nation in the process.

The final few weeks of ‘My Dear Heart’ saw the series compete against the Filipino adaptation of ‘My Love from the Star’. But like Alden and Maine, the duo of Gil Cuerva and Jennylyn Mercado could not overcome Heart’s determination to survive.

Overall, ‘My Dear Heart’ will have logged a total of 103 episodes by the time it ends this Friday. The episode count was very impressive considering the series worked behind ‘Ang Probinsyano’ in the pecking order.

Come this week, all eyes are on child star Heart Ramos, whose role as a coma-stricken daughter and angelic spirit captivated viewers throughout the country and around the world. The final episodes of the series will also see how the characters of Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde and Eric Quizon react to Heart’s life-or-death struggle.

The ‘Last Heartbeat’ for ‘My Dear Heart’ is on. As for Heart Ramos, her budding career as a child star has just begun.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Why GMA’s Teleserye Countdown Timer is Overrated?

GMA is going to great lengths in hopes of winning back its audience.

The past two weekends saw the network post a countdown timer for their soon-to-air series ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘My Love from the Star’ (see example from ‘Dear Uge’ below). This timer was flashed during most GMA programs (exceptions are variety shows, other blocktimed programs and select GMA News shows).

The reason is unclear, but it is presumed that GMA is using the timer to promote and add some hype to their upcoming series. To be honest, though, the utilization of a countdown timer for nothing but promotion of a program is very overrated.

For starters, GMA has long been an advocate of the countdown timer, having been used to advertise not only dramas but also variety shows and other network-produced programming. However, not even the addition of a timer is enough to jack up ratings of a particular show.

‘Encantadia’, for example, had a countdown timer in the days leading up to its premiere last year. Unfortunately, despite the good reviews and the positive reception from viewers, the fantaserye failed to keep up with the juggernaut that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA also made a countdown timer for AlDub’s ‘Destined to Be Yours’. Even though it was hyped well, the series regularly fell short to ‘My Dear Heart’ mainly because Maine Mendoza’s acting is still raw by viewers’ standards.

Contrast that to ABS-CBN’s own approach to promote a teleserye. Rather than utilizing a countdown timer like GMA does, they take advantage of the hype through social media, on-demand streaming and a strong regional and global presence.

So where does GMA stand at this point? Considering that they still have a long way to go before closing in on ABS-CBN’s national (and global) superiority, they should focus more on strengthening their regional and international reach, a deficiency that they continue to endure for many years now.

The power of social media is also a necessity for GMA to aggressively promote their programs. However, they must engage more in order to make an impact.

There are plenty of options to promote a drama. But a countdown timer for GMA teleseryes and other programs? That is unnecessary and distracting.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The End of Destined to Be Yours

AlDub needs improvement, period.

This has been a recurring theme for the tandem ever since ‘Destined to Be Yours’ premiered on February 27, 2017. The onus was that Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza are not ready to be certified primetime stars just yet, either because the expectations are too overwhelming or that the tandem still has a lot of work to do chemistry-wise and skills-wise (particularly Maine, who obviously lacked prior acting experience).

Indeed, the intent of GMA is to run ‘Destined to Be Yours’ as short as possible, and that is exactly what happened. Only 63 episodes of ‘Destined to Be Yours’ will have aired once it concludes this Friday, thus putting them in a dubious list of short-lived teleseryes that fail to reach the typical 80-episode threshold.

Still, even with an uncharacteristically short run, ‘Destined to Be Yours’ should have been winning according to AlDub loyalists, right? Considering that AlDub enjoyed a tremendous crossover appeal in both social media and on the small screen, the series should have had a winning streak in the ratings and trending topics game.

Instead, a child actress by the name of Nayomi ‘Heart’ Ramos’ (joined alongside Coney Reyes, Ria Atayde, Zanjoe Marudo and Bela Padilla) overwhelmed AlDub. The fact that the ABS-CBN drama series ‘My Dear Heart’ constantly defeated ‘Destined to Be Yours’ in the ratings does not sit well with AlDub fans.

Unfortunately, that is the reality of it all. Alden and Maine together are simply not primetime material for the moment.

With the impending conclusion of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, there is plenty more work to do for AlDub. While they will still be an integral part of ‘Eat Bulaga’ for years to come, GMA should start working on their skills and chemistry in hopes of elevating the duo to the same heights as KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine.

Unfortunately, they will not have someone like Cathy Garcia Molina to guide them. That said, GMA must look for someone with equal capabilities as the former in order to turn AlDub to a success story, and that alone is not easy.

For now, rest easy AlDub. After that, it’s time to get back to business.

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ABS-CBN Wins All Timeslots Last Monday According to Kantar

Not even AlDub’s much-anticipated primetime debut can stop ABS-CBN from reaching an immaculate record.

On Monday, February 27, all ABS-CBN programs defeated their respective GMA counterparts in the ratings, according to Kantar Media. This includes a rare victory for ‘Magandang Buhay’ (8.1%), as it swept all of GMA’s Astig Authority block (‘Ghost Fighter’ (5.9%), ‘Pokemon XY’ (6.7%) and ‘Bleach’ (7.3%)) and the European fantasy series ‘Wolfblood’ (6.8%).

As always, ABS-CBN’s usual suspects dominate the list, with the network continuing to prevail from late morning to late night. Six of the top ten slots belong to ABS-CBN programs, with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s 42.8% leading the way.

Even the network’s programs in the wee hours earned a victory as well. The 4:00-5:30 a.m. slot was won by ‘O Shopping’ (0.4%) and a rerun of ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ (1 %) over ‘Reporters Notebook’ (0.9%), while the 11:45-1:00 a.m. slot was won by ‘Mission Possible’ (1.8%) and ‘O Shopping’ (0.9%) over ‘The 700 Club Asia’ (1.2%) and ‘EZ Shop’ (0.6%) respectively.

But the highlight of the day was the matchup between newcomer ‘Destined to Be Yours’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. The former, starring Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, entered the night with high expectations, and considering the duo’s popularity in the last two years, the series was poised to get off to a sizzling start.

Instead, it was fellow young star Ria Atayde who turned heads. Her debut as Margaret’s (Coney Reyes) daughter Gia helped ‘My Dear Heart’ defeat ‘Destined to Be Yours’ 29.1 to 20.2%.

And finally, two shows that are normally affected by ABS-CBN Regional’s own programming managed to beat the odds. Both ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ (5.2%) and ‘Minute to Win It’ (14%) prevailed over ‘Unang Hirit’ (4 %) and ‘Wowowin’ (13.7%) respectively, despite getting preempted by ABS-CBN Regional morning shows and ANR-produced ‘TV Patrol’.

Overall, it was thorough domination on the part of ABS-CBN. No one knows when will this rare wire-to-wire win will take place again, but one thing is for sure: ABS-CBN continues to reign as the Philippines’ top network.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can AlDub Rule Primetime with Destined to Be Yours?

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza’s biggest test lies ahead.

After spending over a year captivating viewers with their spontaneous ‘kilig’ and acting skills on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye, the popular love team now moves over to primetime for a new challenge. As a reward to their enduring success, GMA and APT Entertainment gave Alden and Maine a new project in hopes of conquering a new audience.

Enter ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the upcoming drama series which will air later tonight on GMA Telebabad. It will be Alden’s first lead primetime series since the ill-fated mini-drama ‘Ilustrado’, while it will be the first for the still-relative newcomer Maine.

In ‘Destined to Be Yours’, Benjie (Alden) is an up-and-coming architect who spearheads a construction project in the mountainous area of Pelangi. As fate would have it, he meets Sinag (Maine), a radio jock in the province, and the two soon fell in love with each other.

However, their philosophical differences would soon get in the way of their relationship. That said, it will be up to them to sort their issues and find true love within their hearts.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ will also star Janice de Belen, Boots Anson Roa, Lotlot de Leon, Gardo Versoza, Tommy Abuel, ina Feleo, Ronnie Henares, Sheena Halili, Dominic Roco, Juancho Trivino, RJ Padilla, and Koreen Medina. It will be directed by Irene Villamor.

While Alden and Maine have established themselves as a love team to be reckoned with, conquering primetime will not be easy for the two. The dominance of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, in particular, has taken its toll on GMA Telebabad, and for the network, giving AlDub a teleserye of their own could be the block’s last chance at survival.

It will also be interesting to see if AlDub on primetime can win over netizens on social media. Considering how highly successful ABS-CBN is in drawing millions of tweets for their shows, GMA will definitely have their hands full trying to make an impact online with AlDub’s newest series.

As AlDub takes over GMA Telebabad, it remains to be seen if their overwhelming success on noontime will translate over to primetime. With high expectations mounting, GMA can only hope that Alden and Maine will deliver and reverse course for the seemingly moribund Telebabad block.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ airs weeknights after ‘Encantadia’ on GMA Telebabad.

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