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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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

No Surprise: Aljur Abrenica Joins ABS-CBN

It was a transfer three years in the making.

On Monday, July 31, former GMA contract artist Aljur Abrenica officially joined ABS-CBN in a deal that was of no surprise to everyone. Welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp are ABS-CBN executives and producers Laurenti Dyogi, Deo Endrinal and Cory Vidanes.

A GMA contract artist and a ‘StarStruck’ alumnus for 11 years, Aljur’s tenure with the network has had some ups and downs. While the early part of his career was a fruitful one with a few successful projects, the last few years saw his stock drop dramatically.

In 2014, Aljur filed a petition to rescind his contract with GMA Network in hopes of restarting his career. Although Aljur and GMA settled the dispute nearly two years later, it was clear that his popular appeal was waning.

Proof of that was Aljur’s final GMA project ‘Once Again’. Paired alongside Janine Gutierrez, Aljur’s swan song turned out to be a bust, as ‘Once Again’ lasted only 59 episodes and was completely overwhelmed by the LizQuen-starred ‘Dolce Amore’.

Aljur was given no further projects by the network following the failure of ‘Once Again’, and his contract officially expired in March 2017. A few months later, speculation run rampant when Aljur suddenly appeared inside the ABS-CBN compound, hinting at the possibility of joining the network.

Although Aljur has yet to ink an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, the network said a few projects and appearances are lined up for the actor. That said, it is likely that Aljur will be seen on ABS-CBN noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘ASAP’, and talk shows such as ‘Tonight with Boy Abunda’ while his upcoming projects are being planned.

There is also a possibility that Aljur and brother Vin will be seen together, but that will be for another time. In any case, Aljur’s decision to join the network should help resurrect his career, given that ABS-CBN has had a reputation of reviving an artist’s declining fortunes.

It remains to be seen if Aljur will be the latest in a series of Kapamilya reclamation projects, but with the right mindset, he could be on the path back to success. Good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Analyzing the Possible Timeslot of My Dear Heart

There is still no timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’.

Although the inspirational family drama is expected to replace ‘Till I Met You’ come this Monday, ABS-CBN has yet to reveal its official timeslot as of today. There are three factors as to why the network is having a hard time figuring out its upcoming timeslot.

1. Ang Probinsyano Continues to Rate Well In the 7:50 Timeslot

Traditionally, ABS-CBN’s value-oriented family dramas are placed after ‘TV Patrol’, which is around 7:50 p.m. Series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’, ‘Honesto’ and ‘Nathaniel’ attracted huge audiences during their respective runs, mainly because it is catered to all audiences and families.

However, ABS-CBN broke the mold when the action-oriented ‘Ang Probinsyano’ premiered on September 28, 2015. The break from tradition did not affect the viewership at all, as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ constantly scored ratings of 35% or better during its ongoing run.

2. Second Slot on Downward Trend

Looking at the second slot post-‘Dolce Amore’, it is clear that the slot is on a downward trend ratings-wise. Neither ‘Till I Met You’, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ nor ‘A Love to Last’ reached the 30% mark, citing various formulas that keep on repeating itself.

If ABS-CBN places ‘My Dear Heart’ to the second slot, they can only hope that it breaches past 30% right away. After all, the series is expected to be just as hugely popular as previous dramas like ‘May Bukas Pa’, but with ‘Ang Probinsyano’ blocking the first slot, there is no way to go but second.

3. Primetime Bida’s Third Slot is For Teens and Adults Only

The third slot of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida does not bode well for ‘My Dear Heart’. Viewership at the 9:20 slot is typically lower (around 10-15%) at this point since most young children either go to bed or finish their studies to prepare for the following school day.

That said, the third slot is usually reserved for either light dramas (see ‘On the Wings of Love’) or more sensual series (see ‘The Legal Wife’). There is no way ABS-CBN will place ‘My Dear Heart’ at the third slot given its family-friendly tale.

With all these factors in play, the most logical timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’ will be the second slot after ‘Ang Probinsyano’, after which ‘A Love to Last’ will move to the third slot. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is already a lock for the leadoff position, and with the desire for the second slot to regain its past luster, ‘My Dear Heart’ appears to be the perfect fit.

Still, this is only a prediction. It will be up to ABS-CBN to decide the timeslot of ‘My Dear Heart’.

‘My Dear Heart’ will star Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Ms. Coney Reyes, Joey Marquez, Loisa Andalio, Sandino Martin and Rio Locsin, among others. It will be directed by Jerome Chavez Pobocan and Jojo Saguin.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Till I Met You Underachieves As It Enters Finale

The tumultuous run of ‘Till I Met You’ is about to end.

The second teleserye to star James Reid (as Basti) and Nadine Lustre (as Iris), ‘Till I Met You’ marked a change of direction for the love team. While their previous series ‘On the Wings of Love’ was presented as more of a light-hearted drama, ‘Till I Met You’ incorporated more serious themes such as LGBT relationships, as evidenced by the addition of JC Santos (as Ali).

‘Till I Met You’ first premiered on August 29, 2016. At first, it was placed in the second slot of Primetime Bida, as ABS-CBN hoped that the series can maintain the standard of excellence that KathNiel (‘Pangako sa ‘Yo’) and LizQuen (‘Dolce Amore’) instilled earlier that year.

Unfortunately for JaDine, it was not to be. ‘Till I Met You’ only mustered around 26% average ratings in its first two weeks (in contrast, ‘Pangako sa ‘Yo’ and ‘Dolce Amore’ scored around 30% or more in each episode), forcing ABS-CBN to demote the drama to the third slot in favor of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’.

Despite JaDine’s familiarity with the third slot, ‘Till I Met You’ found it hard to win back viewers, at least locally. Unlike ‘On the Wings of Love’ which scored better than 25% during its run, ‘Till I Met You’ only managed 13% on average.

To make matters worse, ‘Till I Met You’ failed to dominate its timeslot, and even lost in the ratings battle at times to rival GMA series ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ and ‘Meant to Be’. The series’ seemingly familiar plot (remember ‘My Husband’s Lover’?) may have turned off some more knowledgeable viewers.

Overall, even with the total count of 105 episodes by Friday’s finale, ‘Till I Met You’ is considered a ‘bust’ by JaDine’s standards. There may have been some moments worth talking about (e.g. Basti and Iris’ car scene), but other than that, ‘Till I Met You’ essentially underachieved under the bright lights of primetime.

Whether or not JaDine can bounce back with their next TV project remains to be seen. But for the viewers who have enjoyed watching ‘Till I Met You’ despite its underachieving status, the last week of the series should be worth the price of admission.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Final Week for Magpahanggang Wakas, Someone to Watch Over Me

2017 gets underway with two teleseryes concluding their respective runs this Friday.

On one end, there is the ABS-CBN primetime series ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. The latest in a series of ‘kabitseryes’, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ starred Jericho Rosales, Arci Muñoz and John Estrada in a story that involves a romantic love triangle and a man wrongly accused of murder and was thought to have been killed.

On the other end is the GMA primetime series ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, starring Tom Rodriguez, Lovi Poe and Max Collins. Like ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, this series featured a love triangle, this time with a plot centering on a man who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ premiered on September 5, and was initially pitted against the short-lived series ‘Born for You’. But after the latter’s conclusion, many expected to see ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ go up against the former.

Unfortunately, ABS-CBN had other ideas. On September 19, the network demoted ‘Till I Met You’ to the third slot of Primetime Bida, and ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ was placed in the second slot, opposite another debuting series in ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

But while ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ regularly got the better of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in the Kantar national ratings, it averaged only 26%, a far cry from the 30% or better numbers of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ and ‘Dolce Amore’ earlier in 2016. Much has been said about its plot line, which may have turned viewers off due to its obvious familiarity.

As for ‘Someone to Watch over Me’, it only scored an average of 12% during its run. But unlike previous GMA dramas that aired in this timeslot, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ actually fought well, pushing the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ to the limit in more recent episodes.

Overall, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ will have aired for 80 episodes, while ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ will have a total of 90 episodes. Not bad, but not good for either network’s standards.

In the end, it is clear that the success of the so-called ‘kabitserye’ is wearing thin. It was a tried and tested formula, but for those who have seen this plot before, it is no longer a healthy obsession.

This Friday, both ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ and ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ will have one last chance to impress themselves. One can only hope that the two series will end on a high note, after all these difficult times.

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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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