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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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Born for You to End in Two Weeks

There is not enough time for GMA’s ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ to warm up.

That is because its opponent, ABS-CBN’s ‘Born for You’, will end in two weeks’ time. The Kapamilya series starring Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador will air its final episode on September 16.

‘Born for You’ had been on the air since June 20, when it replaced the Kim Chiu and Xian Lim-starrer ‘The Story of Us’. The series marked the first time that Elmo (a former GMA star and current off-screen boyfriend of Janine Gutierrez) and Janella were paired on television.

Though ‘Born for You’ consistently won over ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ in the ratings game, it seems like ABS-CBN is not happy with its performance. The show started strong on its very first week, getting an average of 18%, but after that, ratings hovered between 16-17% during July and early August.

Then in the past two weeks, ‘Born for You”s ratings fell to around the 14% mark. This gave ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ a fighting chance, and though they still fell short, on some nights, they managed to narrow the gap to 1% or less.

Overall, ‘Born for You’ will become a rarity among ABS-CBN dramas. With only 65 episodes, it is one of the shortest-lived dramas ABS-CBN has ever produced, and considering that it aired on the top-rating Primetime Bida block, it is even rarer for a series to air that short on primetime.

The underwhelming performance of ‘Born for You’ could force ABS-CBN to consider breaking up the on-screen love team of Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador. Given the inexperience of the duo together, and the fact that Elmo is still linked to Janine Gutierrez in real life, ABS-CBN may need to find another role for both he and Janella, but not as a love team.

Still, the Kapamilya network may give them another chance together. But that will only depend on both proper timing and a right story that will help them grow and mature as actors.

Only two weeks remain in the run of ‘Born for You’. They need to prove that they can still win big, or else, it will be the trio of Lovi Poe, Tom Rodriguez and Max Collins in ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ who will be the ones smiling.

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A Not-so Happy Ending for Juan Happy Love Story

Tomorrow night will be the end of a tale for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’.

The GMA Telebabad series, starring Heart Evangelista, Dennis Trillo and Kim Domingo, will air its finale September 2. It will mark the last of the comedy-infused teleseryes that GMA produced in the last several months, as it will revert back to a more serious tone on ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’.

‘Juan Happy Love Story’ first premiered on May 16, replacing another comedy-infused drama in ‘Because of You’. The series failed to captivate viewers from the start, as it lost to the Kim Chiu and Xian Lim-starred ‘The Story of Us’ on a consistent basis.

Things did not improve for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ once ‘Born for You’ entered the picture. The latter series, which starred former Kapuso star Elmo Magalona and rising ABS-CBN talent Janella Salvador, scored victory after victory over their more veteran counterparts in the national ratings.

Overall, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ will have aired for 80 episodes, a norm for GMA dramas these days. Still, despite the decent amount of episodes produced, it was clear that GMA failed to win back their viewers by using a more comedic approach to their teleseryes.

It also did not help that GMA cast a pair of veterans in Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista to star in ‘Juan Happy Love Story’. And to make matters worse, GMA did not actively promote the series (via upcoming episode trailers) after the second week, as was the norm in more recent teleseryes.

That said, the flaws in GMA’s talent development, storytelling and programming promotion are once again on display. The Kapuso network’s lack of improvement in these aspects have been a constant issue for Lilybeth Rasonable, and it continued with this series.

Come this Friday, a ‘happy ending’ may be in store for ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ story-wise, but not in terms of performance. Nothing will be expected here, just relief that this comedy-styled approach will mercifully end tomorrow night.

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Once Again Ends Quickly

Not even the story of reincarnation can save ‘Once Again’ from humiliation.

Tonight will mark the final episode of the short-lived GMA series that starred Aljur Abrenica and Janine Gutierrez. Lasting for only 59 episodes, ‘Once Again’ is a series that GMA should forget, due to its inability to overcome ‘Dolce Amore’ and the lack of good chemistry between Aljur and Janine.

It was obvious from the start that ‘Once Again’ will not become a hit. When it premiered on May 2, the series only mustered a national rating of 14.1%, 17.5% lower than ‘Dolce Amore’.

From there, the losses continued, as Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil continued to pummel the inexperienced Aljur and Janine love team. To make matters worse, GMA stopped promoting episode teasers for ‘Once Again’ following the first week of airing, as it has been the case in all other Kapuso teleseryes since April.

When it became clear that ‘Once Again’ can no longer handle this shame of losing, GMA decided to cut the series short. That said, with a run of only over two months, ‘Once Again’ is one of GMA’s shortest running teleseryes, the end result of a series that failed to overcome both the competition and the expectations that come with it.

At this point, both Aljur and Janine should feel disappointed about ‘Once Again”s short and uninspiring run. This hastily created love team failed to click from the beginning of the series, and despite the good reviews about its storyline, the results prove to be difficult to accept for the show’s producers and GMA management.

To make matters worse, brother Vin Abrenica and boyfriend Elmo Magalona are now enjoying the perks of success over on ABS-CBN. Perhaps Aljur and Janine should take a good look at the two on what they have been able to do to become successful.

Come this Friday night, it will be all over for ‘Once Again’. Whether or not GMA will keep the love team of Aljur Abrenica and Janine Gutierrez for future teleseryes remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: there will not be another ‘Once Again’ on GMA’s future plans.

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Elmo, Janella Team Up in Born for You

The most talked-about Kapamilya series in recent memory is hitting the small screen this Monday.

Enter ‘Born for You’, the upcoming ABS-CBN teleserye that will be headlined by two of the country’s up-and-coming young stars. The series will mark the Kapamilya debut of Elmo Magalona, as well as Primetime Bida’s introduction to Janella Salvador.

Named after a hit song by David Pomeranz (his own rendition is prominently featured in this series), ‘Born for You’ is a story of two individuals who share a common bond for music. Sam (Janella) is an upcoming Filipino singer who grew up in Japan, while Kevin (Elmo) is a teen hearthrob and the son of an OPM icon.

Sam believed in a red string of fate, a concept which connects two people that are destined to meet each other wherever they are in the world. It is that string which helped link both Sam and Kevin, but their parents’ shocking musical past might also break it all up.

‘Born for You’ will also star Ariel Rivera, Vina Morales, Ayen Laurel, Bernard Palanca, Gina Pareño, Freddie Webb, Jimboy Martin, Joj Agpangan, Francis Magundayao, Smokey Manaloto, Ogie Diaz, Katya Santos, DJ Durano, Alfred Labatos, Kyline Alcantara, Paulo O’Hara, Neil Coleta, and Young JV. It will be directed by Onat Diaz and Jon Villarin.

In the weeks leading up to the premiere of ‘Born for You’, a lot is said about its promising story and the hype brought on by the fresh pairing of Elmo and Janella. That, coupled by the viewers’ overall excitement over the series, helped ‘Born for You’ become an immediate trending topic on social media.

With so much anticipation surrounding ‘Born for You’, this could spell trouble for its opponent, GMA’s ‘Juan Happy Love Story’. The comedy-drama starring Dennis Trillo and Heart Evangelista has not fared well from the beginning, and it could get worse against a younger love team like Elmo and Janella.

As ‘Born for You’ premieres this Monday, expect no less than a first impression. It is now up to Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador to take them to ratings heaven.

‘Born for You’ airs weeknights starting this Monday after ‘Dolce Amore’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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The Half-Sisters Joins the ‘One-Year Serye’ Club

Welcome to the ‘one-year serye’ club, ‘The Half-Sisters’.

The highly popular teleserye on GMA’s Afternoon Prime block celebrated its one-year anniversary last Tuesday, June 9. As of today, June 11, ‘The Half-Sisters’ has a total of 262 episodes aired, with more to come as the series continues to progress.

With the milestone of reaching a year on the air, ‘The Half-Sisters’ joins a very exclusive club of local drama series with a run of at least a year. The most recent series to join the club was ABS-CBN’s ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, which aired for over two years.

‘The Half-Sisters’ premiered on Monday, June 9, 2014 as the lead-off program of Afternoon Prime. The series replaced the remake of ‘Villa Quintana’, which starred Janine Gutierrez and Elmo Magalona.

At the time of its premiere, ‘The Half-Sisters’ was joined by ‘Innamorata’ in the Afternoon Prime block. Since then, a total of five other teleseryes (‘Dading’, ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Kailan Ba Tama ang Mali?’ ‘Healing Hearts’) have aired alongside ‘The Half-Sisters’, with ‘Yagit’ by far the longest-running of the five to date.

The pilot episode of ‘The Half-Sisters’ registered an 11.5% rating on AGB Nielsen, and a 7.3% on Kantar. Its opponent at the time, ‘Moon of Desire’, registered a 9.2 and 10.2%, respectively.

While ‘The Half-Sisters’ had a slow start early in its run, by the middle of the -ber months, it began a steady climb atop the afternoon ladder. The series ranked as the top-rated program in the weekday afternoons at the end of 2014.

Not even a new opponent in ‘Flordeliza’ can slow ‘The Half-Sisters’ down, even though the series’ criticism regarding its lengthy run began to grow. Today, ‘The Half-Sisters continues to rank among the top ten programs in the country in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen.

Typically the lifespan of a modern-day teleserye lasts four to eight months, depending on ratings and critical acclaim. But ‘The Half-Sisters’ are a different breed, a throwback to the teleseryes of the old days.

That said, expect more twists and turns to develop as ‘The Half-Sisters’ continues.

Starring Barbie Forteza, Thea Tolentino, Jean Garcia, Jomari Yllana, Ryan Eigenmann, Eula Valdes, Andre Paras, Mel Martinez, Vanness del Moral and Winwyn Marquez, ‘The Half-Sisters’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

Notes: From the Tube will take a break tomorrow, June 12, in commemoration of Independence Day in the Philippines. Regular posts resume on Monday, June 15.

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