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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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ABS-CBN, GMA to Air Christmas Specials This Weekend

‘Isang Pamilya Tayo Ngayong Pasko’ or ‘Maniwala sa Magic ng Pasko’?

In the past month, ABS-CBN and GMA have been one-upping each other when it comes to creating the perfect Christmas theme this year. For the former, they reached their message through a long-form music video, while for the latter, they used a series of 3D animated shorts to make a statement.

This weekend, the two arch-rivals in the world of Philippine television will once again take their Christmas themes to the next level, this time in the form of a televised concert. It will be ‘Isang Pamilya Tayo Ngayong Pasko: The ABS-CBN Christmas Special’, against ‘The Magic of Christmas: A GMA Christmas Special’.

Both Christmas specials will feature song and dance numbers from each network’s top stars. And while GMA will use this special to unveil upcoming shows for next year, ABS-CBN’s special will focus on stories of ordinary people who inspired others to succeed in their lives.

A lot is expected on the two specials this weekend, particularly with the star power the two networks possess. However, there is special emphasis on the love teams, as ABS-CBN’s ‘Big 3′ of KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla), JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) and LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil), and GMA’s AlDub (Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza) will try to gain the viewers’ attention.

ABS-CBN’s Christmas special will air as a two-part series. The first part will air this Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, while the second part will air this Sunday after ‘Wansapanatym’.

As for GMA’s own Christmas special, it will be shown this Sunday as part of ‘Sunday Night Box Office’. Thus, this Sunday will mark the only time that the two networks’ Christmas specials will cross paths, and considering GMA’s overall deficiencies in their programming, it could pose a disadvantage on their part.

Either way, this promises to be a special ‘week before Christmas’ to remember. Both ABS-CBN and GMA have done their share in impressing their viewers this Christmas season, and now it’s up to their fans to give back.

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Despite Wins, Primetime Bida’s Second Slot On a Slump

The second slot of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida used to be as dominant as the first.

In a span of nearly two years, the second slot was given to either KathNiel, the love team of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, or LizQuen, the love team of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. The run began with the latter’s ‘Forevermore’, followed by the former’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and concluded with ‘Dolce Amore’, also of the latter.

These three dramas consistently earned 30% or better ratings during their respective runs. On some occasions, they also reached 40% or better, which is around 20% more than the opposing teleserye that GMA pits against.

But on August 29, the fortunes of Primetime Bida’s second slot began to change. That night marked the premiere of JaDine’s (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) ‘Till I Met You’, which was the first series not to star either KathNiel or LizQuen in the 8:45 slot since ‘Ikaw Lamang’ in 2014.

The said series entered the scene with high expectations, and considering the smashing success of both KathNiel and LizQuen, many looked forward to a similarly dominant performance from JaDine. However, despite beating GMA Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ in the ratings, their average mark of 26% is a far cry from the teleseryes of KathNiel and LizQuen.

Three weeks later, ‘Till I Met You’ was demoted to the third slot, where JaDine has had success in the past. Its replacement ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ fared no better, earning only a 25% average rating as of September 20.

To make matters worse, the opposing GMA series began to close the gap. The final week of the Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ averaged well over 22%, and the succeeding series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, seemingly benefiting from the backlash that tagged them as an ‘Arrow’ copycat, earned an average of 21% through its first two episodes.

As victorious as ABS-CBN is, the recent slump in form for Primetime Bida’s second slot should give them a reason to worry. The fact is, people are getting tired of the repetitive formulas that the Kapamilya network use, and as such, have no motivation to continue watching their series.

Still, tagging the second slot of ‘Primetime Bida’ as ‘past its prime’ is premature. If ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ can somehow create some interesting and heart-wrenching scenes in future episodes, the dominant showing of the past could resurface sooner or later.

One can only hope that ABS-CBN pushes the right buttons in order to return to their past dominance. Otherwise, GMA could end up as the winner if this slump continues.

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Struggling JaDine Demoted; Magpahanggang Wakas to Face Alyas Robin Hood

Two weeks in, and ‘Till I Met You’ is not living up to expectations.

Even though it is the third most-watched show in Kantar’s national ratings, ‘Till I Met You’ is only averaging 26% through its first eight episodes. This was a far cry from the consistent 30% or better marks enjoyed by KathNiel’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and LizQuen’s ‘Forevermore’ and ‘Dolce Amore’.

To make matters worse, the GMA Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ closed the gap to within 3% as it airs its final few episodes. With the controversial series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ nearing its premiere, it is clear that JaDine is in real trouble.

Thus, ABS-CBN decided to demote ‘Till I Met You’ to the third slot in hopes of giving JaDine less pressure to succeed. Though the duo is used to the slot during the time of ‘On the Wings of Love’, it is an entirely different story since the demotion clearly affected the morale of not only JaDine, but also their fans.

With the move of ‘Till I Met You’ to the third slot, it will now be a battle of two debuting series starting this Monday. Going toe-to-toe with ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will be ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, the new Kapamilya series starring Jericho Rosales, Arci Muñoz, and John Estrada.

In ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, Jericho (as Waldo) and Arci (as Aryann) will play two young lovers who were tightly connected to one another. However, Waldo was accused of a crime that was accidental, and after his release, he appeared to have been murdered by the brother of Aryann’s would-be rapist.

Soon after, Aryann moved on and found a new love interest in Tristan (John). But after realizing that Waldo is alive, a series of complicated events begin to take place between the three.

‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ will also star Gelli De Belen, Rita Avila, Danita Paner, Liza Lorena, Lito Pimentel, Justin Cuyugan, Marco Gumabao, Maika Rivera, and Jomari Angeles. It will be directed by FM Reyes.

It will be interesting to see how the unexpected move to the second slot will affect ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’. The fact that it is a mature and sexually-charged series may not be worth a shot, considering the recent tradition of the second slot that involves young love teams.

Then again, as proven by ‘Pasion de Amor’ when it was slotted to the early evening slot, it will not be a hindrance. Still, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ will have its hands full as they face the ever-motivated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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Farewell, Dolce Amore

ABS-CBN is calling tomorrow’s episode of ‘Dolce Amore’ ‘ The Most Beautiful Finale’.

And why not? After all, for over seven months, viewers were enthralled by the long-distance love story surrounding Tenten (Enrique Gil) and Serena (Liza Soberano). Their relationship may have some highs and lows as the story wore on, but come this Friday, all of that ‘kilig’ will finally pay off for good.

‘Dolce Amore’ first burst into the scene on February 15, replacing another hit drama in ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’. The series, which was taped in Italy early in its run, became an immediate hit, and in the process, dispelled the notion that LizQuen were a ‘one-hit wonder’ on television.

Along the way, ‘Dolce Amore’ prevailed against GMA’s own love teams in AnBie (Andre Paras and Barbie Forteza of ‘That’s My Amboy’) and AlNine (Aljur Abrenica and Janine Gutierrez of ‘Once Again’). As a result of ‘Dolce Amore”s thorough domination, GMA gave up the fight and placed the Koreanovela ‘Descendants of the Sun’ as a last resort.

Overall, ‘Dolce Amore’ lasted 137 episodes, which is ten episodes more than the combined total of rivals ‘That’s My Amboy’ (68 episodes) and ‘Once Again’ (59 episodes).  This was a testament to the success and enduring popularity of the LizQuen tandem, not to mention the storytelling magic of Cathy Garcia-Molina.

As ‘Dolce Amore’ enters its finale tomorrow night, one thing is certain. For the last time in the series, the magic of LizQuen will be on display, and viewers hope that this will be a memorable and unforgettable ending.

While tomorrow will be the end of the love story between Serena and Tenten, the story of LizQuen will go on. An upcoming film starring the love team is in the works, and is expected to be released later this year.

Coming up next on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida will be ‘Till I Met You’, starring another popular love team in JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre). More on that tomorrow.

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GMA Koreanovela to Oppose Dolce Amore

The high cost of running ‘Encantadia’ is currently felt throughout GMA Telebabad.

As director Mark Reyes earlier revealed, ‘Encantadia”s production budget is ‘roughly equal to two primetime shows or three non-primetime shows‘. As a result of these huge expenses, GMA was left with no choice but to resort to two Koreanovelas as a cheap alternative on their Telebabad block over producing another local drama.

One of these Koreanovelas happen to be the next opponent of ABS-CBN’s ‘Dolce Amore’. The latter series, starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, has given GMA a lot of problems, having defeated ‘That’s My Amboy’ and the short-lived ‘Once Again’ by big margins.

It is clear to GMA that they can no longer beat the more popular tandems of ABS-CBN. With that in mind, their only course of action now is to stop chasing either LizQuen, KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre), and air a Koreanovela in its place, which is exactly what they’ll do tonight.

Enter ‘Descendants of the Sun’, the hit Korean drama that starred Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo. The series’ plot revolves around a love story between a doctor and a soldier stationed within Greece and the Balkans.

‘Descendants of the Sun’ ran for 16 episodes in its native Korea. In the Philippines, however, it is expected to air for roughly 20-25 episodes, which is still a typically short run for a GMA Koreanovela.

The other Koreanovela in question is ‘The Healer’, which unlike ‘Descendants of the Sun’, will only air three times a week. The series will star Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young and Yoo Ji-tae.

In its native Korea, ‘The Healer’ ran for 20 episodes. This equates to roughly 30 episodes once it airs in the Philippines.

As two Koreanovelas permeate the Telebabad lineup, GMA is now feeling the sting of frustration. After the rough start that the new ‘Encantadia’ endured, it won’t be long before GMA admits its mistake of investing heavily on the fantaserye over more important projects (e.g. digital and high-definition broadcasts).

That said, two Koreanovelas on Telebabad could only be a short-term solution to compensate for the heavy expenditures of ‘Encantadia’. But as far as GMA is concerned, these two may not be enough to solve its ratings and broadcast issues.

‘Descendants of the Sun’ airs after ‘Encantadia’, while ‘The Healer’ airs after ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ on GMA Telebabad.

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