comedy, entertainment, game show, humor, Philippines, television

Endangered Specie: Celebrity Bluff’s Status in Doubt

Is this the end for ‘Celebrity Bluff’?

Last Saturday marked the season finale of this celebrated GMA game show. But ‘Celebrity Bluff’ as it truly was effectively ended two years ago following its first four years on the air.

The first run of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ began on November 17, 2012 and ended on February 20, 2016. The original trio of Eugene Domingo, Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo immediately clicked with viewers, and ‘Celebrity Bluff’ became a worthy and oftentimes popular adversary amid the dominance of franchised reality and talent shows from ABS-CBN.

Even as Wally was replaced by Boobay and Isko ‘Brod Pete’ Salvador and Jose left for other commitments, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ remained a force to be reckoned with on Saturday nights. The show also received some accolades along the way, including two PMPC Star Awards for Best Game Show.

The death of director Uro dela Cruz in February 2016 forced ‘Celebrity Bluff’ to take a long break after 12 consecutive seasons on the air. Then on June 3, 2017, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ got underway, this time with Edu Manzano as one of the ‘bluffers’ and Rico Gutierrez as the director.

Unfortunately, this latest season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ failed to capture the magic of the previous 12 seasons. Once averaging around 12-13% in the ratings during its first four years, the most recent incarnation of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ only managed ratings of around 6-7% per episode.

It also did not help that Edu Manzano was a bad fit to the ensemble. In March, Manzano left ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in order to join ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’, leaving Eugene, Boobay, Brod Pete and some guest ‘bluffers’ to hold the fort.

Suffice to say, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ was doomed to fail this time around. The once-colorful game show had lost its luster.

So what does the future hold for ‘Celebrity Bluff’? Considering the poor performance of its most recent season, perhaps GMA should just retire the show for good and concentrate on a new concept.

If they intend to resuscitate ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in the near future, the only recourse is to convince Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo to return to the show. After all, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ reached its peak with Eugene, Wally and Jose at the forefront.

But for all intents and purposes, consider ‘Celebrity Bluff’ an endangered specie that borders between cancellation and renewal. For now, the show is on hiatus, and unless GMA decides to give it another shot, this hiatus may become permanent after all.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

Last Episodes for I Can Do That, Plus Celebrity Bluff Returns

Two weekend shows are about to hit the crossroads.

On ABS-CBN, ‘I Can Do That’ will enter its final weekend tomorrow night and Sunday night. In these two episodes, the final four iCandidates in Cristine Reyes, Daniel Matsunaga, Gab Valenciano and Wacky Kiray are expected to perform their riskiest and most death-defying acts imaginable.

Judges Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo and Boy Abunda will have the enviable task of evaluating each iCandidates’ performance. Not only that, the viewers will also play a key role in determining the show’s ‘Greatest Entertainer’, who will walk away P1 million richer by virtue of combined scores from the judges and the viewers.

First premiered on March 11, 2017, ‘I Can Do That’ was the latest reality show franchise acquired by ABS-CBN. The program has had contrasting ratings fortunes throughout its 25-episode run; despite averaging a decent 15%, only ‘I Can Do That”s Saturday episodes were consistent winners.

That said, the decent but unsatisfactory performance may be considerable enough for ABS-CBN to relinquish its rights after only one season. The network may have had some successful foreign franchised shows, but ‘I Can Do That’ is not one of them.

Which leads to its one-night-only opponent for tomorrow night. After a season break that lasted over a year, GMA announced the return of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ for its 13th season.

Eugene Domingo will reprise her role as host of this long-running Kapuso game show. She will not be alone though as Edu Manzano will now join Eugene as a special bluffer, while Boobay and resident boyband One Up will also ramp up the entertainment factor even further.

A typical episode of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ is as follows (via GMA Public Relations):

“Celebrity Bluff features three pairs of celebrity contestants as they attempt to outsmart one another by answering questions to be able to advance to the jackpot round, where the winning team could take home half a million pesos.”

Guest bluffers will also be on hand to make fun of this week’s celebrity players. For instance, the premiere of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ season 13 will see Alden Richards and Brod Pete play the role of bluffer.

With its predecessors’ failures to make an impact, the onus is on ‘Celebrity Bluff’ to change GMA’s declining fortunes ever Saturday night. Otherwise, its comeback may turn out to be a dud.

‘Celebrity Bluff’ returns this Saturday after ‘Magpakailanman’ on GMA.

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entertainment, movies, Philippines, television

MMFF in Challenging Position With Emphasis on Quality

MMFF mainstays such as 'Enteng Kabisote' are a thing of the past as organizers emphasize more on quality than commercial success in this year's filmfest. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

Without blockbuster franchises and stars such as Vic Sotto’s ‘Enteng Kabisote’ series, the new-look MMFF faces an uphill battle this year. (Photo credit: Cebu Daily News)

This is a From the Tube special report. The views and opinions expressed in this article are that of the author and do not reflect those of the Metro Manila Film Festival.

This year’s Metro Manila Film Festival will be a different experience for moviegoers and viewers alike.

Gone are the top drawers, big-spending production outfits and movie franchises that made the MMFF an annual Christmas tradition. Instead, the eight official full-length films will feature mostly independent productions, some of which were previously screened in other film festivals around the world.

The eight entries are:

  • Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough – directed by Marlon Rivera; stars Eugene Domingo, Jericho Rosales, Kean Cipriano, Khalil Ramos, and Cai Cortez
  • Die Beautiful – directed by Jun Robles Lana; stars Paolo Ballesteros, Joel Torre, Gladys Reyes, Luis Alandy, Albie Casiño, and Iza Calzado
  • Kabisera – directed by Arturo San Agustin and Real Florido; stars Ms. Nora Aunor, Ricky Davao, JC De Vera, Luis Alandy, Jason Abalos, and RJ Agustin
  • Oro – directed by Alvin Yapan; stars Irma Adlawan, Mercedes Cabral, and Joem Bascon
  • Saving Sally – directed by Avid Liongoren; stars Rhian Ramos, and Enzo Marcos
  • Seklusyon – directed by Erik Matti; stars Rhed Bustamante, Phoebe Walker, Elora Espano, Neil Ryan Sese, Ronnie Alonte, Lou Veloso, Dominique Roque, John Vic De Guzman, and JR Versales
  • Sunday Beauty Queen – directed by Babyruth Villarama Gutierrez; stars Hazel Perdido, Cherrie Mae Bretana, Mylyn Jacobo, Leo Selomenio, and Rudelyn Acosta
  • Vince & Kath & James – directed by Ted Boborol; stars Julia Barretto, Joshua Garcia, and Ronnie Alonte

The selections were based on the following criteria: story, audience appeal and overall impact (40%); cinematic attributes or technical expertise (40%); global appeal (10%); and Filipino sensibility (10%). In essence, the MMFF organizers wanted to feature a greater emphasis on quality rather than commercialism alone.

Even though the change in approach is crucial in providing a more even playing field, promoting these films could pose a challenge. Many of the films were produced by independent companies, while a majority of them feature second or third-tier actors, some of whom are relative unknowns.

Let’s face it, while Eugene Domingo has box-office potential (‘Ang Babae sa Septic Tank’ raked in millions during its initial run), she is no Vic Sotto or Vice Ganda. And while Julia Barretto and Joshua Garcia are not a bad tandem, they are no AlDub or KathNiel in the appeal department.

The major television networks such as ABS-CBN and GMA, once major players in the MMFF, are in a similar predicament. In previous years, both played a big role in the success of MMFF entries, but with this year’s field, they may not be a factor at all.

This does not mean that all eight films are bad, however. They are still worth watching as far as moviegoers go, but it will be up to them to become seriously interested with these entries.

Come Christmas Day, all eyes will be on the eight Metro Manila Film Festival entries. Still, it remains to be seen if this year’s filmfest will be a blockbuster or a flop.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

GMA Tries Something New with Dear Uge

A comedy version of ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ is about to unfold.

On Sunday, GMA will launch ‘Dear Uge’, said to be the first-ever comedy anthology series on Philippine television. The program will be hosted by Eugene Domingo, with Divine Grace Aucina as her sidekick.

In ‘Dear Uge’, Eugene will play the role of Urbana Genoveva Esperanza (or Uge), a sari-sari store owner and host and narrator of her own web show, also titled ‘Dear Uge’. Her character is an obvious parody of both Mel Tiangco and Charo Santos-Concio, hosts of ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ respectively.

Aside from hosting the program, Eugene will also make cameo appearances in each episode. The stories featured on ‘Dear Uge’ will be different every week, but the premise of making people laugh will always be a major emphasis.

‘Dear Uge’ will take over the timeslot of ‘Wowowin’ (with ‘GMA Blockbusters’ taking over on an interim basis), who recently found a new home on weeknights. Considering how unpredictable the early Sunday afternoon slots are of late, ‘Dear Uge’ should expect a tough challenge early on.

Still, curiosity over the program’s new approach should help its viewership. That said, ‘Dear Uge’ is a must-watch for those who want something different and funny for a change.

‘Dear Uge’ airs every Sunday after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ on GMA.

Breaking News: Speaking of ‘Wowowin’, GMA has announced that due to insistent public demand, the show will now air at 5:00 p.m., thus adding 30 minutes to its airtime. The News and Public Affairs block (‘Alisto’, ‘Tunay na Buhay’, ‘Power House’, ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ and ‘Love Hotline’) will likely be moved after ‘Saksi’.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: Celebrity Playtime Is ABS-CBN’s Answer to Celebrity Bluff

Jose Manalo, Boobay, Isko Salvador and Eugene Domingo will now has some company, albeit at an earlier timeslot.

ABS-CBN has announced that ‘Celebrity Playtime’, the upcoming comedy/game show hosted by Billy Crawford, will air starting this Saturday at 6:00 p.m. The program will feature teams of celebrity guests competing in various party games, all in the spirit of laughter and fun.

In essence, this was ABS-CBN’s true answer to the popular GMA comedy/game show ‘Celebrity Bluff’. The three-year old program has enjoyed a loyal following amid stiff and superior opposition from various Kapamilya reality and talent shows; currently it airs opposite another show hosted by Billy Crawford, ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’.

‘Celebrity Playtime’ will take over the timeslot of ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’, which had been on the air for over a year.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

Ryan vs. Juday on Saturday Nights

Despite their status as a married couple, Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have different loyalties, which will be emphasized when the two celebrities’ programs face off this Saturday night.

It’s difficult to avoid pitting celebrity couples against each other for ratings, and this couple is no exception. In case you missed the point, read this previous article about one-time dating couple Jennylyn Mercado and Luis Manzano and the programs they host opposite each other during weekday mornings.

Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have been married for four years, but both ply their trade on opposite sides of the most heated broadcasting rivalry today. Agoncillo was bred to be a Kapuso, rising from the ranks as a host in ‘Unang Hirit‘ before earning his stripes as a mainstay of ‘Eat Bulaga‘, with several stints as a Kapamilya and Kapatid talent in between. Meanwhile Santos was groomed to be a Kapamilya, starting with a breakthrough role in ‘Mara Clara‘ until her various roles in successful primetime teleseryes earned her the tag of ‘Queen of Pinoy Soap Operas’.

Beginning this Saturday Agoncillo and Santos will be pitted against each other in the same timeslot. Juday’s current project ‘Bet on Your Baby’ has been on the air for over a month now, and is raking in high ratings since its debut. In response, GMA created their own game show with a theme capitalizing on the ‘selfie’ craze. The new show will be titled ‘Picture! Picture!’, with Ryan taking over the hosting job.

‘Picture! Picture!’ will replace the children’s fantasy program ‘One Day Isang Araw’, which unfortunately flopped against ‘Bet on Your Baby’ and previously ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal‘ in its timeslot. With ‘Picture! Picture!’ GMA now has two game shows on a Saturday night, the other being ‘Celebrity Bluff‘ hosted by Eugene Domingo, Jose Manalo and a guest host.

Despite the decision of the GMA management to pit ‘Picture! Picture!’ against ‘Bet on Your Baby’, Ryan has stated that there is no personal rivalry between him and his wife, and insisted that their shows are about ‘good competition’. And why not? Both shows have interesting formats and approaches which should keep audiences thrilled with every move.

The ratings war between ‘Picture! Picture!’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ should be a good one, not only because it pits a celebrity couple like Ryan and Juday, but it also raises the bar for game shows to follow.

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