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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part I)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not 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.

HOT: La Luna Sangre

The tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla returned to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida in June to star in ‘La Luna Sangre’, which also starred Angel Locsin (initially in a special participatory role as Lia before returning full-time as Jacintha) and another comebacking star in Richard Gutierrez. The series became an immediate hit scoring well over 30% in the nationwide ratings.

The success of ‘La Luna Sangre’ also revitalized the third slot of Primetime Bida following the lukewarm reception of predecessors ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’. But while KathNiel did not lose their magic upon returning to the small screen, the same cannot be said for another popular love team.

NOT: AlDub and More

Good news: AlDub did not need to face KathNiel as ‘Destined to Be Yours’ ended weeks before ‘La Luna Sangre’ premiered. Bad news: 63 episodes is more than enough to justify the lack of success of ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the first primetime series to star Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza together.

Things only got worse for the duo from that point on. In late November, Maine revealed on social media that she and Alden are only friends in real life and that she ‘deserves all the hate in the world’ for being a ‘coward’ and a ‘selfish little brat’.

Perhaps the pressure and the expectations are starting to take its toll on Maine. Much like her harrowing portrayal of a depressed workaholic in the ‘Eat Bulaga’ made-for-TV film ‘Love Is…’, somebody should help her overcome these stresses.

HOT: Ika-6 na Utos and Afternoon Prime

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ premiered late last year to lukewarm reviews. But thanks to some campy moments that elicit plenty of laughter from its viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became unexpectedly popular, so much so that GMA decided to add Saturday episodes starting in April to capitalize on its success.

The series also boosted the fortunes of Afternoon Prime which had been left for dead earlier in the year. By August, succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were winning over their ABS-CBN counterparts thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

NOT: The Entire Kapamilya Gold Post-Doble Kara

Led by back-to-back ‘kabitseryes’ in ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, Kapamilya Gold lost ground to Afternoon Prime that by the late third quarter of 2017, it was the latter that stood tall. Not even ‘The Greatest Love”s critically-acclaimed run saved the block from its sudden fall from grace.

The end of ‘Doble Kara”s year-long run in February foreshadowed a decline in Kapamilya Gold’s performance. Soon after, Afternoon Prime closed the gap and overtook Kapamilya Gold in the ratings for the rest of the year, much to the dismay of Kapamilya viewers everywhere.

HOT: Wildflower

Also in February, ‘Wildflower’ premiered on Primetime Bida’s pre-newscast slot. It didn’t take long for the series to make an impact as it constantly registered ratings of over 20 to 25%, putting it among the top five programs in the country.

The success of ‘Wildflower’ also spawned numerous memes on social media, some of which depict the various confrontations between Ivy/Lily (Maja Salvador) and Emilia (Aiko Melendez). With that kind of impact, ‘Wildflower’ truly turned viewers’ heads upside down whenever these two go at it.

NOT: Kapamilya Game Shows

The slogan ‘In the Service of the Filipino’ does not apply to ABS-CBN game shows. That said, ‘Minute to Win It’, ‘Family Feud’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ continued to alienate audiences by utilizing celebrities more often than ordinary people throughout their runs this year.

Luckily all three shows’ seasons came to an end this year: ‘Minute to Win It’ in February, ‘Family Feud’ in May and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ in September. Perhaps ABS-CBN should stop producing game shows and defer these to ‘It’s Showtime’ since they do not even have a clue how to utilize the power of the viewing public.

Part II of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, talent show, television

Overexposed Luis Manzano Finally Gets a Break

Luis Manzano had a three-year stretch of near non-stop hosting commitments which made him overexposed on TV for a long period. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

Thank goodness it’s over.

For much of the last three years, Luis Manzano became a part of every household thanks to a multitude of hosting commitments he accepted during that span. Whether it’s a game show or a talent show, it seems like viewers can’t get enough of this popular Kapamilya host.

Luis’ lengthy run began on October 26, 2014, when he joined Toni Gonzaga to host ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ season 2. The season ran for 36 episodes, concluding on March 1, 2015.

At the tail end of ‘The Voice of the Philippines” run, Luis accepted the job as host of the new season of ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal’. Running from February 9, 2015 until March 4, 2016, the fifth season of ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal’ aired a total of 278 episodes.

Next up for Luis was ‘The Voice Kids’ season 2, which ran from June 6 to August 30, 2015. A total of 26 episodes were aired during that season.

On November 14, 2015, Luis replaced Billy Crawford as host of ‘Celebrity Playtime’, and was present for the game show’s final 41 episodes. Then on January 23, 2016, Luis and Billy joined forces to host the fifth season of ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’, which ran for 35 episodes until May 22, 2016.

By that point, signs of overexposure become more evident for Luis. Unfortunately for the viewers, ABS-CBN is not yet finished with him.

April 9, 2016 saw Luis take over as host of the newly-acquired ‘Family Feud’ franchise, and he presided on all of its 111 episodes. A few months later, on July 18, 2016, Luis returned to host the second season of ‘Minute to Win It’, adding another 208 episodes to his resume.

And if that is not enough, another run as host of ‘The Voice Kids’ awaited Luis. From May 28 to August 28, 2016, Luis was the presenter on all 28 episodes of ‘The Voice Kids” third season.

Finally on April 16, 2017, Luis accepted another hosting stint within ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ franchise. This time, he became the host of ‘The Voice Teens’, which has now aired seven episodes and counting.

This does not include his additional responsibility as one of the hosts of ‘ASAP’. That said, for all intents and purposes, ‘ASAP’ will not be added in this count.

It was clear that ABS-CBN is paying the price for their overreliance on Luis Manzano. Overall, the host accumulated a total of 770 episodes within nine shows (as of May 7, 2017) in a span of 925 days, which speaks of how ABS-CBN became too dependent on this star hosting-wise.

While ratings for Luis’ nine shows were not a problem, it is ABS-CBN’s utilization that became a dilemma. Let’s face it, they have a deep plethora of talent who can be just as proficient in hosting, yet they stuck with Luis for some reason because, he’s the only guy they can depend on to deliver a good show.

Now that Luis is freed of the burden of hosting too many shows on a daily basis, the time is definitely now for ABS-CBN to develop more hosts. After all, there are plenty in the pipeline so why not breed at least one or two of them to relieve some pressure on the veterans.

For now, Luis Manzano can breathe easily. A period of less strenuous activity is all he needs at this point.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

GMA Pulls the Plug on People vs. the Stars

‘People vs. the Stars’ is no more.

GMA effectively cancelled the game show after its most recent broadcast last Sunday. It was clear that despite its encouraging use of audience and viewer participation, ‘People vs. the Stars’ never quite clicked with the people.

‘People vs. the Stars’, hosted by Drew Arellano and Iya Villania, first aired on January 15, 2017, and was GMA’s anointed answer to the popular yet controversial ABS-CBN franchised game show ‘Family Feud’. But a shaky premiere (11.5% compared to ‘Family Feud”s 16.9% according to Kantar) soon set the tone for the remainder of ‘People vs. the Stars” run.

On average, the margin between ‘Family Feud’ and ‘People vs. the Stars’ was around 4-5%, with ‘Family Feud’ winning all of their matchups. While ‘People vs. the Stars’ was praised for bringing audience participation back to a game show, viewers doesn’t seem to care about it at all.

What also hindered ‘People vs. the Stars’ was GMA’s questionable decision to air it once a week. It would have made sense for the game show to air every Saturday and Sunday to give ‘Family Feud’ a run for its money, but alas, GMA wanted none of it as they thought their current Saturday afternoon lineup is strong on paper (too bad it’s not).

In the end, ‘People vs. the Stars’ join a select list of GMA game shows that did not quite make it big. With only 14 episodes to its credit, it will surely make the ‘most forgotten game shows in the Philippines’ list if there is one.

So what is the next plan of action for GMA in the game show department? Considering their recent misfortune in the said genre, they may not have the motivation to make another one for a long period of time.

It’s a shame, since GMA prides itself in doing things ‘locally’ for the most part (unlike ABS-CBN which has depended more on franchised programs). With that, viewers can only hope for the best in GMA’s future endeavors.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Case Solved Adds to GMA’s Saturday Afternoon Madness

It is safe to say that GMA’s Saturday afternoon lineup is an absolute mess.

Since ‘Startalk’ left the airwaves nearly two years ago, three successor shows have tried to fill the void that the former left. Unfortunately, neither ‘CelebriTV’, ‘Laff Camera Action’ nor ‘#Like’ were able to make an impact.

To make matters worse, the block now features three shows that appear indistinguishable from one another. ‘Karelasyon’, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Imbestigador’ may be different shows in name, but their formats are way too similar to each other, especially now that the latter two employ greater amounts of dramatization than before.

Now add a fourth show with a similar premise. Starting this Saturday, GMA will introduce the docu-drama series ‘Case Solved’, to be hosted by Dingdong Dantes.

Here is an excerpt from the GMA Network Public Relations Department:

Case Solved features sensational and controversial real-life cases ranging from nonaggressive to violent circumstance derived from Philippines’ Supreme Court Reports Annotated (SCRA) handled by the country’s National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), Philippine National Police (PNP), International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol), judicial agencies like the Department of Justice (DOJ), Supreme Court and Bureau of Corrections. More than presenting how the crime is committed, it further explains how the crime is solved.

Hosted by none other than Kapuso Primetime King Dingdong Dantes, this program presents solved cases that will empower and educate the viewers in predicting the probability of a crime before it occurs.

Let’s face it, does GMA need another ‘Imbestigador’ at this point? Because based on the description, ‘Case Solved’ is just another crime-solving program that GMA concocted, even though they already have one in ‘Imbestigador’.

That said, the addition of ‘Case Solved’ does not solve anything as far as their Saturday afternoon lineup goes. The lack of diversity in the block is something that might concern viewers, especially now that ABS-CBN is pulling away in the ratings with ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, ‘SOCO’, ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ and ‘Family Feud’.

A moral victory or disaster awaits ‘Case Solved’. GMA can only hope that the show can defy the odds and at least make their block more interesting than ever.

‘Case Solved’ airs starting this Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

People vs. the Stars Tries to Give Family Feud a Run for Its Money

The itch to topple ABS-CBN’s ‘Family Feud’ led GMA to unveil a game show of their own.

After months of witnessing ‘Family Feud”s rise into a popular yet controversial celebrity-exclusive game show, GMA decided to give ABS-CBN a harsh lesson in viewer and audience participation. This led to the network’s newest game show called ‘People vs. the Stars’, which premieres this Sunday.

Hosted by the husband-and-wife tandem of Drew Arellano and Iya Villania, ‘People vs. the Stars’ features a unique strategy. Celebrities have a chance to win P 200,000 by answering eight mind-boggling questions with an allotted value, and if they answer incorrectly, viewers have a chance to steal the prize by answering a ‘People of the Week’ question through text.

With that, ‘People vs. the Stars’ encourages viewer participation through each episode, something that its soon-to-be rival ‘Family Feud’ has not been able to do. Kudos to GMA for being more generous to its viewers.

However, if there is one thing that holds ‘People vs. the Stars’ back, it is its schedule. While ‘Family Feud’ airs every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, ‘People vs. the Stars’ was only given a Sunday afternoon slot as GMA continues to air ‘Imbestigador’ opposite ‘Family Feud’ on Saturdays.

The unusual weekend afternoon schedule will not help ‘People vs. the Stars’ at all. That said, if GMA were smart enough to compete with ‘Family Feud’, they would have been better off if they move ‘Imbestigador’ to an earlier timeslot (against ‘SOCO’, of all shows) and cancel the more dramatized and irrelevant ‘Wish Ko Lang’, in order to give way to ‘People vs. the Stars’.

Regardless of this situation, viewers who were fed up by ‘Family Feud”s celebrities-only approach should look at ‘People vs. the Stars’ and see why this game show is worth watching. After all, everyone is welcome to earn the big bucks just by watching and participating on this game show.

‘People vs. the Stars’ airs every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. on GMA.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Love story, Philippines, television

Conan Out, Usapang Real Love In

From cross-dressing beauticians to real love issues.

Last Sunday, the 13-episode run of ‘Conan My Beautician’ came to an end. The GMA Public Affairs-produced sitcom premiered on June 26 as a replacement to ‘Alamat’, but the show never caught fire, losing to ABS-CBN’s ‘Family Feud’ on a consistent basis.

Although Mark Herras made a good account of himself by portraying a cross-dressing hairstylist, ‘Conan My Beautician’ still fell short by GMA Public Affairs’ standards. Their continued involvement in entertainment shows is becoming a brain drain to the entertainment department, and it could pose an even bigger risk in future shows.

Moving on, a new GMA show will take the place of ‘Conan My Beautician’ this coming Sunday. Billed as the first-ever interactive rom-com series, ‘Usapang Real Love’ will feature four weekly episodes starring GMA’s love teams, along with a selected video entry that will be submitted by netizens on social media.

The show’s first story, titled ‘Dream Date’, will star Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. The supporting cast for the said story will consist of Jak Roberto, Yayo Aguila, Lloyd Samartino, Jade Lopez, Ces Quesada and Gene Padilla.

The second story, titled ‘Perfect Fit’, will be led by Andre Paras and Mikee Quintos. The supporting cast will have William Lorenzo, Mickey Feriols, Arra San Agustin, Jay Arcilla, Vince Gamad and Bern Josep ‘Bekimon’ Persia.

As innovative as ‘Usapang Real Love’ is, they still have a huge hurdle to overcome. As mentioned earlier, ‘Family Feud’ proved to be a thorn on ‘Conan My Beautician”s side, and this puts even greater pressure on ‘Usapang Real Love’ to succeed.

Considering that the show will be a mere short-term filler, GMA can only hope for the best. The four episodes of ‘Usapang Real Love’ should be a gauge to see if their love teams will return to form, and if so, GMA will be poised to give them better projects.

‘Usapang Real Love’ airs every Sunday at 4:45 p.m. on GMA.

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