entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Video on Board: Buses Tune In to ABS-CBN Shows But Avoid Afternoon Koreanovelas

A bus bound for Quiapo showing ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. (Photo courtesy of the author)

Sometimes life is unfair.

Such is the case for airconditioned buses that ply the streets of Metro Manila. These buses offer more than just relief from the sweltering heat, they also provide riders with a show or movie to watch while going from one destination to another.

Most airconditioned buses are equipped with a television set that hangs atop the windshield. At first, the viewing experience was severely limited thanks to poor signal reception (most buses opt to air movies from their USB outlets or pirated DVDs due to these conditions), but the launch of the ABS-CBN TVPlus made it much better for riders to watch a show comfortably.

As a commuter I can attest to the varying trends of television viewership inside airconditioned buses. Prior to the launch of TVPlus, the preferred channel of Metro Manila buses is GMA Network due to its clearer signal and greater reach.

But as TVPlus became readily available to the public, bus companies began to take advantage of it by equipping their sets with these devices. As a result, more and more buses were tuning in to ABS-CBN programs especially  during ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘TV Patrol’ and ‘Ang Probinsyano’, simply because Channel 2 is always the first to open on TVPlus.

However, there is still one GMA show with which these buses would rather tune in to. In one of my more recent in-city trips, I looked at some of the buses that ply the metro during the late afternoon, and surprisingly, these buses were tuning in to ‘Wowowin’ instead of a Koreanovela from ABS-CBN.

Simply put, these bus drivers and conductors are not Koreanovela fans. They would rather tune in to Willie Revillame and his antics with sexy women instead of cheesy love scenes from Korean actors because it seems like they are boring

Not to mention that it is rush hour for people going home. If they are tuning in to a Koreanovela on the way home on a slow-moving afternoon, chances are they could be put to sleep.

While viewership inside buses do not influence ratings performance (at least for now), the general trend is clear. ABS-CBN is the most preferred network among airconditioned buses all-day long, but on the late-afternoon rush hour, GMA’s ‘Wowowin’ is the most preferred show.

Unfair as it sounds, but the best entertainment while inside the bus is when things either become tense and gut-wrenching (as in the case for teleseryes) or humorous and fun (as in the case for variety shows). It is what bus rides are made of, and keeping riders awake and invested in entertainment is a bus company’s way of making themselves comfortable.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Cure: Ang Probinsyano’s Next Prey?

“No one can beat ‘Ang Probinsyano’!”, Kapamilya fans said.

Nearly three years and over 500 episodes since it began, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continues to be the king of primetime teleseryes. On most nights, the ABS-CBN action series scored at least 40% in the ratings, and has made mincemeat of eight different GMA teleseryes that tried to topple it.

Now comes a ninth different GMA series that will take on Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) every Monday to Friday starting tonight. And in typical GMA fashion, it will be led by two Kapuso veterans in Jennylyn Mercado and Tom Rodriguez.

The story of ‘The Cure’ involves an experimental drug that kills cancer cells, but the side effect of it is that a highly dangerous and contagious virus called Monkey Virus Disease (MVD) will mutate and cause seizures and violent outbreaks to infected people. The disease quickly spreads throughout the country and will only continue to do so unless a cure can be found.

Married couple Charity (Jennylyn), a former registered nurse, and Gregory (Tom), a clinical research associate in a pharmaceutical company, are living a happy life with their daughter Hope (Leanne Bautista), until Greg’s mother Agnes (Irma Adlawan) is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Agnes is given an experimental drug, but her health got worse as she is infected with MVD.

That drug, in turn, was discovered by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro (Jaclyn Jose), who works in the same company as Greg. With MVD continuing to wreak havoc across the country, it is up to Charity and Greg to find the necessary cure and prevent the inevitable.

‘The Cure’ also stars Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Jay Manalo, Ronnie Henares, Glenda Garcia, Diva Montelaba and Arra San Agustin, with a special participation from Ken Chan. It will be directed by Mark Reyes.

It can be recalled that ‘The Cure’ was originally announced as one of GMA’s upcoming projects for 2013, and it was supposed to be led by Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes. However, the project was shelved and it took five years before GMA decided to revisit the series.

Looking ahead, ‘The Cure’ is either going to be an intriguing series or a recipe for disaster. Having to face ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will entail a lot of hard work for ‘The Cure’, considering its predecessor ‘Sherlock Jr.’ failed miserably.

That said, GMA should go all-out in making ‘The Cure’ a worthier opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’. If this series goes around 25% in the ratings then it should boost its confidence, but if it goes below that then the ‘Curse of Cardo Dalisay’ is all too real for the network.

‘The Cure’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Another One Falls: Sherlock Jr. to End Friday Night

Make that eight.

The long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ claims its latest victim as ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will air its final episode this Friday. And unlike the previous seven GMA series that took on ‘Ang Probinsyano’, this latest encounter became a mismatch right from the start.

First aired on January 29, 2018, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ was originally headlined by Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid, with a special participation from Janine Gutierrez. Unfortunately, the series failed to match the standards of its predecessors due to questionable storytelling and poor viewership.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ averaged a paltry 17% in the Kantar ratings, which is nearly 30% less than ‘Ang Probinsyano”s typical numbers. While previous opponents were able to air for a longer period of time in spite of their inferior ratings, ‘Sherlock Jr.”s poorer-than-expected performance forced GMA to cut the series short.

It also didn’t help that Janine Gutierrez (as Irene) and Gabbi Garcia (as Lily) were killed off during the series’ run. The departure of Gabbi, in particular, came amid rumors of her transfer to ABS-CBN (which was later refuted).

When it was all said and done, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will only have a total of 63 episodes. That number alone is the fewest for a series that took on ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on a regular basis (not counting ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 which faced other teleseryes besides ‘Ang Probinsyano’).

Suffice to say, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ was considered a tremendous failure for GMA. Facing ‘Ang Probinsyano’ proved to be an exercise in futility, especially with the former’s endless supply of star power compared to ‘Sherlock Jr.’

Its mediocre run was also an indication of GMA’s continued indifference towards its younger stars, especially when it comes to the shocking death of Gabbi Garcia’s character. To cut short a series due to poor ratings and to kill off a young lead star midway through is a clear way of saying how desperate GMA is in winning.

On Friday, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will bid farewell. But for a series that ran so short, don’t expect a blooper reel or a congratulatory message to its viewers towards the end because GMA is not in a mood for ‘thank yous’.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Lost Opportunity: GMA Loses Ryza Cenon to ABS-CBN

‘If you beat them, join them!’

This is exactly what happened when Ryza Cenon made the shocking jump from GMA to ABS-CBN Thursday morning. Welcomed by network executives Cory Vidanes, Carlo Katigbak and Laurenti Dyogi, Ryza officially signed an undisclosed exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, thus ending her 14-year stint with GMA Network.

It can be recalled that Ryza’s last project with GMA was the year-long afternoon drama series ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, whose successful run ended last month. GMA could have capitalized on Ryza’s renewed success, but in the end, it was a bad case of ‘one that got away’ (in reference to the network’s current primetime teleserye).

In the press conference announcing her transfer, Ryza revealed that it was her talent managers from VIVA Entertainment which convinced her to change addresses. Moreover, she explained the need to explore different endeavors and the need to work with a different set of actors.

Like former GMA-turned-ABS-CBN talents Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes before her, Ryza will begin her Kapamilya career on the high-rating primetime series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as one of its guest stars. She will also appear in a series of out-of-town and TFC shows.

Considering how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ revitalized Ryza’s career, it was surprising to see her in a different network amid a resurgence in her career. But then again, GMA has had a history of not properly utilizing its talents, so this was probably the right move for her.

Still, in a loaded primetime series like ‘Ang Probinsyano’, there is no guarantee that Ryza will have a long-term role within the program. Somewhere down the road ABS-CBN will prepare an upcoming series for Ryza, one that should give her a greater responsibility.

Fans can only hope that Ryza Cenon’s move to ABS-CBN will pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how she will thrive in a new environment, so good luck.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Bagani: ABS-CBN’s Most Controversial Series Yet

The hype surrounding ‘Bagani’ has been on a high for the past few months.

On the good side, this upcoming ABS-CBN drama series will be led by Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, one of the Philippines’ most popular love teams today. On the bad side, however, ‘Bagani’ has been beset by controversy from the start.

When the trailer for ‘Bagani’ first popped out, netizens immediately compared it to ‘Encantadia’ due to its similar themes and landscape. The discussion even spread to the writers of the two shows, namely Suzette Doctolero and Mark Duane Angos.

‘Bagani’ also drew flak for its questionable casting choices. While the series was inspired from pre-colonial Philippines, some of the cast were not pure-blooded Filipinos, particularly the LizQuen tandem and co-star Matteo Guidicelli.

Writer Mark Duane Angos defended ‘Bagani”s casting decisions and setting in a series of tweets.

Notwithstanding the controversy surrounding ‘Bagani’, fans can’t help but be excited over the return of LizQuen to the small screen. This time, however, the duo will be engaged in plenty of action as fight scenes will become the norm in ‘Bagani’.

That doesn’t mean any moment of ‘kilig’ will be nonexistent. There will still be occasional cheesy scenes that make viewers gush, just not much due to the serious physicality involved.

So far, the confirmed lead cast of ‘Bagani’ include Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, Sofia Andres, Makisig Morales and Matteo Guidicelli. An extended cast is yet to be revealed.

Star Creatives will handle the production duties for ‘Bagani’. It will be directed by Richard Arellano and Lester Pimentel.

With the impending debut of ‘Bagani’, ABS-CBN has entered the world of epicseryes (for which the likes of ‘Encantadia’ were derived). But unlike GMA whose production of ‘Encantadia’ drained much of their finances, ABS-CBN should pose no concern for ‘Bagani’ as far as money as concerned, and if the series rates well, it will not be a big problem.

Still, it remains to be seen if the various controversies will affect ‘Bagani’ in any way. LizQuen may give this series a boost, but it may also cost them some disgruntled viewers in the process.

‘Bagani’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida. In the meantime, here is the full trailer for the series.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Wildflower’s Wildest Finale

‘Wildflower’ is coming to an end.

Friday night will mark the finale of this top-rating ABS-CBN series. In a run that spanned 257 episodes, ‘Wildflower’ became a big hit in more ways than one.

Premiering on February 13, 2017, ‘Wildflower’ became the first ABS-CBN drama to air in the 5:50 p.m. slot since ‘We Will Survive’. From episode one, the series ran roughshod over the competition, constantly earning ratings in the 20s while occasionally hitting the 30s.

As ‘Wildflower’ continued to reign over its timeslot, the confrontations between Ivy Aguas/Lily Cruz (Maja Salvador) and Emilia Ardiente (Aiko Melendez) also became viral on social media. Various news topics were lampooned using screenshots of Ivy/Lily and Emilia either strangling, shouting or slapping each other in the face.

Throughout its run ‘Wildflower’ saw its fair share of cast members arrive and depart. While the core cast features Maja Salvador, Aiko Melendez, Joseph Marco, Tirso Cruz III, Sunshine Cruz, Christian Vasquez and RK Bagatsing, the series also received a few contributions from the likes of Roxanne Barcelo, Dawn Chang and Zsa Zsa Padilla.

Despite its lengthy run and constant ratings success, it was too unfortunate that ‘Wildflower’ will not be able to join the ‘one-year club’ that featured fellow ABS-CBN dramas ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’. Friday’s ending will put them two episodes short of the anniversary mark.

Even viewers of the series found it hard to accept that ABS-CBN will pull the plug on ‘Wildflower’ after such a long run. In fact, ‘Wildflower”s ‘The End is Near’ teaser last January was trending on social media, with many clamoring for an extension which was never materialized.

Still, ‘Wildflower”s accomplishments were hard to deny. The series’ presence made the early evening slot of Primetime Bida relevant again, and Maja Salvador’s portrayal of Ivy/Lily only enhanced her craft as an actress.

Veterans such as Sunshine Cruz, Tirso Cruz III and Aiko Melendez were also given a second wind in their careers thanks to their portrayals of Camia, Julio and Emilia respectively. Even a cameo appearance by Zsa Zsa Padilla as Red Dragon was good enough to convince viewers that she is still a dependable actress.

Overall, ‘Wildflower’ is such a good series that reliving all 257 episodes on iWant TV would be more than enticing. Indeed, this series typified the ‘wild’ in every sense of the word, one that is unpredictable, moody and crazy to look at.

This Friday should be a wild finale for ‘Wildflower’. Enjoy the show.

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