drama, entertainment, Japan, Korea, Philippines, Taiwan, television, Thailand

FTT Wonders: Who Really Aired the First Asianovela in the Philippines?

Taiwanese drama ‘Amazing Twins’ was considered by some viewers to be the first Asianovela to air in the Philippines when it was broadcast on IBC-13 in early 2003. (Photo credit: CTS)

Tagalized Asian dramas are a thing these days.

Also popularly known as ‘Asianovelas’, these programs are imported from neighboring Asian countries such as Taiwan, Japan and Korea. Although the initial wave of Asianovelas were of Taiwanese origin, Korean dramas (colloqiually known as Koreanovelas) became a more common sight on Philippine television as the years pass.

But in order to understand the origin of the Asianovela, one must go back to 2003, the year these Tagalized Asian dramas first arrived. For many years, ABS-CBN claimed that they were the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’, given that they were responsible for bringing ‘Meteor Garden’ to the small screen around 15 years ago.

However, there is also an argument that IBC-13, with help from Viva Entertainment, was actually the first station to air an Asianovela. Just months before ‘Meteor Garden’ arrived, IBC-13 aired a Taiwanese action series called ‘Amazing Twins’ (locally known as ‘The Legendary Siblings 2’).

Unfortunately for IBC-13, ‘Amazing Twins’ tanked in the ratings, mainly due to the network’s poor reception and reach that persists to this day. It also did not help that the series aired once a week, which makes some viewers impatient given the daily nature of Filipino dramas.

Meanwhile, ‘Meteor Garden’ became a smash hit, turning F4 and Barbie Hsu into household names. The series also benefited from its near-daily airings on ABS-CBN, thus making viewers wait less for the next episode.

Following the success of ‘Meteor Garden’, ABS-CBN, GMA and occasionally ABC/TV5 began to air more Asianovelas. But as time passed, Korean dramas became the most preferred choice thanks to series such as ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Endless Love’ and ‘Lovers in Paris’.

GMA also made history in 2005 by airing ‘Gokusen’, the first Asianovela hailing from Japan. Then earlier this month, the network premiered the Thai drama ‘You’re My Destiny’.

Given that ‘Meteor Garden’ became popular to begin with, it is safe to assume that this series gave birth to the modern-day Asianovela. As much as people would argue about ‘Amazing Twins’ being the first Asian drama to air in the country, it did not quite fit the mold of today’s Asianovela since it failed to become a hit and was only seen once a week.

Still, the jury is on the viewers to decide. Who really is the first Asianovela to air in the country?

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anime, entertainment, Philippines, television

Is It Time for GMA to End Astig Authority on Weekdays?

The entry of ‘Assassination Classroom’ (retitled ‘Invincible Teacher’) on GMA may have excited anime fans, but the network’s short leash on Astig Authority suggest that its days are numbered. (Photo credit: Crunchyroll, Shuiesha, Fuji TV, Funimation, Viz Media)

This is not a good sign.

For many years, GMA’s Astig Authority dominated early mornings with new and repetitive anime programs that every generation can appreciate. Not any amount of criticism or hate can stop this block from becoming a ratings darling in a period where overall viewership is lower compared to later hours.

However, it seems like the days of Astig Authority are being numbered. Since last week, Astig Authority on weekdays was reduced to just two anime titles, a far cry from several years ago when it went as high as five programs.

And it’s not just the number of programs that is decreasing. Even the overall running time was compromised as well, with commercial breaks enjoying longer airtime than the anime themselves.

So what is going on with Astig Authority lately? Perhaps one should point out a time when GMA introduced a new anime to its audience.

When GMA decided to air ‘Assassination Classroom’ on the block (retitled ‘Invincible Teacher’ to avoid negative connotations), that was where the butchering began. For some unexplained reason, editors began to cut some scenes without warning to compensate for the short running time.

Even some more recent anime such as ‘Hunter x Hunter’ or ‘Detective Conan’ were not safe from the editors’ hands. With all that’s going on behind the scenes, not even its good ratings could prevent anime fans from harshly criticizing GMA for doing such a bad deed.

Perhaps GMA should do the right thing and cease airing anime on weekdays altogether. After all, they have essentially neglected such programs to the point that they simply don’t care.

If this abolition were to happen, GMA has three choices. They could either replace Astig Authority with the Heart of Asia block (with one Koreanovela airing every morning in a 45-minute span), move its imported fantasy series to an earlier time and accommodate two Tagalized movies, or simply add EZ Shop to fill in airtime.

For now, GMA’s Astig Authority is still around. However, with all that took place of late, it will not be long before GMA finally pulls the plug on this long-running anime block.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

The End of A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo?

Is it really over for ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’?

Last Thursday, the GMA-produced sitcom aired its so-called season finale, with the hashtag #A1ThankYou. In the episode, Digna (Jaclyn Jose) held a Thanksgiving party to celebrate the return of Kaycee (Denise Barbacena) and her reconciliation with her husband Rolly (Gardo Versoza).

While the episode probably signaled the conclusion of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ as viewers know it, the show’s Facebook page tried to pacify concerns by promising another season in the near future. Still, any hope of a return may be questionable considering the year-round approach of Filipino programming.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ first premiered on June 2, 2016 as GMA’s first weeknight sitcom in nearly a decade. The show immediately lived up to its billing as a sexually-themed sitcom, emphasizing more mature situations that are not suitable for young kids.

The premiere of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ was at the time an attempt to revive the seemingly moribund KiliTV block. In fact, GMA promoted both ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ and ‘Bubble Gang’ in various 30-second clips in order to draw interest from comedy fans.

Unfortunately for GMA, ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ did not exactly revive the glory days of KiliTV. The sitcom initially fared well against ABS-CBN’s Filipino-dubbed ‘Jane the Virgin’, but it soon lost momentum against the ever-popular yet controversial ‘Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7’.

Let’s face it, ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ was not a bad sitcom. It was a fresh concept that is as daring as it can get, in contrast to more family-oriented sitcoms that viewers became accustomed to.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ also helped GMA reduce its overdependence on Koreanovelas. During its 26-episode run, various GMA Koreanovelas run for only three times a week, enabling it to run a lot longer than usual.

But now that the sitcom is all but history (for now), expect Koreanovelas to once again dominate GMA’s late-night programming. It’s a sad development considering that GMA wanted to place another show on weeknights to alleviate its burden on Koreanovelas.

It remains to be seen if ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ will ever come back as promised. But for now, it’s good riddance for the show.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Mid-Morning Problems Continue with Kapuso Movie Festival

GMA is bringing back ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ as they continue to figure out the problems that plague them every weekday morning. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Poor ratings have characterized GMA’s mid-morning lineup.

After an impressive showing for the network’s Astig Authority block (some of which are often reaired), the drop-off in ratings becomes noticeable once they move into a different set of programs. This has been a perennial problem for the network since Lilybeth Rasonable took over, and they have tried everything just to shake the mid-morning slate up.

There was the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block, which was their obvious answer to ABS-CBN’s ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’. Then came Heart of Asia Mornings, a block that contains new light-hearted Koreanovelas.

They even attempted to air talk shows (e.g. ‘Basta Every Day Happy’, ‘Yan ang Morning) and local dramas (e.g. ‘With a Smile’). Unfortunately, all of these attempts failed miserably.

Now they are going back to airing movies via the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block. Not to mention a rerun of an old QTV program called ‘H20: Just Add Water’, which will be obviously dubbed in Filipino unlike its original airing on Channel 11.

Let’s face it, there is no way GMA can beat ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ with their own movie block. Their portfolio of new movies to air is running low, and to make matters worse, GMA Films has only a few titles to choose from, which is basically 1/8th to 1/16th of what rival Star Cinema has produced lately.

If GMA were smart enough to admit that they can no longer beat ABS-CBN after 9:00 a.m., perhaps the time has come to welcome a TV shopping block of their own choosing. Whether or not it is Shop Japan, EZ Shop or even Shop TV, it doesn’t matter, as long as they fill in GMA’s programming hours every morning.

They could also welcome blocktimers who can produce their own programs. While they already have established blocktimers in TAPE, Inc. (‘Calle Siete’, ‘Eat Bulaga’) and APT Entertainment (‘Sunday PinaSaya’), they might as well need another for non-entertainment purposes, such as lifestyle shows or documentaries.

Still, it is up to GMA management to decide the fate of the mid-morning slot. They need to think twice about giving up this venture.

Otherwise, they will be stuck with this hashtag: #KMFMForever, which translates to Kapuso Movie Festival Mornings Forever.

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