drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Getting Serious: ABS-CBN Goes No More Mr. Nice Guy with The Good Son

It will be a new-look and more serious Primetime Bida starting next week.

Gone were the ‘kilig-seryes’ that permeated the fifth slot of ABS-CBN’s ever-popular evening block. With all due respect to JaDine (‘On the Wings of Love’, ‘Till I Met You’) and TonDeng (Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo of ‘A Love to Last’), this formula is starting to wear thin.

Instead, ABS-CBN goes back to a more serious approach that made ‘The Legal Wife’ and ‘Two Wives’ runaway successes. The newest drama, ‘The Good Son’, despite its designation as a family drama, leans more on the mature and dark side.

While rival GMA continues to lean too much on aging and at times overexposed veterans for their primetime dramas, ABS-CBN cashes in on their deep roster of young talent for ‘The Good Son’. The series will be led by Jerome Ponce, Nash Aguas, Joshua Garcia and McCoy de Leon, and joining them are fellow rising stars Loisa Andallo, Elisse Joson and Alexa Ilacad.

In ‘The Good Son’, Jerome (as Enzo), Nash (as Calvin), Joshua (as Joseph) and McCoy (as Obet) are four siblings who live a simple and happy life without their father Victor (Albert Martinez), a man whose identity remains a secret. But Victor’s mysterious death led to a series of events that saw the four siblings accused of murder, and the ensuing battle to prove who is innocent from the crime is on.

‘The Good Son’ will also include Mylene Dizon, Eula Valdez, John Estrada, Ronnie Lazaro, Jeric Raval, Alex Medina, and Kathleen Hermoso. The series will be directed by Manny Palo and Andoy Ranay.

Considering ABS-CBN’s reputation for turning rising stars into superstars, the pressure is now on ‘The Good Son”s up-and-coming actors to continue this budding trend. However, it remains to be seen if the series’ untested group of young talent will thrive in the high-stakes block that is primetime.

It will also be interesting to see how the viewers react to a change of formula from a light drama to a more serious one. That said, ‘The Good Son’ should be a series that may either make or break Primetime Bida’s unpredictable fifth slot.

‘The Good Son’ airs weeknights after ‘La Luna Sangre’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last, For the Last Time

The curtains finally fall on the Andeng-Anton saga.

On Friday, September 22, ‘A Love to Last’ will air its final episode. The ABS-CBN primetime drama series has been on the air since January 9, and for the most part, it was a ratings success.

Initially, ‘A Love to Last’ replaced ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ on Primetime Bida’s fourth slot. While the series defeated GMA’s ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ in its first two weeks, ABS-CBN quickly realized that ‘A Love to Last’ was not a good fit for the fourth slot.

On January 23, ‘A Love to Last’ was moved to the fifth slot replacing the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’, and would stay that way for the remainder of its run. Despite criticisms that the show was a ‘snoozefest’ (one commenter even labeled it as an ‘antok-serye’), ‘A Love to Last’ was able to thrive in its new timeslot.

Along the way, ‘A Love to Last’ surged past ‘Meant to Be’ (which premiered on the same day as ‘A Love to Last’), ‘I Heart Davao’ and ‘My Korean Jagiya’ in the ratings game. The series was also popular on social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, ‘A Love to Last’ will have a total of 183 episodes when it was all said and done. That total alone is quite impressive considering that the series was assigned to the fifth slot where viewership is less than those of the first four slots.

For viewers who have tuned in to ‘A Love to Last’ from the beginning, the love story between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) was a thrill to watch. The duo showed remarkable chemistry despite the fact that it was the first time that they were paired together.

It also helped that Iza Calzado, as Andeng’s rival Grace, showed some poise and character in her first foray as a villain. Her portrayal of Grace proved that Iza is just as effective playing the bad girl as she was playing the good girl.

Finally, the supporting cast of ‘A Love to Last’ should be commended for adding plenty of flavor to the series. Throughout its run, Julia Barretto, JK Labajo, Ronnie Alonte and Enchong Dee have had their moments to shine, and the success of ‘A Love to Last’ only added to their growing reputations as stars on the rise.

Come this Friday, the love story of Anton and Andeng is about to end. But for the viewers of ‘A Love to Last’, the series’ memories will last a lifetime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Next Challenge for A Love to Last: I Heart Davao

It’s another rom-com vs. rom-com starting this Monday.

On GMA, the picturesque setting of Davao will be the focus of this soon-to-air primetime series. Enter ‘I Heart Davao’, the network’s newest offering on the Telebabad block.

In this up-and-coming series, Carla Abellana will play the role of Hope, a heart transplant recipient who goes to Davao in hopes of saving her family’s chocolate business. There, she meets Ponce (Tom Rodriguez), the proud yet pragmatic son of a chocolate haciendero who happens to be the former boyfriend of Hope’s donor.

Unfortunately for the two, their cultural differences and personalities become a challenge as they try to help each other out. It only gets more complicated when Hope’s childhood friend and businessman Paul (Benjamin Alves) arrives on the scene to rekindle their relationship.

According to GMA, 80% of ‘I Heart Davao”s scenes were shot in Davao in an effort to highlight the province’s amazing scenery. The network also made good use of the Davaoeño dialect by incorporating speaking lines in the said tongue.

‘I Heart Davao’ will also star Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Ricardo Cepeda, Glenda Garcia, Racquel Villavicencio, Joel Saracho, Geraldine Villamil, Natileigh Sitoy, Kevin Sagra, Philip Lazaro, and Catherine Rem, with special participation by the Davao theater group Cine Madayaw. The series is directed by Marlon N. Rivera.

While ‘I Heart Davao’ should be a must-watch, they will face a very serious challenge from the start. ABS-CBN’s ‘A Love to Last’ is coming off a highly-rated wedding episode between Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo), and with latter still raking in episode victories on a consistent basis, the former’s winning aspirations will not be an easy one.

Add to that is the fact that it will be GMA Public Affairs who will shoulder the series’ burden. Considering the division’s many non-news programs that primarily focused on winning awards than ratings, it will not be a surprise to see ‘I Heart Davao’ follow the same path.

In any event, good luck to GMA in making ‘I Heart Davao’ a success. There is no doubt about its potential, but will it be more than enough?

‘I Heart Davao’ airs weeknights after ‘My Love from the Star’ on GMA Telebabad.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Meant to Be Down to Last Five Episodes

The search for ‘the one’ is down to its last week.

In the final week of ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie Forteza) has a choice to make. For the past 118 episodes, Billie’s heart is chased by four men: Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken Chan), Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan Dorschner), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy Raj) and pure-blooded Filipino Andoy (Jak Roberto), and now, she must pick who among the four will fit her best.

In an unprecedented move, GMA asked viewers and fans the same question as Billie. Voting for ‘the one’ took place from June 4 to 18 on GMA’s official website, with each entry qualified for the opportunity to win a Samsung J7 smart phone and a meet-and-greet with the ‘Meant to Be’ cast.

The winner of the poll will be determined throughout the final five episodes of ‘Meant to Be’. That said, viewers must wait with bated breath to see who among their favorites won Billie’s heart.

First aired on January 9, 2017, ‘Meant to Be’ premiered on the same night as its current rival ‘A Love to Last’. But for the first two weeks of its run, ‘Meant to Be’ was pitted against ‘Till I Met You’, the ABS-CBN drama series that starred James Reid and Nadine Lustre.

Luckily for ‘Meant to Be’, they began their run on a strong note, as they took advantage of an underachieving opponent. But once ‘A Love to Last’ moved down to challenge the former, the tables turned against them.

While ‘Meant to Be’ still enjoyed impressive ratings (on average, the series raked in 14% per episode), they were unable to contain ‘A Love to Last”s 18% or better mark. Nevertheless, ‘Meant to Be’ still had some memorable moments that could make Anton (Ian Veneracion) and Andeng (Bea Alonzo) say wow, such as Billie’s bikini moment with the boys.

Summer came early for JEYA and Billie! 🔥😍 #MTBBeachBodyReady 📷 : @akosila

A post shared by Barbie Forteza (@barbaraforteza) on

According to Ken Chan on Pep.PH, ‘Meant to Be’ was initially aimed to last six weeks. But the surprisingly positive reception from viewers (notwithstanding its shortcomings against ‘A Love to Last’) extended the series to a mere six months, which is still noteworthy.

As ‘Meant to Be’ enters its final week, the chase for Billie’s heart is on. Regardless of the outcome, viewers and fans alike should be pleased with how this feel-good story turn out.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last and Meant to Be: Primetime’s Opening Salvos This 2017

Two new teleseryes get their baptism of fire in the second week of 2017.

On ABS-CBN, Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion star in the upcoming series ‘A Love to Last’. A family drama, ‘A Love to Last’ tells the story of Andeng (Bea) and Anton (Ian), two individuals whose fates intertwined thanks to the crumbling relationships with their significant others.

Andeng, a breadwinner and a successful events organizer, was about to get married when she caught her fiancé cheating with another woman. Anton, on the other hand, was a company president and CEO, married to Grace (Iza Calzado) and had three children, only to see her leave and file for annulment.

Both eventually found love with each other in the most unexpected of ways. However, Andeng must first deal with Anton’s marital problems in hopes of gaining his acceptance.

‘A Love to Last’ also stars Enchong Dee, Julia Barretto, Ronnie Alonte, JK Labajo and Hannah Vito. It is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Richard Arellano.

Fresh from the successful-but-not-quite-impressive run of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ABS-CBN is pinning its hopes on ‘A Love to Last’ to reverse a downward trend of sub-30% ratings in recent months. But as Bea and Ian were already industry veterans with nothing left to prove, it remains to be seen if viewers can still accept them as a force in primetime.

Over on GMA, a much lighter story will take place in the upcoming series ‘Meant to Be’, starring Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Addy Raj and Ivan Dorschner. It will be Barbie’s first primetime series since the not-so successful team-up with Andre Paras in ‘That’s My Amboy’ last year.

Joining them in this complicated love story are the ‘Triplets’ of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner and Manilyn Reynes, along with Keempee de Leon, Sef Cadayona, Mika dela Cruz, Stephanie Sol, Zymic Jaranilla and Ms. Gloria Romero. It will be directed by LA Madridejos.

In ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie) is an independent millenial whose life would soon revolve among the four men who will try to woo her heart; namely Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy), pure-blooded Filipino Macoy (Jak), and Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken). But choosing the only guy that will fill her heart is not the only problem for Billie.

Billie will also deal with the crumbling relationship of her parents Wilton (Keempee) and Amelia (Manilyn), and the unemployment of her brother Bats (Sef). In addition, a sub-plot about Billie’s friendship with Mariko (Mika), and the once-formidable bond between Amelia, Suzy (Tina) and Beatriz (Sheryl) as a girl group will also be explored.

‘Meant to Be”s premiere will come at a not-so opportune time, as the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ reaches its final two weeks. With only a few episodes to prove themselves, it will be a huge challenge for this rom-com to make a first impression to Kapuso viewers.

Either way, both ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘Meant to Be’ are worth the wait for those who anticipate it. Good luck to both shows.

‘A Love to Last’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, while ‘Meant to Be’ airs weeknights after ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Pangako Sa ‘Yo Down to Final Week

One of the country’s top-rated drama series on primetime is about to bid farewell.

On Friday, February 12, the final episode of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will air on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida. The series, which first aired on May 25, 2015, will have a total of 190 episodes in all by the end of its run.

‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, a remake of the 2000 series starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, again told the love story of Angelo and Yna, now portrayed by Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo, respectively. Throughout the series, Angelo and Yna were faced with several obstacles, but their love for each other still prevailed against all odds.

But as ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ reaches its conclusion, a pair of shocking truths will await the duo. That said, Angelo and Yna will need to face this final test before they can finally fulfill their promise of love and happiness to each other.

‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ was a ratings juggernaut throughout its run, as it consistently ranked among the top-rated programs in the country, based on Kantar’s figures. It even hit the 40% mark on a few occasions.

What made its domination even more impressive was that earlier this year, ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ managed to beat all three ongoing GMA Telebabad series in one calendar month. During the month of January, ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ faced ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Because of You’ and ‘That’s My Amboy’ in succession, and the former defeated them all.

It also made a huge impression on Twitter, particularly in an episode where the future Amor Powers (Jodi Sta. Maria) vowed for revenge against the Buenavistas, portrayed by Angelica Panganiban (as Claudia) and Ian Veneracion (as Eduardo). The series, particularly the KathNiel tandem, earned numerous awards, sold out merchandise, and even attracted jam-packed crowds to its promotional events.

‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ also made history by holding a talent search for the character of Bea Bianca. That contest was won by Sarah Carlos, and her brief but memorable portrayal of Vanessa del Bianco’s original character paved the way for Sarah to become a MYX VJ at the start of this year.

Overall, ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ lived up to the expectations of the original. The series proved that the KathNiel tandem can indeed play more mature roles, while at the same time, it gave Jodi, Angelica and Ian a new lease in their showbiz careers.

This week’s final few episodes should be intense. Don’t miss the much-awaited finale of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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