drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Hanggang Saan Nears Finale

Two different sides of the story.

Indeed, the long run of ‘Hanggang Saan’ can be divided into two parts. One part featured a series that struggled right out of the gate, and the other part featured a series that became a winner in the viewers’ book.

‘Hanggang Saan’ first aired on November 27, 2017 amid a slump in Kapamilya Gold’s fortunes. When it began its run, rival GMA series ‘Haplos’ was still ruling its timeslot, and it also helped that its success was bolstered by its lead-in shows ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘Impostora’.

The fact that ABS-CBN received some criticism for overemphasizing ‘kabitseryes’ in the afternoon weighed heavily on ‘Hanggang Saan’. At the time, it seemed like the series was on the verge of immediate cancellation with the way it performed from the start.

But when ‘Haplos’ was replaced by ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, ‘Hanggang Saan”s fortunes soon turned for the better. After scoring an average of only 12% in the ratings to ‘Haplos” 14%, ‘Hanggang Saan’ raised its mark to 14% whereas ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ fell to 10%.

In a similar manner as ‘Haplos’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ benefited from the success of ‘Asintado’, which replaced ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ as the Philippines’ top-rating afternoon series by late March. That, of course, helped save the series from the guillotine and assured that ‘Hanggang Saan’ would end on its own terms.

Overall, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will have a total of 108 episodes once it reaches its finale this Friday. While it didn’t come close to reaching the heights of Sylvia Sanchez’s previous series ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ still enjoyed a respectable performance on its own right.

That said, ‘Hanggang Saan”s successful run only added to Sylvia’s growing legend as a top-billing actress in her 50s. It may be a case of late blooming, but it was still good to see a career supporting actress turn into a bankable star at this point in her career.

The series also provided a boost to the careers of emerging stars Arjo Atayde (Sylvia’s real-life son) and Sue Ramirez. Both should be primed for greater roles in future projects.

On Friday afternoon, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will air its last episode. Notwithstanding the slow start, the most important thing here is the finish, and that is how this series will be remembered for it.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Impostora to End Tomorrow

The new version of ‘Impostora’ will officially bow out.

Tomorrow afternoon will mark the 160th and final episode of this GMA afternoon drama. And much like the villainous Rosette and the good-but-ugly Nimfa (both played by Kris Bernal), ‘Impostora’ had two different faces: one that was dominant and the other inferior.

First premiered on July 3, 2017, ‘Impostora’ was based on the 2007 version of the same title starring Sunshine Dizon and Iza Calzado, which in turn adopted the story from the 1994 film ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’. Pitted against ‘Pusong Ligaw’ for a majority of its run, the new ‘Impostora’ had a slow start but by August the series began to win over the viewers and beat its closest competitor.

For a while, it seemed that nothing can stop ‘Impostora’. However, the series began to lose anew as 2017 turned to 2018, thanks largely to a late push by the concluding ‘Pusong Ligaw’.

It only got worse for ‘Impostora’ once Julia Montes entered the fray. Her series ‘Asintado’ made an immediate impact from the get-go and while ‘Impostora’ relived some past glory in some of its episodes, a younger Julia Montes was simply too much for Kris Bernal to handle.

Regardless of the late swoon, the 160-episode run of ‘Impostora’ remains an impressive feat by GMA’s standards. To air so many episodes speaks volumes of its immense impact in the weekday afternoon landscape, particularly with ABS-CBN’s struggles in the afternoon slots that gave ‘Impostora’ an opportunity to strike.

But even if Kris Bernal made a good account of herself by playing a bad girl on ‘Impostora’, she won’t be able to escape the ‘good girl’ persona that she always prides with. Much like ‘Rhodora X’ with Jennylyn Mercado, it is highly unlikely to see Kris play a villain in future drama series.

Perhaps GMA could change that stereotype in order to elevate younger and up-and-coming stars to the fold. Still, it will be up to Kris to make a decision that could either help or hurt the network.

As ‘Impostora’ nears its finale, one must wonder which fate will await Rosette and Nimfa. The last episode should be a must-watch, so good luck.

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Bouncing Back: Julia Montes Returns in Asintado

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold badly needs a boost.

For months, the block has struggled against a resurgent GMA Afternoon Prime. It was clear that Kapamilya Gold has gone stale with a repetitive ‘kabitserye’ formula, and as a result, viewers tuned away in favor of series that had campy scenes (‘Ika-6 na Utos’), one actress playing two contrasting personalities (‘Impostora’), and allusions to the supernatural (‘Haplos’).

This Monday, Kapamilya Gold will try to return to relevance with a familiar face and a new attitude. Enter ‘Asintado’, the newest afternoon series starring daytime drama’s undisputed queen in Julia Montes.

In ‘Asintado’, Julia is Ana, a member of a rescue team who looks to make her adoptive family proud. After saving Gael (Paulo Avelino) from a mining accident, she became his personal nurse and eventually fell in love with each other.

But just as their relationship blooms, Gael’s ex-girlfriend Samantha (Shaina Magdayao) returns to try to win back his heart, even if it means killing Ana. Fortunately, Ana was saved by Xander (Aljur Abrenica), only to find out later on that Gael and Samantha are about to get married.

Just as Ana is plotting her revenge, she finds out that Samantha was her long-lost sister. Samantha, as it turned out, was lost in the fire that killed their parents.

The search for love and justice in ‘Asintado’ will also involve a veteran supporting cast consisting of Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Agot Isidro, and Nonie Buencamino. The series will be directed by Onat Diaz and Lino Cayetano.

If Julia’s previous series ‘Doble Kara’ helped Kapamilya Gold reclaim the ratings lead from Afternoon Prime, then ABS-CBN should look for ‘Asintado’ to do the same. Still, the series will be up against a formidable foe in ‘Impostora’, and battling a tested star in Kris Bernal will not be a walk in the park.

But considering Julia Montes’ star power, facing such an obstacle is no big deal. That said, it will be up to her to lead Kapamilya Gold back to where it wants to be.

‘Asintado’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Pusong Ligaw to End Disappointing Run Friday

One of ABS-CBN’s underachievers for 2017 will mercifully end their run this week.

This Friday, the 188-episode run* of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ will come to a conclusion. While the series has had a long run typical of more recent ABS-CBN drama series, it had a rather up-and-down performance in the ratings.

‘Pusong Ligaw’ premiered on April 24, 2017 as the replacement to ‘The Greatest Love’. But instead of airing the series on the latter’s vacated timeslot, ABS-CBN made the decision to air ‘Pusong Ligaw’ as the leadoff drama on Kapamilya Gold, demoting ‘The Better Half’ to the second slot.

Initially, ‘Pusong Ligaw’ performed particularly well, averaging around 17-18% in the ratings during its first few weeks. However, the series’ ratings declined to around 15% by June, and after that it fluctuated between 12 and 15% for the remainder of its run.

One glaring reason for the decline of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ is the emergence of ‘Impostora’, the GMA Afternoon Prime series that premiered last July 3. By August, the latter overtook the former as the second highest-rated afternoon drama in the country, and while ‘Pusong Ligaw’ has had occasional moments of brilliance, ‘Impostora’ essentially dominated the matchup the rest of the way.

It also didn’t help that viewers grew tired of the ‘kabitserye’ formula that ABS-CBN emphasized of late. Let’s face it, the formula is becoming too stale and predictable, and having witnessed a few other successful ABS-CBN dramas that utilized a similar plotline, it was clear that ‘Pusong Ligaw’ simply lacked the punch and ‘it’ factor of previous series.

Nevertheless, despite all these deficiencies and concerns regarding quality, 188 episodes was still quite an achievement for ‘Pusong Ligaw’. For an unproven cast that starred Beauty Gonzalez, Bianca King, Raymond Bagatsing, Joem Bascon, Diego Loyzaga and Sofia Andres, making it through a long series is definitely an experience for a lifetime.

The last five episodes of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ should be one to remember. Amid these disappointments and criticisms, ABS-CBN should remain proud of how this series turned out.

*One episode of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ was reaired due to technical problems, while another episode was preempted due to the State of the Nation Address.

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action, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

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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