drama, entertainment, reality show, talent show, television

ABS-CBN Welcomes an Abrenica

Turns out there will be an Abrenica on ABS-CBN after all.

However, the Abrenica referred here is not Aljur. Instead, younger brother Vin Abrenica, a fellow reality talent search show winner (via TV5’s ‘Artista Academy’), jumped ship to ABS-CBN.

Just recently, a contract signing took place that signaled Vin Abrenica’s entry into the Kapamilya network. Though he already appeared in the legal drama anthology ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ last October, his first actual project with ABS-CBN will be on ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, where he will be paired with Jessy Mendiola in a future episode.

Prior to ABS-CBN, Vin Abrenica was a TV5 talent for three years. After winning ‘Artista Academy’, Vin appeared in several TV5 shows, but his future with the network became in doubt as soon as VIVA’s Vic del Rosario took over TV5’s entertainment department.

The entry of Vin Abrenica to ABS-CBN caught many by surprise. Back when older brother Aljur was in a contract mess with GMA two years ago, there was a lot of talk of him joining ABS-CBN to further hone his talents.

After all, it was ABS-CBN who had a reputation of turning struggling former Kapuso talents into certified stars. Names like Cristine Reyes, Paulo Avelino, Angel Locsin, Jake Cuenca and Iza Calzado came to ABS-CBN after years of service to GMA, and with the help of talent guru Johnny Manahan, their stars are now shining brighter than ever.

However, Aljur Abrenica and GMA decided to patch their differences, and today Aljur remains as visible as ever on the Kapuso network. Currently he appears in ‘Once Again’, where he is paired alongside Janine Gutierrez.

Imagine if Aljur decided to go to ABS-CBN instead of reconciling with GMA. His waning star would have been rekindled under the watchful eyes of Johnny Manahan.

As it stands, however, he is back with GMA, but unfortunately for him, it was not a sweet reunion so far. Since premiering in mid-May, ‘Once Again’ has been struggling to keep up with ‘Dolce Amore’, who were led by Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano.

Hopefully the story will be different for younger brother Vin. Now that he’s on ABS-CBN, Vin is poised to ascend much further than his brother, but it remains to be seen if he is indeed a good fit.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, live events, news, Philippines, public affairs, Sports, television

ABS-CBN Continues Transition to HD

ABS-CBN officially launched its new HD channel last Saturday, part of a continuing transition to digital high definition television for the network. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN’s conversion to high definition continues.

On Saturday, the network officially launched ABS-CBN HD, the first-ever HD free TV channel in the Philippines. It is currently available on Channel 167 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 700 for provincial subscribers.

Viewers with a high-definition digibox can enjoy some of ABS-CBN’s most popular programs in crystal clear HD. As of this article, only ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Wansapanatym’, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’, ‘ASAP’ and Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida teleseryes are currently shot with HD cameras, with other programming to follow suit.

ABS-CBN began to experiment with high definition television when it launched Balls HD in 2009. The channel’s launch coincided with the opening of UAAP Season 72, which became the first local event to be broadcast in high definition.

Two years later, ‘Budoy’ became the network’s first teleserye to be shot with HD cameras, which was then followed by the network’s other dramas. And just two weeks ago, ‘ASAP’ became the first non-drama program on the network to be shot with HD cameras.

All in all, ABS-CBN’s forays with high-definition and other technologies were signs that the network is seriously preparing for the conversion to digital television here in the Philippines. Not bad for the pioneering television network which was established in 1953.

With the launch of ABS-CBN HD, let’s just hope that in the near future, the other networks will follow suit. This will not be an easy task for the other local networks, but with digitization fast approaching, time is definitely of the essence.

Note: Balls HD, which formerly occupied Channel 167, is now assigned to Channel 195 for SkyCable and Destiny Cable subscribers, and Channel 701 for provincial subscribers. ABS-CBN HD can also be seen on iWanTV.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, public affairs, television

Has Time Ran Out on Wish Ko Lang?

‘Wish Ko Lang”s transformation from a public service program to a drama anthology has not worked well for GMA. Promotional posters such as this found on ‘Wish Ko Lang”s social media accounts made it clear that the show no longer serves a purpose. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

‘Wish Ko Lang”s magic is slowly disappearing.

Once known for granting wishes to ordinary citizens, it has now turned into a drama anthology that seems more appropriate to rival ABS-CBN’s ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’. The purpose of ‘Wish Ko Lang’ has now turned into a joke, where the title of the show is no longer applicable to its new format.

It has been that way for nearly a year now, where host Vicky Morales has turned herself from the face of the show into a background character, overshadowed by the Kapuso actors that the show assigns. Even ‘Karelasyon’, a similarly themed drama anthology, is now outplaying ‘Wish Ko Lang’ in the ratings.

For a show that has been on the air for over a decade, this is definitely insulting to the loyal audiences who have watched ‘Wish Ko Lang’ all these years. It hurts, isn’t it?

When ‘Wish Ko Lang’ debuted 13 years ago, it served its purpose well, granting wishes to ordinary citizens who sent letters of hopes and aspirations. For years, the show was a ratings winner, beating similarly themed programs such as ‘Willingly Yours’, ‘Simpleng Hiling’ and ‘Nagmamahal, Kapamilya’ (the latter show was hosted by ‘Wish Ko Lang”s original host Bernadette Sembrano).

Then came ‘Failon Ngayon’, whose more informative and engaging brand of public service began to upstage ‘Wish Ko Lang’. The show experienced a decline soon after, moving into three different timeslots which never worked out for them.

In August 2014, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ moved to its current timeslot, and soon after, it reformatted from a public service program to a drama anthology in order to compete against the newly-revived ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. It became clear, however, that older fans disapproved of the show’s transformation, and as a result, ratings continued to suffer.

Now GMA has to make a decision. Since ‘Karelasyon’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’ offer a similar format, they need to choose between the two of them, and based on ‘Karelasyon”s impressive ratings, it may be better for GMA to finally let go of ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and create a legit public service program without the unnecessary dramatizations.

If they choose not to let go, they have to pick between these two options. Either they bring the old format back and move to a new timeslot, or rebrand the program if they intend to keep the new format.

It’s up to GMA to decide. They can only hope that this decision on the fate of ‘Wish Ko Lang’ is for the best interest of the network and its viewers, and will help GMA in the long run.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘Ipaglaban Mo’ Has Finally Met Its Match

After a promising start, ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s fortunes have taken a dip in recent months. The entry of GMA’s ‘Karelasyon’ only made it worse. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

After dominating the post-noontime scene on Saturdays for the early part of its run, ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s luck appears to be running out.

Thanks to a rare stroke of genius by GMA management, the renewed success of the newly-revived ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ began to wear thin. A pair of programming moves by the Kapuso network gave ABS-CBN and the father-and-son legal team of Atty. Jose and Jopet Sison a lot to worry about.

In its first two months on the air, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ made mincemeat of ‘Startalk’, whose return to Saturday afternoons failed to arrest their continuing ratings decline. Then on August 16, 2014, GMA switched the timeslots of ‘Startalk’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’, and from there, ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s fortunes took a slight dip.

But it was the entry of ‘Karelasyon’ which gave ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ its stiffest challenge yet. After one month, the latter was just lucky to survive on ABS-CBN’s trusted provider Kantar Media, but the same cannot be said on the figures provided by GMA’s own partner AGB Nielsen.

Here is the comparative ratings between ‘Karelasyon’ and ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ according to both AGB Nielsen and Kantar Media.

April 11

Karelasyon (16.5%) over Ipaglaban Mo (8.1%) – AGB Nielsen

Ipaglaban Mo (14.8%) over Karelasyon (11.9%) – Kantar Media

April 18

Karelasyon (17.3%) over Ipaglaban Mo (8.6%) – AGB Nielsen

Ipaglaban Mo (14.7%) over Karelasyon (11.8%) – Kantar Media

April 25

Karelasyon (20%) over Ipaglaban Mo (7.8%) – AGB Nielsen

Karelasyon (13.7%) over Ipaglaban Mo (12.9%) – Kantar Media

May 2

Karelasyon (16.3%) over Ipaglaban Mo (10.3%) – AGB Nielsen

Ipaglaban Mo (16.3%) over Karelasyon (12.6%) – Kantar Media

May 9

Karelasyon (14.1%) over Ipaglaban Mo (10.1%) – AGB Nielsen

Ipaglaban Mo (15.2%) over Karelasyon (12.4%) – Kantar Media

Based on the figures, ‘Karelasyon’ proved to be a thorn on ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s side, at least according to AGB Nielsen. However, the only time ‘Karelasyon’ swept both Kantar and Nielsen to date was on the April 25 episode starring Rocco Nacino and Kris Bernal, defeating the ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ episode starring Andrea del Rosario and Yam Concepcion.

While ‘Karelasyon’ only managed to beat ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ once in Kantar so far, they proved to be a more competent program than the latter’s first two opponents in ‘Startalk’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’, based on its double-digit rating performances.

That said, it is clear that ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ is no longer the ratings juggernaut it once was. The program’s initial run of dominance is now a distant memory.

‘Karelasyon”s surprising success should only strengthen ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s resolve. A tweak or two is needed to restore ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s former glory, otherwise everything will go ‘Karelasyon”s way.

And that should only concern ABS-CBN even further.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA Finally Responds to Ipaglaban Mo

A huge test awaits ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ tomorrow afternoon.

Enter ‘Karelasyon’, the upcoming GMA drama anthology hosted by Carla Abellana. The program will showcase a different side of love and relationships, with stories focusing on various ordeals that may affect one’s love for the other.

Throughout the show, various issues such as jealousy, infidelity, individual obsessions and vices, and family and work-related issues will be presented and discussed. As such, sweet and light-hearted moments will be deemphasized in ‘Karelasyon’, but rather, more hostile and confrontational scenes will be the norm.

With the impending debut of ‘Karelasyon’, it seems that GMA has found a more appropriate program to challenge ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. Since premiering on June 7, 2014, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ has given opposing GMA programs fits, beating ‘Startalk’, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Asian Horror Stories’ in the ratings.

The consistently high ratings of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ posed some problems for ‘Startalk’, whose return to Saturday afternoons last year was met with little to no fanfare. Not even a change of timeslot with the newly-reformatted ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and a reduction in airtime helped matters.

‘Ipaglaban Mo’ also fared better than ‘Asian Horror Stories’ (and its alternate name ‘Tales of Horror’). As a result, GMA decided to do something drastic in hopes of arresting this skid.

Thus, ‘Karelasyon’ was conceived, in order to answer ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. The latter program may not be similar to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ in terms of scope, but is nevertheless helpful in solving issues that are presented in each episode.

Now GMA must hope that ‘Karelasyon’ will deliver a more respectable performance than ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s previous opponents. The pilot episode of the show should be a measuring stick as to how ‘Karelasyon’ will perform in the long term. Good luck.

‘Karelasyon’ premieres tomorrow after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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