entertainment, news, Philippines, television

No Surprise: Aljur Abrenica Joins ABS-CBN

It was a transfer three years in the making.

On Monday, July 31, former GMA contract artist Aljur Abrenica officially joined ABS-CBN in a deal that was of no surprise to everyone. Welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp are ABS-CBN executives and producers Laurenti Dyogi, Deo Endrinal and Cory Vidanes.

A GMA contract artist and a ‘StarStruck’ alumnus for 11 years, Aljur’s tenure with the network has had some ups and downs. While the early part of his career was a fruitful one with a few successful projects, the last few years saw his stock drop dramatically.

In 2014, Aljur filed a petition to rescind his contract with GMA Network in hopes of restarting his career. Although Aljur and GMA settled the dispute nearly two years later, it was clear that his popular appeal was waning.

Proof of that was Aljur’s final GMA project ‘Once Again’. Paired alongside Janine Gutierrez, Aljur’s swan song turned out to be a bust, as ‘Once Again’ lasted only 59 episodes and was completely overwhelmed by the LizQuen-starred ‘Dolce Amore’.

Aljur was given no further projects by the network following the failure of ‘Once Again’, and his contract officially expired in March 2017. A few months later, speculation run rampant when Aljur suddenly appeared inside the ABS-CBN compound, hinting at the possibility of joining the network.

Although Aljur has yet to ink an exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, the network said a few projects and appearances are lined up for the actor. That said, it is likely that Aljur will be seen on ABS-CBN noontime shows ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘ASAP’, and talk shows such as ‘Tonight with Boy Abunda’ while his upcoming projects are being planned.

There is also a possibility that Aljur and brother Vin will be seen together, but that will be for another time. In any case, Aljur’s decision to join the network should help resurrect his career, given that ABS-CBN has had a reputation of reviving an artist’s declining fortunes.

It remains to be seen if Aljur will be the latest in a series of Kapamilya reclamation projects, but with the right mindset, he could be on the path back to success. Good luck.

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FTT’s Guide to SONA 2017

The second State of the Nation Address under President Rodrigo Duterte is about to happen.

At around 4:00 p.m. of Monday, July 24, the vicinity of the Batasan Pambansa will be filled with politicians, delegates, spectators, mediamen, PNP and AFP officers, Vice President Leni Robredo, and the President himself. The SONA is an annual occasion where the President mentions his accomplishments and reveals his plans for the year ahead.

Last year’s State of the Nation Address was directed by Brillante Mendoza, which was met with mixed reviews. This year, Mendoza will once again be at the helm, but after an unimpressive first outing, expect a few tweaks in his directorial approach.

As for the coverage of the event, here is a summary of how the participating networks will approach the SONA.

ABS-CBN

  1. Channel 2, S+A (simulcast with Channel 2), DZMM and the ABS-CBN News Channel will be the participating stations; each broadcast will be simulcast online on news.abs-cbn.com/sona2017.
  2. Channel 2’s coverage will begin after ‘It’s Showtime’, with Karen Davila as anchor. As mentioned earlier, it will also be seen on S+A Channel 23.
  3. DZMM’s coverage will begin at 1:00 p.m. Karen Davila and Johnson Manabat will anchor the first two hours, followed by David Oro and Ricky Rosales at 3:00 p.m., before Gerry Baja and Anthony Taberna join the fray at 5:00 p.m.
  4. ANC’s coverage will take place throughout the day, with a townhall forum at 3:00 p.m. to be moderated by Karmina Constantino and Tony Velasquez.

CNN Philippines

CNN Philippines’ coverage begins at 5:00 a.m. In typical CNN Philippines fashion, their coverage will be bilingual; mid-morning to early afternoon coverage will be in Filipino while the rest will be in English.

Viewers of the network will see the likes of Claire Celdran, Amelyn Veloso, Ruth Cabal, Pinky Webb, Pia Hontiveros and Mitzi Borromeo anchor CNN Philippines’ SONA coverage. It will also be aired online on Facebook and on the CNN Philippines website.

GMA Network

GMA News TV confirmed that they will cover the SONA starting at 3:10 p.m., marking the first time since 2014 that the oft-criticized news network will participate in the event. Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio will anchor said coverage.

However, Channel 7 and DZBB have yet to reveal its plans for the SONA. If Channel 7 and/or DZBB pushes through with separate coverage, it is likely that Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and/or Vicky Morales will anchor the proceedings while DZBB will utilize some of its mainstays such as Joel Reyes Zobel.

TV5

The network that infamously snubs President Duterte’s live speeches on television will have no choice but to join in. While Luchi Cruz-Valdes is penciled in to anchor their coverage, she might as well need some help considering how decimated TV5’s team is right now.

TV5’s coverage will most likely be simulcast on AksyonTV (unless it changes its mind and airs nonsensical TV shopping programs), Radyo5 92.3 News FM, and on News5’s Facebook page and official website. They do not need to worry about preempting programs because their lineup is all but a free-for-all.

PTV-4

PTV-4’s coverage, which also features special packages throughout the day, will be led by Rocky Ignacio, Aljo Bendijo, Angelique Lazo, Alex Santos and Catherine Vital. The government-owned station will begin their coverage of the SONA at 2:30 p.m., with a simulcast on the network’s YouTube channel.

The revitalization of PTV was among the many objectives that President Duterte raised during last year’s SONA. The project is still ongoing, but viewers can only hope that PTV’s presentation will be a much-improved one.

Other networks

All AM radio stations (save for specialty ones) will be on-hand to cover this year’s SONA. On the television side, independent UHF TV stations Net 25 and UNTV-37 will also participate in the event.

As far as IBC-13 is concerned, it is likely that the beleaguered network will no longer play a role in the SONA. Although President Duterte promised an immediate privatization of the network in last year’s SONA, the process remains slow to say the least.

Come this Monday afternoon, all eyes will be on President Rodrigo Duterte. Never mind how long his speech will be, as long as viewers understand his message going forward.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

ABS-CBN’s Ika-6 na Utos Problem

It seems like ABS-CBN is having a problem with ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Since late March, the GMA Afternoon Prime drama has earned an average rating of 17% per episode (via Kantar Media), a far cry from the unimpressive 11% average it enjoyed in its first month. Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ (introduced April 1) were just as strong, scoring around 15%.

Much of the spike in popularity has something to do with a combination of factors, such as:

  1. Memorable scenes and interactions between the characters Georgia (Ryza Cenon), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Rome (Gabby Concepcion)
  2. Lack of interest in ‘It’s Showtime”s Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids
  3. ‘Eat Bulaga”s continued decline post-Kalyeserye

The stunning success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ left ABS-CBN dumbfounded and perplexed as to what happened. While they still rule most timeslots every day, it is against ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ that they are noticeably struggling at this point.

So why is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ giving ABS-CBN fits? Here are the three possible factors to look at.

It’s Showtime”s Long Running Time

‘It’s Showtime’, unlike ‘Eat Bulaga’, runs for over three hours six times a week (in contrast to ‘Eat Bulaga’ running 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday and three hours on Saturday). That said, a total of 18 hours per week can be totally draining for both the hosts and the audience.

Coupled with a recent streak of uninspiring pre-Tawag ng Tanghalan segments, and ‘It’s Showtime’ is left to lick their wounds amid the surge of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Cutting it to 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday may be the best way to remain efficient while maintaining its top-notch ratings.

Resistance to Change

In the past, ABS-CBN aired three teleseryes in the afternoon to counter GMA’s own set of three. Since reducing the amount to only two, the tables seem to have turned in the Kapamilya network’s favor, that is until ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ came along.

Sticking to what seems best might not be a good idea for ABS-CBN at this point. With a surplus of upcoming teleseryes in the pipeline, it is best for them to counter ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with another teleserye (probably not a ‘kabitserye’) in hopes of reversing its momentum.

A New Trend: Saturday Teleseryes

Before ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, a typical Filipino teleserye only airs from Monday to Friday. That has changed since April 1, when GMA extended ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons, in a move reminiscent of Latin American telenovelas.

The sudden move caught ABS-CBN off-guard, as ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ began to struggle against the surging ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Still, the extension is only four weeks old so anything can happen in the long run.

With ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ now a major dilemma for ABS-CBN, drastic changes should be in the offing. But unless they figure out a way to overcome this popular Kapuso drama, their overall dominance will become nothing more than a punchline.

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Kimerald’s Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin Relegated to Late Mornings

Seems like the reunited Kimerald will have to pay their dues in the late mornings.

Once a successful duo on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, the tandem of Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson will now take their act to the 11:30 a.m. slot with a new series that centers around the world of triathlon. This new series is called ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

Starring alongside another tandem in Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ centers around childhood friends Bianca (Kim) and Gabriel (Gerald), both of whom aspire to become successful triathletes in order to support their families.

Along the way, the duo encounter some obstacles that will test their love for each other. ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will feature the following storylines:

  • Bianca distances herself from Gabriel in hopes of saving her father’s life
  • After a long period of separation, Bianca and Gabriel met anew in a triathlon event headlined by Carlos (Jake), a top triathlete in the country
  • Carlos hires Bianca as an endorser of Tigershark, then falls in love with her to the dismay of his ex-girlfriend Isabelle (Coleen)
  • Carlos and Gabriel become archrivals in both triathlon and in Bianca’s heart, but some secrets from the past soon threaten their lives

‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will also star Gina Pareño, Bing Loyzaga, Ayen Munji-Laurel, Michael De Mesa, Daniel Fernando, Dante Rivero, Nicco Manalo, Ivan Carapiet, Andrea Brillantes, and Grae Fernandez. The series will be directed by Dan Villegas and Onat Diaz.

Unlike previous romantic late-morning series in ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ and ‘Be My Lady’, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will have a more serious tone that is uncharacteristic for the slot. The storyline would have been a perfect fit for primetime, but with no slots available at the moment, ABS-CBN has no choice but to place this series before noontime.

Still, considering the past success of the Kapamilya network at the said slot, ratings should not be a problem for ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’. That said, the network only hope to see the viewers fall in love with this pensive drama.

‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin airs weekdays before ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN’s PrimeTanghali.

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Why Jackpot En Poy Only Makes Eat Bulaga Worse?

For 37 years, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was known for its innovative and groundbreaking segments.

Some of their most famous portions have become synonymous with the show; examples include Little Miss Philippines, That’s My Boy, Laban o Bawi, Pinoy Henyo and Juan for All, All for Juan. However, they recently took a further step back by introducing this ridiculous segment.

Earlier this year, ‘Eat Bulaga’ brought the game of rock-paper-scissors (or in Filipino, Jack en Poy) to the show and billed it as the ‘most serious’ game ever. Enter the infamous Jackpot En Poy segment.

In this game, four people who represent a particular color section of the audience (red, green, yellow, blue) go one-on-one in the game of rock-paper-scissors. The first round winners then face off in the finals, after which that round’s winner gets a chance to play in the jackpot round against a select team of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts, each with a particular prize money allotted to them.

To make the game ‘serious’, ‘Eat Bulaga’ brought in Gov Lloyd as its ‘referee’, while a guest judge takes a look at violations that took place during the segment. Initially, Jose Manalo, Paolo Ballesteros, Wally Bayola and Maine Mendoza were brought in as ‘judges’, but after only a few episodes, they were reassigned to do another segment.

While the Jackpot En Poy segment typically used regular audience members as players, the more recent episodes featured none other than guest celebrities from different fields. For instance, the March 25 installment of Jackpot En Poy saw Senators Sonny Angara, JV Ejercito, Gringo Honasan and Manny Pacquiao play the said game.

Despite its ‘serious’ yet ‘entertaining’ nature, the segment proved to be ‘Eat Bulaga”s weakest and most desperate segment yet. Let’s face it, rock-paper-scissors is a simple game, but once ‘Eat Bulaga’ added some shenanigans to make it appear like it was innovated, this act only alienated a more vocal section of the audience.

It is no secret that the ratings of ‘Eat Bulaga’ continues to fall with each episode. The fact of the matter is, this noontime show is now on the twilight of its run, and with ‘It’s Showtime”s emergence, it appears that the torch has finally been passed.

Sorry, Jackpot En Poy, but this segment does not deserve a place on ‘Eat Bulaga’ lore. Let’s just hope that it will be good riddance to this simple yet ridiculous skit.

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Ika-6 na Utos Extends to Saturday Afternoons

GMA gets even more desperate.

Due to so-called ‘insistent public demand’, the network announced that the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now air on Saturday afternoons as well. In doing so, GMA made some history by becoming the first TV network to air a new episode of a weekday teleserye on a weekend.

The upcoming Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will replace the short-lived and poorly-rated crime and investigation series ‘Case Solved’, which only lasted six episodes from February 18 to March 25. But can this risky move work?

According to the national Kantar Media ratings, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ trails ‘It’s Showtime’ by around 3-4% since its premiere on December 5, 2016. While the former’s ratings were on the upswing of late (they even defeated ‘It’s Showtime’ by 0.3% on March 2), they still failed to topple the latter since the popular ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment airs at the same time.

As ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ goes deep into Saturday afternoon, they face an even tougher test. The legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ made mincemeat of ‘Case Solved’ during the past month, and with the latter raking in around 20% ratings in recent episodes, chances are ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is in for a reality check.

To make matters worse for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the viewers’ demands for a sixth episode every weekend could prove too much to ask for. Let’s face it, the need for variety on television is obvious here, and GMA’s desperate move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons could easily tire out even the most demanding of viewers.

That said, GMA’s daring move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturdays may come back to haunt them. After all, everybody wants a break from watching teleseryes each and every weekend, but for GMA, all roads lead to disaster simply because of a needless opportunity to boost ratings.

Sorry GMA, but this is not going to work, regardless of what the viewers say.

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