action, entertainment, Philippines, television, United States

Lethal Weapon: ABS-CBN’s Latest Tagalized American Series

ABS-CBN has once again imported an American series and dubbed it in Filipino.

Unfortunately, viewers will not get to see a third season of ‘Jane the Virgin’, whose first two seasons were aired by the network last year with lukewarm results. Instead, ABS-CBN will premiere another American TV series which, based on the title, should be familiar to moviegoers worldwide.

Remember the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series of films? Between 1987 and 1998, the franchise released four films starring Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Roger Murtaugh, each of which were commercially successful.

Fast forward to 2016, and the ‘Lethal Weapon’ franchise now has its own TV series. This time, the roles of Martin and Roger were given to Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans respectively.

The ‘Lethal Weapon’ series also stars Jordana Brewster, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Johnathan Fernandez, Michelle Mitchenor, Chandler Kinney and Dante Brown. Recurring cast members include Floriana Lima, Richard Cabral, Tony Plana, Hilarie Burton and Thomas Lennon.

In the United States, ‘Lethal Weapon’ premiered on September 21, 2016, and was aired on FOX. The series was renewed for a second season following a strong performance in the ratings.

But as ‘Lethal Weapon’ makes its way to Philippine free TV, there are some doubts as to whether or not this series will fare well with most Filipino viewers. For starters, the ‘Lethal Weapon’ series is currently aired on Warner TV Philippines, which means some are already familiar with the story.

And considering their unenthusiastic response to ‘Jane the Virgin’, ABS-CBN may have taken a huge risk with this move. While ‘Lethal Weapon’ is only a mere filler for the network in anticipation for yet another franchised reality show (the first season has 18 episodes in total), it only defies the fact that ABS-CBN wanted nothing more than to dominate every chance they get.

That said, the next several Saturdays could see ABS-CBN slip up a bit after a long reign atop the ratings game. ‘Lethal Weapon’ may only be a temporary fix, but a period of losing could be in the offing.

‘Lethal Weapon’ airs every Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ on ABS-CBN.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

Love in the Moonlight Marks Return of Asianovelas to ABS-CBN Primetime Bida

For the first time in nearly two years, a Koreanovela will occupy the penultimate slot on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

Tonight will mark the premiere of the popular Korean series ‘Love in the Moonlight’, starring Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung. The series enjoyed an impressive run in its native Korea, and it won a number of awards such as Best Couple, Best Excellent Actress, and Best Actor awards in the 2016 KBS Drama Awards.

Prior to ‘Love in the Moonlight’, Primetime Bida has not had a Korean drama since ‘My Lovely Girl’, whose last episode was aired in June 2015. In between, two seasons of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ (737, Lucky 7), the teleserye ‘You’re My Home’, and the American series ‘Jane the Virgin’ were aired on that slot.

‘Love in the Moonlight’ is just one of several Korean dramas whose rights were acquired by ABS-CBN a few weeks ago. Others in the pipeline include  ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’, ‘Hwarang’, ‘Goblin’, ‘Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok-joo’, ‘W’ and ‘Doctors’.

In premiering ‘Love in the Moonlight’, ABS-CBN crushed the notion that Asianovelas on Channel 2 were essentially extinct. Their last Korean drama was ‘My Love Donna’ last year, and many thought the network finally moved on from the genre once sister channel CineMo began to import its own set of Koreanovelas later that year.

Instead, ABS-CBN surprised many, including Koreanovela fans, by acquiring the aforementioned hit Korean dramas. And considering how rival GMA loaded themselves up with more Asianovelas (including those airing on sister station GMA News TV), ABS-CBN made it clear that they are still indeed the ‘First and True Home of Asianovelas’.

The question now is whether or not ‘Love in the Moonlight”s success in Korea will translate over to the Philippines. With ABS-CBN having not aired a Koreanovela on primetime in nearly two years, this will be a huge test to see if their decision to bring them back is all worth it.

‘Love in the Moonlight’ airs weeknights after ‘A Love to Last’ on ABS-CBN Primetime Bida.

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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, United States

Jane the Virgin About to Conclude, Says ABS-CBN

Apparently ABS-CBN does not realize the difference between American and Filipino series.

Such is the case for ‘Jane the Virgin’, the Tagalized American comedy-drama series that premiered in the Philippines last March 28. The series, which starred Gina Rodriguez as the titular Jane, was recently renewed by the American cable network The CW for a third season.

Yet ABS-CBN insists that ‘Jane the Virgin’ will come to an end soon. A teaser for its presumed conclusion was recently released by ABS-CBN and has been airing on the network during commercial breaks (see trailer video below).

If the ABS-CBN management were smart enough, they should know the difference between a typical Filipino teleserye and an American series. Look at these contrasts.

American series

  • A season consists of at least 20 episodes
  • An American television season lasts from October to May
  • An American series airs weekly, with a few preemptions for special events in between
  • If successful, they are usually renewed for another season, otherwise they can be cancelled

Filipino series

  • A season ranges from at least 60 episodes to at most 160 episodes, usually divided by ‘book’
  • There is no such thing as a Filipino television season; programs air year-round
  • A Filipino series airs five times a week, except during Maundy Thursday and Good Friday
  • Cancellations rarely happen in Filipino series, but renewals to extend its run take place

From the perspective of ABS-CBN, it appears that the reason why ‘Jane the Virgin’ is about to ‘end’ is because of ratings and a desire for another experiment. As it currently stands, ‘Jane the Virgin’ averages around 7% per episode, which is good enough to beat a GMA Asianovela but not against comedy programs ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ and ‘Bubble Gang’.

This means that based on ratings alone, ABS-CBN might not bring back ‘Jane the Virgin’ in the foreseeable future. Even though a third season is expected to air in the United States this October, there is a possibility that it may not be aired at all in the Philippines.

If this is indeed the end for ‘Jane the Virgin’ in the Philippines, expect nothing less than an impressive finish. Hopefully ABS-CBN can reconsider its so-called ‘decision’ on this beloved American series, otherwise they will have to regroup.

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drama, entertainment, television, United States

American Series Return to ABS-CBN via Jane the Virgin

The unthinkable has happened.

On March 28, ABS-CBN will bring ‘Jane the Virgin’ to Channel 2 as a replacement to ‘You’re My Home’. This will mark the first time in over a decade that Channel 2 had an American series on its lineup.

‘Jane the Virgin’ stars Gina Rodriguez as the titular 23-year-old virgin woman. She was accidentally inseminated artificially with sperm samples of a wealthy and married hotel owner Rafael (played by Justin Baldoni), disrupting her plans of keeping her virginity.

The incident eventually led to the two becoming a couple and raising a child of their own. Still, it didn’t help that her plans to marry her detective boyfriend (Brett Dier) ended in ruin because of it.

In the United States, ‘Jane the Virgin’ airs on the CW and has a total of two seasons and 36 episodes since premiering in the autumn of 2014. It was recently renewed for a third season thanks to good ratings and positive reviews.

Due to the fact that ‘Jane the Virgin’, like all other American series, airs weekly and only on a seasonal basis, broadcasting the series will be a problem for ABS-CBN. Because of that, they might need to produce or import a replacement as soon as possible, due to these circumstances.

And even if ‘Jane the Virgin’ was renewed for another season or two, the Kapamilya network may not even make a long-term commitment. That said, their decision to air ‘Jane the Virgin’ will depend on its performance and how willing are they to take a risk.

The truth is, Filipino viewers have no penchant for patience, and for ABS-CBN, this may turn out to be a big mistake. After all, such seasonal series only caters to the upper and middle class, and for a station with a mass following, this might not help at all.

‘Jane the Virgin’, dubbed in Filipino, airs weeknights starting March 28 after ‘The Story of Us’ on Primetime Bida.

FTT Advisory: From the Tube will take a break in observance of Holy Week. Regular posts resume on March 28. Have a wonderful and blessed Holy Week.

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