drama, entertainment, humor, movies, Philippines, suspense, television, variety show

Eat Bulaga Creates Another Made-for-TV Movie

Never mind that ‘Eat Bulaga’ is no longer a ratings juggernaut as they were in years past.

The now 40-year-old variety show (technically 39 but the number is considered unlucky for them) is content with what they do best: to make viewers happy. In fact, for the past two years, they even ventured into filmmaking with 2017’s ‘Love Is…’ and this year’s offering.

On Saturday, July 28, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will premiere the mini-movie ‘Pamana’, starring Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros and Maine Mendoza as the Pamilya Nunal from ‘The Barangay Jokers’ series. The show’s other hosts and some unnamed special guests will also play bit roles in this upcoming film.

‘Pamana’, a suspense/comedy thriller, will also mark the directorial debut of Ariel Manalo (birth name of Jose Manalo). Yes, you heard that right: Jose himself directed the film.

For viewers who have watched ‘Eat Bulaga’ for years, going into made-for-TV film territory is something unusual for the long-running variety show even on a normal day. The only times the show dropped its typical segments (e.g. Juan for All) is when it airs its annual Lenten drama specials.

But a show like ‘Eat Bulaga’ is definitely not content in visiting barangays and giving the audience an opportunity to win prizes on a regular basis. Going above and beyond the basics is something the show has long desired to do for years.

Which is why last year’s ‘Love Is…’ and this year’s ‘Pamana’ is a refreshing break from the norm. After all, no one wants to get bored with the same old formula over and over again.

Good luck, ‘Eat Bulaga’. May ‘Pamana’ be worth the price of admission to your viewers.

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comedy, entertainment, game show, humor, Philippines, television

Endangered Specie: Celebrity Bluff’s Status in Doubt

Is this the end for ‘Celebrity Bluff’?

Last Saturday marked the season finale of this celebrated GMA game show. But ‘Celebrity Bluff’ as it truly was effectively ended two years ago following its first four years on the air.

The first run of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ began on November 17, 2012 and ended on February 20, 2016. The original trio of Eugene Domingo, Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo immediately clicked with viewers, and ‘Celebrity Bluff’ became a worthy and oftentimes popular adversary amid the dominance of franchised reality and talent shows from ABS-CBN.

Even as Wally was replaced by Boobay and Isko ‘Brod Pete’ Salvador and Jose left for other commitments, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ remained a force to be reckoned with on Saturday nights. The show also received some accolades along the way, including two PMPC Star Awards for Best Game Show.

The death of director Uro dela Cruz in February 2016 forced ‘Celebrity Bluff’ to take a long break after 12 consecutive seasons on the air. Then on June 3, 2017, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ got underway, this time with Edu Manzano as one of the ‘bluffers’ and Rico Gutierrez as the director.

Unfortunately, this latest season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ failed to capture the magic of the previous 12 seasons. Once averaging around 12-13% in the ratings during its first four years, the most recent incarnation of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ only managed ratings of around 6-7% per episode.

It also did not help that Edu Manzano was a bad fit to the ensemble. In March, Manzano left ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in order to join ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang Probinsyano’, leaving Eugene, Boobay, Brod Pete and some guest ‘bluffers’ to hold the fort.

Suffice to say, the 13th season of ‘Celebrity Bluff’ was doomed to fail this time around. The once-colorful game show had lost its luster.

So what does the future hold for ‘Celebrity Bluff’? Considering the poor performance of its most recent season, perhaps GMA should just retire the show for good and concentrate on a new concept.

If they intend to resuscitate ‘Celebrity Bluff’ in the near future, the only recourse is to convince Wally Bayola and Jose Manalo to return to the show. After all, ‘Celebrity Bluff’ reached its peak with Eugene, Wally and Jose at the forefront.

But for all intents and purposes, consider ‘Celebrity Bluff’ an endangered specie that borders between cancellation and renewal. For now, the show is on hiatus, and unless GMA decides to give it another shot, this hiatus may become permanent after all.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

A Look Back at TAPE’s Pre-Noontime Programs

With the cancellation of ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ earlier this February, TAPE decided to cease production of pre-noontime shows after nearly five years. (Photo credit: TAPE Inc. and GMA Network)

Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap.

It all started with this love team, and it all ended with this love team. The duo forever changed the pre-noontime landscape.

Yet one production outfit tried to make things a little more interesting. That outfit happens to be Television and Production Exponents Inc., better known by the acronym TAPE Inc.

The producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’ decided to take a crack at the Jodi-Richard love team by premiering a pre-noontime talk show hosted by a then-seven-year-old Ryzza Mae Dizon. In April 2013, GMA and TAPE launched ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, and for nearly two years, it engaged with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ in a tough battle for ratings supremacy.

Yet ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ continued to roll, and so did its successors ‘Give Love on Christmas’, ‘Oh My G!’ and ‘Ningning’. When TAPE realized that ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’ has outlived its usefulness, they decided to replace the talk show with a light drama in ‘Princess in the Palace’, starring Ryzza alongside Eula Valdes and Aiza Seguerra.

But the move to a drama format did not change its fortunes, and neither did a sitcom in ‘Calle Siete’. Meanwhile, another ABS-CBN series in ‘Be My Lady’ extended the network’s reign in the timeslot.

In October 2016, GMA and TAPE canceled ‘Calle Siete’ and in its place came a coming-of-age light drama in ‘TROPS’, starring the That’s My Bae quintet of Kenneth Medrano, Kim Last, Jon Timmons, Tommy Penaflor, Miggy Tolentino, and Joel Palencia. The said series also ended Ryzza Mae Dizon’s three-year run in the pre-noontime slot amid her physical changes and the emergence of AlDub.

Unfortunately, ‘TROPS’ also failed to make a difference in the ratings. Over at ABS-CBN, their dominance continued with ‘Langit Lupa’ and ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

In a last-ditch effort to make an impact in the pre-noontime slot, TAPE and GMA returned to the talk show format in September 2017 with ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by the lolas of Kalyeserye (portrayed by Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros). It couldn’t have come at a worst possible time, as AlDub was no longer a difference-maker by the time this show premiered.

Sadly, the return of Jodi and Richard (plus Robin Padilla) in ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ put an end to TAPE’s pre-noontime aspirations. As a result, TAPE cancelled ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ after 95 episodes on February 2, 2018, and ceased production of pre-noontime shows.

Give TAPE and GMA a lot of credit for trying to give ABS-CBN a run for its money. But at the end of the day, the latter’s superiority in the pre-noontime slot became too much to overcome, especially with the unlikely duo of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap giving plenty of ‘kilig’ to its viewers.

Now that TAPE ends its production of pre-noontime shows, time will only tell when GMA decides to strike on its own. But for now, the competition is over and GMA will have to live and die with Tagalized movies as a way to wave the white flag.

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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part III)

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.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part III of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ang Probinsyano

Year II of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was no different from Year I. Despite questions surrounding its quality for a series that has run for two years and counting, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continued to dominate the primetime landscape, often reaching 40% or better some nights.

Even as the likes of Maja Salvador, Bela Padilla and Albert Martinez depart, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ soldiered on with new additions such as former GMA stars Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes. The series was also rewarded with yet another extension that will last until an undetermined date in 2018 (barring another extension).

NOT: Ang Probinsyano’s Opponents

Meanwhile, four different opponents from the Kapuso network tried to take down ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its lengthy run of excellence. Unfortunately, neither ‘Encantadia’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ nor ‘Super Ma’am’ were able to take Coco Martin and company down.

None of the four teleseryes breached the 20% mark and worse, the disparity between ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its opponent is around 20% or better. With such a large deficit GMA should start thinking of a new strategy this early or wait for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ to end in order to take advantage of this new opportunity (too bad there’s no end date yet).

HOT: 2016 Miss Universe

The 2016 Miss Universe was held in the Philippines last January 30 and was simulcast on ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA and Solar Entertainment channels. The collaboration marked just the second time that an event of national interest was aired in unison among the country’s broadcast giants; the last being the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing fight two years ago.

France’s Iris Mittenaere was crowned the 2016 Miss Universe while the host’s representative Maxine Medina finished among the top 6. However, she was unable to complete an entire year’s reign as this year’s Miss Universe was held last November 26 with South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters winning the said pageant.

NOT: Pacquiao vs. Horn and the sport of boxing

The declining interest in Manny Pacquiao continued as he fought Jeff Horn in July. The end result was a unanimous decision victory for Horn, some bloodshot eyes from Pacquiao and lukewarm reception from boxing fans in the country.

It was a poor year overall for boxing on Philippine television. Despite the efforts of ALA Promotions to promote the sport via its Pinoy Pride series, the year saw the end of ABS-CBN Sports’ partnership with Top Rank Boxing (coinciding with Nonito Donaire ending ties with Bob Arum’s promotion) and the expected cancellation of ‘Blow by Blow’ on TV5.

HOT: Magandang Buhay

2017 proved to be a coming-out party of sorts for ‘Magandang Buhay’ as the show became a ratings hit each and every morning. The news is an encouraging one for ABS-CBN despite the fact that the show airs at 8:00 a.m., which is typically ‘dead’ time for viewership.

With the trio of Melai Cantiveros, Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada, plus some impressive selection of guests, it is no secret that this talk show has become the talk of the town. With all due respect to Kris Aquino, the trio of Melai, Jolina and Karla should now inherit the ‘queens of talk’ mantra considering ‘Magandang Buhay”s success.

NOT: GMA’s Animes and The Lolas’ Beautiful Show

The traditional morning powerhouse that is GMA’s Astig Authority suddenly became vulnerable with the rise of ‘Magandang Buhay’. Even though the network redubbed ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’ this year with a host of celebrities from their stable, it failed to prevent the inevitable.

One talk show that would have helped is ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros in their alter-egos as Nidora, Tinidora and Tidora. However, the show’s status as a TAPE-produced show (TAPE programs are only allowed an 11:30-2:30 timeslot on GMA most afternoons) prevented it from seriously challenging ‘Magandang Buhay’.

It also didn’t help that ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ is losing to the morning drama ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ on a regular basis. Perhaps GMA should loosen the reins a bit to give the lolas of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a chance to go up against the momshies of ‘Magandang Buhay’.

HOT: ABS-CBN Reality/Talent Shows

Reality and talent shows continue to give ABS-CBN plenty of reasons to celebrate. This year’s winners are:

Pinoy Big Brother Lucky 7 – Maymay Entrata

Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids – Awra Briguela

I Can Do That – Wacky Kiray

The Voice Teens Philippines – Jona Soquite

Currently on the network’s weekend primetime menu are ‘Little Big Shots’ and ‘I Can See Your Voice’, both of which continue to excel and trend among viewers. If 2018 is of any indication, then even more excitement awaits ABS-CBN as it introduces either new seasons of existing reality/talent shows or new programs.

NOT: All-Star Videoke

A poor man’s version of the popular ‘All-Star K’ was introduced to GMA last September. Unfortunately, ‘All-Star Videoke’ failed to live up to the standards of its more successful sibling.

GMA could have used this opportunity to bring back ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’ or acquire ‘Killer Karaoke’. Instead, they rehashed an original Filipino concept that did not work out, and with all due respect to Betong Sumaya and Solenn Heussaff, they are no Allan K and Jaya in that regard.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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comedy, entertainment, game show, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

GMA Tries Again with Bossing & Ai + The Lolas’ Beautiful Show

‘Never stop trying!’

It has been the motto for GMA these past several years. The odds have not always been great for the network, but give them credit for continuing to compete despite these insurmountable obstacles.

Remember the time when ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ was so unbeatable that GMA had no choice but to stop competing against it? For years, the ABS-CBN late-night variety show proved to be GMA’s Achilles heel, and each time GMA tried to answer with a show of their own, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ always shoves them out of the door.

But it seems like ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ has seen better days of late due to the presence of ABS-CBN’s reality and talent shows (e.g. ‘Pinoy Big Brother’). Sensing that the show’s ratings is on a downward trend, GMA decided to create a new show in ‘Bossing & Ai’ in an attempt to finally bring down ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ from its perch.

‘Bossing & Ai’ premiered last night and is a game show starring Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas as leaders of two groups of contestants. They are joined by Jose Manalo, Tart Carlos and game master Oyo Sotto.

In essence, ‘Bossing & Ai”s competition with ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ is an extension of the ‘Eat Bulaga’-‘It’s Showtime’ rivalry, of which Vic Sotto and Vice Ganda are the respective hosts. Still, it remains to be seen if ‘Bossing & Ai’ will live up to its promise of taking down ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ for good.

Speaking of ‘Eat Bulaga’, the d’Explorer sisters of ‘Kalyeserye’ will have a talk show of their own. Beginning today at 11:30 a.m., Jose Manalo (as Lola Tinidora), Paolo Ballesteros (as Lola Tidora) and Wally Bayola (as Lola Nidora) will host ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’.

The new talk show will replace ‘TROPS’, the coming-of-age drama series starring ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘BAES’ (Kenneth Medrano, Kim Last, Jon Timmons, Tommy Penaflor, Miggy Tolentino, and Joel Palencia). ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ will mark TAPE’s first venture into the talk show genre since ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’ from 2013-15.

But unlike ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ will be pre-taped as Jose, Paolo and Wally also serve as on-location hosts of ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Juan for All, All for Juan’ segment. This means there will be no live transition from one show to the next.

‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ would have been a perfect show to compete against the ABS-CBN morning talk show ‘Magandang Buhay’, especially now that GMA’s slate of animes are declining in popularity. Instead, the talk show will be placed as part of TAPE’s mandated 11:30-2:30 p.m. block and will go up against ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

Whether or not ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ will be a factor in the game remains to be seen. But as far as GMA, M-ZET and TAPE are concerned, there’s nothing wrong about continuing to try despite the odds.

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comedy, entertainment, game show, humor, Philippines, talent show, television

Hay, Bahay! Ends, All-Star Videoke to Premiere This Sunday

It turns out ‘Hay, Bahay!’ did not exceed expectations.

Last Sunday, the final episode of ‘Hay, Bahay!’ was aired on GMA. But like all previous episodes, the sitcom made little noise among its viewers.

First aired on June 19, 2016, ‘Hay, Bahay!’ succeeded another Vic Sotto-starred sitcom in ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’. The latter’s stars Vic and son Oyo were joined by Oyo’s wife Kristine Hermosa, Ai-ai delas Alas, Jose Manalo and Wally Bayola.

Unlike ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ which lasted for over three years, ‘Hay, Bahay!’ was only able to air for over a year as it had to contend with the long-running ABS-CBN gag show ‘Goin’ Bulilit’. Overall, the sitcom aired 61 episodes, joining a list of more recent Vic Sotto sitcoms that had a short run (e.g. ‘My Darling Aswang’, ‘The Jose and Wally Show Starring Vic Sotto’).

So what’s next for Vic Sotto? According to GMA, a new sitcom starring Vic and Ai-ai delas Alas is in the works, but the premiere date and the show’s title is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, a replacement for ‘Hay, Bahay!’ is set to premiere this Sunday night. The new show will be called ‘All-Star Videoke’, and it will be hosted by Solenn Heussaff and Betong Sumaya.

The game play of ‘All-Star Videoke’ is as follows:

“The game features six celebrity contestants or Videoke stars vying to outwit one another by filling in the missing words on a song in a videoke-type of presentation.

In the event that every player correctly answered the words in each song, a pair of celebrity ‘laglagers’ will choose one player who will be out of the competition.

The two remaining contenders will proceed in the semi-final round for a chance to play in the jackpot round. The winning contestant becomes the All-Star Videoke Champ! and may bring home a cash prize of up to 100,000 pesos.

A “Super Oke” prize is also up for the win if the winner decides to continuously play in the succeeding weeks.”

In short, ‘All-Star Videoke’ shares some similarities with another long-running videoke game show ‘All-Star K’. But whether or not the former will enjoy the same success as the latter remains to be seen.

In the age of foreign franchised programs, it is good to see networks such as GMA maintain a more local approach. Still, the success of a particular program will only depend on the response of the viewers, and for ‘All-Star Videoke’, it will not be an easy task.

‘All-Star Videoke’ airs Sundays after ’24 Oras Weekend’ on GMA.

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