action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can The Promise of Forever Help Reverse Kapamilya Gold’s Slide?

ABS-CBN may be the country’s most-watched network last month, but weekday afternoons are a different story.

Over the last few weeks, GMA’s Afternoon Prime became the most-watched block from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. While ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remains the most-watched program during weekday afternoons, its follow-up dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were not far behind in dispatching the opposition.

The recent change of fortune in the weekday afternoon slots should cause plenty of concern within the ABS-CBN camp. Both ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and the soon-to-conclude ‘The Better Half’ were derisively labeled ‘kabitseryes’, and viewers became fed up with the direction ABS-CBN is taking.

Looking to address concerns that Kapamilya Gold is becoming increasingly stale, ABS-CBN decided to change things up with a new teleserye that is drastically different from the recent norm. Enter ‘The Promise of Forever’, starring Paulo Avelino and the network’s new addition Ritz Azul.

‘The Promise of Forever’ tells the story of Nicolas (Paulo), an immortal man who saves Sophia (Ritz) from a burning house and years later fall in love with each other. However, inside Nicolas lies a curse that prevents him from entering into a relationship while at the same time preventing him from feeling the pain of loss.

Moreover, Sophia’s lover Philip (Ejay Falcon) and Nicolas’ descendant Marlon (Tonton Gutierrez) were out to ruin their lives. With that in mind, it will be up to Nicolas to overcome the curse while preserving his relationship with Sophia.

‘The Promise of Forever’ will also star Cherry Pie Picache, Amy Austria, Benjie Paras, Susan Africa, Ynna Asistio, and Nico Antonio. It will be directed by Darnel Villaflor and Hannah Espia.

The lead-up to the premiere of ‘The Promise of Forever’ is a cautionary tale of biding one’s time. A trade trailer for the series was released in November of last year, but it took nearly ten months before ABS-CBN realized that the time is finally right.

However, with Kapamilya Gold mired in a slump, is ‘The Promise of Forever’ worth the long wait? One can only hope that this series will turn things around for the suddenly beleaguered block and in turn restore the faith of viewers that had betrayed the network of late.

‘The Promise of Forever’ airs weekday afternoons on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. Timeslot to be determined.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

D’Originals Enters Final Week

It is indeed ‘Ang Huling Resbak’, as GMA called it.

This week will mark the final five episodes of the GMA Public Affairs-produced comedy-drama series ‘D’Originals’. The series features a story of three married women and their doting husbands, whose quiet lives were thrown into chaos thanks to three young ladies.

Led by Jaclyn Jose, Katrina Halili, Jestoni Alarcon, LJ Reyes, Mark Herras, Lovely Abella, Kim Domingo, Archie Alemania and Meg Imperial, ‘D’Originals’ became a different form of what is derisively called a ‘kabitserye’. The shift to a more humorous tone while maintaining an intensely dramatic approach made the series stand out.

The premiere of ‘D’Originals’ took place on April 17, 2017. The series initially faced ‘The Greatest Love’ during the latter’s final week, but its strong performance in the ratings was too much for ‘D’Originals’ to handle.

Following the conclusion of ‘The Greatest Love’, ABS-CBN made an unexpected timeslot change. Rather than facing a new drama in ‘Pusong Ligaw’, ‘D’Originals’ had to contend with another ‘kabitserye’ in ‘The Better Half’, a series that had been raking in impressive ratings within two months of its tenure.

Although ‘D’Originals’ managed to improve their ratings performance as the weeks progressed, it was not enough to overcome ‘The Better Half’. In the end, GMA decided to cancel ‘D’Originals’ following its 60th episode this Friday.

The short and uninspiring run of ‘D’Originals’ marked the latest in a series of missteps for the GMA Public Affairs team. It is obvious that the department’s foray into entertainment shows is destroying its reputation, but considering the many question marks surrounding GMA’s entertainment division, they had no choice but to step in.

Nevertheless, the story of ‘D’Originals’ is not bad as many perceived. It is just too unfortunate to be up against a pair of dramas that are more compelling.

Come this Friday, it is indeed ‘Ang Huling Resbak’ for ‘D’Originals’. But it remains to be seen if they will leave a final impression on the viewers.

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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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