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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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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Final Week (Again) of Alyas Robin Hood

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ is coming to a close, again.

Friday, November 24, will be the show’s season (or possibly series) finale depending on how GMA will look at it. But while the first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ proved to be a worthy competitor against rival ABS-CBN dramas, the second season looked anything but competitive.

Season 2 (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ began on August 14, six months after the first season ended. Initially, GMA wanted the series to go up against the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and from the looks at it, Cardo (Coco Martin) vs. Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) would have been a worthy matchup.

Instead, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ thoroughly dominated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ from the get-go, with a 20% or better disparity in the ratings. After only a month, GMA ended the rivalry by demoting ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to its original position of second in GMA Telebabad’s lineup.

But not even the move back to its original timeslot rejuvenated ‘Alyas Robin Hood’. Against the KathNiel-led ‘La Luna Sangre’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s frustrations only grew as the series posted a score of 15% or less, a far cry from the 20% or more it earned during its first season.

After racking up 115 episodes for season 1, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2 only managed to produce a total of 75 episodes. In short, an encore performance did not pay dividends for Dingdong Dantes and his team.

So what went wrong for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2? Perhaps the most obvious reason why it failed is because it had to contend against ABS-CBN’s big-name stars like Coco Martin, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla.

No offense to Jericho Rosales and Arci Muñoz (‘Magpahanggang Wakas’), Ian Veneracion and Bea Alonzo (‘A Love to Last’), and Heart Ramos (‘My Dear Heart’), but as far as ABS-CBN is concerned, Coco Martin and KathNiel are among their most bankable celebrities today. And GMA knows it, but despite these overwhelming odds, they were still convinced that a new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ would somehow slow their momentum.

Too bad it didn’t happen, and now that season 2 will air its last episode this Friday, they should somehow enjoy a graceful exit for their efforts. Nice try, though.

Whether or not they will have a season 3 (or book 3) of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will depend on GMA’s embattled braintrust. But after a failed continuation to the story of Pepe (Dingdong), it might be time for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to be put to pasture.

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Alyas Robin Hood Back to Original Timeslot as Super Ma’am Premieres Tonight

The truth really hurts.

Frustration within GMA’s Telebabad block reaches a new high as they once again made a timeslot change at the top of the order. The reason: they still cannot beat the Philippines’ top two programs in ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’.

It can be recalled that on August 14, GMA brought back ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ for its second season. Hoping to give ‘Ang Probinsyano’ a run for its money, GMA decided to place ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ opposite the long-running ABS-CBN action series while ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ was placed at the second slot against ‘La Luna Sangre’.

After only a month, it was clear to GMA that Pepe (Dingdong Dantes) was no match for Cardo (Coco Martin). And it was not even close as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ climbed 20% higher in the ratings than that of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’.

As a result, GMA decided to once again shake things up. Beginning tonight, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will return to its original timeslot (as intended to by this writer), where they will finally butt heads with Malia (Kathryn Bernardo) and Tristan (Daniel Padilla) of ‘La Luna Sangre’.

In the meantime, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will receive a new opponent. After dispatching ‘MariMar’, ‘Little Nanay’, ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, Cardo will now have to deal with Minerva (Marian Rivera) of the upcoming GMA fantasy action series ‘Super Ma’am’.

‘Super Ma’am’ features the story of Minerva, a teacher with a soft spot for students. But an encounter with the Tamawo, a clan of mythical creatures who abduct children for the sake of gaining energy, changed Minerva’s life as she became the superhero known as Super Ma’am, one who is determined to protect the world from the Tamawo.

The cast of ‘Super Ma’am’ also includes the following:

  • Helen Gamboa
  • Matthias Rhoads
  • Joyce Ching
  • Kristoffer Martin
  • Kevin Santos
  • Isabelle de Leon
  • Andrew Gan
  • Jackie Lou Blanco
  • Jillian Ward
  • Enrico Cuenca
  • Ash Ortega
  • Marika Sasaki
  • Vincent Magbanua
  • Meg Imperial
  • Ashley Rivera
  • Jerald Napoles
  • Shyr Valdez
  • Al Tantay
  • Julius Miguel
  • Kim Domingo
  • Carmina Villarroel
  • Dina Bonnevie
  • Aiai delas Alas

The series will be under the direction of LA Madridejos.

Despite possessing the power couple of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, both ‘Super Ma’am’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will have their hands full in trying to defeat ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘La Luna Sangre’. That said, the imposing shadow of both Coco Martin and KathNiel will be on GMA’s minds this week as they look to overcome Primetime Bida’s top two shows.

The task will once again not be easy for GMA Telebabad. Oh well, best of luck in hurdling over these foes anew.

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Thoughts on the Timeslot Change of Mulawin vs. Ravena and Alyas Robin Hood

It was a timeslot change that was unexpected and unfortunate.

Last Friday night, GMA announced a pair of scheduling changes that shook the primetime landscape. First, the returning series ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will now occupy the timeslot succeeding ’24 Oras’, and second, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will now air on the timeslot that was previously used by ‘My Love from the Star’.

The timeslot change meant that the long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will now have its sixth different opponent. As it nears its third year on the air, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has shown no signs of slowing down, earning ratings between 35-40% every night.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, which premiered on May 22, seemed to be a worthy opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ when it first aired. However, the series was a disaster from the start, and through 60 episodes, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena averaged only 17-18% ratings-wise.

Meanwhile, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ showed some promise during its first season. Despite facing uncharacteristically weak Kapamilya competition in ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ still came away with consistent ratings of around 20-25%, showcasing its potential.

If ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s first season performance was of any indication, then GMA seemed to have made the right call. They think that the series will have a much-better chance against Coco Martin, and with some viewers no longer pleased with the endlessly long run of ‘Ang Probinsyano’, it could give GMA the opportunity to woo such viewers to watch Dingdong Dantes’ show.

Still, even if ‘Ang Probinsyano’ appears to be in a creative nadir, they are still a force to be reckoned with. That said, if the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ fails to duplicate if not surpass its first season performance, it could mean big trouble for the Kapuso network.

As for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena, the demotion could still become either a boon or a bust. While the series will no longer have the pressure of facing ‘Ang Probinsyano’, they still have to worry about KathNiel’s ‘La Luna Sangre’, whose ratings of 35% or better is just as impressive as the former.

Not only that, the series will have to contend with former ‘Mulawin’ star Richard Gutierrez. If in the past Richard made ‘Mulawin’ a popular series during the mid-2000s, now it will be up to him to take down its sequel.

Whether or not ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will thrive in their new surroundings remain to be seen. For now, let’s wish both shows good luck, otherwise expect another switcharoo coming up.

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The Return of Alyas Robin Hood

This is not a rerun.

On Monday, August 14, GMA announced the return of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ to the small screen. The second season (or Book 2 in teleserye lingo) will bring back almost the same cast with the addition of new actors to spice up the series.

Continuing the same series after a lengthy hiatus is nothing new to Philippine television. In 2007, ABS-CBN’s ‘Maging Sino Ka Man’ received a second season after a break of six months; take note that this does not include sequels of a particular series such as the ‘Encantadia’ trilogy or the ‘Lobo’ franchise.

The new season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will once again be headlined by Dingdong Dantes as Pepe, the former vigilante-turned-lawyer. New challenges await the protagonist, such as the kidnapping of his mother, the revelation of some of his secrets, and a powerful evil force that threatens the city.

Andrea Torres will reprise the role of Venus, Pepe’s ally and love interest. But instead of bringing back Megan Young’s character Sarri for season 2, GMA brought in Solenn Heussaff to portray Pepe’s other love interest, Iris.

Also returning for season 2 will be Ms. Jaclyn Jose, who will once again breathe life to Pepe’s mother Judy. Rounding out the mix of returning and new cast members are Ruru Madrid, Edu Manzano, Gary Estrada, Paolo Contis, Jay Manalo, Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Gio Alvarez, KC Montero, Lindsay de Vera, Dave Bornea, Rob Moya, Antonette Garcia and Luri Nalus.

The first season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ ran from September 19, 2016 to February 24, 2017. The series, while a decent performer with 115 episodes in total, could not get past ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘My Dear Heart’ in the ratings.

On its second season, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will go up against the KathNiel-led series ‘La Luna Sangre’. Considering that the latter is raking in at least 35% in the national ratings of late, ‘Alyas Robin Hood”s task became even more difficult now that they face the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla (not to mention former GMA star Richard Gutierrez).

Still, for loyal followers of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ who stuck through the difficult times, the return of the series is like a breath of fresh air. With GMA keeping the faith, one can only hope that the second season of ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ will last just as long as the first.

Directed by Dominic Zapata, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ airs weeknights after ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ on GMA Telebabad.

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La Luna Sangre, Third in the Lobo Franchise, Premieres Monday

The third series in the ‘Lobo’ franchise is about to unfold.

Starting Monday, the popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla will grace the small screen anew in ‘La Luna Sangre’, the third installment in a saga that began with ‘Lobo’ and continued with ‘Imortal’. The new series, which will be set in the world of werewolves and vampires, will also have Angel Locsin and John Lloyd Cruz playing special roles.

Picking up from where ‘Imortal’ left off, ‘La Luna Sangre’ begins with the former’s lead characters Lia (Angel) and Mateo (John Lloyd) now living a simple life as mortal beings. During their transition to normalcy, they raised a daughter named Maila (Kathryn).

Unknown to them, a prophecy called “La Luna Sangre” is about to haunt them. The prophecy says that “the child of the most powerful vampire and the chosen wolf will end the evilness of the vampire imprinted with the cursed ink”.

Shortly after raising Maila, a vampire named Sandrino (Richard Gutierrez) arrived in an attempt to kill Lia and Mateo, and in the process turn Maila over to the dark side. Try as they might, Lia and Mateo have no more powers to save them, and in the end, Maila was orphaned to Sandrino’s world in hopes of fulfilling the prophecy.

But after turning 21, it turns out Maila was still a mortal woman, and she decided to leave the dark side in order to resume her normal life. There, she met and befriended Tristan (Daniel), a young man who seeks to kill one of the vampires that killed his father.

As the story goes along, Maila’s thoughts will be conflicted between vampire hunter Tristan and the dark world she left behind. That said, expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to encounter some twists and turns in this haunting struggle between immortality and justice.

The supporting cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’ will include the likes of Randy Santiago, Gelli de Belen, Desiree del Valle, Niña Dolino, Dino Imperial, Bryan Santos, Ina Raymundo, Nikki Valdez, Mike Agassi, Joross Gamboa, Tony Labrusca and Sue Ramirez. It will be directed by Cathy Garcia Molina and produced by Star Creatives.

If the previous small screen success of KathNiel (and of Cathy Garcia Molina) is any indication, then expect ‘La Luna Sangre’ to enjoy a similar path. Still, it will not be easy to follow a pair of popular predecessors in ‘Lobo’ and ‘Imortal’, so let’s see how this upcoming series will unfold in front of millions of viewers.

‘La Luna Sangre’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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