drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Before Ang Probinsyano: A Look Back at Nathaniel

It had been over three years since a teleserye not named ‘Ang Probinsyano’ aired after ‘TV Patrol’.

So many dramas have aired on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida during that span, including a combined seven teleseryes that starred the Big Three love teams in KathNiel, LizQuen and JaDine. But at the end of the day, there was still one constant, and that was the Coco Martin-starred action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

After all, the series will turn three on the final week of September and will be closing in on 800 episodes by October. But lost amid the hoopla and the longevity of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was its long-forgotten predecessor ‘Nathaniel’, the last series to air on ABS-CBN’s 7:50 p.m. slot before Coco Martin and his entourage took over.

‘Nathaniel’ starred Marco Masa in the title role, and his parents were played by Gerald Anderson and Shaina Magdayao. The supporting cast of ‘Nathaniel’ also included Isabelle Daza in her debut project with ABS-CBN.

The series ran from April 20 to September 25, 2015 and aired a total of 115 episodes. Not only that, ‘Nathaniel’ dominated the ratings game as it won past ‘Pari Ko’y’ and the 2015 remake of ‘MariMar’ in its timeslot.

So where are the series’ stars now? ‘Nathaniel”s lead protagonist Marco Masa has not had a major project since then but he did host ‘Team Yey’ for a short time and recently appeared on the second season of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’.

Shaina Magdayao is currently part of the Kapamilya afternoon series ‘Asintado’. And as for Gerald Anderson, he was recently seen on ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ with former on-screen partner Kim Chiu and is now playing semi-pro basketball with the MPBL’s Marikina Shoemakers.

With ‘Ang Probinsyano’ reaching high episode levels not seen since the original ‘Mara Clara’ in the 1990s, it is easy to forget that it succeeded one of ABS-CBN’s most popular family-oriented dramas. That said, revisiting a gem like ‘Nathaniel’ will help viewers look back at a time when child stars used to rock Primetime Bida’s leadoff slot.

All episodes of ‘Nathaniel’ are currently available on iWant TV.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Thoughts on Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show

A filler show to end all filler shows.

With the 2018 remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ set to air right before ‘TV Patrol’ starting this Monday (more on that later this week), ABS-CBN decided to fill the void with a transitional show on the timeslot normally occupied by its Asianovelas. And this is no ordinary show.

Back in April, ABS-CBN announced a worldwide audition tour called ‘Star Hunt: The Kapamilya Grand Auditions’. The tour began in Manila on the weekend of April 20, after which the network hosted further auditions in both the Philippines and abroad.

Their purpose is to find aspirants that will become part of various ABS-CBN talent and reality shows. Examples include ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, ‘I Can See Your Voice’, ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, ‘Dance Kids’, ‘Little Big Shots’, ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and the soon-to-be-launched ‘World of Dance Philippines’.

Beginning Monday, ABS-CBN will air highlights from these auditions as part of ‘Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show’. Hosted by former ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ alums Kim Chiu, Robi Domingo, Alex Gonzaga and Melai Cantiveros, the program will take a look at some of the aspirants and their backstories.

This is perhaps a mere short-term solution for ABS-CBN. After all, there are high hopes surrounding the remake of ‘Meteor Garden’ that airing the Asianovela on its normal afternoon timeslot may hinder its viewership due to the ‘TV Patrol’ regional newscasts in the provinces.

Not wanting to risk a loss of viewers, ABS-CBN decided to place ‘Meteor Garden’ on the leadoff slot of Primetime Bida. This leads to ‘Star Hunt: The Grand Audition Show’ taking over the regular Asianovela timeslot of Kapamilya Gold.

Honestly, it makes perfect sense for ABS-CBN to produce a filler show on a timeslot where not all areas will receive it. With regional versions of ‘TV Patrol’ being plugged into this timeslot, ABS-CBN realized that a filler show like ‘Star Hunt’ will be much better than, let’s say a teleserye, because ratings are of no concern to the program and it only serves as a stopgap.

With that, good luck to ABS-CBN for this temporary endeavor. Regardless of how it performed, the most important part is that it served its purpose.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin to End Friday

The Kimerald reunion tour will come to an end this week.

On Friday, January 26, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ will air its 195th and final episode. The series, which starred Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia, was first aired on May 1, 2017.

In many ways, the series was not a disappointment ratings-wise. But for the more knowledgeable viewers, the serious tone of ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ may have turned them off a bit considering that ABS-CBN reluctantly placed the series to the late morning timeslot.

When ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was first announced during one of ABS-CBN’s trade fairs, many thought the series would be assigned to Primetime Bida. After all, Kim Chiu and Gerald Anderson were highly accomplished primetime stars with many top-rating series to their credit.

However, ABS-CBN decided to take ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ to the late-morning slot that is normally assigned to more light-hearted or inspirational series (see ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ and ‘Ningning’). At this point they didn’t have a choice since Kapamilya Gold and Primetime Bida were fully loaded and they fear that postponing the series’ premiere could affect its ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ became a hit in the ratings game, mainly due to inferior competition put up by GMA Network blocktimer TAPE Inc. During the first half of its run, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ was pitted against the coming-of-age drama ‘TROPS’, and after that they faced the talk show ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’.

Overall, even with all the obstacles thrown against it, ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ still managed to enjoy a great run. It was a series that is as compelling as it comes, with the premise of three triathletes entangled in a love triangle while competing in a run of their lives.

As ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ nears its conclusion, one can only hope that these last few episodes will be as explosive as it can get. A very interesting ending awaits, so good luck with that.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Struggling Kapamilya Gold Needs a Boost

Thanks to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’, GMA Afternoon Prime suddenly looked imposingly strong against ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The struggle is indeed real.

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block has hit a rough patch of late. In the last several weeks, teleseryes ‘Pusong Ligaw’, ‘The Better Half’ and its replacement ‘The Promise of Forever’ scored fewer ratings than GMA Afternoon Prime counterparts ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’.

Although the three series did have a few winning moments, it was clear that the momentum is now on GMA’s side. ABS-CBN may be the better network overall, but their issues in the afternoon slots are causing plenty of concerns.

One reason why GMA suddenly became winnable in the afternoon is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the popular yet at times campy drama series starring Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion. Since March, the series earned ratings of 15 to 18%, good enough to give ‘It’s Showtime’ plenty of fits.

In a previous article, From the Tube discussed how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was able to win the hearts of viewers while at the same time exposes ABS-CBN’s weaknesses in the afternoon slots. Although ‘It’s Showtime’ recently countered by replacing ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ with ‘Miss Q&A’ as the noontime show’s final segment, it still had a hard time cracking ‘Ika-6 na Utos” armor.

The success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ has since spread like wildfire to the two succeeding GMA Afternoon Prime series. From late August onwards, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ earned better ratings than ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, and even though the latter was then replaced by ‘The Promise of Forever’, the results were mostly the same.

If ABS-CBN wants to restore order within Kapamilya Gold, drastic measures must be implemented. Going back to a three-teleserye setup is what the network desperately needs at this point, but in order to do that, they need to make some sacrifices.

For one, they must convince ‘It’s Showtime’ to either cut a portion of their airtime or return to the pre-noontime slot. Regarding the third teleserye, a possible option for that would be ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’, which despite earning good ratings in the pre-noontime slot, has a more serious storyline than its predecessors and is better equipped for the afternoon slot.

Would it be better to see Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia go up against Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion? Perhaps, but given ABS-CBN’s pre-noontime dominance, that potential matchup between ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ and ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will only be just that, a fantasy.

Still, the sudden change of fortune on Kapamilya Gold should give the ABS-CBN brass some sense of urgency. After all, despite their success, there are always holes with which the opponent will take advantage of, and ABS-CBN should be aware of that.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Born for You to End in Two Weeks

There is not enough time for GMA’s ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ to warm up.

That is because its opponent, ABS-CBN’s ‘Born for You’, will end in two weeks’ time. The Kapamilya series starring Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador will air its final episode on September 16.

‘Born for You’ had been on the air since June 20, when it replaced the Kim Chiu and Xian Lim-starrer ‘The Story of Us’. The series marked the first time that Elmo (a former GMA star and current off-screen boyfriend of Janine Gutierrez) and Janella were paired on television.

Though ‘Born for You’ consistently won over ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ in the ratings game, it seems like ABS-CBN is not happy with its performance. The show started strong on its very first week, getting an average of 18%, but after that, ratings hovered between 16-17% during July and early August.

Then in the past two weeks, ‘Born for You”s ratings fell to around the 14% mark. This gave ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ a fighting chance, and though they still fell short, on some nights, they managed to narrow the gap to 1% or less.

Overall, ‘Born for You’ will become a rarity among ABS-CBN dramas. With only 65 episodes, it is one of the shortest-lived dramas ABS-CBN has ever produced, and considering that it aired on the top-rating Primetime Bida block, it is even rarer for a series to air that short on primetime.

The underwhelming performance of ‘Born for You’ could force ABS-CBN to consider breaking up the on-screen love team of Elmo Magalona and Janella Salvador. Given the inexperience of the duo together, and the fact that Elmo is still linked to Janine Gutierrez in real life, ABS-CBN may need to find another role for both he and Janella, but not as a love team.

Still, the Kapamilya network may give them another chance together. But that will only depend on both proper timing and a right story that will help them grow and mature as actors.

Only two weeks remain in the run of ‘Born for You’. They need to prove that they can still win big, or else, it will be the trio of Lovi Poe, Tom Rodriguez and Max Collins in ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ who will be the ones smiling.

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