drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

The Cure: Ang Probinsyano’s Next Prey?

“No one can beat ‘Ang Probinsyano’!”, Kapamilya fans said.

Nearly three years and over 500 episodes since it began, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continues to be the king of primetime teleseryes. On most nights, the ABS-CBN action series scored at least 40% in the ratings, and has made mincemeat of eight different GMA teleseryes that tried to topple it.

Now comes a ninth different GMA series that will take on Cardo Dalisay (Coco Martin) every Monday to Friday starting tonight. And in typical GMA fashion, it will be led by two Kapuso veterans in Jennylyn Mercado and Tom Rodriguez.

The story of ‘The Cure’ involves an experimental drug that kills cancer cells, but the side effect of it is that a highly dangerous and contagious virus called Monkey Virus Disease (MVD) will mutate and cause seizures and violent outbreaks to infected people. The disease quickly spreads throughout the country and will only continue to do so unless a cure can be found.

Married couple Charity (Jennylyn), a former registered nurse, and Gregory (Tom), a clinical research associate in a pharmaceutical company, are living a happy life with their daughter Hope (Leanne Bautista), until Greg’s mother Agnes (Irma Adlawan) is diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  Agnes is given an experimental drug, but her health got worse as she is infected with MVD.

That drug, in turn, was discovered by Dr. Evangeline Lazaro (Jaclyn Jose), who works in the same company as Greg. With MVD continuing to wreak havoc across the country, it is up to Charity and Greg to find the necessary cure and prevent the inevitable.

‘The Cure’ also stars Mark Herras, LJ Reyes, Jay Manalo, Ronnie Henares, Glenda Garcia, Diva Montelaba and Arra San Agustin, with a special participation from Ken Chan. It will be directed by Mark Reyes.

It can be recalled that ‘The Cure’ was originally announced as one of GMA’s upcoming projects for 2013, and it was supposed to be led by Alden Richards and Louise delos Reyes. However, the project was shelved and it took five years before GMA decided to revisit the series.

Looking ahead, ‘The Cure’ is either going to be an intriguing series or a recipe for disaster. Having to face ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will entail a lot of hard work for ‘The Cure’, considering its predecessor ‘Sherlock Jr.’ failed miserably.

That said, GMA should go all-out in making ‘The Cure’ a worthier opponent for ‘Ang Probinsyano’. If this series goes around 25% in the ratings then it should boost its confidence, but if it goes below that then the ‘Curse of Cardo Dalisay’ is all too real for the network.

‘The Cure’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Lost Opportunity: GMA Loses Ryza Cenon to ABS-CBN

‘If you beat them, join them!’

This is exactly what happened when Ryza Cenon made the shocking jump from GMA to ABS-CBN Thursday morning. Welcomed by network executives Cory Vidanes, Carlo Katigbak and Laurenti Dyogi, Ryza officially signed an undisclosed exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, thus ending her 14-year stint with GMA Network.

It can be recalled that Ryza’s last project with GMA was the year-long afternoon drama series ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, whose successful run ended last month. GMA could have capitalized on Ryza’s renewed success, but in the end, it was a bad case of ‘one that got away’ (in reference to the network’s current primetime teleserye).

In the press conference announcing her transfer, Ryza revealed that it was her talent managers from VIVA Entertainment which convinced her to change addresses. Moreover, she explained the need to explore different endeavors and the need to work with a different set of actors.

Like former GMA-turned-ABS-CBN talents Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes before her, Ryza will begin her Kapamilya career on the high-rating primetime series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as one of its guest stars. She will also appear in a series of out-of-town and TFC shows.

Considering how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ revitalized Ryza’s career, it was surprising to see her in a different network amid a resurgence in her career. But then again, GMA has had a history of not properly utilizing its talents, so this was probably the right move for her.

Still, in a loaded primetime series like ‘Ang Probinsyano’, there is no guarantee that Ryza will have a long-term role within the program. Somewhere down the road ABS-CBN will prepare an upcoming series for Ryza, one that should give her a greater responsibility.

Fans can only hope that Ryza Cenon’s move to ABS-CBN will pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how she will thrive in a new environment, so good luck.

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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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Big Challenge for Magkaibang Mundo

It’s been a rough 2016 for GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

Since the start of the year, ratings for the said block have gradually plummeted, while ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold enjoyed a renaissance of sorts. The ratings were so bad that by early April, GMA decided to cease producing any further episode teasers in an effort to save money.

But rather than admit defeat, they continued to produce new dramas, and today, they will have a new teleserye coming up. The upcoming series, ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, will mark the on-screen return of Louise delos Reyes for the first time since ‘Kambal Sirena’, and she will be paired with Juancho Triviño for this unusual drama.

In ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, Louise is Princess, the heiress of a couple (played by Assunta de Rossi and Gabby Eigenmann) who owns a shoe business. She was orphaned when her father died and her mother was forcibly separated from her, and from then on, she was harshly treated by her aunt and step-cousins.

Initially, she found comfort in Jeffrey (Dion Ignacio), but Princess soon realized that she already harbored her true feeling to a dwarf named Elfino (Juancho). Both were close since they were children, and while growing up, Princess again turned to Elfino for solace and hope, which eventually led to a relationship between the two.

Joining them in ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ are Rez Cortez, Gina Alajar, Maricar de Mesa, Isabelle de Leon, Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua, Liezl Lopez, and Marika Sasaki. The viewers will also be introduced to YouTube sensation Balang, who will play one of Elfino’s friends.

While ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ has been promoted heavily leading up to its premiere, there are still two big obstacles facing the series. One is its ability to keep up with the final 30 minutes of ‘It’s Showtime’ and the first 10 of ‘Doble Kara’, and two, GMA’s recent decision to stop airing episode teasers of their dramas.

These two challenges will not be easy for ‘Magkaibang Mundo’. Still, if they can overcome these dwarfing obstacles, then it should help spike the series’ ratings in the long run.

Hopefully GMA can commit to this series for a long time. After all, with so much frustration over the poor ratings of their dramas, all they need now is some victories to right the ship, along with some badly-needed promotion.

Directed by Mark Sicat de la Cruz, ‘Magkaibang Mundo’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

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Wish I May Ends Tomorrow

‘Wish I May’ is down to its final episode.

The GMA Afternoon Prime series, whose story focuses on a rare genetic disorder called ‘chimerism’, will conclude tomorrow afternoon after a run of 88 episodes. It will be replaced by ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, starring Louise delos Reyes and Juancho Triviño.

Named after a hit song by fellow Kapuso star Alden Richards, ‘Wish I May’ starred Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, along with Camille Prats, Mark Anthony Fernandez and Rochelle Pangilinan, among others. It was co-directed by Neal del Rosario and Mark Sicat de la Cruz.

‘Wish I May’ was originally announced in October of last year to coincide with the AlDub phenomenon, but the premiere of the highly-anticipated series was delayed by a three-month extension of its eventual predecessor ‘The Half-Sisters’. It finally hit the airwaves on January 18, however, the long wait took its toll.

Not only did ‘Wish I May’ fail to make an impact, but its low ratings came at the same time as the decline of AlDub’s popularity. By the time the series aired, viewers were once again switching to ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ to watch the revival of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ instead of ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Kalyeserye’.

Even worse for ‘Wish I May’ is the impressive performance of rival series ‘Doble Kara’. Ratings for both series consistently favor the latter, and as ‘Wish I May’ continued to fall short of expectations, it came to a point that GMA decided to lessen the promotion of the series by early April.

Suffice to say, it’s a decision that justified ‘Wish I May”s inability to succeed. The series whose premiere had been long overdue to begin with is about to end with a whimper.

‘Wish I May’ may be unique thanks to its focus on ‘chimerism’, but its long-delayed premiere will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons. That said, it’s going to be a long day at the office for GMA management, wondering what might have happened if ‘Wish I May’ premiered as originally scheduled.

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‘Dyesebel’ Stands Tall as ‘Kambal Sirena’ Ends This Week

‘Kambal Sirena”s final episode will be this Friday on GMA.

GMA’s ‘Kambal Sirena’ is now down to only five episodes. The series, once an arch-rival to ABS-CBN’s ‘Dyesebel’, will bid farewell this Friday.

‘Kambal Sirena’, starring Louise delos Reyes and Aljur Abrenica, debuted last March 10. However, the series made little noise throughout its run. ‘Kambal Sirena’ was defeated by the departing ‘Honesto’ in its first week’, then got spanked in the subsequent weeks thanks to ‘Dyesebel’, starring Anne Curtis.

On May 26, GMA decided to demote ‘Kambal Sirena’ in favor of ‘Nino’, but the results remained the same despite airing at a later timeslot. Rival ‘Ikaw Lamang’, starring Kim Chiu, Coco Martin, Julia Montes and Jake Cuenca, proved too much to handle for ‘Kambal Sirena’, as the former series dominated the latter in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen ratings.

To be honest, ‘Kambal Sirena’ was worth the try for budding star Louise delos Reyes. After all, she was one of GMA’s emerging young stars, and a bankable talent for years to come. Accepting a role that involves wearing a man-made fin and swimming topless is no easy task, but for delos Reyes, it is a huge step forward in her development as an actress.

In the end, however, it was ‘Dyesebel’ who won the hearts of viewers more than its younger counterpart in ‘Kambal Sirena’. The former is simply too hard to ignore, thanks to an established actress, an accomplished production company, and a legendary Mars Ravelo creation to boot. But that doesn’t mean GMA did not do well in producing ‘Kambal Sirena’. They made the story their own, and they picked an actress whose star is about to shine. Too bad viewers did not respond to a newbie in the sea.

‘Kambal Sirena’ was a good project, but it failed to reverse GMA Telebabad’s slumping fortunes. Now the pressure is on ‘My Destiny’, and GMA hopes that the chemistry of Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana will be the key for turning things around.

But for now, ‘Kambal Sirena’ takes a bow. As for Louise delos Reyes, there is still a lot more to improve.

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