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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action, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, reality show, suspense, talent show, television

ABS-CBN Shakes Up Weekend Lineup with Entry of I Can See Your Voice

Changes are indeed aplenty on ABS-CBN this weekend.

Last weekend marked the season 3 finale of ‘Bet on Your Baby’. The 36th and final episode was aired last Sunday and it featured a reunion of original ‘Mara Clara’ stars Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes.

Although ‘Bet on Your Baby’ enjoyed impressive ratings throughout its run, the game show faltered in its final few episodes, prompting ABS-CBN to shelve it for the time being. Initially, ‘Bet on Your Baby’ was to be replaced by ‘I Can See Your Voice’, but ABS-CBN made a drastic move and placed the program on primetime starting this weekend.

Hosted by Luis Manzano alongside judges Angeline Quinto, Alex Gonzaga, Kean Cipriano, Wacky Kiray and Andrew E, ‘I Can See Your Voice’ is the first Kapamilya franchised program to originate from Korea. For more information on its game play, click this link.

‘I Can See Your Voice’ will air every Saturday after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, and Sunday after ‘Rated K’. All told, ABS-CBN will bring back the game/talent/reality show format at the 9:30 p.m. slot, something that was not seen since ‘I Can Do That’ ended.

The premiere of ‘I Can See Your Voice’ casts some doubt on the fate of ‘Lethal Weapon’. The Tagalized American action series aired its 14th episode last Saturday, and according to some knowledgeable sources, the first season of ‘Lethal Weapon’ still had four more episodes to go.

However, no teaser for the next episode was aired, and for some unexplained reason, ABS-CBN effectively canceled ‘Lethal Weapon’ before its season really ended. This despite the fact that the program enjoyed good ratings during its short run.

As for the vacated slot of ‘Bet on Your Baby’, ABS-CBN decided to fill the Saturday slot with a rerun of the ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’ anthology series. Then on Sundays, ABS-CBN opted to extend ‘Kapamilya Weekend Blockbusters’ instead of adding another program to its slate.

It will be interesting to see how these changes will affect ABS-CBN’s weekend lineup. But for those who await to see ‘I Can See Your Voice’ on the small screen, good luck and have fun.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Impact of Pangako Sa ‘Yo on Philippine TV

The original ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, will always be remembered in Philippine television lore.

Airing from 2000 to 2002, the series was considered the first teleserye in Philippine television. The popularity of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ forever changed the landscape of primetime television viewing in the country.

Before ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, primetime on Philippine television was at its most diverse, ranging from local and foreign sitcoms, action, variety and suspense programs to even animes and cartoons. However, the mid-90s foreshadowed the eventual dominance of dramas in the primetime slot, beginning with RPN-9’s ‘MariMar’ and later with ABS-CBN’s ‘Mara Clara’.

Then on November 13, 2000, ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ premiered on what would later become the Primetime Bida slot (ABS-CBN did not dub the primetime block as such until 2002). The series quickly made an impact, and by 2001 it was the hottest program in the country viewership-wise.

The success of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ proved to be the last straw for GMA as a niche-oriented upscale network. Midway through 2001, GMA cancelled its Anime Assault (later known as Astig Authority) anime block from its primetime lineup and replaced them with their own teleseryes, a precursor of what later became GMA Telebabad.

However, GMA’s own lineup of teleseryes were no match for ABS-CBN’s, and eventually forced the network to introduce the fantaserye genre, which turned the tables in the mid-to-late 2000s. ABS-CBN stuck to their tried and tested formula of traditional teleseryes, even though they briefly flirted with fantaseryes, and later introduced sexual, social, political, value-oriented and culture-oriented themes to their teleseryes.

By the time ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ finished its run on September 20, 2002, much of the primetime scene on weeknights, if not entirely, were dominated by teleseryes. Today, with the exception of the early evening newscasts, teleseryes are aplenty in the 5:50-11:00 p.m. window, with each episode lasting for 40-45 minutes.

Fast forward to 2015, and the remake of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will make its way onto Primetime Bida this coming Monday. The premise is virtually similar to the original, with the love story of Yna Macaspac (Kathryn Bernardo) and Angelo Buenavista (Daniel Padilla) dominating the series along with the love triangle between Amor Powers (Jodi Sta. Maria), Claudia Buenavista (Angelica Panganiban) and Eduardo Buenavista (Ian Veneracion).

But like all recent remakes, the story of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will be shortened, revised and compressed to today’s teleserye standards, with a timetable of at least four to eight months depending on the ratings. Still, fans of the original series cannot wait to revisit the tale that first captivated the nation in the early 2000s.

The original ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo”s place in Philippine television history has been secured. Now it’s up to the new version to make a similar impact.

The remake of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ airs this Monday after ‘Nathaniel’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s Desperation vs. ABS-CBN’s Patience

Next week will see three teleseryes air their series premieres. GMA will unveil both ‘Carmela’ and ‘Rhodora X’ to replace the interim movie block ‘Kapuso Primetime Cinema’, while ABS-CBN will roll out ‘The Legal Wife’ to replace ‘Maria Mercedes’.

As I have observed recently, GMA has become so desperate in rolling out their teleseryes. If you recall, both ‘Genesis’ and ‘Akin Pa Rin Ang Bukas’ finished their runs at the end of 2013, but because their upcoming teleseryes were still in the pre-production stage, GMA had no choice but to air Tagalized movies in the vacated timeslot. Had they finished both series on the week before ‘Carmela’ and ‘Rhodora X’ begin their runs, it would have made the transition smoother. But as it turned out, both series ended rather prematurely and, as I wrote in my previous article, GMA seems to have conceded the primetime race to ABS-CBN, due to the fact that their teleseryes tend to enjoy shorter-than-expected runs.

On the other hand, ABS-CBN preaches patience with their teleseryes. Much of the patience has to do with the low turnover of programs compared to GMA, along with high ratings and social media impact. As a result, the high ratings on most Kapamilya telseryes translate to longer and more productive runs. ‘Juan dela Cruz’, for example, ran longer than the likes of ‘My Husband’s Lover’. And even before that, some ABS-CBN teleseryes have ran longer than GMA’s, with the original ‘Mara Clara’ and ‘May Bukas Pa’ even taking more than a year to finish.

There is no question that ABS-CBN is currently the No.1 television station in the country in terms of ratings. But let’s also consider the fact that GMA is falling behind its rival because of so many short series and overwhelming turnover of programs. If GMA can somehow reverse this trend, it will be a big help to their slumping confidence. But as of now, the Kapuso’s creative slump will continue to haunt them.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

More Villainous Roles for Jennylyn Mercado

Villainous roles should be a welcome shift to both Jennylyn Mercado and the GMA Network as the viewing habits begin to change.

The upcoming GMA teleserye ‘Rhodora X’ will be the most challenging to date for Jennylyn Mercado. The series will feature Mercado portraying a mentally insane character with a split personality, and as the teasers show, it appears that playing the villain may be more appealing to her these days.

In recent years, several actresses showed their versatility by playing heroic characters in one series, followed by a villainous role in the next, and vice versa. For example, both Julia Montes and Melissa Ricks initially played the villain and hero in ‘Mara Clara’ and ‘Nasaan Ka, Elisa?’ respectively, but when the two were cast in ‘Walang Hanggan’, their roles were reversed. And Maja Salvador, who will play the villain opposite Angel Locsin in ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’, played a heroic sidekick character with Kim Chiu in ‘My Binondo Girl’ before playing ‘kontrabida’ against her in ‘Ina, Kapatid, Anak’.

If Jennylyn Mercado wants to evolve and mature as an actress, she needs to prove her worth by playing the bad girl. ‘Rhodora X’ is a good opportunity for her to showcase a different facet in her acting. And if GMA is dead serious in returning to the win column, they need either one of their veterans to play ‘kontrabida’ against upcoming young talents, and Mercado is a perfect fit.

With their primetime programs currently shackled by ABS-CBN’s, a change in philosophy is needed for GMA. And transitioning Jennylyn Mercado to a ‘kontrabida’ may help reverse their doldrums.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, television

Ryan vs. Juday on Saturday Nights

Despite their status as a married couple, Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have different loyalties, which will be emphasized when the two celebrities’ programs face off this Saturday night.

It’s difficult to avoid pitting celebrity couples against each other for ratings, and this couple is no exception. In case you missed the point, read this previous article about one-time dating couple Jennylyn Mercado and Luis Manzano and the programs they host opposite each other during weekday mornings.

Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have been married for four years, but both ply their trade on opposite sides of the most heated broadcasting rivalry today. Agoncillo was bred to be a Kapuso, rising from the ranks as a host in ‘Unang Hirit‘ before earning his stripes as a mainstay of ‘Eat Bulaga‘, with several stints as a Kapamilya and Kapatid talent in between. Meanwhile Santos was groomed to be a Kapamilya, starting with a breakthrough role in ‘Mara Clara‘ until her various roles in successful primetime teleseryes earned her the tag of ‘Queen of Pinoy Soap Operas’.

Beginning this Saturday Agoncillo and Santos will be pitted against each other in the same timeslot. Juday’s current project ‘Bet on Your Baby’ has been on the air for over a month now, and is raking in high ratings since its debut. In response, GMA created their own game show with a theme capitalizing on the ‘selfie’ craze. The new show will be titled ‘Picture! Picture!’, with Ryan taking over the hosting job.

‘Picture! Picture!’ will replace the children’s fantasy program ‘One Day Isang Araw’, which unfortunately flopped against ‘Bet on Your Baby’ and previously ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal‘ in its timeslot. With ‘Picture! Picture!’ GMA now has two game shows on a Saturday night, the other being ‘Celebrity Bluff‘ hosted by Eugene Domingo, Jose Manalo and a guest host.

Despite the decision of the GMA management to pit ‘Picture! Picture!’ against ‘Bet on Your Baby’, Ryan has stated that there is no personal rivalry between him and his wife, and insisted that their shows are about ‘good competition’. And why not? Both shows have interesting formats and approaches which should keep audiences thrilled with every move.

The ratings war between ‘Picture! Picture!’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ should be a good one, not only because it pits a celebrity couple like Ryan and Juday, but it also raises the bar for game shows to follow.

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