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, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

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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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Poor Señorita to Challenge Ang Probinsyano Starting Tonight

Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, meet Coco Martin.

After easily disposing both ‘MariMar’ and ‘Little Nanay’, ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ now awaits a new opponent. This time, young stars will not be the focus of this new GMA teleserye, but rather, a still-relevant 40-year-old Asia’s Songbird

Yes, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid remains a visible figure after nearly three decades in the industry. Although she earned her stripes as a singer, she also had major success as an actress, and starting tonight, the latter aspect of her talents will be shown on the upcoming series ‘Poor Señorita’.

In ‘Poor Señorita’, Regine plays Rita, a successful yet obsessive-compulsive owner of a perfume company. After suddenly losing her wealth, she stumbled upon five children who would try to help her get back on her feet, and in the process, show her the true meaning of love and happiness.

Joining Regine on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Mikael Daez, Sheena Halili, Kevin Santos, Valeen Montenegro, Jaya, Ervic Vijandre, Jillian Ward, Miggs Cuaderno, Zymic Jaranilla, Caprice Cayetano, Ralph Noriega, Snooky Serna, Ayra Mariano and Elyson de Dios. For Ayra and Elyson, it will be their first project after winning ‘StarStruck’ season 6.

Playing special roles on ‘Poor Señorita’ are Ricky Davao and Dingdong Dantes. Dominic Zapata will be the series’ director.

‘Poor Señorita’ is the latest in a series of attempts by GMA Telebabad to make their dramas lighter and more family-friendly. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked out, and the fact that ABS-CBN (with the help of Dreamscape and Star Creatives) succeeded with dramas that appeal to the everyday Filipino made it more difficult for GMA to thrive.

That said, a daunting challenge awaits ‘Poor Señorita’ on its very first week. With ‘FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano’ on a roll, the former needs to prove that they can also keep up and make lighter series just as appealing to viewers.

‘Poor Señorita’ airs starting tonight after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

That’s My Amboy Premieres Tonight

The AnBie love team takes its act to primetime.

Fresh from a successful run on ‘The Half-Sisters’, Andre Paras and Barbie Forteza now gear themselves up for their first lead role in a primetime series. The duo star in ‘That’s My Amboy’, a light-hearted series that airs starting tonight.

‘That’s My Amboy’ tells the story of Maru (Barbie), a young but determined girl, and Bryan (Andre), a rising actor. Their story began when Bryan was blamed for the accident that involved Maru’s stepfather, and in order to pay for the damages, Maru was hired as his personal assistant.

At first, Maru and Bryan’s relationship was tense and jittery. But an incident that affected Bryan soon brought the two together, and the once distant relationship turned into a friendly, and eventually, lovely one.

Also starring in the series are Tonton Gutierrez, John Arcilla, Donita Rose, Kiko Estrada, Jazz Ocampo, Matet de Leon, Meryll Soriano, Maritoni Fernandez, Jerald Napoles, Pam Prinster, Jan Manual, Philip Lazaro, Pauline Mendoza, Kryshee Grengia, and Rob Walcher. It will be directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal, with the help of Dominic Zapata.

‘That’s My Amboy’ was slated to replace ‘MariMar’ in the network’s Telebabad block (the latter ended January 8). However, the series premiere was delayed for two weeks due to a conflict of interest, since ‘The Half-Sisters’ was still ongoing at the time.

That led to a rather unusual programming lineup on Telebabad, where the block only had two teleseryes, a movie block, and a two Koreanovelas. This week, Telebabad will go back to its usual lineup of three teleseryes and two Koreanovelas, and thus, changes in schedule will be utilized.

‘That’s My Amboy’ will be placed opposite ABS-CBN’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, which means that the KathNiel-starred series will have faced all three ongoing Telebabad dramas in a three-week span. Although ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will only have two more weeks in its run, it remains an imposing challenge to ‘That’s My Amboy’, considering the series has beaten ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘Because of You’ in those three weeks.

That said, the AnBie love team will have its work cut out for them. Although they’ve been successful in the afternoon, primetime is a very different animal, which only adds pressure to the duo.

‘That’s My Amboy’ premieres later tonight after ‘Little Nanay’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

No Replacement for MariMar, At Least for Two Weeks

‘MariMar officially concludes tomorrow, but its replacement ‘That’s My Amboy’ will not be seen until January 25.  (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

GMA is taking a ‘less is more’ approach on Telebabad. at least for the next two weeks.

Tomorrow night marks the final episode of ‘MariMar’, the second Filipino remake of the classic Mexican telenovela. The series, starring Megan Young as the titular character, will officially end with a total of 100 episodes.

High expectations awaited this version of ‘MariMar’ when it first premiered on August 24, 2015. After all, the original starring Thalia and the first remake starring Marian Rivera were each big hits when they were aired here.

Unfortunately for GMA, the new ‘MariMar’ failed to make an impact in the ratings. The series lost regularly to both ‘Nathaniel’ and ‘Ang Probinsyano’, forcing GMA to consider moving ‘MariMar’ to a later timeslot, only to renege on that promise.

Looking back, it is clear that this ‘MariMar’ was a letdown for the Kapuso network. The series was supposed to be a hit, bar none, but with viewers already used to the story, not to mention a shorter wait between remakes and tougher competition from Primetime Bida, it lost its appeal.

In the end, it was a mistake that GMA would like to forget. For Megan Young, the comeback trail following her victory at the Miss World pageant was a rough one to begin with.

So what’s next for GMA after ‘MariMar’? GMA has already confirmed that ‘That’s My Amboy’, the follow-up project of ‘The Half-Sisters’ stars Barbie Forteza and Andre Paras, will replace ‘MariMar’, but the series will not begin until January 25.

This means that for the next two weeks, GMA Telebabad will only have five programs on the menu, with two teleseryes highlighting the lineup. The schedule is as follows:

5:45 p.m. – The Producers

6:30 p.m. – 24 Oras

7:45 p.m. – Little Nanay

8:30 p.m. – Because of You

9:15 p.m. – Kapuso Primetime Cinema

With only two local dramas starting this Monday, GMA Telebabad is at a clear disadvantage against Primetime Bida’s five teleseryes. Both ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘Because of You’ will now face ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’; an obvious mismatch ratings-wise.

That said, the next two weeks will be a difficult one for Telebabad. While waiting for ‘That’s My Amboy’ (‘The Half-Sisters’ ends January 15, hence the delayed premiere), viewers will need to endure watching only two teleseryes on GMA’s primetime lineup.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Post-StarStruck Response is a Koreanovela, Plus No Miss World Telecast

A new Koreanovela will kick things off for GMA Telebabad.

Tonight will be the premiere of ‘The Producers’, a recently-aired Korean drama series starring Kim Soo-hyun, Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin and IU. The series is produced by the same group who created another hit Korean drama in ‘My Love from the Star’.

This brings the total number of current Asianovelas on GMA to three. Two of them (‘Someone Like You’, ‘Ice Adonis’) form part of the network’s Heart of Asia Mornings block.

Unfortunately for GMA, ‘The Producers’ will be up against ‘Pasion de Amor’, the ABS-CBN teleserye that continues to heat up the ratings with each intense scene. Combined with waning interest in the Koreanovela genre, and a programming mismatch ensues between the two shows.

That said, it will be a very tough challenge for GMA and ‘The Producers’ to rekindle the once-popular Koreanovela genre. Whether or not they will accomplish that remains to be seen.

‘The Producers’ airs weeknights at 5:50 p.m., before ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

No Televised Broadcast of Miss World

The 2015 Miss World was held last Saturday, with Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna winning the crown. The Philippines’ Miss World representative, Hillarie Parungao, finished in the top ten.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of ‘MariMar’ star and 2013 winner Megan Young as one of the pageant’s hosts, this year’s Miss World was not televised at all in the Philippines. The reason: GMA’s concurrent live broadcast of ‘StarStruck: The Final Judgment’, won by Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda.

There was also no delayed broadcast of the said pageant the following day, as GMA realized it was not worth it given the country’s Miss World bet only made the top ten. News reports were also absent on GMA News programs within days of the event; the only Miss World-related report is of Parungao’s return to the country.

With GMA unable to air this year’s Miss World (even though they aired the Miss World Philippines pageant two months earlier), it may be a better idea for the organizers to find a new network for subsequent Miss World and Miss World Philippines pageants. GMA’s non-commitment to a Miss World broadcast is not a good sign for their relationship, and worse, a black eye for the embattled network.

That said, next year’s Miss World will provide a lot of questions to prospective coverors. Will there ever be another broadcast of Miss World in the Philippines? Only time will tell.

Postscript: Speaking of beauty pageants, congratulations to Pia Wurtzbach for winning the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, albeit with the help of a premature announcement of Miss Colombia’s victory by host Steve Harvey. The victory of the Philippines’ Wurtzbach should help spike the event’s ratings on ABS-CBN this week. 

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