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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Analyzing the Possible Timeslot of My Dear Heart

There is still no timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’.

Although the inspirational family drama is expected to replace ‘Till I Met You’ come this Monday, ABS-CBN has yet to reveal its official timeslot as of today. There are three factors as to why the network is having a hard time figuring out its upcoming timeslot.

1. Ang Probinsyano Continues to Rate Well In the 7:50 Timeslot

Traditionally, ABS-CBN’s value-oriented family dramas are placed after ‘TV Patrol’, which is around 7:50 p.m. Series such as ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘100 Days to Heaven’, ‘Honesto’ and ‘Nathaniel’ attracted huge audiences during their respective runs, mainly because it is catered to all audiences and families.

However, ABS-CBN broke the mold when the action-oriented ‘Ang Probinsyano’ premiered on September 28, 2015. The break from tradition did not affect the viewership at all, as ‘Ang Probinsyano’ constantly scored ratings of 35% or better during its ongoing run.

2. Second Slot on Downward Trend

Looking at the second slot post-‘Dolce Amore’, it is clear that the slot is on a downward trend ratings-wise. Neither ‘Till I Met You’, ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ nor ‘A Love to Last’ reached the 30% mark, citing various formulas that keep on repeating itself.

If ABS-CBN places ‘My Dear Heart’ to the second slot, they can only hope that it breaches past 30% right away. After all, the series is expected to be just as hugely popular as previous dramas like ‘May Bukas Pa’, but with ‘Ang Probinsyano’ blocking the first slot, there is no way to go but second.

3. Primetime Bida’s Third Slot is For Teens and Adults Only

The third slot of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida does not bode well for ‘My Dear Heart’. Viewership at the 9:20 slot is typically lower (around 10-15%) at this point since most young children either go to bed or finish their studies to prepare for the following school day.

That said, the third slot is usually reserved for either light dramas (see ‘On the Wings of Love’) or more sensual series (see ‘The Legal Wife’). There is no way ABS-CBN will place ‘My Dear Heart’ at the third slot given its family-friendly tale.

With all these factors in play, the most logical timeslot for ‘My Dear Heart’ will be the second slot after ‘Ang Probinsyano’, after which ‘A Love to Last’ will move to the third slot. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is already a lock for the leadoff position, and with the desire for the second slot to regain its past luster, ‘My Dear Heart’ appears to be the perfect fit.

Still, this is only a prediction. It will be up to ABS-CBN to decide the timeslot of ‘My Dear Heart’.

‘My Dear Heart’ will star Heart Ramos, Bela Padilla, Zanjoe Marudo, Ms. Coney Reyes, Joey Marquez, Loisa Andalio, Sandino Martin and Rio Locsin, among others. It will be directed by Jerome Chavez Pobocan and Jojo Saguin.

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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, Latin America, Philippines, television

Pressure On for Second MariMar Remake

Don’t expect the second remake of ‘MariMar’ to be as successful as the first one.

The 2015 version of ‘MariMar’, starring Megan Young as the titular character and Tom Rodriguez as Sergio Santibañez, will officially air later tonight on the timeslot vacated by ‘Pari ‘Koy’. But unlike the 2007 version starring Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes, the new ‘MariMar’ will face tougher competition this time around.

When the 2007 adaptation hit the small screen, GMA was at the peak of its powers then, led by their successful mix of fantaseryes and Koreanovelas. The DongYan-led ‘MariMar’ topped the ratings in almost all of its episodes, eventually peaking with a 52.6% rating during its two-hour finale in March 2008.

The first remake of ‘MariMar’ skyrocketed the careers of Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes as a love team. It eventually led to an off-screen relationship, culminated by their wedding late last year (mirroring the ‘live’ marriage of MariMar and Sergio in 2008).

Fast forward to this year, and a very different scenario awaits the new ‘MariMar’. ABS-CBN had overtaken GMA in the ratings, thanks in large part to the discovery of new talents, and stories that pay tribute to the Filipinos’ admirable qualities and values.

One such story is ‘Nathaniel’, ‘MariMar”s upcoming opponent. The value-oriented teleserye has been a consistent winner in its timeslot, even though it had to play a supporting role to both KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) in the Primetime Bida lineup.

That said, the new ‘MariMar’ will be under tremendous pressure to succeed against more formidable competition. The series has proven its charm in the past (both the original and 2007 adaptation earned high ratings), so it’s up to the viewers to decide if this is worth a second chance.

‘MariMar’ premieres starting today, August 24, and airs weeknights at 7:45 p.m. on GMA Telebabad.

Note: The first remake of ‘MariMar’ and the upcoming second remake had an eight-year gap between them. No stranger to producing a second teleserye remake within a short period of time, GMA has also produced second remakes of ‘Darna’ and ‘Captain Barbell’ within four and five years of the first adaptation, respectively.

This does not count another Mars Ravelo creation, ‘Dyesebel’, which aired on GMA in 2008 and later remade by ABS-CBN six years later.

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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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