comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Goin’ Bulilit’s Real Archrival, Eleven Years After

Remember ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’?

For those who have grown up watching ‘Bubble Gang’ for the past 21 years, some may not remember this short-lived spinoff. Yes, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ was GMA’s own attempt to counter ABS-CBN”s ‘Goin’ Bulilit’, using their own child stars in hopes of replicating the same formula that made its parent show a success.

‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ first premiered on May 8, 2005, four months after ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ took off. The notable cast members of the show include BJ ‘Tolits’ Forbes, Ella Guevara, Miguel Tanfelix, Sam Bumatay, Empress Schuck and Joyce Ching.

The show was essentially an introduction to several ‘StarStruck Kids’ alumni, as it was one of their first projects following the conclusion of the reality series. It also introduced viewers to BJ ‘Tolits’ Forbes, whose claim to fame at the time was on a Tide commercial.

While ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ showed some promise, it failed to make an impact against the well-established ‘Goin’ Bulilit’. The fact that the spinoff was hastily created from the start contributed to its short run, and as a result, GMA cancelled ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ following its final episode on August 7, 2005.

Overall, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ lasted only 14 episodes. On the contrary, ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ has aired over 550 episodes since 2005, and has seen a fair amount of child talent come and go.

Although ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ met its unfortunate end after a near-four month run, some of its stars found success in the years after the show’s cancellation. Miguel Tanfelix, for instance, reemerged in shows like ‘Niño’, ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ and ‘Ismol Family’, while Joyce Ching became a main cast member on ‘Bubble Gang’ and is also seen in the teleserye ‘Hahamakin ang Lahat’.

Despite that, the lesson that ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ provided was difficult to accept for GMA and its management. Let’s face it, had ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ remained on the air today, more up-and-coming talent would have been showcased.

Alas, GMA’s own mistakes only served to doom the show. To this day, ‘Bubble Gang Jr.’ remains a show that GMA regrets, and after 11 years, it continues to haunt the network and its Artist Center for its inability to hone new stars.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

In 150 Words: Forevermore Ends Run On a Superbly High Note

They began their run at the top, and they end their run at the top.

The recently-concluded ABS-CBN drama ‘Forevermore’ dominated primetime from start to finish, and following last Friday’s epic finale, the series registered its highest rating ever. ‘Forevermore’ defeated ‘Let the Love Begin’ in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen, registering numbers of 39.3% and 37% over the latter’s 16.1% and 15.3%.

With an average of over 33% in the ratings, ‘Forevermore’ was easily the highest-rated primetime series of 2015 so far. The series’ impact also showed on social media, as topics related to ‘Forevermore’ were among top trends on Twitter both nationally and globally.

Overall, ‘Forevermore’ defeated four different GMA programs during their run at the top, starting with ‘Hiram na Alaala’, followed by ‘Strawberry Lane’, ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and finally ‘Let the Love Begin’.

With ‘Forevermore’ officially over, it’s now up to ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ to continue that run of success. But don’t expect the latter to surpass the success of ‘Forevermore’ anytime soon.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Fourth Opponent for Streaking ‘Forevermore’

There is no stopping ‘Forevermore’ as their run winds down.

The ABS-CBN drama series, starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, has been on top of the primetime world ever since it debuted in October of last year. So far, ‘Forevermore’ overcame the challenges of ‘Hiram na Alaala’, ‘Strawberry Lane’ and ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ of rival station GMA, beating each series by a wide margin.

Now a fourth opponent awaits the streaking teleserye.

Starting this Monday, May 4, ‘Forevermore’ will go up against ‘Let the Love Begin’, the newest GMA teleserye starring Ruru Madrid and Gabbi Garcia. The upcoming series should not be confused with the movie of the same title, starring Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin, which was released a decade ago under the GMA Films banner.

‘Let the Love Begin’ will also mark the return of Ai-Ai Delas Alas to the GMA camp after over a decade with ABS-CBN. Joining her in various supporting roles will be Gardo Versoza, Donita Rose, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Neil Ryan Sese, Gladys Reyes, and Ms. Gina Pareño.

Other members of the cast include Noel Trinidad, Phytos Ramirez, Abel Estanislao, Ricardo Cepeda, Joko Diaz, Rita Daniela, Ar Angel Aviles, Nomer Limatog, Angeli Bayani, Sancho Delas Alas, Therese Malvar, and Ren Escano.

The series will revolve around the cordial friendship between Jeni (Ai-Ai) and Tony (Gardo), who work for a fictional radio program that focuses on love advice. A major problem would later shatter their friendship, but their paths would soon cross again thanks to a blooming relationship between their children Erick (Ruru) and Pia (Gabbi).

‘Let the Love Begin’ may have been scheduled to air on the vacated timeslot of ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, but the series’ first few weeks may come too late to prove its worth against ‘Forevermore’. As seen in the teaser below, ABS-CBN made it clear that ‘Forevermore”s run would end very soon in favor of a new drama.

Still, the prospect of ‘Forevermore’ taking on a new Kapuso love team is hard to resist. They have already overcome the duo of Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali, and now it is up to Ruru and Gabbi to show their potential against LizQuen.

‘Let the Love Begin’ premieres this Monday after ‘Pari ‘Koy’ on GMA Telebabad. Good luck.

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Last Minute Change for ‘Once Upon a Kiss’; GMA’s Need for a ‘Second Chance’

GMA management is once again at the forefront of last-minute changes.

The latest of these moves took place Monday night, as ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ was placed after ‘More Than Words’ on GMA’s Telebabad block. Prior to the late switch, ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ was scheduled to premiere after ’24 Oras’.

Despite the last-minute change in schedule, the pilot episode of ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ still failed to impress viewers. The teleserye only managed a 15.2% rating against the 23.6 % of ABS-CBN’s ‘Forevermore’, according to Kantar.

That said, the series starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix will have a lot more work to do if they want to get past the increasingly popular tandem of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. Considering the momentum that ‘Forevermore’ generated from day one, it will be a daunting task for the former to overcome.

Meanwhile, the long-overdue premiere of ‘Second Chances’ will take place this Monday. The series had been scheduled to air back in November, but GMA postponed its premiere in hopes of making a splash for the new year.

As seen in the teasers released by the network, the series tells the story of four different individuals whose lives will change by way of a traumatizing event. Portraying these life-changing characters are Jennylyn Mercado, Camille Prats, Raymart Santiago and Rafael Rosell.

‘Second Chances’ has been in production since early August, and was intended to replace ‘Ilustrado’ on Telebabad back in November. But due to some last minute programming changes, the series premiere was postponed until the early part of 2015.

Now that ‘Second Chances’ finally gets its due, it will be interesting to see how a story of inspiration and determination fare against one featuring infidelity and jealousy. Its pilot week will be against the hot-as-lava ‘Two Wives’, who has thoroughly dominated the former’s predecessor ‘Hiram na Alaala’ for the most part.

That said, GMA now hopes to have a second chance of their own. A traumatizing event like low ratings, declining revenue and front office mismanagement are definitely worth overcoming, but unless GMA finds a way to make a second chance, they will again find themselves on the losing end of ABS-CBN’s dominance.

‘Second Chances’ premieres this Monday after ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

‘More Than Words’ Demoted with Premiere of ‘Once Upon a Kiss’

GMA Telebabad’s first salvo of the year comes with yet another timeslot change for one of their current teleseryes.

‘More Than Words’, starring Janine Gutierrez and Elmo Magalona, will have a new timeslot later tonight. This will give way to a new drama series starring another young love team in Miguel Tanfelix and Bianca Umali.

Titled ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, the series revolves around a young girl’s unexpected kiss from a coma-stricken boy. From then on, the two would try to forge their love for each other amid their families’ constant quarrels.

‘Once Upon a Kiss’ will replace ‘Strawberry Lane’ on Telebabad’s lineup, but it will not be placed on the latter’s most recent timeslot. Instead, it will be placed on ‘Strawberry Lane”s original timeslot, one that was later taken over by ‘More Than Words’ until last Friday’s episode.

For ‘More Than Words’, the timeslot change had something to do with its performance. In both Kantar and AGB Nielsen, ‘More Than Words’ was thoroughly outclassed by ABS-CBN’s ‘Dream Dad’, which ironically featured Elmo’s older sister Maxene Magalona.

A new timeslot for ‘More Than Words’ would have breathed new life and a sense of relief for the struggling series. However, the series’ newest opponent is no slouch either, as ‘Forevermore’, starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, has been on a roll since premiering in October.

That said, ‘More Than Words’ will have a huge mountain to climb, considering the unexpected success of ‘Forevermore’ and the Liza-Quen love team.

As for ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, their first hurdle won’t be easy either. ‘Dream Dad’, led by Zanjoe Marudo and Jana Agoncillo, is also very successful in its own right, and it will be a daunting task to see how far Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix will take their partnership to new heights.

‘Once Upon a Kiss’ premieres tonight after ’24 Oras’, followed by ‘More Than Words’ on GMA Telebabad.

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