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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

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 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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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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Unable to Beat Kathniel and Pangako Sa ‘Yo, GMA Resorts to Its Old Reliables

‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ took its toll on GMA once again.

Fifteen years after the original series took the then-Rainbow Network by surprise, the newly-revised version of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ again proved its lasting power in the era of social media. It showed that even with new actors, new technology and a tweaked script, the results will still be the same.

For rival ‘Let the Love Begin’, it was a total disappointment. GMA tried to concoct a new and promising love team with Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid, but it never clicked with the viewers at all.

Whether it’s the ‘Forevermore’ duo of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, or ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo”s Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla, the GabRu duo failed to match the chemistry and mass appeal of its rivals. And after 70 episodes by the end of Friday’s finale, their future as an on-screen duo is now in doubt.

Now GMA is going back to its old reliables in hopes of curtailing the momentum of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’. Enter Lovi Poe and Heart Evangelista of the upcoming series ‘Beautiful Strangers’.

In ‘Beautiful Strangers’, Heart and Lovi are billed as rivals, in contrast to their off-screen friendship. Heart plays the role of a kind-hearted plastic surgeon, while Lovi portrays the role of an interior designer with a dark past.

The two lead stars will be joined by Christopher de Leon, Benjamin Alves, Rocco Nacino, Dina Bonnevie, Ayen Munji-Laurel, Renz Valerio, Kier Legaspi, Dianne Medina, Djanin Cruz, Gab de Leon, Nar Cabico, Mariel Pamintuan and Lovely Rivero. ‘Beautiful Strangers’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Once ‘Beautiful Strangers’ premieres this Monday, it will be the second of three new dramas that GMA will introduce on the same day, as part of a month-long overhaul of Telebabad. But it remains to be seen if the new series will pose a more interesting challenge to ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’.

One thing’s for sure: GMA still can’t make the most out of their younger talents and now resort to old-timers in hopes of gaining some relevance.

‘Beautiful Strangers’ airs starting August 10 at 8:30 p.m. after ‘Pari ‘Koy’ on GMA Telebabad.

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My Mother’s Secret Meets Its Painful Demise

The plug has finally been pulled from ‘My Mother’s Secret’.

GMA has announced that the early evening teleserye will be down to its final two weeks. This means that the series finale of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ will air on Friday, July 31.

‘My Mother’s Secret’ starred Gwen Zamora, Christian Bautista, Lotlot de Leon, Meryll Soriano and Kim Rodriguez. It was directed by Neal del Rosario.

The series premiered on May 25 with little fanfare. It was unexpected and hastily created to begin with, since GMA did not seriously hype ‘My Mother’s Secret’ in the weeks prior to its premiere.

As expected, the series was no match for the opponent in the ratings. ‘My Mother’s Secret’ lost badly to ‘Inday Bote’ in its opening week, but the series slumped even further once ‘Pasion de Amor’ entered the fray.

‘Pasion de Amor’, the local adaptation of ‘Pasion de Gavilantes’, became a surprise hit for ABS-CBN despite its sexually-charged theme and unlikely placement in the early evening slot. The Kapamilya series’ average rating of over 20% (based on Kantar Media) became a cause of concern to ‘My Mother’s Secret’.

It also didn’t help that ‘My Mother’s Secret’ can only muster single-digit ratings in most episodes. When it became clear that the series would be more of a hindrance to the primetime lineup, GMA decided to act accordingly.

Thus, after only 50 episodes (short of the typical 80 episodes of a modern teleserye), ‘My Mother’s Secret’ will officially take a bow after its final episode on July 31. The series did not deserve a second chance after all, with poor ratings the motive behind its demise.

The cancellation of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ is only the beginning for GMA Telebabad, though. Over the next few weeks, ‘Pari ‘Koy’, ‘Let the Love Begin’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ will also be replaced, marking a month-long turnover for the embattled primetime block.

More on that in a future article.

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‘Instadad’ Bids Farewell; Two New GMA Shows to Replace

‘Instadad’ ran for four months and 14 episodes, with little success. It will be replaced by ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ and ‘Alamat’ this coming Sunday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

So long, ‘Instadad’.

The comedy-drama series that starred Gabby Eigenmann, Gabbi Garcia, Ashley Ortega and Jazz Ocampo aired its final episode Sunday afternoon. Overall, ‘Instadad’ aired for only a mere 14 episodes, from April 5 until yesterday.

‘Instadad”s pilot episode was pitted against ‘The Buzz”s finale, and had an impressive start as far as ratings are concerned. But when ABS-CBN moved ‘Luv U’ to a later timeslot the following week, ‘Instadad’ failed to keep up to its new rival.

Not even the premiere of ‘Wowowin’ nearly a month later helped ‘Instadad’ regain its opening day fortunes, nor did the former’s suddenly declining ratings in subsequent weeks. In the end, GMA’s latest attempt at a teen-oriented series was doomed as a failure once again.

Now that ‘Instadad’ is already out of picture, both Gabby Eigenmann and Gabbi Garcia can now focus on their primetime projects in ‘Pari ‘Koy’ and ‘Let the Love Begin’, respectively. At least they still have something to keep busy with.

Moving on, GMA has lined up a pair of programs to replace ‘Instadad’. They are:

Heart of Asia Presents

If five Asianovelas on weekdays are not enough, then a weekend with GMA’s ‘Heart of Asia’ block should satiate the desires of Asianovela fans. As the title suggests, ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ will feature special presentations of various Asian dramas, particularly from Korea.

‘Heart of Asia Presents’ airs every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. starting July 12.

Alamat

GMA dubs it as the first-ever local animated anthology series. Produced by GMA News and Public Affairs, ‘Alamat’ will feature a some of the greatest myths and legends the country has ever told, and will be voiced by some of the country’s most popular and distinguished personalities.

‘Alamat’ airs every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. starting July 12.

This should be another acid test for GMA’s predictably weak Sunday offerings. ‘Alamat’ and ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ may pack some potential, but it remains to be seen if they are definitely good enough for viewers to see.

With that, good luck to both shows.

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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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