comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Not a Good Sign: The Declining Interest of Late-Morning Dramas on Philippine Television

‘Playhouse’ is only averaging around 13% in the ratings, a far cry from past late-morning teleseryes aired on ABS-CBN. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

There was a time when late-morning teleseryes on television were a thing in this decade.

It started in 2012 when the unlikely pairing of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap took off with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. The series became an immediate hit, reaching ratings of as high as 27%, and ran for over two years.

From then on, ABS-CBN kept the wheel rolling, airing either romantic comedies such as ‘Oh My G!’, ‘Be My Lady’ and ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ or kid-oriented tear-jerkers like ‘Ningning’ and ‘Langit Lupa’. ABS-CBN even tried to get serious for once with the triathlon-themed ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

But in the past several months, late-morning dramas began to lose viewer interest. By August, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ slumped to around 13-15% in the ratings (this despite having Jodi and Richard in the series), and this decline only continued through its successor ‘Playhouse’.

Over on GMA, the network already waved the white flag at the start of the month. Their most recent local late-morning drama, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, was cancelled last November 2, and after only two weeks, GMA moved the Koreanovela ‘Woman of Dignity’ to an earlier timeslot due to poor ratings.

Prior to that, GMA tried to counter ABS-CBN with their own dramas that were either self-produced or under the TAPE Inc. production team. Unfortunately for GMA, each of their dramas backfired, with the likes of ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ ending after only two or three months.

While ABS-CBN continues to claim victory over this timeslot, the declining ratings of ‘Playhouse’ is something that should cause a lot of concern to the network. If the 13% ratings are of any indication, then there must be something wrong.

Either that viewers are getting tired of watching too much of the same thing, that the story in itself lacked substance and originality, that the cast is boring, or that they just can’t wait for ‘It’s Showtime’ to start. Whatever the case, it is up to ABS-CBN to regroup and see what needs to be corrected.

It is too early to tell if this will spell the end for Filipino late-morning dramas. That said, one can only hope that a turnaround in fortune is imminent, but if this spell continues, then a programming reboot is necessary.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Back to Zero: Kapag Nahati ang Puso Exits with No Replacement in Sight

Consider this yet another epic series of failures for GMA in the late-morning slot.

On All Souls’ Day, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will air its final episode. But without a replacement in sight, all signs point to ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ taking over its soon-to-be-vacated timeslot.

‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, which starred Bea Binene, Benjamin Alves, Sunshine Cruz, Zoren Legaspi and Bing Loyzaga, first premiered on July 16, 2018. Unlike its predecessors ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ had a more serious and darker tone.

While it enjoyed a decent 80-episode run, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso”s overall performance did not inspire confidence from its audience. ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ averaged a mere 10% in the ratings, even though it came close on a few occasions to beat ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ and ‘Playhouse’.

Suffice to say, the change of strategy did not affect GMA’s fortunes in the late-morning slot. Once again, GMA management has to wonder why this timeslot continues to frustrate them at every turn.

Looking back at the three previous attempts at unseating the likes of ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ and ‘Playhouse’, it was clear that GMA was scared to compete from the start. Let’s face it, both ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ were epic failures just by looking at its respective number of episodes.

If a drama series only finished at 38 and 50 episodes, then it is obvious that something is wrong. Either that GMA is not convinced enough that both are compelling or is not satisfied with the production.

Then again both series were produced by GMA Public Affairs which is infamous for short-run dramas. Still, its intent to air for a brief period is inexcusable considering the circumstances.

In fairness, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ ended with 80 episodes which is a slight improvement. Then again, its ratings were not that impressive and GMA realized that late-morning dramas are not their bread and butter.

Perhaps GMA should just stop this charade and go back to airing ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ in that timeslot. The network simply had no chance there; not even blocktimer TAPE can help them.

This Friday, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will conclude its run. But don’t expect GMA to give it a proper farewell because they are in no mood to do so.

Update: The Koreanovela ‘Woman of Dignity’ will replace ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ starting Monday. Still, this is a clear sign of GMA once again conceding to ABS-CBN when it comes to the late-morning slot.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Sana Dalawa ang Puso to Conclude Friday

‘End it while you still can!’

This is probably the message that ABS-CBN management sent to the producers of ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’, the romantic comedy series that starred Jodi Sta. Maria, Richard Yap and Robin Padilla. After all, the network did not want a repeat of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ in which the show ran for far too long that viewers grew tired of it.

‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ was the second television project of the JoChard tandem after the aforementioned ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. In hopes of making it more interesting, the series added Robin Padilla as the third wheel while it gave Jodi a chance to play two different characters.

First premiered on January 29, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ made an immediate impact in its first few weeks, scoring around 16-20%. The series was so popular that it led to the cancellation of ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ and forced GMA to produce its own drama shows in the late-morning slot.

Even though ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso”s ratings dipped to around the 14-17% mark by March, it still won its timeslot on a consistent basis. At this point GMA began to produce its own dramas in response, but short-lived series in ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ were unable to solve JoChard and Robin.

However, by late August, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso”s magic started to wear off. The series was no longer a top-10 show, and with paltry ratings of around 13% (even though they still won over ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’), ABS-CBN realized that enough was enough.

Overall, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ will have a total of 163 episodes once they conclude Friday. But like ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, ABS-CBN made the costly mistake of keeping ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ for far too long which led to a huge dip in its ratings.

Still, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ was considered a success by ABS-CBN’s standards. Regardless of how it turned out the series should continue the streak of good fortune for ABS-CBN in the late-morning slot, and for JoChard, it only proves that they are still a formidable love team.

On Friday, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ will bow out. One can only hope that it will be a graceful exit.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Kapag Nahati ang Puso: A Worthy Challenger or Another Footnote to Sana Dalawa ang Puso

This time, GMA is taking things seriously to the late-morning slot.

After failing to hit paydirt with the light romantic comedy ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and the light musical drama ‘My Guitar Princess’, GMA decided to go with a much heavier approach. The new series, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, is uncharacteristic for a late-morning drama in which the story is more serious and emotional.

Coincidentally, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will star Bea Binene, who will once again encounter the faces of ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ in Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap. The last time JoChard and Bea faced each other was in 2012, when the former’s ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ sent the latter’s ‘Cielo de Angelina’ packing after only a few weeks.

And much like their previous encounter, JoChard’s light-heartedness (with some sprinkling of Robin Padilla in between) will clash with Bea’s serious and dramatic demeanor. So how will this latest installment play out?

But back to ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ in general. In the series, Bea plays Claire, a young woman who grew up without any memory of her parents.

Her biological mother is Rio (Sunshine Cruz), a simple island beauty who soon falls in love with Nico (Zoren Legaspi), a rich and happy-go-lucky tourist from Manila. However, Nico’s ex-girlfriend Miranda (Bing Loyzaga) thwarted their relationship, causing Rio to lose her family and leaving Nico to take care of Claire.

When Rio later returns to the Philippines a successful woman, she and Claire cross paths not knowing that the latter was the former’s mother. Both would end up falling in love with Joaquin (Benjamin Alves), and along with a jealous Miranda, will soon threaten to destroy both of their lives.

Also part of ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ are David Licauco, Raquel Villavicencio, Robert Ortega, Sharmaine Santiago, Geleen Eugenio, Nar Cabico and Freddie Webb in a special participation. The series is directed by Gil Tejada Jr.

Considering the streak of good fortune for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’, GMA will once again be hard-pressed to give this series a run for its money. That said, the network can only hope that ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will not turn into yet another 35 or 50-episode bust of its predecessors and instead become a decent 80-episode series that viewers will always talk about.

‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA Quietly Cancels My Guitar Princess

The writing is on the wall for ‘My Guitar Princess’.

No less than the show’s star Julie Anne San Jose confirmed the fate of ‘My Guitar Princess’ with a simple tweet. The series will officially wrap up this Friday, July 13, but it seems like GMA made no effort to hype up the finale.

‘My Guitar Princess’ first premiered on May 7, 2018 as a replacement to ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’. From the moment it aired, however, it was clear that the series would still be no match to the late-morning juggernaut that is ABS-CBN’s ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’.

On average, ‘My Guitar Princess’ only scored 9% in the ratings, compared to the 15% that ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ normally manages. In recent episodes, ‘My Guitar Princess’ earned a paltry 7%, a noticeable drop-off that forced GMA to throw in the towel.

It also did not help that viewers criticized Julie Anne San Jose’s acting chops in the series. Considering the lack of improvement on that part coupled with the poor ratings of ‘My Guitar Princess’, it will not be surprising to see GMA no longer giving Julie Anne any more acting roles and focusing on her recording career instead.

GMA was also unwilling to promote ‘My Guitar Princess’ via episode teasers. While GMA made a YouTube page for the show, only highlights and off-screen performances were uploaded.

But here is some good news. ‘My Guitar Princess’ will finish with 50 episodes, 12 more than predecessor ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’.

The bad news: the series’ run is still short by GMA’s standards. And to make matters worse, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ is nearing 120 episodes by Friday, adding insult to injury for the Kapuso network.

Mercifully speaking, viewers who were cringed by ‘My Guitar Princess’ should be relieved that this series will officially come to a conclusion. Suffice to say, GMA made another series that was destined to fail, starring a so-called ‘multi-talented’ artist whose shortcomings as an actress are well-documented.

Perhaps Julie Anne San Jose should be better off working as a singer and retire from acting for good. After all, she is a great singer but not a good actor.

As for Gil Cuerva, the onus is on him to either improve as an actor or focus full-time as a model. Following two unsuccessful series, it is possible that acting is not on his cards.

In the end, GMA can only hope that ‘My Guitar Princess’ will have a graceful exit. The series may be bad, but at least they still tried.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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