drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on Sirkus

GMA’s new weekly fantaserye ‘Sirkus’ premiered last January 21 and has had a mixed performance since. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

A fantaserye on a Sunday night?

This is exactly what GMA delivered when it premiered ‘Sirkus’ last January 21. But in contrast to the network’s other fantaseryes, ‘Sirkus’ is a production of the GMA Public Affairs group (notorious for bringing non-news programs to the network) and it only airs once a week.

The premise of ‘Sirkus’ is that of two fraternal twins Mia (Mikee Quintos) and Miko (Mikoy Morales) finding themselves in the company of a traveling circus in order to escape from the clutches of an evil villainess. Throughout their quest, the motive behind the villainess’ obsession to catch them will be revealed and their true identities will also be discovered.

Also part of the cast of ‘Sirkus’ are Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Klea Pineda, Gardo Versoza, Ms. Cherie Gil, Divine Tetay, Gerald Acao, Zoren Legaspi and Angelu de Leon. The director is Zig Dulay.

When the series was first introduced to the public in late December, many thought that ‘Sirkus’ would replace ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ as the opponent of the long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. However, GMA had other plans in mind.

Not only did the network keep ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, it also made significant changes to the late afternoon-early evening Sunday timeslots. As a result, ‘Sirkus’, which replaced the travel series ‘Road Trip’, was assigned to the 6:30 p.m. timeslot and ’24 Oras Weekend’ was bumped to an earlier time.

Through two episodes, ‘Sirkus’ has had mixed results in the ratings. Its debut episode barely defeated ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ by 0.4%, but the following week saw ‘Sirkus’ slump by 4% to its opponent.

Given the often volatile financial situation of GMA, it was a better idea for them to just produce a weekly fantaserye instead of one that airs on weeknights. But to be produced by GMA Public Affairs instead of GMA Entertainment is once again a desperate act altogether.

Whatever the case, one can only hope that ‘Sirkus’ will be the start of many elaborate once-a-week projects that GMA embarks. Such series is for the better of the network at this point because they need all the money in the world to focus on technological improvements that will make them more viable in the age of digitization.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Love to Last and Meant to Be: Primetime’s Opening Salvos This 2017

Two new teleseryes get their baptism of fire in the second week of 2017.

On ABS-CBN, Bea Alonzo and Ian Veneracion star in the upcoming series ‘A Love to Last’. A family drama, ‘A Love to Last’ tells the story of Andeng (Bea) and Anton (Ian), two individuals whose fates intertwined thanks to the crumbling relationships with their significant others.

Andeng, a breadwinner and a successful events organizer, was about to get married when she caught her fiancé cheating with another woman. Anton, on the other hand, was a company president and CEO, married to Grace (Iza Calzado) and had three children, only to see her leave and file for annulment.

Both eventually found love with each other in the most unexpected of ways. However, Andeng must first deal with Anton’s marital problems in hopes of gaining his acceptance.

‘A Love to Last’ also stars Enchong Dee, Julia Barretto, Ronnie Alonte, JK Labajo and Hannah Vito. It is directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng and Richard Arellano.

Fresh from the successful-but-not-quite-impressive run of ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’, ABS-CBN is pinning its hopes on ‘A Love to Last’ to reverse a downward trend of sub-30% ratings in recent months. But as Bea and Ian were already industry veterans with nothing left to prove, it remains to be seen if viewers can still accept them as a force in primetime.

Over on GMA, a much lighter story will take place in the upcoming series ‘Meant to Be’, starring Barbie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Addy Raj and Ivan Dorschner. It will be Barbie’s first primetime series since the not-so successful team-up with Andre Paras in ‘That’s My Amboy’ last year.

Joining them in this complicated love story are the ‘Triplets’ of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in Sheryl Cruz, Tina Paner and Manilyn Reynes, along with Keempee de Leon, Sef Cadayona, Mika dela Cruz, Stephanie Sol, Zymic Jaranilla and Ms. Gloria Romero. It will be directed by LA Madridejos.

In ‘Meant to Be’, Billie (Barbie) is an independent millenial whose life would soon revolve among the four men who will try to woo her heart; namely Fil-Brit Ethan (Ivan), Fil-Indian Jai (Addy), pure-blooded Filipino Macoy (Jak), and Fil-Chinese Yuan (Ken). But choosing the only guy that will fill her heart is not the only problem for Billie.

Billie will also deal with the crumbling relationship of her parents Wilton (Keempee) and Amelia (Manilyn), and the unemployment of her brother Bats (Sef). In addition, a sub-plot about Billie’s friendship with Mariko (Mika), and the once-formidable bond between Amelia, Suzy (Tina) and Beatriz (Sheryl) as a girl group will also be explored.

‘Meant to Be”s premiere will come at a not-so opportune time, as the JaDine-starred ‘Till I Met You’ reaches its final two weeks. With only a few episodes to prove themselves, it will be a huge challenge for this rom-com to make a first impression to Kapuso viewers.

Either way, both ‘A Love to Last’ and ‘Meant to Be’ are worth the wait for those who anticipate it. Good luck to both shows.

‘A Love to Last’ airs weeknights after ‘Ang Probinsyano’ on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, while ‘Meant to Be’ airs weeknights after ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ on GMA Telebabad.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

With A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo, KiliTV Return Imminent

Remember GMA’s KiliTV block?

Back in the early and mid-2000s, GMA used to have a comedy block that immediately aired after GMA Telebabad (around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.). Some of the most memorable programs that once aired on the KiliTV block include:

  • Kool Ka Lang
  • Nuts Entertainment
  • Idol Ko Si Kap
  • Beh Bote Nga
  • Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita
  • Daddy Di Do Du
  • Bahay Mo ‘Ba To
  • Bubble Gang

By 2008, however, KiliTV was deemphasized in favor of an extended GMA Telebabad. Today, ‘Bubble Gang’ was the lone program left from the original block.

Eight years later, however, a revival of the KiliTV block appeared to be in the works. As GMA shifted its focus to comedy/romance in some of their Telebabad series (e.g. ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’), it was only fitting that a new comedy program will consolidate all of that.

Tonight, GMA proudly presents ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, a sexy sitcom that should make every Thursday nights hotter and funnier. The program will be led by Jaclyn Jose, who will play the role of a talent manager who searches for a perfect beauty queen.

Also starring in ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ are Gardo Versoza, Solenn Heussaff, Sef Cadayona, Denise Barbacena, Gee Canlas, Benjamin Alves, Roi Vinzon, Ervic Vijandre and Mara Alberto. It will be directed by Randy Santiago.

With the entry of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, the Koreanovela slot of GMA Telebabad will now be reduced to just three episodes per week. This should not pose a problem, as most Koreanovelas tend to have fewer episodes.

Still, it remains to be seen if ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ can revive the presence of sitcoms on weeknights. That said, expect an interesting first few weeks for the sitcom, as they try to convince viewers that change is once again on the horizon.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ airs Thursday nights after ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ on GMA.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Bubble Gang 20th Anniversary Special This Friday

The logo for the 20th anniversary season of ‘Bubble Gang’. The anniversary special airs this Friday on GMA. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

The 20th anniversary of ‘Bubble Gang’ will be celebrated this Friday.

For this year, the annual ‘Bubble Gang’ anniversary special will be treated as a documentary, produced by none other than the GMA News and Public Affairs department. The documentary will highlight the rich history of the 20-year-old gag show, featuring interviews from past and present cast members, as well as behind-the-scenes personnel.

As always, the special will not be complete without the trademark sketches that have made ‘Bubble Gang’ so endearing. The skits will not only feature the current cast, but also some of the former mainstays as well.

Currently one of the country’s longest-running programs, ‘Bubble Gang’ first premiered on October 20, 1995. The show has attracted a loyal following over the years, and continues to gain new fans as technology and popular culture evolved.

One of the show’s driving forces is Michael V, who along with Antonio Aquitania, has been part of ‘Bubble Gang’ since its first episode. Bitoy is currently the show’s creative director, formulating most of the show’s endearing skits.

Just recently, Michael V released ‘The Bubble Bible’, a book that features humorous quotes from some of Bitoy’s memorable ‘Bubble Gang’ characters. In essence, ‘The Bubble Bible’ was considered a tribute to the entertainer who has made ‘Bubble Gang’ the country’s longest-running gag show, and a culmination of the show’s 20th year.

‘Bubble Gang”s other current cast members include Boy 2 Quizon, Betong Sumaya, Mikael Daez, Paolo Contis, Sef Cadayona, Rufa Mae Quinto, Chariz Solomon, Jackie Rice, Sam Pinto, Gwen Zamora, Max Collins and Andrea Torres. Supporting players include Diego Llorico, Mykah, Moymoy Palaboy, Denise Barbacena, RJ Padilla, Arny Ross, Joyce Ching, Jan Manual and Juancho Trivino.

To date, ‘Bubble Gang’ has aired 1,003 episodes during its 20-year history. The documentary this Friday will be the show’s 1,004th.

The hashtag for this year’s anniversary special will be #IMBG20. For those unaware of how ‘Bubble Gang’ started, this should help them understand how it all began, and how it evolved into the gag show it is today.

The ‘Bubble Gang’ 20th anniversary documentary airs this Friday after ‘Beautiful Strangers’.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Bubble Gang Parodies Eat Bulaga’s Kalyeserye

Juancho Trivino and Denise Barbacena as Albert and Badel, aka the AlBad tandem. (Photo credit: GMA Network/Bubble Gang Official Twitter)

‘Bubble Gang”s list of parodies continue to grow.

Just recently, the long-running GMA gag show capitalized on the popularity of ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye by creating a parody called ‘Istambay-serye’. In the skit ‘Istambay sa Looban’, Denise Barbacena and Juancho Trivino were cast as Badel and Albert, respectively, and the tandem were dubbed as AlBad.

The duo spoofed the mannerisms of the AlDub (Alden Richards and Maine ‘Yaya Dub’ Mendoza) tandem, from the ‘pabebe wave’ to the use of Dubsmash. Even Lolo Nidoro/Antoinetta (Betong), a parody of Lola Nidora (Wally Bayola), was introduced to give Badel and Albert some trouble.

Though the ‘Istambay-serye’ became the main focus of the skit, Michael V, Sef Cadayona and Antonio Aquitania continue to narrate the story via a song, with the squatters interrupting in between. This unique wrinkle helps ‘Istambay sa Looban’ maintain its unconventional style.

Within weeks, the AlBad tandem became successful, and AlDub fans gave the parody mostly positive reviews. AlBad even plans to spoof the AlDub-starred commercials in future episodes.

The skit only shows that after 20 years, ‘Bubble Gang’ continues to be the ultimate source for the best pop culture parodies. And speaking of 20 years, please stand by for a future article that will commemorate the show’s 20th anniversary.

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