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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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part IV)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I, Part II and Part III of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part IV of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The Death of German Moreno

On January 8, the whole Filipino entertainment industry was stunned with the passing of German Moreno. The veteran host, actor and entertainer was best known for his distinguished work with up-and-coming stars on ‘That’s Entertainment’, as well as a near two-decade run hosting the Saturday late night show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’.

The death of Kuya Germs also ended an era for late-night variety shows on Philippine television, as ‘Walang Tulugan’ signed off for good on February 13. Despite that, the legacy of Kuya Germs lives on with the Eastwood City Walk of Fame, which inducted new members late this year.

Other notable showbiz personalities who died this year include directors Wenn Deramas and Francis Pasion, actors Lilia Cuntapay, Joy Viado and Dick Israel, and singer Blakdyak.

Encantadia Returns

On July 18, GMA brought back the popular fantaserye ‘Encantadia’, featuring a rehashed storyline of the original 2005 series. The new iteration stars Glaiza de Castro, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez and Kylie Padilla, who play the roles of Pirena, Alena, Danaya and Amihan respectively.

Unfortunately, despite the hefty expenses that GMA spent for this version of ‘Encantadia’, the series failed to make an impact. In the national Kantar ratings, ‘Encantadia’ regularly fell by double digits to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and the high expectations that came with it dissipated.

‘Encantadia’ is not the only primetime problem that GMA faced this year, however, as this next entry shows.

The Alyas Robin Hood-Arrow Controversy

When posters and teasers for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ were first released, many felt the series was a ripoff of ‘Arrow’, with lead star Stephen Amell even going as far as sharing the clip with a ‘flushed-face’ emoji. However, creative consultant Suzette Doctolero made it clear that ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ and ‘Arrow’ were both based on the Robin Hood folklore.

Despite the controversial issues, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was given the go-signal by GMA to air starting September 19. While the series came out flying in its first few weeks, rival series ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ soon pulled away, with some disgruntled viewers choosing to watch either the Tagalized ‘Arrow’ on TV5, or the English dub on Jack TV.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ did have a highly publicized scene with the bikini showdown involving Sarri (Megan Young) and Venus (Andrea Torres), which should soften the blow of its controversial start.

The 25th Anniversary of Maalaala Mo Kaya

The first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. Twenty-five years later, the program continues to touch the lives of others thanks to a letter read by Charo Santos-Concio, and scenes that can make people shed tears with each episode.

This year, as part of its silver anniversary celebration, ABS-CBN launched a commemorative website for ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, a nationwide and worldwide tour, and an initiative for people to send in their life stories via a letter or a short-form video. As for the show’s ratings this year, it continues to thwart the challenges of its long-running rival, GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’.

One can only hope that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ will continue to air beyond this year, as its legacy and enduring success stands the test of time.

Ang Probinsyano and Doble Kara Celebrate Their First Anniversary

But perhaps the biggest headline of 2016 belongs to both Coco Martin and Julia Montes. Their respective shows, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’, reached the one-year milestone within a month of each other.

Both ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ continue to lead the way in their respective timeslots. The former is currently the most-watched primetime show in the country, while the latter is the most-watched post-noontime show.

How much longer will they stay on the air remains to be seen, but as they proceed into 2017, expect ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ to remain a dominant force in the primetime and afternoon slots respectively.

Honorable Mentions

  1. ‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th year.
  2. Power Duo wins ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ season 5.
  3. Joshua Oliveros wins ‘The Voice Kids’ season 3.
  4. ‘Naku Boss Ko’ mini-series and PiliPinas Debates leading up to the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections.
  5. ANC and DZMM’s respective 20th and 30th anniversaries.

It was indeed an eventful 2016 in the world of Philippine media. Expect bigger things to come this 2017 as From the Tube continues to document the latest events in television and radio in the Philippines.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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Farewell, Walang Tulugan

‘Walang Tulugan’ aired its final episode last Saturday, over a month after the show’s creator German Moreno (third from left) passed away. (Photo credit: German Moreno Official Facebook)

The curtain finally fell on ‘Walang Tulugan’.

On Saturday, February 13, ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ aired its final episode. The variety show’s finale had already been anticipated, as its creator and host, German Moreno (a.k.a. Kuya Germs), passed away over a month ago.

‘Walang Tulugan’ first aired on February 8, 1997 as ‘Master Showman Presents’. The show was created as a way to maintain Kuya Germs’ presence on television, after his previous program ‘GMA Supershow’ was cancelled earlier that year in favor of ‘SOP’.

Eight years later, the show was renamed ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’. The popularity of the catchphrase ‘Walang Tulugan’ (a term coined by Kuya Germs during the show’s early years) led to its rebrand, and whenever viewers tuned in, they would always identify ‘Walang Tulugan’ as the show that never sleeps.

During its 19-year run, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was affected by GMA’s numerous lineup changes on Saturdays. In some episodes, the show begins at 11:15 or 11:30, but others usually start in the wee hours of Sunday morning, due to the unnecessary presence of a late-night movie block.

Aside from Kuya Germs, ‘Walang Tulugan’ also featured an ensemble of co-hosts that were either ‘That’s Entertainment’ alumni or young up-and-coming proteges of the Master Showman. In the show’s final episodes, Kuya Germs’ nephew John Nite and close friend Nora Aunor shared lead hosting duties.

The death of Kuya Germs on January 8 led to a special live tribute episode of ‘Walang Tulugan’ the following night. Although Nora Aunor stated that she wanted to continue the show, GMA realized that ‘Walang Tulugan’ would never be the same without its creator and pillar.

Thus, they decided to pull the plug on one of the longest-running programs on Philippine television. And last Saturday, ‘Walang Tulugan’ officially bowed out, with the show’s hosts performing for the last time and bidding farewell to their loyal viewers.

For Philippine television, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was a big loss, and an irreplaceable icon for night owls everywhere. But while its run had ended, its legacy will live on, along with the creator who started it all, Kuya Germs.

Indeed, ‘Walang Tulugan’ will still not sleep, even if it has moved on to the great beyond.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

1995 Flashback: T.G.I.S. and the Advent of Teen-Oriented Series

Some of the first batch members of ‘T.G.I.S.’ as they appear in 1995. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

Yesterday would have been the 20th anniversary of ‘T.G.I.S.’

Premiering on July 8, 1995, ‘T.G.I.S.’ became a Filipino pioneer in the teen-oriented drama genre. While there were a few other dramas that featured teenagers as lead stars (e.g. Julie Vega’s ‘Anna Liza’ and Janice de Belen’s ‘Flordeluna’), ‘T.G.I.S.’ became the first to feature a cast dominated by teenage actors.

Before ‘T.G.I.S.’, some of the country’s rising young stars had made their mark through shows such as GMA’s ‘That’s Entertainment’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘Ang TV’. The two shows provided a venue for the youngsters to showcase their talents, but it was not enough.

Eventually, VIVA Television and GMA developed a plan that would give a new batch of young stars an avenue to expose their acting skills. Thus, ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched.

‘T.G.I.S.’ became an immediate hit soon after it premiered. The success of ‘T.G.I.S.’ led to a feature film that was released in 1997, as well as a spinoff series ‘Growing Up’ that aired from 1997-99.

The first batch of ‘T.G.I.S.’ were led by Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon, a.k.a. Wacks and Peachy, respectively. Other members of the first batch include Michael Flores, Red Sternberg, Raven Villanueva, Rica Peralejo, Onemig Bondoc, Jake Roxas, Bernadette Allyson and Maybelyn dela Cruz.

The first batch anchored ‘T.G.I.S.’ for two years, before giving way to a new cast of young stars. The second batch, which lasted another two years, was led by Dingdong Dantes and Antoinette Taus, alongside Polo Ravales, Kim delos Santos, Sunshine Dizon, Chubi del Rosario, Anne Curtis, Chantal Umali and Dino Guevarra.

Unknown to some, future newscasters Mitzi Borromeo and Menchu Macapagal were also part of the ‘T.G.I.S.’ cast. Meanwhile, Ciara Sotto was part of both batches of ‘T.G.I.S.’, later joining ‘Growing Up’ upon her character’s graduation from high school.

‘T.G.I.S.’ paved the way for similar teen-oriented dramas that became a staple of weekend afternoon programming. Examples include ‘Gimik’ (later ‘G-Mik’), ‘Click’, ‘Tabing Ilog’ and ‘Berks’.

In late 2012, another spinoff of ‘T.G.I.S.’ was launched, called ‘Teen Gen’. Bobby Andrews and Angelu de Leon reprised their roles as Wacks and Peachy, alongside GMA’s new batch of young stars, but it only managed to air for over six months without success.

While ‘T.G.I.S.’ no longer airs today, it will still be remembered for changing the way teenage actors were exposed and promoted. They were a game-changer, and another reason why 1995 became a memorable year in Philippine television.

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Jojo A is Back, But Edu Manzano is Not

The last time viewers saw Jojo Alejar on television, TV5 was on the verge of a programming makeover. The Kapatid network revamped its lineup last September in hopes of attracting younger and socially conscious audiences. And one of the programs that were victims of the shakeup was ‘The Medyo Late Night Show with Jojo A.’ Tonight, the said program returns to a new home.

Jojo Alejar’s late night talk show will air on the GMA Network every weeknights. This is the show’s second stint with the Kapuso group, having first aired on QTV (now GMA News TV) from 2007-08. It also brought Jojo Alejar back to his original network, having first starred as a cast member of German Moreno’s variety show ‘That’s Entertainment’ in the late 1980s.

Like the previous incarnations, the show will feature the All the Way Band, which has backed up Alejar’s late night show from its RJTV 29 years. However, the program will only run for 30 minutes, unlike the customary one hour it was allotted during its previous stop at TV5, due to the presence of another late night talk show in ‘The Tim Yap Show’.

But while Jojo Alejar is returning with his late night talk show, Edu Manzano’s ‘What’s Up Doods?’ looks to be on the way out. Most viewers pointed out that a sudden change in format and schedule, lack of advertising money and low viewership figures were the reasons why ‘What’s Up Doods?’ was being considered a candidate for cancellation.

Edu Manzano’s talk show started off on a promising note, as it aired after ‘Killer Karaoke’. In its first few episodes Manzano interviewed the likes of Georgina Wilson, Jinri Park and Ramon Bautista, not to mention several players of La Salle and UST at the height of the UAAP Finals. In addition, the early episodes of ‘What’s Up Doods?’ included gags pitting Manzano and a special guest lampooning various aspects of pop culture and society.

However, the new PBA season and the entry of the British-Filipino quintet called ‘Juan Direction’ bumped ‘What’s Up Doods?’ to a late-night timeslot. Eventually the show abandoned its skits and decided to concentrate mainly on interviews with special guests. As a result, it alienated some viewers and caused advertisers to pull out. And for the past few weeks, ‘What’s Up Doods?’ was pre-empted for other programs and aired reruns.

‘What’s Up Doods?’ was a decently good concept for ‘Weekend Do It Better’. But it lacks the energy and liveliness that ‘Medyo Late Night’ enjoys. And with ‘Juan Direction’ and ‘SPINNation’ enjoying high viewership numbers, it appears that Edu Manzano’s talk show will be axed soon in favor of both programs airing back-to-back.

As for ‘Medyo Late Night’, good luck with the show’s re-debut on GMA. I’m sure Jojo A will enjoy his homecoming on the Kapuso network.

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