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Philippine television drama, also known as teleserye, Filipino telenovelas or P-drama, is a form of melodramatic serialized fiction in television in the Philippines. Teleserye is derived from two Filipino words: "tele", which is short for "telebisyón" (television) and "sérye" (series).
Teleseryes share some characteristics and have similar roots with classic soap operas and telenovelas, yet the teleserye has evolved into a genre with its own unique characteristics, often working as a social realist reflection of Filipino reality. Teleseryes are aired in prime-time, afternoon, five days a week. They attract a broad audience crossing age and gender lines, and command the highest advertising rates in the Philippine television industry. The series last anywhere from three months to a year, or even longer, depending on their rating.
Other forms of Philippine dramas include "serials" and "anthologies", which are usually shown on a weekly basis. These dramas are also intended to air a finite number of episodes usually lasting one season depending on the ratings.
Soap operas in the Philippines originated when Gulong ng Palad (Wheel of Fortune) was first heard on the radio in 1949. The genre then expanded into television in the early 1960s. The first Philippine TV soap opera was Hiwaga sa Bahay na Bato (Mystery at the Stone House) in 1963, and was produced by ABS-CBN. Larawan ng Pag-ibig (Picture of Love), Prinsipe Amante (Prince Amante), and many others soon followed.
Gulong ng Palad, co-written by revival writer Loida Virina, was the longest-running radio serial that spanned for two decades until the mid 80s. It was made into a television soap opera starring Marianne Dela Riva and Ronald Corveau, created stars out of many young actors like Romnick Sarmenta and starred veteran actress Caridad Sanchez whose popularity helped sustain the soap's lifetime.
During the martial law period from 1972 to 1986, the government closed several networks, including ABS-CBN, leaving RPN-9 and GMA as the only two commercial television networks in the country, but the lack of multi-network media base also aided the emergence of nationwide satellite broadcasting, spurring a dramatic growth of afternoon and primetime sitcoms and serials as a result of the fierce competition between the two networks. During this time, Philippine TV schedules resemble those in the U.S., with networks scheduling different shows per time block daily, in contrast with the country's modern weekday setup among its teleseryes, and separate weekend programming.
RPN-9 produced María Flordeluna, starring award-winning actress Janice de Belén. The cast also included "Drama King" Dindo Fernando and award-winning actress and director Laurice Guillen. At the same time, GMA produced the hit tale Anna Liza starring child actress and FAMAS awardee Julie Vega. Before the formal introduction of TV ratings system in the Philippines in the 1990s, both shows epitomized one of the biggest rivalries in Philippine showbiz history between Vega and De Belen (who were shown as best friends offscreen). However, Anna Liza was canceled in 1985 due to Vega's untimely death from illness and as a result, the series had an unfinished storyline and a two-hour special in 1986, which was supposedly its final year on air. Both series were controversial from the start due to the rivalry between the fanbases of the two lead young actresses.
Until the late 1980s, Philippine television dramas were broadcast in afternoon time-blocks. ABS-CBN resumed operations after the expulsion of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986 and regained its lead among rival networks in audience ratings by the end of the decade. In the early and around the mid-1990s, local sitcoms dominated Philippine television, with the rise of ABS-CBN's Palibhasa Lalake, Home Along Da Riles, Oki Doki Doc and political satire Abangan Ang Susunod Na Kabanata, and GMA Network's Bubble Gang. The same decade, however, saw a new wave of international television phenomenon sweeping the Philippines, starting with the 'telenovela craze' over imported Mexican dramas.
The most popular were the Las Tres Marias Trilogy produced by the world-leading Televisa and starred by Thalía (starting with Marimar and later, Maria la del Barrio, shown on RPN, both on primetime slots, and Maria Mercedes on ABS-CBN). By this time, major networks began to reschedule locally made telenovelas into primetime slots to encourage more Filipino audiences to watch at night and for advertisers to invest more on these shows. By the mid-1990s, teleseryes surpassed sitcoms (both in number of shows produced and in nationwide audience ratings) as the most dominant form of primetime television in the Philippines.
One of the country's most well-known TV shows is ABS-CBN's pioneering network-grown drama Mara Clara, which run from 1992 to 1997, gaining nationwide popularity due to the intense rivalry between its two stars and characters - Judy Ann Santos as the protagonist Mara and Gladys Reyes as the evil antagonist Clara. The series still stands as the longest-running teleserye in the post-Martial Law era of Philippine television, experiencing frequent timeslot changes before settling into the standard 7:00 P.M.-8:00 P.M. primetime block by late 1995 head-to-head with the ongoing re-airing of Marimar on RPN-9. Mara Clara is also credited for being the country's first successful teleserye to spawn a similarly successful movie under the same name. Santos' career would peak between 1997 and 1999 with her ABS-CBN series Esperanza, which also had a separate film made after its finale. A 1997 Esperanza episode currently holds the record for the all-time highest rated single episode for any Philippine television series.
In mid-1997, another ABS-CBN series, Mula sa Puso, marked the rise of Claudine Barretto as one of the country's most prominent actresses, where she played the heiress Via in the 2-year-long soap, together with the late Rico Yan and Diether Ocampo as her leading men, and Princess Punzalan as Selina, the most influential character of the series. The show also marked a shift in the Philippine television market by the late 1990s, as Mula Sa Puso became known for being the country's first middle-class primetime series - a huge break from the preceding Filipino telenovelas with mass-appealing protagonists from the lower socio-economic classes.
Punzalan's antagonist performance is highly regarded among the best on Philippine television and is still widely touted as the basis for all of the succeeding teleserye villains, and the rivalry between her character and Jacklyn Jose's (as Via's mother Magda) became a standard for confrontation scenes of TV series in the succeeding decades on Philippine television. Simultaneously running with Esperanza, both programs pioneered crossover episodes among Philippine teleserye during the same period, and Mula sa Puso spawned another successful movie after its finale in 1999. Both shows also helped ABS-CBN dominate as the country's leading television network by the late 1990s for more than 10 straight years running, ranking competitively as Philippines' 2 most watched overall TV series in every year on air.
Meanwhile, rival network's GMA retained and even popularized their afternoon serialized dramas form such as Villa Quintana with lead stars Donna Cruz as Lynette Quintana and Keempee de Leon as Isagani Samonte with Isabel Rivas as Stella Quintana which airs from 1995 to 1997. This was followed by Ikaw Na Sana with lead characters Angelu de Leon as Blanca Rosales Perez / Susan Saavedra and Bobby Andrews as Rafael Huico with Gladys Reyes as Angela Rosales which airs between 1997 and 1998, and a film was made after this show. At the peak of both these GMA afternoon shows' fame, they were moved to primetime slots by the end of the 1990s to compete with ABS-CBN's rise on national television with their primetime serials, a foreshadow of what would eventually be the touted primetime television series blocks for both rival networks.
Modern Philippine television dramas have begun to evolve to today's modern form called teleserye, a portmanteau of the Filipino words "telebisyon" ("television") and "serye" ("series"). The term originated from the ABS-CBN hit drama Pangako Sa 'Yo, airing from 2000 to 2002 and starring Jericho Rosales and Kristine Hermosa, and the iconic rivalry between actresses Eula Valdez as the original Amor de Jesus-Powers and Jean Garcia as the original Claudia Buenavista. The tandem of Valdez and Garcia in the original Pangako Sa'Yo is widely regarded as the most successful rivalry of main characters in all of Philippine television, setting the standards for future teleserye ensemble casts.
Pangako Sa'Yo is dubbed as the country's first ever teleserye and was considered one of the most significant turning points in Philippine television history due to its pioneering cinematic production and modified fast-paced, multiple-arc story structure distinguishing it from previous Filipino telenovelas. It was broadcast internationally in many networks across the Americas, Africa and Asia, and remains the most successful Philippine television series internationally. At the end of its run in 2002, Pangako Sa 'Yo remains as the record-holder of the all-time highest rated series finale episode for any locally made program in Philippine television history, and firmly established the current primetime block of ABS-CBN.
Pangako Sa 'Yo effectively became the highest rated teleserye by average, both domestically and internationally, in all of Philippine television history, and inspired ABS-CBN to produce (in mid-2002) its leadout teleserye, Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay. Already concluded in 2003, the show introduced the highly acclaimed tandem of John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo as one of the country's most successful long-established television and film loveteams until today. Also known for the iconic performance of Lorna Tolentino as the protagonist twins Lorrea and Lorrinda Guinto, it became the nation's first ever local television series to become a finalist to the Best Drama Series category of the International Emmy Awards in 2003, marking the rise of the Philippines on the world television programming stage.
Rosales and Hermosa, along with Diether Ocampo and Angelika dela Cruz, would altogether star in another teleserye classic, Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas. Airing between 2003 and 2004, Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas became the world's first ever drama series allowing its viewers to choose the story's ending through text messaging. Another groundbreaking teleserye of ABS-CBN was Basta't Kasama Kita, airing around the same period as of Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas. Starring Judy Ann Santos and Robin Padilla, the show was notable for its depiction of the country's National Bureau of Investigation and for being the country's first ever local television series to broadcast a live series finale episode in 2004. This introduced the live format of series finales among fictional series on Philippine television - a feat only few teleseryes had accomplished until today. Both series followed Pangako Sa'Yo to be broadcast abroad, marking the rise of Philippines to international prominence in television drama production.
ABS-CBN's fortunes would soon increase with its 1999–2001 series Saan Ka Man Naroroon starring Claudine Barretto on lead role as triplets Rosemarie, Rosenda and Rosario. The show was critically acclaimed and became one of the few groundbreaking shows of the 2000s in the Philippines starring a female lead character, as well as the country's first teleserye with at least two characters portrayed simultaneously by one actor.
Barretto would consequently gain prominence for her lead role on Sa Dulo Ng Walang Hanggan a timeless love story of the undying love of Angeline Crisostomo/Angelina whose mistakes that appear in the present had also happened in the past; it uncovered the lies and the love of all around her which was actually reincarnated into the present. She was also the lead star of the popular teleserye Marina. Airing in 2004, the show popularized the fantasy theme throughout most of the incoming teleseryes in the Philippines, becoming the first original fantasy series made for television to score success on Philippine primetime television ratings.
The Philippines began emerging as one of the world's largest television drama-producing nations in the mid-2000s. Several of its international hits include the 2006 remake of Gulong ng Palad on ABS-CBN, with its cast including Kristine Hermosa as Luisa, TJ Trinidad as Carding and Cherie Gil as Philiomena "Menang" Medel, the corrupt town mayor and also the main antagonist of the series. The role of Mimi was given to Andrea del Rosario and Rio Locsin as Caridad "Idad" Santos. The series was popular amongst international viewers, through TFC. In 2007, the remake of Maria Flordeluna, which previously aired on RPN-9 through most of the 1970s and 1980s, starred young actress Eliza Pineda as the titular character. It also starred Albert Martinez as Leo Alicante, Eula Valdez as Mary Jo Esperitu and John Estrada as Gary Alvarado. The series ran on ABS-CBN for 93 episodes and won the PMPC Star Awards Best Television Series in 2008, and popularized the trend of remaking classic child-starred Philippine telenovelas of the past.
To pit against its rival network, GMA Network started producing their own set of primetime soap opera starting with the top-rating drama series, Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin starring drama actress Angelika dela Cruz which aired from 2001 to 2002 and Sana Ay Ikaw Na Nga starring Dingdong Dantes. It was successfully shown in Malaysia and other Asian countries. Another was the political drama, Kung Mawawala Ka also became one of the most loved powerful dramas which revolved on politics and even on issues of corruption. Starring Eddie Garcia as the show's main character (and lead antagonist), it also showed the dramatic abilities of actresses Hilda Koronel, Liza Lorena and Gloria Diaz as the powerful wives. The series ran between 2001 and 2002 and also won a PMPC Award from the Philippine Movie Press Club. It was also the most popular GMA-made drama (as well as the most successful single telenovela) pitted against the ongoing television drama Pangako Sa 'Yo which also reached its end in 2002.
It was not until 2004, however, when GMA Network overtook ABS-CBN in the national ratings when the former introduced an all-fantaserye (a portmanteau of "fantasy" and teleserye, i.e. fantasy-themed teleseryes) primetime slate by 2005, through the successful broadcasts of female-lead shows such as Encantadia, which originally starred Iza Calzado, Karylle, Sunshine Dizon and Diana Zubiri, and Mulawin, starring the successful tandem of Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez. GMA earned ratings foothold against its main rival ABS-CBN during this time when it brought life to Darna, a role reprised by the most famous Darna of all time, Vilma Santos (in the late 1970s and early 1980s), and starring Angel Locsin in its first television remake, and ushered the era of film-turned-TV remakes on Philippine television.
Prominent film-turned-TV remakes in the Philippines in the 2000s include Panday which starred Jericho Rosales and Heart Evangelista, and the remake of Mga Anghel na Walang Langit and Kampanerang Kuba which starred Anne Curtis, all made by ABS-CBN. The "sineserye" genre was introduced on Philippine television in this decade through Bituing Walang Ningning which starred Sarah Geronimo and Angelika de la Cruz, reprising the iconic roles of Sharon Cuneta and Cherie Gil won prominence and also produced a concert. It also came to be known as having "The Grand Finale" as this introduced the format of series finale stretched to 5 days on the final week on Philippine television. Bituing Walang Ningning remains the all-time highest rated regular musical television drama series in the Philippines.
By the late 2000s, GMA-7 and ABS-CBN would soon embark on one of the country's most heated rivalries for the most watched television network. GMA aired its 2007 remake of the international telenovela MariMar which starred Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes (then remade in 2015 for a second time with the same title starring Megan Young and Tom Rodriguez). The remake, highlighted as one of the world's most successful international remakes of any former Latinovela, boosted GMA's short-term dominance as the most watched television network in the country during the year. Meanwhile, during the second half of the 2000s, three ABS-CBN-made TV series became popular: the remake of the 1977–1985 soap opera Gulong ng Palad, the teleserye Sa Piling Mo and the series Maging Sino Ka Man. The latter became the most popular teleserye internationally after Pangako Sa'Yo and boosted the careers of John Lloyd Cruz, Bea Alonzo, Sam Milby and Anne Curtis.
On the year 2008, ABS-CBN produced its most expensive series Lobo, about two opposing groups in the story—the Luna and the Waya. The show starred Piolo Pascual and Angel Locsin, in the latter's first major project on ABS-CBN after transferring from GMA Network in one of Philippine television's most controversial network switches by any actor to date. Locsin's performance was the first from any Filipino to be nominated to the International Emmys for a leading role. The members of the Luna organization have a grudge against the werewolves while the Waya are the protectors of the Lobo (the werewolves), and they want them to co-exist harmoniously with normal humans.
The year 2008 also marked the international success of the Philippine remake of the world-hit Colombian original telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea. Starring Bea Alonzo, it became the most successful Philippine remake of any Latinovela since the 2007 Marimar remake starring Marian Rivera on GMA Network. Alonzo's portrayal gained widespread prominence through most of Asia on her titular character, and was vital in ABS-CBN's defeat of GMA as the country's most watched television network at the end of the decade.
By the 2010s, ABS-CBN and GMA Network would rival in their claims as the most watched network in the Philippines. While GMA Network appeals to most of the viewers in Mega Manila (through their shows that are said to be Manila-centric in setting) beginning the mid-2000s, most primetime shows from ABS-CBN appeal widely to other regions in the country, particularly in the sought-after audiences of Visayas and Mindanao. Local media experts attribute this trend to ABS-CBN's return to original Filipino programming.
ABS-CBN's ratings success since the late 2000s was initiated by the success of the 2009 teleserye May Bukas Pa. Starring Zaijian Jaranilla as the iconic Santino, the show became the first successful religious-themed series on Philippine television, as well as the most successful child-starred Philippine television series since the 1985 demise of the original Anna Liza of Julie Vega on GMA Network. May Bukas Pa also became the first Philippine primetime television series to have lasted at least one full year (since Sa Dulo ng Walang Hanggan in 2001–2003), ending in 2010 as the country's all-time most watched TV show since Philippine television switched to nationwide TV ratings system.
2010 featured some of Philippine television's strongest original teleseryes such as Dahil May Isang Ikaw, which became the comeback project of the tandem of Kristine Hermosa and Jericho Rosales, and revitalized the careers of veteran actors such as Lorna Tolentino, John Estrada, Chin Chin Gutierrez and Gabby Concepcion. The show, which aired on ABS-CBN, was the first primetime project of GMA Network transferees Karylle and Sid Lucero, the latter of whom remains the only Filipino male to be nominated at the International Emmy Awards for a leading role in any TV series. This was followed up by the fantaserye Agua Bendita, which was the first primetime show with titular characters starred by Xyriel Manabat and Andi Eigenmann in its earlier and latter stages, marking the trend for child-starred original Filipino programming. Manabat would soon star in ABS-CBN's critical hit 100 Days to Heaven, which also marked the primetime return of actresses Coney Reyes and Jodi Sta. Maria.
Beginning 2011, however, the mass transfer of some actors and actresses between ABS-CBN and GMA became a common trend on Philippine television. Moreover, both networks' hold on primetime television programming in the country would soon be challenged by TV5 with its debut teleserye offering in Babaeng Hampaslupa, which starred with Alex Gonzaga, Alice Dixson and Susan Roces. To date, its most recent offering was the 2016 series Bakit Manipis ang Ulap? (produced by Viva Entertainment, based on the 1985 film of the same title created by Danny Zialcita) with Diether Ocampo, Claudine Barretto, Cesar Montano and Meg Imperial.
2010s also marked the start of broadcast of teleseryes induced with storylines known to have reflected some of the controversial issues facing the Philippines nowadays. For instance, Julia Montes and newcomer Coco Martin starred in the 2012 ABS-CBN hit Walang Hanggan. Known for tackling issues on adultery and infidelity among Filipino households, the romantic drama featured the primetime return of veteran actors Richard Gomez and Dawn Zulueta, and also gained wide popularity in most of Southeast Asia during its run, becoming the first Philippine television series to win in its ratings timeslot in all of its episodes. The show is also the country's second all-time highest-rated TV show since its final episode in 2012, and marked Martin's successful transition from the Filipino indie scene to become the foremost actor of the current era of Philippine television.
Another popular ABS-CBN teleserye was the 2012–2013 series Ina, Kapatid, Anak. Known for the heated on-and-offscreen rivalry of both actresses Kim Chiu and Maja Salvador during its run, as well as the primetime comeback of veteran actresses Cherry Pie Picache and Janice de Belen, the show gained national prominence for its open discussion of mother surrogacy - a topic previously but highly prohibited on Philippine media - and using the University of the Philippines (the country's national university) as its main setting.
Salvador would later team up with Angel Locsin in the highly acclaimed 2014 series The Legal Wife in the same network. The show, which also talked about infidelity and adultery, marked the Jericho Rosales's first work with Salvador and Locsin, and the first ABS-CBN primetime show by GMA Network transferee JC de Vera, was known for its controversial open-ended series finale among Locsin, Salvador and Rosales' characters, and for ranking to date as the country's most watched TV show nationwide for a late primetime slot. The family-oriented ABS-CBN daytime romantic drama Be Careful With My Heart (aired by ABS-CBN) introduced the highly successful tandem of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap, and became the first teleserye to exceed 2 years in its overall run (from July 9, 2012, until November 28, 2014, with a total of 622 episodes). The show has since become the most successful Philippine television series on daytime block in and out of the Philippines.
2013 also marked the television comeback of Judy Ann Santos through the ABS-CBN revenge thriller drama Huwag Ka Lang Mawawala, which also starred Sam Milby and KC Concepcion (in both of their debut antagonist roles). The short-lived series, however, was notable for its depiction of women's empowerment in the Philippine context, as well as infidelity, and would peak in the ratings after it was transferred to the late primetime slot, eventually emerging as the country's second highest-rated TV show of all time in that time-block. The show marked one of the very few times a Filipino TV program was transferred to a much latter airing time and attract more viewers leading up to any series finale.
GMA Network, however, scored a major milestone, with actress & Philippine Queen of Cinema Gloria Romero debut her network series Munting Heredera after leaving ABS-CBN. The series become the highest rating views with the final episode scored a 27.7% rating. The series also launched a breakthrough debut careers of young stars Barbara Miguel, Kyle Ocampo & Mona Louise Rey. Rey will later join the series Luna Blanca with another child actress Jillian Ward, leads the series first multi-generation series where they join with teen actress Bea Binene & Barbie Forteza and actress Bianca King & Heart Evangelista.
GMA also launched the country's most expensive and first historical drama series Amaya, starting Marian Rivera as a title role with Sid Lucero, who transfer to the network after leaving ABS-CBN and newcomer Mikael Daez. It becomes the most highest ratings of all time including the finale episode. It was also Rivera's breakthrough role since Marimar. Also that year, Rivera gained another fame through the Philippine adaptation of a popular Korean series, Temptation Of Wife alongside with Dennis Trillo, Glaiza de Castro & formerly ABS-CBN star Rafael Rosell. It becomes the most watching ratings of the series, with the Castro character Heidi, was universal acclaim praised by critics for her antagonist role and her character rival with Rivera's character.
Trillo later appears on the first ever television network to air a gay-themed primetime series. In 2013, the short-lived but popular teleserye My Husband's Lover, starring newcomer Tom Rodriguez and Carla Abellana, emerged as a hot topic of national conversation due to their portrayal in the show, which discussed about homosexuality - a widespread but controversial topic given the country's longstanding Catholic values and teachings. It has also gained prominence for being a widely viewed show despite being pitted against the simultaneously running Ina, Kapatid, Anak that has also since become a hit in and out of the Philippines. GMA Network would soon gain its ratings momentum with its 2016-2017 remake of its iconic fantaserye (portmanteau for "fantasy-themed" teleserye) Encantadia, marking the continuity of the trend for revivals of 2000s teleseryes on Philippine television initially popularized by ABS-CBN.
In 2009, the series remake of AnnaLiza was shelved which was to star Maja Salvador and Jason Abalos, but finally revived again in 2013 (with child star Andrea Brillantes in the title role). Together with the earlier success of the 2007 remake of Maria Flordeluna and the 2010 remake of Mara Clara, which introduced mainstream actresses Julia Montes and Kathryn Bernardo, ABS-CBN popularized the concept of revival of previously massive hit teenager-starred telenovelas of the previous decades on Philippine television. The 2010 remake of Mara Clara is regarded as the single most successful remake of any previous Filipino telenovela dating from the 20th century. The success of Mara Clara led another remake of 1997 series of Mula sa Puso (2011 TV series) with star Lauren Young as Via, JM De Guzman as Gabriel, and Enrique Gil as Michael with Eula Valdez portrayed Princess Punzalan popular character Selina Perriera-Matias.
This would be followed up by the 2015 remake of Pangako Sa'Yo (still under ABS-CBN), starring the trio of Jodi Sta. Maria, Angelica Panganiban and Ian Veneracion as the new-generation characters Amor de Jesus-Powers, Claudia Buenavista and Eduardo Buenavista, respectively. Also known as the first major drama project of the widely popular tandem of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla as the leads Yna Macaspac and Angelo Buenavista, respectively, the show, which ended in 2016, garnered mixed reviews but wide commercial success, making it the most successful remake of any 2000s Philippine teleserye to date. However, Sta. Maria, who portrayed the role of Lia Buenavista in the original Pangako Sa'Yo (and of which was portrayed by Brillantes in the remake), garnered rave reviews for her new-generation portrayal of Amor de Jesus-Powers (previously acted by Eula Valdez), and remains the most recent Asian actress to be nominated at the International Emmy Awards for a leading role as of 2022.
More teleseryes earned renewed international popularity by 2016, courtesy of Bridges of Love (that ran from March 16 to August 7, 2015, on ABS-CBN), starring Rosales, Salvador and Paulo Avelino, under the title Puentes de Amor, the first Philippine drama aired in Latin America, which began on April 25, 2016, on Panamericana Televisión in Peru. The same year, Martin starred in the currently running 2015 series Ang Probinsyano, gaining national attention for its bold portrayal of the country's ongoing anti-illegal drugs campaign and the Philippine National Police despite renewed nationwide television censors by the MTRCB.
ABS-CBN's recent announcement of the show's run extension until 2020 made Ang Probinsyano the longest-running overall teleserye to ever debut in the 21st century on Philippine television, which the show is slated to overtake the 1992-1997 original run of Mara Clara as the country's longest-running TV series since the People Power Revolution in 1986. The show is also the all-time most dominant show on Philippine television based on TV ratings, as it has occupied the top spot non-stop every year since its inception in 2015.
Salvador would soon star in the hit 2017–2018 series Wildflower as the main characters Lily Cruz/Ivy Aguas. The show was notable for revitalizing the careers of veteran actors Tirso Cruz III, Aiko Melendez, Sunshine Cruz, Christian Vasquez and Wendell Ramos, for the primetime debuts of television newcomers Joseph Marco, Vin Abrenica, RK Bagatsing, Yen Santos and Roxanne Barcelo, and for being the first Philippine teleserye to portray controversial political topics such as nepotism and human rights abuses, as well as mental disorders like schizophrenia and paranoid on primetime. The show became one of Philippine television's most frequent social media-trending shows online, and became the highest-rated Filipino show for an early primetime television slot to date in the 21st century, becoming the first show to do so since the 1999 series finale of the original version of Mula Sa Puso. Despite its finale in 2018, Wildflower is still shown to over 40 countries across Africa and Asia to date, reaching an audience of nearly 300 million viewers in all.
2010s also marked the renewed popularity of long-term afternoon dramas on Philippine television after a temporary decline in the late 1990s. From 2014 to 2016, GMA broadcast The Half Sisters which starred teen actresses Barbie Forteza and Thea Tolentino. Also noted for the performances of veteran actors Jomari Yllana and Jean Garcia, the show became the network's most successful teleserye in and out of the Philippines since the 2013 final episode of My Husband's Lover. GMA would soon dominate the late afternoon timeslots between 2016 and 2018 with its adult, infidelity-themed teleserye Ika-6 na Utos, which marks the television comeback of Sunshine Dizon and Gabby Concepcion, and starred both Ryza Cenon and Angelika dela Cruz as sisters and antagonists of the show.In February 2017 another dark-sinisterly suspense drama from ABS-CBN focusing on the theme of the dark side of love and obsession The Better Half which starred Shaina Magdayao,JC De Vera,Denise Laurel,and Carlo Aquino as four people entangled in a web of love, deceit, betrayal, mysteries, obsession, and dark secrets. It is known for its portrayal of topics such as Serial murders,rape,hallucinations,nightmares,psychopathy,and Romantic obsession.The show itself combines with Psychological horror,Murder mystery,Psychological thriller,and Gothic romance.
To pit against GMA on daytime, Julia Montes top-billed the ABS-CBN hit afternoon teleserye Doble Kara, which ran between 2015 and 2017. The show was moved in early 2016 to the 3:20 PM time slot after its noontime show It's Showtime extended their time occupation then it competed the remake of Sinungaling Mong Puso in its rival GMA Network. Due to its continuous high ratings, it was extended and became the network's first teleserye to air for more than a year since the 2014 final episode of Be Careful With My Heart. Its lead out teleserye Tubig at Langis, airing in 2016, earned nationwide popularity because of the intense rivalry of lead actresses Cristine Reyes and Isabelle Daza as Irene and Clara, respectively. The network would soon overtake GMA in the afternoon timeslots with the rise of its 2018 series Kadenang Ginto. The show features the rivaling tandems of Dimples Romana and Beauty Gonzalez, and the up-and-coming teen duo Andrea Brillantes and Francine Diaz, and is the country's first TV drama with an all-female prime lead cast group. The show also marked the television comebacks of leading men Albert Martinez, Luis Alandy and Richard Yap.
During the same decade, the live format for teleserye final episodes returned on Philippine television for the first time since the finale of GMA's 2007 Philippine remake of Marimar. ABS-CBN earned national attention in 2016 alone for concluding the runs of short-lived but otherwise popular teen-oriented primetime shows On the Wings of Love and Born for You. On the Wings of Love was the first primetime show starring newcomer tandem James Reid and Nadine Lustre, while Born for You became the first musical-themed teleserye on Philippine television since the end of ABS-CBN's 2006 television adaptation of Bituing Walang Ningning, and marked the primetime debut of Janella Salvador (after starring in Be Careful With My Heart) and network newcomer Elmo Magalona.
The 2008 hit series Lobo produced 2 more sequels Imortal in 2010 and La Luna Sangre in 2017, with all three shows airing on ABS-CBN and starred by Angel Locsin. While Imortal previously starred John Lloyd Cruz, La Luna Sangre was the first primetime project of Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo since the 2016 series finale of the Pangako Sa'Yo remake, as well as the first major project on ABS-CBN by Richard Gutierrez after his tenure on GMA Network and TV5. It was also the first project of Locsin and Gutierrez as a tandem since their popularity on Mulawin on GMA in the mid-2000s. Also, 2018's Halik, also by ABS-CBN, marked the television comeback of Jericho Rosales and featured the rise to prominence of actresses Yen Santos and Yam Concepcion, with the show continuing the trend of controversial dramas on adultery and infidelity of married couples on primetime. The show was soon replaced in 2019 in the timeslot by The Killer Bride. The ongoing gothic romance-thriller show, which marked the first ever collaboration of real-life relatives Maja Salvador and Janella Salvador, is widely praised for its script having perceived commentaries on the country's contemporary issues in the current Duterte administration.
Cenon would soon transfer to ABS-CBN to team up with Martinez in the 2019 military-themed TV drama The General's Daughter, which starred Angel Locsin as the show's titular character. The show also marked the television comebacks of Eula Valdez, Janice de Belen, Tirso Cruz III, Paulo Avelino and JC de Vera, and by mid-2019, firmly established the first ever all-adult-themed Philippine primetime television lineup (with Martin's police-themed Ang Probinsyano, The General's Daughter and Salvador's The Killer Bride), marking a huge shift from the once predominantly family-drama-driven primetime television network schedules in the country.
The year 2020 was defined by temporary suspension of teleserye productions due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Philippines, affecting long-running teleseryes such as Ang Probinsyano, which became the longest-running teleserye to span at least 2 separate decades in the 21st-century Philippine television. In terms of content, Philippine networks have also subscribed to the production of boys' love series due to the popularity of the Thai series 2Gether: The Series.
The range of popularity of Philippine drama since the early 2000s had spun overseas, becoming popular throughout Asia and Africa, and has appealed widely to overseas Filipino communities in North America as well. Teleseryes have since evolved distinctly from most of the world's telenovelas throughout the decades and highlight the country's position among the world's most successful television drama producers. Several of the Philippine teleseryes have emerged as among the most watched television programs in even difficult and huge non-anglophone markets such as Indonesia, Malaysia and China. Considered one of the country's most vital economic and cultural exports, they are often dubbed into local languages and sometimes have English and other foreign subtitles displayed when imported into those markets.
ABS-CBN and GMA are among the pioneering television producers in Asia to have exported their classical dramas, several of which reflect the reality of Filipino (and other similar Asian) societies and have a universal message. Pangako Sa 'Yo is Philippines' all-time most successful TV series globally. Prior to topping the national television ratings in China in the mid-2000s, the story gained wide popularity to more than 1 billion viewers alone in Southeast Asia and Africa. ABS-CBN also introduced a website called ABS-CBN International Sales, for easy access to their shows. Other ABS-CBN shows like Sana Maulit Muli (Taiwan), Lobo (dubbed as She-Wolf: The Last Sentinel), Tayong Dalawa, Dahil May Isang Ikaw, Kahit Isang Saglit, Katorse, the 2010 version of Mara Clara (remake), Magkaribal, Be Careful With My Heart (Vietnam) and Walang Hanggan were also exported. They were followed by simultaneous broadcasts of shows such as Ina, Kapatid, Anak, May Bukas Pa, Forevermore, Till I Met You, Wildflower and the currently-airing television adaptation of Ang Probinsyano at around the same time in the Philippines and overseas by the mid-2010s as a result of their popularity in and out of the country.
GMA Network still holds the record for the highest-rated pilot episodes with both Darna and Encantadia in 2005, and firmly established fantaserye as one of the most viable genres on Philippine primetime television. The network followed suit through the trend of Asianovelas this century with Boys Next Door, a teen melodrama, which was the first Philippine television series aired in South Korea (which is considered one of the top rival exporters of television series in Asia). The 2007 Philippine adaptation of MariMar became GMA's all-time most successful television series in and out of the Philippines, and was aired to wide popularity in Thailand, Malaysia, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Hawaii. Other GMA shows such as Habang Kapiling Ka, Kahit Kailan, Bakekang, Muli, Impostora, Mga Mata ni Anghelita, Dyesebel and Encantadia are still broadcast in some countries in Asia and Africa.
In recent years, Philippine television drama has gained international recognition from international award-giving bodies, cementing the reputation of the Philippines among the world's most prolific television drama producers. Most of these nominated dramas were from ABS-CBN. It started with Lobo, winning the Best Telenovela category in the 30th BANFF World Television Festival. Several dramas were also nominated in the International Emmy for the telenovela category, including ABS-CBN's Kay Tagal Kang Hinintay, Dahil May Isang Ikaw, Kahit Isang Saglit, Bridges of Love and GMA's Magdusa Ka and My Husband's Lover. Be Careful With My Heart of ABS-CBN was recently nominated in the 2013 New York Festivals TV and Film Awards. Angel Locsin, Sid Lucero and Jodi Sta. Maria are, to date, the only Filipinos to be nominated at the International Emmys for Best Actor and Best Actress in a Drama Series for their respective leading TV program roles in the 2009 series Lobo, 2010 series Dahil May Isang Ikaw and the 2015-2016 remake of Pangako Sa 'Yo.
The long-running action drama series Ang Probinsyano has had a wide-ranging effect on Philippine pop culture and society. Touted as the Pambansang Teleserye, the show has won and has been nominated for various awards given by award giving bodies in the Philippines and has also been given citations by various government agencies such as the Philippine National Police and its attached agency, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group and the House of Representatives. The show is widely regarded for tackling timely issues, which has conversely landed it in hot water for its alleged negative portrayal of the government and its agencies. However, netizens, artists, politicians and others immediately came to the defense of the show citing that it is fictional and that the government should instead be cleaning its ranks. The show has also been considered a local kingmaker with its endorsement value being among the highest in the 2019 midterm elections. In relation to this, the show has also become a sought after platform for actors who want to run for public office to raise their profile and visibility among voters. A party-list bearing the show's name, which was endorsed by the series' leads Coco Martin and Yassi Pressman, finished fifth in the same election and secured for itself a seat at the House of Representatives. The show's lead character Cardo Dalisay has also been lauded for being "steadfast and incorruptible" and has become the object of jokes and memes for his supposed "immortality" and the show's longevity on the air. Ang Probinsyano is also a consistent ratings draw, and has been credited with reviving the long suffering action genre in both film and television. The show has also been picked up by Netflix which streams the show under its international title Brothers.
A few Philippine television dramas that have seen international success spawned adaptations in other Asian countries:
- Impostora (GMA): Impostors, Cambodia, 2012.
- Pangako Sa 'Yo (ABS-CBN): The Promise (សន្យាស្នេហ៍), Cambodia, 2013.
- Sana'y Wala Nang Wakas (ABS-CBN): Cinta Tiada Ganti, Malaysia, 2018.
- Kadenang Ginto (ABS-CBN): Putri Mahkota, Indonesia, 2020.
- Love Thy Woman (ABS-CBN): Belenggu Dua Hati, Indonesia, 2020.
- Sino ang Maysala?: Mea Culpa (ABS-CBN): Bukan Salah Cinta, Indonesia, 2020.
- Tayong Dalawa (ABS-CBN): Angkara Cinta, Malaysia, 2020.
- Hanggang Saan (ABS-CBN): Bir Annenin Günahı, Turkey, 2020.
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