Canned hits

Edgar O. Cruz - The Philippine Star
Canned hits

Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, stars of Lethal Weapon

MANILA, Philippines - With the solid chemistry between leads Mel Gibson as Detective Martin Riggs and Danny Glover as Detective Roger Murtaugh who never let a bad grip lose until the heroics are done, the action-spattered, humor-peppered and bullet-riddled Lethal Weapon franchise is widely acknowledged as the best buddy cop thriller of all time.

Lethal Weapon with Clayne Crawford as Riggs and Damon Wayans as Murtaugh polished it for the small screen as a series while ABS-CBN dubs it in Taglish broadcasting Saturday nights at 10 p.m. The hot launch of the new shows, canned shows have never been so good for programming. Besides breaking the routine, it provides an alternative to the menu.

Now considered a cornerstone of local TV programming, the proven track record of canned shows is high viewership from country of origin that rarely fails to rate. Mexico’s Marimar turned out strong enough to introduce the telenovela craze  here, lording it over the night and later day timeslots and attracting an overload of advertisers.

From 100 percent, local content three seasons ago, ABS-CBN primetime programming has  downsized to 85 percent local productions plus the unheard of imported weekend series. It’s always a rough time when local new shows pilot. Startup cost is high and there’s no assurance ratings and advertising income will hit goals. That’s why networks go for mixing regular programming with options.



ABS-CBN prime programming now opens and closes with Legend of the Blue Sea and Goblin. This is said to answer the huge clamor for K-crazy drama series, which are perceived by the viewing publics as better made and more entertaining than local kinds. But Koreanovelas have taken over not for lack of alternatives but for the Asian flavor.

And replacing hit series with no-fail substitutes such as My Dear Heart with La Luna Sangre or The Greatest Love with the timeslot shifter The Better Half and Pusong Ligaw. Adapted franchises like Bet on Your Baby and the recently closed I Can Do That are also in the must-do list at the Kapamilya network.

A big factor for this beneficial strategy is cost efficiency. With built-in demand, take-off time is immediate that compensates for the short legs of one season. It’s not like saying goodbye to local productions. They’re just playing it safe with diversity in relation to rising costs and stiffer competition.

Now we can speculate how ABS-CBN breaks like clockwork net income targets annually.

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