Tv Shows

GMA exports ‘Lolong’ to Indonesia; ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’ a hit in Malaysia

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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GMA exports ‘Lolong’ to Indonesia; ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’ a hit in Malaysia

GMA's teleserye 'Lolong' gets an Indonesian remake, while the Malaysian adaptation of ABS-CBN's 'The Legal Wife' ends on a high note.

Composite image of screenshots from Radius One/GMA Network Inc.

GMA Network says 'Lolong' began airing this week on Indonesia's ANTV, as the Malaysian remake of ABS-CBN's teleserye 'The Legal Wife' ended on a high note in June

MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine broadcasting company has exported its television series, Lolong, to Indonesia, in another indication of the potential of the country’s creative economy.

Leading broadcast firm, GMA Network Incorporated (GMA), announced that the action-drama series started this week on Indonesia’s free-to-air tv network, ANTV, with the title Dakkila.

GMA said ANTV reaches 130 million people via 37 relay stations in 155 cities in Indonesia. The Philippines’ southeast Asian neighbor has a population of around 270 million. 

Quoting ANTV, GMA said “the series perfectly fits the Indonesian TV audience’s taste for the fantasy genre as their viewers enjoy shows featuring special animal characters or mythical creatures.” 

Lolong tells the story of a man’s “extraordinary friendship” with a giant crocodile named Dakila.

GMA exports ‘Lolong’ to Indonesia; ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’ a hit in Malaysia

Lolong, produced by GMA Public Affairs, dominated Philippine prime time in 2022, the second year that saw its former rival, ABS-CBN Corporation, without free-to-air television. 

Lolong’s cast included Ruru Madrid, Christopher de Leon, Jean Garcia, and Bembol Roco, among others.

The series was the Philippine winner for Best Visual/Special Effects in a TV Series or Feature Film at the 2022 Asian Academy Creative Awards. GMA used animatronics for the special effects of the giant crocodile.

GMA exports ‘Lolong’ to Indonesia; ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’ a hit in Malaysia

GMA said Lolong is the “first Filipino title” acquired by ANTV. However, it is not the first Philippine show acquired by an Indonesian network. 

In 2012, noon variety show Eat Bulaga!, then run by Television and Exponents Production Incorporated (TAPE) CEO, Antonio P. Tuviera, became the first Philippine TV show to be franchised internationally.

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Eat Bulaga! Indonesia began airing in July 2012 on Indonesian network, SCTV, and had a two-year run. Years later, The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia was launched in another channel, ANTV. In 2019, on its 40th year, Eat Bulaga! got its second international franchise, in Myanmar.

In January this year, GMA Network signed a 5-year partnership with video streaming service, Viu, that brought GMA titles The Write One and Love Before Sunrise this year exclusively on Viu Philippines. 

Meantime, the Malaysian remake of the ABS-CBN teleserye, The Legal Wife, ended last month on a high note as it enjoyed high ratings and engagement on social media, the publicly listed Philippine media and entertainment company said.

The Malaysian adaptation, Isteri Halal, premiered last February on Astro cable channel, Astro Ria. It had 70 episodes with its last episode on June 2.

Produce by Radius One, the remake got strong ratings in the 6 pm time slot, ABS-CBN said. It aired weeknights on Astro’s cable channel, Astro Ria.

According to its website, Radius One is an award-winning production house with 25 years experience in production of feature films, TV dramas and documentaries. 

ABS-CBN said the Malaysian adaptation “stays true to the original series while highlighting Malaysian culture that appeals to its local audience.” It stars Malaysia’s award-winning actors Isyariana Che Azmi, Aidit Noh, and Uqasha Senrose.   

@radiusone_official Official Trailer Isteri Halal📺 #radiusone_official #dramaradiusone #fouryoupage #radius1tv #isterihalal #fypppppppppppppppppppppppp #fyppppppppppppppppppppppp ♬ original sound – Radius One

Astro Ria’s head, Norzeha Mohd Salleh, according to ABS-CBN, was elated over the show’s overall quality and its reception from Malaysians.

“The combination of its great cast and a great director makes ‘Isteri Halal’ a must-watch nightly, certainly living up to the standards set by the original ABS-CBN series. We are also delighted with the viewership feats it has amassed since its premiere, and we are overwhelmed with the support from our avid audiences,” Norzeha said. 

Netizens reportedly talked about Isteri Halal on social media, garnering millions of views across Facebook, YouTube, and Tiktok, ABS-CBN said.

First shown in the Philippines in 2014, The Legal Wife stars Angel Locsin, Maja Salvador, and Jericho Rosales. The story revolves around two childhood friends who yearn for a father’s love, and end up falling for the same man that entangles them in an affair “filled with lust, deceit, and betrayal.”

GMA exports ‘Lolong’ to Indonesia; ABS-CBN’s ‘The Legal Wife’ a hit in Malaysia

In 2020, Astro, Malaysia’s leading content and entertainment company, adapted the ABS-CBN 2009 drama, Tayong Dalawa, with the title Angkara Cinta. ABS-CBN said it ended its run as the “most-watched show on Astro Prima” that year. 

Content Asia, an Asia-based outfit that provides intelligence information on entertainment, said Isteri Halal was part of 10 Malaysian adaptations in 2022. 

Other Malaysian remakes were the French comedy series, Call My Agent; crime thriller Liar from All3Media International; and, Dendam Seorang Isteri, an adaptation of the K-drama series Temptation of Wife.

Isteri Halal, along with three other scripted series, made drama the winning formats genre for Malaysia in 2022,” Content Asia said.

It added that Astro was the “biggest formats buyer” in Malaysia by volume, with 8 out of 10 adaptations in 2022. 

ABS-CBN also said in March this year that it continued to expand its international reach with dubbed versions of teleseryes The General’s Daughter, Love Thy Woman, A Mother’s Guilt, Sino ang Maysala?: Mea Culpa, and A Love to Last in Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Kannada, and Malayalam on India’s biggest streaming platform, Mx Player

In January, it said that Hanggang Saan, Love Thy Woman, Sino ang Maysala?: Mea Culpa, Maalaala Mo Kaya, and Wansapanataym were available on Indonesian streaming platform, Vidio.

Former economic planning secretary Cielito Habito, in a recent column, said it was time the Philippines makes a big push for its “creative economy.” Citing figures from the Korea Foundation for Cultural Exchange, he said Korea’s Hallyu had contributed $12.3 billion to its economy in 2019, equivalent to 13% of Philippine exports that year. –

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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.