TRend­ing TV STARS

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which pre­miered on Jan­uary 9, 2017, is GMA’s prime­time ro­man­tic com­edy se­ries star­ring Bar­bie Forteza, Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Ivan Dorschner, and Addy Raj.

Directed by LA Madride­jos, who has done work for the Ka­puso tele­seryes Tsu­per­hero and Juan Happy Love Story and for the drama an­thol­ogy Mag­pakailan­man, this gem of a show fol­lows the life of Billie Ben­di­ola (Bar­bie Forteza), a sim­ple, street-smart lass who, de­spite life’s hard knocks, al­ways looks on the bright side of life.

Billie’s life takes a more col­or­ful and fun turn when four guys—Jai Pa­tel, Ethan Hughes, Yuan Lee, and An­doy Dela Cruz, col­lec­tively known to fans as JEYA ( played re­spec­tively by Addy, Ivan, Ken, and Jak)—en­ter the pic­ture and com­pete for her af­fec­tion.

With its sim­ple sto­ry­line and punch­lines, Meant To Be is a breath of fresh air on prime­time TV, where it airs Mon­days to Fri­days, from 9:15 to 10 p.m.

“So­brang happy ako sa rom­com, kasi nga walang pres­sure, ef­fort­less, at saka masaya ’yong work­ing en­vi­ron­ment,” Bar­bie says in her YES! in­ter­view. “Ayoko rin kas­ing ma-type­cast sa isang genre lang, e. Nakaka­pag­drama na ’ko, host­ing, hor­ror, com­edy, rom­com, in­die films.

“Kaya din happy ako, kasi binibi­gyan ako ng GMA ng free­dom para gawin ang gusto ko, na may ti­wala sila sa akin na hindi ko na­man ’ni­lala­gay sa de­likadong sit­wasyon ’yong sar­ili ko, na tatang­gap ako ng project na hindi ako sig­u­rado.”

Ac­cord­ing to Direk LA, it was writer Renei Dimla who pro­vided the “germ” that got the ball rolling for the cre­ative team. “Sa kanya [Renei] nang­gal­ing ’yong idea na nag­bi­gay ng out­line ng kuwento. Then, even­tu­ally, no’ng nagmi-meet na ’yong group, may mga nag-pitch na, may mga mod­i­fi­ca­tions na. Unti-unti, nabuo. Hang­gang ngayon, nasa process siya ng paglaki.”

In an email sent to YES!, Meant To Be head­writer and con­cept creator Renei Dimla says that Korean ro­man­tic come­dies pro­vided in­spi­ra­tion for the story:

“We were asked to think of a con­cept for Bar­bie and a new ka-love-team. She was in­volved in a ‘love square’ in That’s My Am­boy, so I sud­denly had this thought, what if we make it more com­pli­cated? Mul­ti­ply the num­ber of men who will vie for her heart?

“As for the ac­tual writ­ing part, be­ing a fan of Korean ro­man­tic come­dies helped. When I was given the head­writ­ing job, there was only one thing I was cer­tain about, and that was,

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