Philippines ABS-CBN Launches “Bagman” Series at FilMart

Filipino media company ABS-CBN is launching action-drama series The Bagman as a remake of its own digital production Bagman and will launch at Hong Kong’s FilMart next week.

The original “Bagman,” which ran for two seasons and was sold to Netflix in the Philippines, follows a neighborhood barber who gets a job as the governor’s henchman and gets caught up in a dangerous web of crime, corruption and political unrest.

That’s a familiar story for ABS-CBN itself. The company was the number one broadcaster in the Philippines until 2020. But it dared to criticize then-President Rodrigo Duterte’s policies, noting that his television licenses were not renewed. Since losing its television operations, ABS-CBN has repositioned itself as a bulk content company, working as a producer with other producers and broadcasters and posting news on its website, streaming service iWantTFC and YouTube channels. It also operates related businesses in talent management and events.

The new show takes a narrative leap from the end of “Bagman.” Convicted prisoner and former governor Benjo Malaya hears the tragic news of his missing family. He has no choice but to return to the evil underworld he left and this time, take on a new mission for the incumbent President of the Philippines, Fixer, to stop a looming civil war.

The group introduces The Bagman as their 2023 international co-production, following success with the previous series Cattleya Killer, which launched at MIPCOM in 2022. The eight-episode show is said to be produced by Filipino companies – ABS-CBN International Production Division and Dreamscape Entertainment, Rein Entertainment and Nathan Studios. There are no known international partner companies.

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The Bagman will star Arjo Atayde, who reprises his Benjo Malaya character, a role that earned him the Best Actor award at the 2020 Asian Academy Creative Awards.

“Having had the privilege of being the first Filipino company to show a series at MIPCOM, we are honored to continue the success of ‘Cattleya Killer’ with our new premium drama series ‘The Bagman,'” said Ruel S. Bayani , head of the international production department of ABS-CBN. “We remain committed to providing Filipino representation in an engaging and fun way in today’s global marketplace. Packed with action, suspense and dark humor, I have no doubt that ‘The Bagman’ will captivate audiences around the world.”