A Secret No More: Richard Gutierrez Joins ABS-CBN

Richard Gutierrez has found a new home.

On Wednesday, May 31, ABS-CBN held a press conference to announce the acquisition of the former long-time GMA artist. In a statement, Richard told the media about his decision to join ABS-CBN.

“I have always been curious how it is to work in ABS-CBN. I only hear great things about this network. Finally, now I’m here, I’m excited that I have been given the opportunity to work here.”

Richard graced the much-anticipated event alongside his mother Annabelle Rama, ABS-CBN COO for Broadcast Cory Vidanes, Star Creatives COO Malou Santos and Finance head for Broadcast and News and Current Affairs Cat Lopez. The news quickly spread like wildfire on social media, with many netizens congratulating Richard on his decision.

Prior to joining ABS-CBN, Richard Gutierrez made his mark on rival GMA Network, starring in teleseryes such as ‘Mulawin’, ‘Lupin’, ‘Sugo’, ‘Kamandag’, ‘Codename: Asero’ and ‘Captain Barbell’. He also starred in films such as ‘Let the Love Begin’, ‘Mulawin: The Movie’ and the ‘Mano Po’ franchise.

Richard’s most recent series was the TV5/Viva production ‘Ang Panday’, which aired last year. He also made a few guest appearances on ABS-CBN programming during a four-year period as a freelancer.

The first salvo for Richard with the Kapamilya network will be the upcoming fantasy-action series ‘La Luna Sangre’, starring alongside Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. Although former ‘Mulawin’ co-star Angel Locsin will also make an appearance on the third installment of the ‘Lobo’ franchise, don’t expect the one-time love team to appear on-screen together.

However, ABS-CBN did announce that a planned reunion of Richard and Angel in an upcoming Star Cinema film is in the works. In addition, another untitled Star Cinema movie alongside Angelica Panganiban is also planned for Richard.

Let’s just hope that ABS-CBN will make good use of Richard Gutierrez. With a reputation of turning fading stars back to relevance, this is an opportunity for the network to once again weave their magic on a talent that still has some mileage left.

Why GMA’s Teleserye Countdown Timer is Overrated?

GMA is going to great lengths in hopes of winning back its audience.

The past two weekends saw the network post a countdown timer for their soon-to-air series ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘My Love from the Star’ (see example from ‘Dear Uge’ below). This timer was flashed during most GMA programs (exceptions are variety shows, other blocktimed programs and select GMA News shows).

The reason is unclear, but it is presumed that GMA is using the timer to promote and add some hype to their upcoming series. To be honest, though, the utilization of a countdown timer for nothing but promotion of a program is very overrated.

For starters, GMA has long been an advocate of the countdown timer, having been used to advertise not only dramas but also variety shows and other network-produced programming. However, not even the addition of a timer is enough to jack up ratings of a particular show.

‘Encantadia’, for example, had a countdown timer in the days leading up to its premiere last year. Unfortunately, despite the good reviews and the positive reception from viewers, the fantaserye failed to keep up with the juggernaut that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA also made a countdown timer for AlDub’s ‘Destined to Be Yours’. Even though it was hyped well, the series regularly fell short to ‘My Dear Heart’ mainly because Maine Mendoza’s acting is still raw by viewers’ standards.

Contrast that to ABS-CBN’s own approach to promote a teleserye. Rather than utilizing a countdown timer like GMA does, they take advantage of the hype through social media, on-demand streaming and a strong regional and global presence.

So where does GMA stand at this point? Considering that they still have a long way to go before closing in on ABS-CBN’s national (and global) superiority, they should focus more on strengthening their regional and international reach, a deficiency that they continue to endure for many years now.

The power of social media is also a necessity for GMA to aggressively promote their programs. However, they must engage more in order to make an impact.

There are plenty of options to promote a drama. But a countdown timer for GMA teleseryes and other programs? That is unnecessary and distracting.

Mulawin vs. Ravena Premiere Means New Characters for Ang Probinsyano

The threat is indeed real.

With the premiere of GMA fantaserye ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ later tonight, long-running ABS-CBN action series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ introduced a new slate of supporting actors that will add more color to an already endless story. They are:

  • John Arcilla
  • Angel Aquino
  • Ejay Falcon
  • Jhong Hilario
  • Lito Lapid
  • Mark Lapid
  • Sid Lucero
  • Long Mejia
  • Pokwang
  • Mitch Valdes

These actors will join the main cast that features Coco Martin, Ms. Susan Roces, Yassi Pressman and Awra Briguela, among others. Ironically, John Arcilla was last seen in the just-concluded GMA fantaserye (and ‘Ang Probinsyano”s archrival) ‘Encantadia’, where he was cast as Hagorn.

Another chapter soon. #FPJAP

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The addition of new actors indicate that another fresh storyline for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ is about to take shape. After all, a new rival in ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will come into play and the best way for the former to maintain viewer interest is to introduce new characters and plots to keep up with its latest adversary.

Speaking of ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, the sequel to the popular early 2000s fantaserye ‘Mulawin’ is 12 years in the making. The original series (led by Richard Gutierrez and Angel Locsin) became a huge hit when it first aired, and with the creation of the sequel, the bar is raised even higher.

‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ will feature stars such as:

  • Dennis Trillo (as Gabriel)
  • Heart Evangelista (as Alwina)
  • Carla Abellana  (as Aviona)
  • Tom Rodriguez (as Rodrigo)
  • Lovi Poe (as Magindara)
  • Regine Velasquez (as Sandawa)
  • Bianca Umali (as Lawiswis)
  • Derrick Monasterio (as Almiro)
  • Bea Binene (as Anya)
  • Miguel Tanfelix (as Pagaspas)
  • Ariel Rivera (as Panabon)
  • Chynna Ortaleza (as Reyna Rashana)
  • David Licauco (as Malik)
  • Dion Ignacio (as Siklab)
  • Valerie Concepcion (as Tuka)
  • Roi Vinzon (as Daragit)
  • JC Tiuseco (as Tangos)
  • Winwyn Marquez (as Ribery)
  • TJ Trinidad (as Greco)
  • Angelu de Leon (as Lourdes)
  • Bobby Andrews (as Dionisio)
  • Charee Pineda (as Savanna)
  • Joko Diaz (as Antonio)
  • Martin del Rosario (as Aramis)
  • Kiko Estrada (as Rafael)
  • Nova Villa (as Lola Elo)

Directors Dominic Zapata and Don Michael Perez will once again breathe life into ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, just as they did with the original ‘Mulawin’.

Heading into tonight, the challenge for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ is a daunting one. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ has been a ratings juggernaut for nearly two years now and not even the efforts of its predecessor ‘Encantadia’ was enough to topple the former.

That said, the best chance for ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ might come from viewers who are becoming disenchanted with ‘Ang Probinsyano”s endlessly dragging storyline. With the latter’s new characters coming into play, this may be an opportunity for some to switch channels and watch something different and pleasing.

Still, with too many loyal viewers siding with ‘Ang Probinsyano’, the task will not be an easy one. So, good luck to GMA in their efforts to sway the momentum away from Coco Martin and company.

Encantadia’s Last Stand (For Now)

The retelling of ‘Encantadia’ is down to its last few episodes, sort of.

For the past 10 months, ‘Encantadia’ gave ‘Ang Probinsyano’ all they could handle. For every gunshot and fist that Cardo (Coco Martin) throws to all criminal masterminds, the Sang’gres respond with mystical powers that could not only repel the forces of evil, but also help revive their allies who have previously died.

The epic story of ‘Encantadia’ will have a total of 218 episodes when it was all said and done. With so many episodes (not to mention recurring characters) made, it should have been a feel-good tale for Kapuso fans around the world.

Instead, ‘Encantadia’ simply could not keep up with the more compelling series that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’. As of May 12, the former’s average rating is 24% per episode, which is not enough to overcome the near-40% marks that ‘Ang Probinsyano’ tallies.

Having spent a lot of money using elaborate production sets and nearly half of GMA’s roster of artists, the below average performance of ‘Encantadia’ should cause a lot of concern for GMA management. After all, the broadcast of the series brought in some high expectations considering the original series’ immense popularity.

Unfortunately, big-budgeted fantaseryes no longer work in this day and age. The focus of Philippine television is on the here, now and future (e.g. digital and high-definition broadcasts), and for whatever reason, GMA simply mortgaged that future in favor of quick fixes that do not go their way.

 

That said, ‘Encantadia”s long run will not be remembered for its mystical tales or its memorable characters. It will only be remembered for three things: ambitious, expensive and underwhelming.

Looking ahead, GMA will have another fantaserye (Mulawin vs. Ravena) that will once again question their financial capabilities. It a shame, but regardless of critical opinion, GMA will continue to risk them all in hopes of finally getting the victory, even if it means draining the last remaining reserves in their back pocket.

Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko Brings Fantasy Back to GMA

GMA will once again go the fantasy route this Sunday night.

After fusing comedy and adventure with ‘Tsuperhero’, the network decided to take a more magical approach. This led to a new program called ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, starring Ms. Gloria Romero, Jillian Ward, David Remo, Julius Miguel and Chlaui Malayao.

In ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, Lola Goreng (Ms. Gloria) acts as the narrator alongside her grandchildren Alice (Jillian) and Elvis (David), an orphan named Moira (Chlaui) and another child named Jorrel (Julius). Each episode will feature value-filled and playful stories that people of all ages will enjoy.

‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ will also feature special celebrity guests during each episode. For the pilot, Marian Rivera will appear as a guest for the week.

GMA is no stranger to the world of primetime fantasy programs, with shows such as ‘Okay Ka Fairy Ko’, ‘Mga Mahiwagang Baul’ and ‘One Day Isang Araw’ among the most notable examples. If ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ seems familiar to the average viewer, it is that they are once again using the power of an elderly woman to tell a story.

But while GMA has produced some memorable fantasy programs, the network has not been able to replicate the success of ABS-CBN’s long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. After all, this show has long dominated Sunday nights for over a decade.

Even worse for GMA is the fact that they have not figured out a way to win during Sunday primetime. In the case of ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, their potential opponents ‘The Voice Teens’ and ‘Wansapanatym’ are considered top-raters every Sunday night, thus adding to the endless expectations that the show is about to experience.

That said, GMA can only hope that ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ will give their viewers something more relevant and enthusiastic to offer. The onus is now on this show to make an impact.

‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ airs every Sunday starting April 30 on GMA.

In 100 Words: TV5’s ‘Choose Courage’ Station ID

TV5 under Chot Reyes is all about ‘courage’.

The network’s latest station ID was unveiled two weeks ago, and it featured the network’s newest offerings summarized in a one-minute film. The message of the station ID was simple: people should always overcome challenges and find the strength to escape fear.

As far as the station ID goes, the message may be prophetic, but what is the point when there are still some weaknesses to address. Remember the talk about TV shopping and News5 show reruns, not to mention all the problems that AksyonTV faces?

That said, unless Chot Reyes addresses these glaring issues, the ‘Choose Courage’ slogan that TV5 projects this year will not apply today. Until then, TV5 must take the long road in order to prove that they are indeed ‘courageous’.