drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA Finally Responds to Ipaglaban Mo

A huge test awaits ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ tomorrow afternoon.

Enter ‘Karelasyon’, the upcoming GMA drama anthology hosted by Carla Abellana. The program will showcase a different side of love and relationships, with stories focusing on various ordeals that may affect one’s love for the other.

Throughout the show, various issues such as jealousy, infidelity, individual obsessions and vices, and family and work-related issues will be presented and discussed. As such, sweet and light-hearted moments will be deemphasized in ‘Karelasyon’, but rather, more hostile and confrontational scenes will be the norm.

With the impending debut of ‘Karelasyon’, it seems that GMA has found a more appropriate program to challenge ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. Since premiering on June 7, 2014, ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ has given opposing GMA programs fits, beating ‘Startalk’, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Asian Horror Stories’ in the ratings.

The consistently high ratings of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ posed some problems for ‘Startalk’, whose return to Saturday afternoons last year was met with little to no fanfare. Not even a change of timeslot with the newly-reformatted ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and a reduction in airtime helped matters.

‘Ipaglaban Mo’ also fared better than ‘Asian Horror Stories’ (and its alternate name ‘Tales of Horror’). As a result, GMA decided to do something drastic in hopes of arresting this skid.

Thus, ‘Karelasyon’ was conceived, in order to answer ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. The latter program may not be similar to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ in terms of scope, but is nevertheless helpful in solving issues that are presented in each episode.

Now GMA must hope that ‘Karelasyon’ will deliver a more respectable performance than ‘Ipaglaban Mo”s previous opponents. The pilot episode of the show should be a measuring stick as to how ‘Karelasyon’ will perform in the long term. Good luck.

‘Karelasyon’ premieres tomorrow after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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A Halloween Special: GMA’s Dark, Cruel, and Twisted Weekends

Call it one scary Halloween this year for the folks at GMA.

For much of 2014, GMA has been airing not one, but two horror series every weekend. Anyone who became a fan of both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ must have their hairs raised from all that fear.

Both series have one thing in common: they air nothing but Far Eastern (particularly Korean and Japanese) horror flicks. In addition, both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ occupy the mid-afternoon slots.

These two series were symbolic of how bad GMA’s programming has been through the past several years. Both ‘Tales of Horror’ and ‘True/Asian Horror Stories’ were considered inferior efforts on the part of GMA to stay relevant on weekends, and had no answers to rival ABS-CBN’s programs.

There was a time when GMA used to rule the weekends. Those who grew up in the ‘glory days’ of the network must have heard of shows like ‘Kakabakaba’ and ‘Wag Kukurap’, two locally-produced shows that once helped GMA win the ratings war against its ABS-CBN counterparts like ‘Oka Tokat’ and ‘Nginiig’.

That was then. Now, it looks like the ghosts of programs’ past are beginning to haunt them.

Case in point: the movie-infested daytime slot (e.g. ‘GMA Blockbusters’) on Sundays. Why? Because they are too repetitive and are overly dubbed in the Filipino language, in the process scaring away viewers at every turn.

For GMA executives, the fear of being upstaged by an archrival is real. Whereas before they had the ability to counter and outdo what ABS-CBN is doing, now it seems like they are hiding away from it.

As Halloween approaches, the mood inside the Timog headquarters appear dark and frightening. And for those who know all too well about GMA’s programming every weekends, there is always a reason to feel scared.

Announcement: From the Tube will take a break from October 31 to November 3, in observance of Halloween and All Saints’ Day. The U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Top 10 songs for November 8 will posted on November 4.

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Another Weekend Shuffle on GMA

Sen. Bong Revilla’s ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is moving to the Sunday morning slot, one of several changes that GMA implemented on its weekend lineup.

GMA’s ‘Startalk’, the longest-running showbiz talk show, returns to the Saturday slot at 3:30 p.m. today. However, the move of ‘Startalk’ is just one of several lineup changes made to GMA’s weekend slate of programs.

Suspense series ‘Tales of Horror’ will air every Saturday and Sunday. The series is basically similar to another GMA program in ‘Asian Horror Stories’ (formerly ‘True Horror Stories’), in which horror flicks are featured. ‘Tales of Horror’ airs every Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ and before ‘Startalk’, and every Sunday after ‘Asian Horror Stories’ and before ’24 Oras Weekend’.

Sitcom ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ will now air after ’24 Oras Weekend’, as the game show ‘Picture Picture’ moves to Sunday nights following the said newscast. An earlier timeslot for ‘Vampire’ means that the ABS-CBN sitcom ‘Home Sweetie Home’ will now face the Vic Sotto-starred sitcom every night, while ‘Picture Picture’ will be up against ‘Goin’ Bulilit’.

Movie block ‘GMA Blockbusters’ moves from Saturday afternoons to replace both ‘Picture Picture’ and ‘Reporters’ Notebook’. The movie block airs after ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and before ‘Magpakailanman’. Meanwhile, ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ was moved to Thursday afternoons in GMA’s ‘Afternoon Prime’ block, leaving ‘I-Witness’ as the sole Saturday night public affairs program.

And finally, the educational program ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ has found a new timeslot. The Bong Revilla-hosted program will now be seen on Sunday mornings, as part of a quartet of educational programs that include ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’, and ‘I-Bilib’.

Looking at GMA’s weekend programming lineup, there are some strong and weak points to consider. Moving ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to Sunday mornings will be a huge boost for the program, as it will now attract young and informative viewers. And with ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’ and ‘I-Bilib’ preceding it, viewership of ‘Kap’s’ will definitely help its cause.

Over at the nighttime slot, an additional hour of ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’, while not favorable to some, will benefit a portion of the viewers who are in need of more intelligent programming. ‘KMJS’, one of GMA’s stronger programs, is up against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Rated K’, and ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’.

Meanwhile, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ and ‘Tales of Horror’ are intended to by the network as ‘stopgap programs’, meaning they currently air on a short-term basis while a new program is in the works. In the case of Sunday’s edition of ‘Tales of Horror’, its possible replacement may be an upcoming dance program featuring Marian Rivera.

And then there is ‘Sunday All-Stars’, now relegated to 1:50 p.m. after the transfer of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’. Having reduced its airtime and crew, it is clear that ‘Sunday All-Stars’ is nowhere close to the level that ‘ASAP’ currently enjoys. And a later timeslot only makes the situation even worse.

In what has become a recurring theme in the last few years, GMA restructures its weekend lineup in hopes of gaining viewers’ interest. And again, will this new lineup pay off? Only time will tell.

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