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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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Surprising ‘Bagito’ Premieres on Primetime Bida

An unexpected selection from ABS-CBN takes over Primetime Bida tonight.

In a last-minute decision, the Kapamilya network announced Friday afternoon that ‘Bagito’ will air on the slot that was vacated by the recently-concluded ‘Pure Love’. The upcoming coming-of-age teleserye premieres later this afternoon.

Like more recent Kapamilya dramas, young and emerging talents will be the focus of attention on ‘Bagito’. The series will be topbilled by Nash Aguas and Alexa Ilacad, with fellow young actress Ella Cruz providing a supporting role.

Also joining the series are veterans Agot Isidro, Ariel Rivera and Angel Aquino. Completing the cast are Paolo Santiago, Alex Diaz and Gimme 5 members Joaquin Reyes, John Bermundo, Grae Fernandez and Brace Arquia.

‘Bagito’ focuses on a teenage boy who suddenly takes on the responsibility of being a father. The series will look at how the boy ended up impregnating a fellow teenager and how he will shoulder the burden of nurturing a child at a young age.

Before becoming a teleserye, ‘Bagito’ was first written as a Wattpad story by well-renowned author Noreen Capili. The entry soon gained popularity among Wattpad readers, with reads of over 100,000 as of today.

Initially an afterthought when it was first promoted, ‘Bagito”s unexpected entry into Primetime Bida came as a huge surprise to viewers. After all, much of the focus has been on the three returning Kapamilyas in Maxene Magalona, Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin, stars of ‘Dream Dad’ and ‘Flor de Liza’ respectively.

In fact, ABS-CBN had already been prepared to replace ‘Pure Love’ with ‘Dream Dad’, and even went as far as unveiling the full trailer of the series Thursday night.

But that all changed Friday afternoon.

The full trailer of ‘Dream Dad’ was taken down from ABS-CBN Entertainment’s YouTube account. Soon after, a trailer for ‘Bagito’ was aired later that night, and then it was announced that ‘Dream Dad’ would premiere on November 24, this time replacing ‘Hawak Kamay’.

Even with a stunner of an entry, ‘Bagito’ should pose little problems in attaining decent, if not high viewership numbers. With GMA using this timeslot for the replay of the Koreanovela ‘Coffee Prince’, expect ‘Bagito’ to lord it over in the ratings against an inferior opponent.

It may have been a last-minute decision from ABS-CBN management, but should ‘Bagito’ succeed in the ratings, it will be all worth it.

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No Sibling Rivalry in Premieres of Dream Dad and More Than Words

There will be no rivalry between the children of the late ‘Master Rapper’ Francis Magalona on Philippine television.

Fresh from re-signing with ABS-CBN, Maxene Magalona will co-star alongside Zanjoe Marudo and child actress Jana Agoncillo in ‘Dream Dad’. The series will also star Beauty Gonzales, Yen Santos, Ana Feleo, Katya Santos, Ketchup Eusebio, Ariel Ureta and Gloria Diaz.

‘Dream Dad’ will focus on an orphan who searches for a loving family, and a bachelor who tries to mend a broken heart by focusing on his family’s welfare. Ultimately, their lives would change after they cross paths with one another.

(Due to unforeseen circumstances, the full trailer of ‘Dream Dad’ on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s official YouTube was taken down as of November 14).

Over at GMA, younger brother Elmo Magalona will reunite with ‘Villa Quintana’ co-star Janine Gutierrez in ‘More Than Words’. Also starring in this series are Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Leni Santos, Jaclyn Jose, Gardo Versoza, Yayo Aguila, Enzo Pineda, Stephanie Sol, Mayton Eugenio, Mikoy Morales and Coleen Perez.

The story of ‘More Than Words’ will revolve around two individuals: a teenage boy whose memory was lost following an accident, and a daydreaming female student who created an imaginary ‘dream boy’ in one of her blogs. After finding the supposed boy of her dreams, they would grow fond of each other, while the boy begins a new life with his adoptive parents.

While ‘Dream Dad’ will premiere in its expected timeslot, the same cannot be said for ‘More Than Words’. It was supposed to premiere November 3, replacing both ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’, but GMA management wanted none of the possible sibling rivalry between the Magalonas, and as a result, they hastily re-aired ‘Coffee Prince’ on the timeslot that was supposed to be filled by ‘More Than Words’.

Then in a somewhat surprising decision, they moved the premiere date of ‘Second Chances’, which was supposed to replace ‘Ilustrado’, to the first quarter of 2015. And to top things off, both ‘Strawberry Lane’ and ‘Hiram na Alaala’ will now be moved to later timeslots, paving the way for ‘More Than Words’ to occupy the slot after ’24 Oras’.

Thus, ‘More Than Words’ will go up against the soon-to-conclude ‘Hawak Kamay’ while ‘Dream Dad’ will face the re-airing ‘Coffee Prince’ on their respective networks.

It will be interesting to see how both Magalonas fare in their respective new series, but even in different networks, they will always be family off-screen. Good luck.

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Another Last-Minute Change Further Ruins GMA Telebabad

‘More Than Words’, starring Elmo Magalona and Janine Gutierrez, was supposed to premiere November 3, but was moved instead to November 17. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It is becoming an infectious habit for GMA Telebabad to screw its viewers.

Last Friday, the official Facebook account of the upcoming Kapuso teleserye ‘More Than Words’ announced that they would air starting Monday, November 3. However, in a last-second move, GMA decided that the series will air beginning November 17 instead.

And in a rather awkward change of direction, GMA chose to air a re-run of the Koreanovela ‘Coffee Prince’ yesterday, as a replacement to the fill-in programs ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’. As Timow’s Turf pointed out, the decision of GMA to re-air ‘Coffee Prince’ was in response to government station PTV-4’s airing of ‘Here Comes Mr. Oh’, which is really pointless given that PTV-4 is not a rich network giant that GMA is.

In essence, the latest programming change implemented by GMA’s entertainment division only made things even more complicated.

By re-airing ‘Coffee Prince’ on the early evening slot, GMA has essentially conceded defeat to ‘Pure Love’, one of ABS-CBN’s strong primetime performers. The Filipino remake of the Koreanovela ’49 Days’ has been a thorn on GMA’s side since its premiere, as it beat the likes of ‘My BFF’, ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’.

Because of that, expect nothing from ‘Coffee Prince’ on primetime since it is a re-run. Sorry GMA, but ‘Coffee Prince’ is no ‘Meteor Garden’.

With regards to ‘More Than Words’, the postponement of its premiere came at a not-so opportune time. The historical drama ‘Ilustrado’ is on its final two weeks, and it is expected to be replaced by the Jennylyn Mercado-starred series ‘Second Chances’.

Given the recent tendency for GMA to cram its teleseryes on primetime, it seems likely that GMA will use this strategy once again, just to include ‘More Than Words’ on Telebabad. This should spell disaster for the Kapuso network, as the potential eight-pack would push ‘Saksi’ to the more dreaded 11:15-11:30 slot, and worse, further the gap between Telebabad and ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

Already wrecked by poor ratings and lack of bankable and relatable stars, this latest blunder only shows how dilapidated GMA Telebabad is now. And unfortunately, it only gets worse from here.

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GMA Again Answers Meteor Garden with Jewel in the Palace

‘Jewel in the Palace’ will again be aired on GMA starting next Monday. The Asianovela was a ratings hit in the mid-2000s.

‘Meteor Garden”s re-run on ABS-CBN has been a tremendous boost to the network’s weekday afternoon programming. And with the said Asianovela continuing to rake in high ratings, GMA needs a quick response.

They got one, in the form of their own highly-rated Asianovela in ‘Jewel in the Palace’.

The re-run of ‘Jewel in the Palace’ is slated to air starting May 26 on GMA, replacing ‘Mischievous Kiss’. The said Asianovela first aired in the mid-2000s, and during its initial broadcast, the show provided a boost in GMA’s teleserye dominance at the time. It was so successful that it was later re-run on the Kapuso network.

The theme song of the initial broadcast of ‘Jewel in the Palace’ was Faith Cuneta’s version of ‘Pangarap na Bituin’, which was later remade by Sarah Geronimo for the ABS-CBN teleserye of the same name. However, it was not used in the first re-run, and it is still unknown if the title song will again be used for the upcoming re-run.

‘Jewel in the Palace’ was considered the first of a series of highly-rated GMA Asianovelas in the 2000s, one that later included ‘My Name is Kim Sam-Soon’, ‘Jumong’, ‘Full House’, ‘Endless Love’, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, ‘The Baker King’, ‘Coffee Prince’, and ‘Attic Cat’. These shows, along with GMA’s fantaseryes, contributed to the network’s dominance in the middle part of the decade.

But more importantly, the success of ‘Jewel in the Palace’ helped Kapuso viewers forget about ‘My MVP Valentine’, GMA’s first Asianovela which flopped against ‘Meteor Garden’ in its initial broadcast.

It remains to be seen whether or not ‘Jewel in the Palace’ will once again become a ratings hit. But for GMA, they seem to have found a perfect way to celebrate their own 10th anniversary of bringing Asianovelas to Filipinos, and a perfect antidote to the success of ‘Meteor Garden’.

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