drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko Looks to Make Saturdays Relevant Anew

As stubborn as they come.

Even in a losing cause GMA continues to defy the norm. Their insistence comes in the form of one afternoon drama that airs from Monday to Saturday.

Initially they only used this formula for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, by far their most successful afternoon drama in the recent past. But later dramas such as ‘Contessa’ and ‘Ika-5 Utos’ proved to be flukes as neither show was able to keep viewers tuned in six times a week.

And after only 36 episodes, GMA demoted ‘Ika-5 Utos’ to a later timeslot to make way for yet another ‘kabitserye’. As far as the new series ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ is concerned, there is no need to explain, not even the story itself.

(Spoiler alert: one of the lead characters is a gay man who underwent sexual reassignment surgery ala Jake Zyrus to become a woman)

For those who still want to check in on the plot, just click this link. Enough said.

Anyway, ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ will be led by Kris Bernal, Rayver Cruz, Thea Tolentino and Jason Abalos. The supporting cast will include Lotlot de Leon, Devon Seron, Annalyn Barro, Caprice Cayetano, Jean Saburit, Ricardo Cepeda, Maricris Garcia, Matthias Rhoads, and Phil Noble.

While ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ has some recognizable names and an intriguing yet familiar storyline, the challenge now for the show is its ability to keep viewers glued to their seats from Monday to Saturday. Considering its opponent is ‘It’s Showtime’, it is not going to be an easy task, especially on Saturdays.

That said, GMA can only hope that ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ will give Vice Ganda and company a lot more than they can chew. If not, then it will not be a surprise to see GMA demote this series and try a new strategy every Saturday.

Directed by Mark Sicat dela Cruz, ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ airs every Monday to Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Desperate Times: Ika-5 Utos Represents GMA’s Last Hope for Six-a-Week Relevance

Let’s state the obvious to begin with.

On Monday, September 10, GMA will introduce a new drama called ‘Ika-5 Utos’. And the series will air from Monday to, not Friday, but Saturday afternoons after ‘Eat Bulaga’.

‘Ika-5 Utos” main plot centers around three families whose bonds will be destroyed by a series of incidents. The series, in particular, will take a look at the issue of hazing in college fraternities.

The cast of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ includes Jean Garcia, Gelli de Belen, Valerie Concepcion, Jake Vargas, Kiko Estrada, Inah de Belen, Tonton Gutierrez, Antonio Aquitania, Jeric Gonzales, Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda. The series, like its sister program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, will be directed by Laurice Guillen.

So another teleserye that will air six times a week? It seems like GMA is obsessed with this new habit.

And since they do not have any further ideas to fill in on a Saturday afternoon (they do not even bother producing a program to match ABS-CBN’s ‘Pareng Partners’), they are stuck with using a teleserye as a desperate ploy to boost ratings. But as seen in the ill-fated tale that is ‘Contessa’, it was a flawed strategy to begin with.

The approach initially worked on ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ due to ‘insistent public demand’ (its finale earned around 20% despite airing on a Saturday). But when ‘Contessa’ took over viewers were soon fed up by GMA’s over-saturation tactics, and instead opted to watch either Vice Ganda running his mouth on national television or Netflix shows online.

As a result, ‘Contessa’ underachieved and GMA’s strategy backfired. With that in mind, ‘Ika-5 Utos’ is now stuck in the crossroads that will either appease its audience to watch the series or force GMA to finally admit the problems in its approach.

It will be interesting to see how this latest maneuver plays out. Can ‘Ika-5 Utos’ deliver on a six-a-week basis, or will GMA ever regret making this risky move?

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Contessa Bids Farewell

The merciful end of ‘Contessa’ has finally arrived.

After a run of 147 episodes, ‘Contessa’ will officially close its book Saturday afternoon. And while 147 episodes seem like a successful run by GMA’s standards, its performance was anything but.

When ‘Contessa’ began, GMA initially penciled the series to air only from Monday to Friday. But when no suitable replacement for the Saturday timeslot came, GMA reluctantly added a Saturday episode to ‘Contessa’.

That said, GMA placed extremely high expectations on ‘Contessa’. They thought that airing ‘Contessa’ six times a week would capitalize on the gains made by its predecessor ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. ‘Contessa’ started slow, registering ratings of under 10% during its initial few weeks.

While the series was able to increase its ratings to 12-14% over the next several months, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved in comparison to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Many viewers felt that the series was never compelling enough to begin with and some even went as far as comparing ‘Contessa’ to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to its similar themes.

It also did not help that ‘Contessa’ struggled against ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. Even with the criticism surrounding the latter’s penchant to go overtime (thank you Vice Ganda), ‘Contessa’ was unable to capitalize simply due to the viewers’ apathy of the situation.

If there is one solace for ‘Contessa’, it is that it gave Glaiza de Castro a chance to play the victim. Normally known for her antagonistic roles, Glaiza’s complete 360 on ‘Contessa’ proved that she is just as good playing the compassionate and sometimes vengeful characters.

Still, it did not change the fact that ‘Contessa’ never became a hit series despite its long run. Let’s face it, adding a Saturday episode was a mistake and viewers got burned out, consequently resulting in poor ratings.

In the end, GMA should learn a harsh lesson from this debacle. Airing a series five times a day was enough, but six was simply too much to feed your viewers.

On Saturday, it will be ‘Contessa”s last stand. Perhaps the time has come for GMA to end this charade once and for all.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, talent show, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 10)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2:26 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ starts with highlights from yesterday’s episode. Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ introduces Luzon contender Charity Fabon.

2:29 p.m. – Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) and Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) reconcile.

2:32 p.m. – Vice Ganda and Vhong Navarro interview Charity after a stirring performance.

2:37 p.m. – Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) fights the police and gets involved in an accident. ‘Contessa’ takes a break while Vice, Jhong Hilario and an audience member converse.

2:42 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with Vito on the verge of escape. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Vice’s shenanigans continue.

2:45 p.m. – News of Vito’s escape reach the Imperials and Bea/Contessa. And more Vice Ganda shenanigans.

2:47 p.m. – Remember the mansion of Lola Nidora on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye? This is where the Caballeros take refuge, but Vito is lurking nearby.

2:49 p.m. – Commercial time for ‘Contessa’. It’s already 23 minutes since the episode started.

2:53 p.m. – Visayas contender Bless Ebarita is introduced.

2:55 p.m. – After a second MTRCB SPG advisory, ‘Contessa’ returns with Bea/Contessa showing a serious look on her face. Flashback scenes of Vito and Bea/Contessa are played in the background.

2:58 p.m. – Vice and Anne Curtis talk to Bless following her performance.

3:01 p.m. – Another break for ‘Contessa’.

3:07 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back from commercial. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is about to head to a commercial themselves.

3:10 p.m. – The 3:00 p.m. prayer is now being aired on ABS-CBN, just as Vito attacks Bea/Contessa’s friends.

3:11 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break anew.

3:17 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back with a standoff down at the Caballero household. Looks like the show will finish on time.

3:20 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is not yet through with its commercial and ‘The Stepdaughters’ is about to begin.

The end result: It turns out ‘Contessa’ is not to blame for GMA’s ‘overtime’ and ‘long commercials’ shenanigans. But the question remains, which GMA show is to criticize for the network’s ‘play fair’ strategy against ABS-CBN?

From the Tube will continue to monitor this ongoing saga between GMA and ABS-CBN throughout the day. Thank you for joining us.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 9)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Monday, July 9, 2018

2:28 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ got underway with a standoff between the police and Duquessa (Gabby Eigenmann). Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts Vhong Navarro and Anne Curtis interviews Luzon representative Marvin Dacillo on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

2:33 p.m. – Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) was proven innocent while Duquessa was accused of the murder of Bea’s husband and parents. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, the TNT judges comment on Marvin’s performance.

2:35 p.m. – Commercial break for ‘Contessa’. It’s already seven minutes into the episode.

2:39 p.m. – It’s time for the second TNT contestant. Introducing Sherry Ann Archer, who represents Visayas.

2:41 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, and Bea/Contessa is officially released from prison. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Jhong Hilario rings the gong on Sherry Ann who is promptly disqualified for singing out of tune.

2:44 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ takes a break, while Bea/Contessa was interviewed by the media.

2:48 p.m. – Duquessa is taken out of prison, prompting a commercial break for ‘Contessa’.

2:54 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, but not after a second SPG advisory from the MTRCB.

2:57 p.m. – ABS-CBN airs the customary 3:00 p.m. prayer.

2:58 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces the Mindanao contestant for ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan, Roy Limcaoco.

3:00 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break after Vito/Duquessa threatens to choke Bea/Contessa.

3:06 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns, having already spent 38 minutes on the air.

3:11 p.m. – Another commercial break for ‘It’s Showtime’ even as Bea/Contessa visits the grave of her husband Marco (Mark Herras).

3:13 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break too.

3:14 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is already on its fourth commercial break. Looks like it will finish on time, contrary to my expectations.

3:19 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with a visit to Vito’s prison from his family.

3:22 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end, just as ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces its Mindanao contender Roy Limcaoco. So ‘Contessa’ didn’t go overtime, only lasting 54 minutes.

3:28 p.m. – Jeramae Narca, the Metro Manila contender and defending champion, wins today’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. That ends ‘It’s Showtime’.

The end result: Neither show went to overtime, at least for today.

Catch us again tomorrow for another live blog. Thank you for joining us.

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entertainment, Philippines, talent show, television, variety show

Another Installment of Tawag ng Tanghalan Could Burn Out Viewers After Short Hiatus

That didn’t take long too.

Only a few weeks after crowning Janine Berdin as the second adult champion of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, ‘It’s Showtime’ wasted little time in once again presenting the ever-popular singing competition. But the question is, will this cause a ‘burnout’ to the madlang pipol?

Since its return to the small screen on January 2, 2016, there have been four separate editions of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ that took place on ‘It’s Showtime’. A look at the following editions suggest that ‘It’s Showtime’ has been holding the competition at a seemingly non-stop pace.

  • Tawag ng Tanghalan 1: January 2, 2016-March 11, 2017 (370 days); won by Noven Belleza
  • Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids: March 13-June 10, 2017 (75 days); won by Jhon Clyd Talili
  • Tawag ng Tanghalan 2: June 12, 2017-June 2, 2018 (303 days); won by Janine Berdin
  • Tawag ng Tanghalan 3: June 25, 2018-present (4 days and counting)

In all, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ accumulated a total of 752 episodes. That total alone is equal to around nine 80-episode teleseryes combined.

The only time the competition really took a break was from June 4-23, and that was when ‘It’s Showtime’ tried to experiment with the Talent Olympics segment to appease the viewers. However, the segment only lasted a few episodes and it forced the show to bring back the Season 2 finalists for a return engagement.

Even though ‘It’s Showtime’ continues to win over ‘Eat Bulaga’ (and even ‘Contessa’) in the ratings behind ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, at this point the segment’s biggest concern is its staying power. Having held almost non-stop for over two years, the least that the show could have done is to take a long breather, but instead, ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ was back on track after a rather pedestrian three weeks.

That said, can viewers remain invested in the competition? After all, holding a popular singing competition for the last two years can be cause for exhaustion, impatience and boredom.

The least that ‘It’s Showtime’ can do now is to maintain if not enhance the ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ experience, but not to the point of going overtime like they have been doing of late. That’s easier said than done though, and if they make a mistake or two of dragging the product to the limit, viewers may lose interest.

The next few months will be a litmus test to see if ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will still have some juice left after over two years of virtually non-stop competition. With that in mind, it is up to ‘It’s Showtime’ to either keep the good times going or suffer the consequences (we’re looking at you, Vice Ganda).

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