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, Philippines, television

Is It Time for GMA to End Contessa’s Saturday Experiment?

‘Contessa”s first few episodes did not impress viewers. Even its first Saturday episode failed to deliver. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Talk about a complete 360.

Through its first nine episodes as of April 4, GMA’s ‘Contessa’ was only able to average 10% in the ratings according to Kantar. In contrast, ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ raked in around 17%, and while its numbers declined by around 2% during the Holy Week, it was still enough to dispatch ‘Contessa’.

Even the first Saturday episode of ‘Contessa’ on March 24 was a flop, as it earned only 9.9% compared to ‘It’s Showtime”s 17.4%. By comparison, the finale of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ which aired the previous Saturday finished with a 20.6% rating, 10.7% better than its successor.

The slow start of ‘Contessa’ should cause plenty of concern within GMA Network. Following up a successful afternoon drama in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was no easy task, but no one expected ‘Contessa’ to fall way below expectations.

In the days leading up to its premiere there were some doubts on whether or not ‘Contessa’ will have a Saturday episode. Initially, GMA considered having ‘Contessa’ air only from Monday to Friday, but when the network realized that they lack suitable replacements for the 2:30 p.m. slot, they reluctantly added a Saturday episode on ‘Contessa’.

In doing so GMA gave ‘Contessa’ enormously high expectations to succeed. Unfortunately, ‘Contessa’ didn’t come close to sustaining ‘Ika-6 na Utos” high viewership, and it also didn’t help that its first foray into Saturdays failed to produce the desired result.

Perhaps it is those bandwagon viewers that only showed up during ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and then switched to ‘It’s Showtime’ and other programs once it ended. Or perhaps GMA dramas have had a history of starting slow and then occasionally picking up ratings midway through.

Whatever the reason, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved from the get-go. Adding a Saturday episode was a huge mistake and the possibility of viewer burnout became more apparent.

But as far as GMA is concerned, ‘Contessa’ has had only one Saturday episode so far (there was no episode during Black Saturday) so it is too early to tell. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not succeeding episodes will increase viewership and give ‘Contessa’ some much-needed respectability.

If it does not improve, the onus is on GMA to end its Saturday experiment on ‘Contessa’. Good luck.

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