drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s New Rival to Sana Dalawa ang Puso Premieres Monday

GMA has a new series coming up to counter ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’.

After over a month of staying away from the dreaded love team that is Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap (with some sprinkling of Robin Padilla in between), GMA will once again look to defeat the popular tandem. This time, however, they will not have the benefit of TAPE Inc. as a blocktimer and production partner.

Instead, the new series ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be self-produced by the network, the first time they have done that in a pre-noontime show since ‘Cielo de Angelina’ in 2012. But unlike the latter which is more of a tear-jerker, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be done in the same way as ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’: a romantic comedy.

‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be headlined by Camille Prats, Neil Ryan Sese, Ayra Mariano and Bruno Gabriel. Camille (as Ginny) and Neil (as Lance) are single parents still attached to their past, but with some common ground between them (e.g. living in the same condo, enjoy the same brand of coffee), it seems like a relationship is about to bloom.

Their lives will also intertwine with that of their children. Ginny’s daughter Marione (Ayra) and Lance’s son Benjie (Bruno) are also on the verge of falling in love, but it remains to be seen if either or both of their relationships will flourish.

GMA is no stranger to morning romantic series, having aired ‘With a Smile’ and ‘Dangwa’ in years past. Unfortunately, the presence of TAPE’s pre-noontime shows prevented GMA from seriously challenging ABS-CBN’s popular late-morning dramas, which led to both shows’ failure to make an impact.

The curse of ‘JoChard’ has become a long-standing dilemma for GMA ever since ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ premiered in 2012. That said, GMA can only hope for the best with ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’, as this could be their last-ditch attempt to overcome the problem.

If they fail on this objective, it will not be a surprise to see the network return to a pupal state and fill the airtime with ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’. It is either all-out or stay out as far as GMA is concerned.

Directed by Tata Betita and Jojo Nones, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

drama, entertainment, game show, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television, variety show

New Trend: GMA Responds to It’s Showtime Going Overtime

Looks like a new trend in primetime newscasts has begun.

In response to ‘TV Patrol’ now airing at around 6:40 p.m. due to ‘It’s Showtime’ exceeding beyond its allotted time, GMA countered by having rival newscast ’24 Oras’ air 10-20 minutes later than its previous timeslot. To do that, GMA intentionally allowed one of its programs to go past its duration.

That turned out to be the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, which usually airs for only 45-50 minutes at best. But Wednesday afternoon (see episode hashtag below) saw ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ go beyond its usual running time and air for 80 minutes, uncharacteristically long for a teleserye.

GMA’s version of Vice Ganda and company excessively talking for minutes came by way of long commercial breaks. But much like what ABS-CBN allowed (whether intentional or not) ‘It’s Showtime’ to do, isn’t this a little too much for viewers to take?

Consider this: ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival ‘Eat Bulaga’ is only given 2 1/2 hours of airtime by GMA from Monday to Friday due to its blocktimer status. GMA can’t obviously loosen this rule because even Antonio Tuviera is strict enough to enforce such a ruling.

They also cannot allow ‘Wowowin’ to go past its allotted time and go live because of Willie Revillame’s past controversies. The onus fell on one of GMA’s afternoon teleseryes, and that turned out to be its highest-rated program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

This is definitely a bad case of ‘fight fire with fire’. The recent shenanigans of ABS-CBN and GMA dragged its other programs down, and it also affected the airtimes of the respective networks’ late-night newscasts in ‘Bandila’ and ‘Saksi’.

If this game of one-upsmanship continues, both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ might end up airing at an uncharacteristically late timeslot of 7:00 p.m. Not a good way to kick off the primetime slate.

But at least there are earlier primetime newscasts that viewers can tune in to. The choices include PTV-4’s ‘PTV News’ (if viewers can tolerate Erwin Tulfo’s biased reporting), CNN Philippines’ ‘News Night’, Net 25’s ‘Mata ng Agila’, UNTV’s ‘Ito ang Balita’ and even ‘Top Story’ of the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Apologies to T5N’s ‘Aksyon Prime’, but its timeslot inconsistencies are too much to handle. But regardless of that, alternatives in primetime news are worth the time and money.

Still, ABS-CBN and GMA should know all too well that time is precious. They could at least adjust this new trend in primetime programming, but they need to stop allowing its programs to go overtime so as not to compromise the patience of viewers.

drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television, variety show

It’s Showtime Going Overtime Not a Good Sign for ABS-CBN

Overtime has become a trend for ‘It’s Showtime’ of late.

The ABS-CBN noontime show normally runs for three hours at best. But in recent episodes, ‘It’s Showtime’ went beyond that allotted time duration and ended up lasting for another 20-30 minutes (see most recent episode video below).

As a result, the rest of ABS-CBN’s lineup wound up airing at a later timeslot than they usually do. Not a good sign for a network that prides itself for excellence and consistency from morning till night.

Take for instance, ‘TV Patrol’. ABS-CBN’s flagship newscast usually begins at 6:28 p.m., but because of ‘It’s Showtime”s extended run, it was now pushed to 6:45 p.m.

While its ratings were not affected at the moment, many feared that the late start of ‘TV Patrol’ could push more viewers to switch to GMA’s ’24 Oras’. And worse, the longer-than-expected run of ‘It’s Showtime’ could give GMA Afternoon Prime (or at a lesser extent ‘Eat Bulaga’) a much-improved spike in its ratings.

‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ may be ‘It’s Showtime”s most popular segment right now (and the one that essentially ended AlDub as a formidable tandem), but the unnecessary banter could drag the noontime show’s viewership down. And the fact that ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ runs opposite ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is perhaps the biggest concern coming out of ABS-CBN management.

No offense to Vice Ganda and company, but the trio of Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion is having ‘It’s Showtime”s number, particularly once ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ takes place. One thing ABS-CBN would like to do is to eliminate most of the talking and focus solely on the singing itself in order to save a lot of time and viewers.

In doing so, ‘It’s Showtime’ will return to its normal three-hour duration and perhaps add motivation to a struggling Kapamilya Gold. Not only that, ‘TV Patrol’ will be able to start on time and save whatever grace it has left.

But the decision to reduce some of the talk on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will only depend on management convincing Vice Ganda and company to lessen all the banter. Which is not an easy thing to do considering Vice’s mass appeal.

Still, preventing the inevitable loss of viewership is a must for ABS-CBN, particularly when it comes to ‘It’s Showtime’. They may be the No. 1 network in the country ratings-wise, but even ABS-CBN has its own weaknesses that needs to be addressed.

comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

Still Undisputed: Gandang Gabi Vice Claims Another Victim

‘Bossing & Ai’ was cancelled by GMA after only 20 episodes and low ratings opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, no one can stop ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’.

The latest victim of this ABS-CBN Sunday night talk show was ‘Bossing & Ai’, a game show/talk show hosted by Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas. Following its last episode on February 4, GMA quietly cancelled the program without any explanation.

First premiered on September 24, ‘Bossing & Ai’ marked Vic Sotto’s first foray into late-night television after years of producing primetime sitcoms. It also became his first television project with Ai-ai delas Alas following a string of box-office films.

From the moment it first aired, however, it became clear that ‘Bossing & Ai’ was destined to fail. The program only mustered an average of 6% in the Kantar ratings whereas ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ scored around 11%.

The mismatch between ‘Bossing & Ai’ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ was of no surprise considering that ‘Eat Bulaga’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ are also running in the same vein in recent years. It can also be said that Vice Ganda has had Vic Sotto’s number on television unlike in the Metro Manila Film Festival where the two comedy legends seem to be evenly matched.

Overall, ‘Bossing & Ai’ only aired a total of 20 episodes. While it was still eight episodes better than ‘Pare & Pare’ and nine more than ‘Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To’, the run of ‘Bossing & Ai’ remains short by GMA’s standards.

After the cancellation of ‘Bossing & Ai’, GMA reverted back to airing ‘Sunday Night Box Office’ opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ (with occasional airings of Manny Pacquiao’s drama anthology ‘Stories for the Soul’ in between). Perhaps this is their last resort considering the numerous shows that failed against Vice Ganda’s talk show.

It remains to be seen whether or not GMA will once again try to beat ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ with a program of their own. But if ‘Bossing & Ai’ is definitely the last straw, then what a way to wave the white flag of surrender and concede to an unbeatable opponent.

comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

A Look Back at TAPE’s Pre-Noontime Programs

With the cancellation of ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ earlier this February, TAPE decided to cease production of pre-noontime shows after nearly five years. (Photo credit: TAPE Inc. and GMA Network)

Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap.

It all started with this love team, and it all ended with this love team. The duo forever changed the pre-noontime landscape.

Yet one production outfit tried to make things a little more interesting. That outfit happens to be Television and Production Exponents Inc., better known by the acronym TAPE Inc.

The producers of ‘Eat Bulaga’ decided to take a crack at the Jodi-Richard love team by premiering a pre-noontime talk show hosted by a then-seven-year-old Ryzza Mae Dizon. In April 2013, GMA and TAPE launched ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, and for nearly two years, it engaged with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ in a tough battle for ratings supremacy.

Yet ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ continued to roll, and so did its successors ‘Give Love on Christmas’, ‘Oh My G!’ and ‘Ningning’. When TAPE realized that ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’ has outlived its usefulness, they decided to replace the talk show with a light drama in ‘Princess in the Palace’, starring Ryzza alongside Eula Valdes and Aiza Seguerra.

But the move to a drama format did not change its fortunes, and neither did a sitcom in ‘Calle Siete’. Meanwhile, another ABS-CBN series in ‘Be My Lady’ extended the network’s reign in the timeslot.

In October 2016, GMA and TAPE canceled ‘Calle Siete’ and in its place came a coming-of-age light drama in ‘TROPS’, starring the That’s My Bae quintet of Kenneth Medrano, Kim Last, Jon Timmons, Tommy Penaflor, Miggy Tolentino, and Joel Palencia. The said series also ended Ryzza Mae Dizon’s three-year run in the pre-noontime slot amid her physical changes and the emergence of AlDub.

Unfortunately, ‘TROPS’ also failed to make a difference in the ratings. Over at ABS-CBN, their dominance continued with ‘Langit Lupa’ and ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

In a last-ditch effort to make an impact in the pre-noontime slot, TAPE and GMA returned to the talk show format in September 2017 with ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by the lolas of Kalyeserye (portrayed by Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Paolo Ballesteros). It couldn’t have come at a worst possible time, as AlDub was no longer a difference-maker by the time this show premiered.

Sadly, the return of Jodi and Richard (plus Robin Padilla) in ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ put an end to TAPE’s pre-noontime aspirations. As a result, TAPE cancelled ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ after 95 episodes on February 2, 2018, and ceased production of pre-noontime shows.

Give TAPE and GMA a lot of credit for trying to give ABS-CBN a run for its money. But at the end of the day, the latter’s superiority in the pre-noontime slot became too much to overcome, especially with the unlikely duo of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap giving plenty of ‘kilig’ to its viewers.

Now that TAPE ends its production of pre-noontime shows, time will only tell when GMA decides to strike on its own. But for now, the competition is over and GMA will have to live and die with Tagalized movies as a way to wave the white flag.