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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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television, variety show

It’s Showtime Has a More Appropriate Rival, and It’s Not Eat Bulaga

Consider ‘Eat Bulaga’ in the past tense as ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival.

While the two noontime shows have been at each other’s throats since ‘It’s Showtime’ moved to its current timeslot in 2011, recent events suggest that ‘Eat Bulaga’ may no longer consider itself a true rival of the former. Instead, another variety show (albeit on a later timeslot) has taken its place as ‘It’s Showtime”s arch-nemesis.

Enter ‘Wowowin’, the late-afternoon variety show hosted by Willie Revillame and is currently on the air for the past three years. For whatever reason, the ‘relationship’ between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Wowowin’ can be summed up in one word.

Take it away, Spongebob Squarepants.

Throughout the year, most episodes of ‘It’s Showtime’ have run past its allotted three-hour period mainly due to Vice Ganda’s excessive bantering on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. As a matter of fact, one of its more recent episodes concluded at around 4:00 p.m., by far a record time for the noontime show.

GMA is usually strict when it comes to running time, but for some unexplained reason, they did not implement such strictness when it comes to ‘Wowowin’. In the event that ‘It’s Showtime’ goes overtime, GMA countered by allowing ‘Wowowin’ to go past its normal 90-minute duration so that both ’24 Oras’ and ‘TV Patrol’ can start at the same time.

Different timeslots, similar objectives. This is essentially a Willie Revillame and Vice Ganda thing.

Willie, for his part, was the master of working overtime, back when he was still on TV5 for ‘Willing Willie’, ‘Wil Time Big Time’ and ‘Wowowillie’. However, GMA made certain conditions when Willie signed a contract with the network three years ago, such as ‘Wowowin’ only airing on a ‘taped as live’ basis and running for only 90 minutes.

Suffice to say, GMA sort of unleashed the wild side of Willie this year. Which leads to Vice Ganda, who probably learned a thing or two from his frenemy Willie about talking too much.

And for whatever reason, ABS-CBN is simply letting him do the talking for as long as he wants. As a consequence, some of ABS-CBN’s afternoon and primetime programs began to suffer in the ratings, mainly because Vice spoke a little too long.

Perhaps the two can someday have a show of their own that combines the elements of both ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Wowowin’. But then again, they are not usually the best of friends, such as when Vice poked fun over Willie’s tirade a few years ago.

Still, wouldn’t it be great if the two variety show greats appear in public together and talk every once in while? That should make people forget about their excesses.

Either way, both ABS-CBN and GMA should do (and I mean DO) something about this ‘overtime’ thing. This is simply a time-waster and viewers are fed up with it.

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drama, entertainment, humor, movies, Philippines, suspense, television, variety show

Eat Bulaga Creates Another Made-for-TV Movie

Never mind that ‘Eat Bulaga’ is no longer a ratings juggernaut as they were in years past.

The now 40-year-old variety show (technically 39 but the number is considered unlucky for them) is content with what they do best: to make viewers happy. In fact, for the past two years, they even ventured into filmmaking with 2017’s ‘Love Is…’ and this year’s offering.

On Saturday, July 28, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will premiere the mini-movie ‘Pamana’, starring Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros and Maine Mendoza as the Pamilya Nunal from ‘The Barangay Jokers’ series. The show’s other hosts and some unnamed special guests will also play bit roles in this upcoming film.

‘Pamana’, a suspense/comedy thriller, will also mark the directorial debut of Ariel Manalo (birth name of Jose Manalo). Yes, you heard that right: Jose himself directed the film.

For viewers who have watched ‘Eat Bulaga’ for years, going into made-for-TV film territory is something unusual for the long-running variety show even on a normal day. The only times the show dropped its typical segments (e.g. Juan for All) is when it airs its annual Lenten drama specials.

But a show like ‘Eat Bulaga’ is definitely not content in visiting barangays and giving the audience an opportunity to win prizes on a regular basis. Going above and beyond the basics is something the show has long desired to do for years.

Which is why last year’s ‘Love Is…’ and this year’s ‘Pamana’ is a refreshing break from the norm. After all, no one wants to get bored with the same old formula over and over again.

Good luck, ‘Eat Bulaga’. May ‘Pamana’ be worth the price of admission to your viewers.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Kapag Nahati ang Puso: A Worthy Challenger or Another Footnote to Sana Dalawa ang Puso

This time, GMA is taking things seriously to the late-morning slot.

After failing to hit paydirt with the light romantic comedy ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and the light musical drama ‘My Guitar Princess’, GMA decided to go with a much heavier approach. The new series, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, is uncharacteristic for a late-morning drama in which the story is more serious and emotional.

Coincidentally, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will star Bea Binene, who will once again encounter the faces of ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ in Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap. The last time JoChard and Bea faced each other was in 2012, when the former’s ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ sent the latter’s ‘Cielo de Angelina’ packing after only a few weeks.

And much like their previous encounter, JoChard’s light-heartedness (with some sprinkling of Robin Padilla in between) will clash with Bea’s serious and dramatic demeanor. So how will this latest installment play out?

But back to ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ in general. In the series, Bea plays Claire, a young woman who grew up without any memory of her parents.

Her biological mother is Rio (Sunshine Cruz), a simple island beauty who soon falls in love with Nico (Zoren Legaspi), a rich and happy-go-lucky tourist from Manila. However, Nico’s ex-girlfriend Miranda (Bing Loyzaga) thwarted their relationship, causing Rio to lose her family and leaving Nico to take care of Claire.

When Rio later returns to the Philippines a successful woman, she and Claire cross paths not knowing that the latter was the former’s mother. Both would end up falling in love with Joaquin (Benjamin Alves), and along with a jealous Miranda, will soon threaten to destroy both of their lives.

Also part of ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ are David Licauco, Raquel Villavicencio, Robert Ortega, Sharmaine Santiago, Geleen Eugenio, Nar Cabico and Freddie Webb in a special participation. The series is directed by Gil Tejada Jr.

Considering the streak of good fortune for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’, GMA will once again be hard-pressed to give this series a run for its money. That said, the network can only hope that ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ will not turn into yet another 35 or 50-episode bust of its predecessors and instead become a decent 80-episode series that viewers will always talk about.

‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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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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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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