drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Onanay: A New GMA Series with a ‘Little’ Twist

‘Bagani’ now has a ‘little’ problem, literally.

The ongoing ABS-CBN teleserye will face a new challenger starting Monday, but this is not an ordinary drama series. Instead, GMA’s ‘Onanay’ will be led by an actress who may be physically short as an adult but is big in potential.

The actress in question is Jo Berry, who suffers from dwarfism which causes her to remain short in height as an adult. In ‘Onanay’, Jo is Onay, a mother of two born with Achondroplasia which is a bone growth disorder that impeded her growth.

Her two daughters Maila (Mikee Quintos) and Natalie (Kate Valdez) has contrasting personalities. While Maila is cheerful, obedient and respectful of her mother, Natalie is spoiled, arrogant and ashamed of her mother’s condition.

The series will also feature a special appearance from Ms. Nora Aunor, who will portray Onay’s mother Nelia. In addition, Ms. Cherie Gil will play Helena, Onay’s mother-in-law and a wealthy owner of a fashion magazine, who is determined to give Onay and Nelia’s life a living hell.

‘Onanay”s other cast members include Gardo Versoza, Wendell Ramos, Rochelle Pangilinan, Vaness del Moral, Enrico Cuenca, and Adrian Alandy. The series will be directed by Gina Alajar.

Talk about starting small and dreaming big. For someone as little as Jo Berry, getting into show business takes a little luck and determination, but GMA did not find her short stature as a detriment to conquering the entertainment world.

However, ‘Onanay’ should have a lot to worry about moving forward. While it has the potential to become a critically inspiring drama, it will only depend on how viewers will be able to relate to this series.

And considering that ‘Bagani’ is still dominant in its timeslot, ‘Onanay’ may have a hard time keeping up with the duo of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Regardless, not all are LizQuen fans, and ‘Onanay’ can only hope that they can turn these doubters into believers.

It will be interesting to see how a midget can rise to the occasion and become a bonafide star. This is what ‘Onanay’ will look forward to as they get underway.

‘Onanay’ airs weeknights after ‘Victor Magtanggol’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on Sirkus

GMA’s new weekly fantaserye ‘Sirkus’ premiered last January 21 and has had a mixed performance since. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

A fantaserye on a Sunday night?

This is exactly what GMA delivered when it premiered ‘Sirkus’ last January 21. But in contrast to the network’s other fantaseryes, ‘Sirkus’ is a production of the GMA Public Affairs group (notorious for bringing non-news programs to the network) and it only airs once a week.

The premise of ‘Sirkus’ is that of two fraternal twins Mia (Mikee Quintos) and Miko (Mikoy Morales) finding themselves in the company of a traveling circus in order to escape from the clutches of an evil villainess. Throughout their quest, the motive behind the villainess’ obsession to catch them will be revealed and their true identities will also be discovered.

Also part of the cast of ‘Sirkus’ are Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Klea Pineda, Gardo Versoza, Ms. Cherie Gil, Divine Tetay, Gerald Acao, Zoren Legaspi and Angelu de Leon. The director is Zig Dulay.

When the series was first introduced to the public in late December, many thought that ‘Sirkus’ would replace ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ as the opponent of the long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. However, GMA had other plans in mind.

Not only did the network keep ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, it also made significant changes to the late afternoon-early evening Sunday timeslots. As a result, ‘Sirkus’, which replaced the travel series ‘Road Trip’, was assigned to the 6:30 p.m. timeslot and ’24 Oras Weekend’ was bumped to an earlier time.

Through two episodes, ‘Sirkus’ has had mixed results in the ratings. Its debut episode barely defeated ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ by 0.4%, but the following week saw ‘Sirkus’ slump by 4% to its opponent.

Given the often volatile financial situation of GMA, it was a better idea for them to just produce a weekly fantaserye instead of one that airs on weeknights. But to be produced by GMA Public Affairs instead of GMA Entertainment is once again a desperate act altogether.

Whatever the case, one can only hope that ‘Sirkus’ will be the start of many elaborate once-a-week projects that GMA embarks. Such series is for the better of the network at this point because they need all the money in the world to focus on technological improvements that will make them more viable in the age of digitization.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Starts Tonight, Seeks to Topple La Luna Sangre

KathNiel, meet BiGuel.

It seems like nothing can stop ABS-CBN’s ‘La Luna Sangre’. After all, since it premiered last June it became the second most-watched teleserye in the Philippines behind only ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

Three times GMA has tried to curb the dominance of ‘La Luna Sangre’, and three times they miserably failed. After striking out with ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2, they decided to go fire with fire by going with a supernatural theme and a love team.

Their response is a teleserye titled ‘Kambal Karibal’, starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. In the series, twin sisters Crisanta and Criselda (Bianca) battle for the love of both her family and Diego (Miguel), with the already dead Criselda consumed by Crisanta’s increasing affection for Diego and her mother.

The story begins with the death of Criselda from a rare disease, leaving her spirit behind that only appears to Crisanta. But after Crisanta gains the favor of Diego and her mother, Criselda decides to inhabit another person’s body in an attempt to stop Crisanta from getting the love that she deserves.

‘Kambal Karibal’ also stars Jean Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Alfred Vargas, Carmina Villarroel, Gloria Romero, Christopher De Leon, Jeric Gonzales, Pauline Mendoza, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Sheree, Racquel Montessa, and Kyline Alcantara. Katrina Halili and Gardo Versoza will also play special roles in the series.

If ‘La Luna Sangre”s ratings of over 30% and a disparity of over 15% are any indication, then ‘Kambal Karibal’ is in for a rude awakening. The powerhouse cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’, led by Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla and Kapuso castoffs Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez, continues to wreak havoc, and it will be very difficult for BiGuel to overcome KathNiel.

Nevertheless, the battle between ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Kambal Karibal’ should be an interesting one. Not only will this be a competition between love teams, it will also be a fight between vengeful vampires and possessed spirits.

Directed by Don Michael Perez, ‘Kambal Karibal’ airs weeknights after ‘Super Ma’am’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can AlDub Rule Primetime with Destined to Be Yours?

Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza’s biggest test lies ahead.

After spending over a year captivating viewers with their spontaneous ‘kilig’ and acting skills on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye, the popular love team now moves over to primetime for a new challenge. As a reward to their enduring success, GMA and APT Entertainment gave Alden and Maine a new project in hopes of conquering a new audience.

Enter ‘Destined to Be Yours’, the upcoming drama series which will air later tonight on GMA Telebabad. It will be Alden’s first lead primetime series since the ill-fated mini-drama ‘Ilustrado’, while it will be the first for the still-relative newcomer Maine.

In ‘Destined to Be Yours’, Benjie (Alden) is an up-and-coming architect who spearheads a construction project in the mountainous area of Pelangi. As fate would have it, he meets Sinag (Maine), a radio jock in the province, and the two soon fell in love with each other.

However, their philosophical differences would soon get in the way of their relationship. That said, it will be up to them to sort their issues and find true love within their hearts.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ will also star Janice de Belen, Boots Anson Roa, Lotlot de Leon, Gardo Versoza, Tommy Abuel, ina Feleo, Ronnie Henares, Sheena Halili, Dominic Roco, Juancho Trivino, RJ Padilla, and Koreen Medina. It will be directed by Irene Villamor.

While Alden and Maine have established themselves as a love team to be reckoned with, conquering primetime will not be easy for the two. The dominance of ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida, in particular, has taken its toll on GMA Telebabad, and for the network, giving AlDub a teleserye of their own could be the block’s last chance at survival.

It will also be interesting to see if AlDub on primetime can win over netizens on social media. Considering how highly successful ABS-CBN is in drawing millions of tweets for their shows, GMA will definitely have their hands full trying to make an impact online with AlDub’s newest series.

As AlDub takes over GMA Telebabad, it remains to be seen if their overwhelming success on noontime will translate over to primetime. With high expectations mounting, GMA can only hope that Alden and Maine will deliver and reverse course for the seemingly moribund Telebabad block.

‘Destined to Be Yours’ airs weeknights after ‘Encantadia’ on GMA Telebabad.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

The End of A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo?

Is it really over for ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’?

Last Thursday, the GMA-produced sitcom aired its so-called season finale, with the hashtag #A1ThankYou. In the episode, Digna (Jaclyn Jose) held a Thanksgiving party to celebrate the return of Kaycee (Denise Barbacena) and her reconciliation with her husband Rolly (Gardo Versoza).

While the episode probably signaled the conclusion of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ as viewers know it, the show’s Facebook page tried to pacify concerns by promising another season in the near future. Still, any hope of a return may be questionable considering the year-round approach of Filipino programming.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ first premiered on June 2, 2016 as GMA’s first weeknight sitcom in nearly a decade. The show immediately lived up to its billing as a sexually-themed sitcom, emphasizing more mature situations that are not suitable for young kids.

The premiere of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ was at the time an attempt to revive the seemingly moribund KiliTV block. In fact, GMA promoted both ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ and ‘Bubble Gang’ in various 30-second clips in order to draw interest from comedy fans.

Unfortunately for GMA, ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ did not exactly revive the glory days of KiliTV. The sitcom initially fared well against ABS-CBN’s Filipino-dubbed ‘Jane the Virgin’, but it soon lost momentum against the ever-popular yet controversial ‘Pinoy Big Brother: Lucky 7’.

Let’s face it, ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ was not a bad sitcom. It was a fresh concept that is as daring as it can get, in contrast to more family-oriented sitcoms that viewers became accustomed to.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ also helped GMA reduce its overdependence on Koreanovelas. During its 26-episode run, various GMA Koreanovelas run for only three times a week, enabling it to run a lot longer than usual.

But now that the sitcom is all but history (for now), expect Koreanovelas to once again dominate GMA’s late-night programming. It’s a sad development considering that GMA wanted to place another show on weeknights to alleviate its burden on Koreanovelas.

It remains to be seen if ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ will ever come back as promised. But for now, it’s good riddance for the show.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

With A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo, KiliTV Return Imminent

Remember GMA’s KiliTV block?

Back in the early and mid-2000s, GMA used to have a comedy block that immediately aired after GMA Telebabad (around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m.). Some of the most memorable programs that once aired on the KiliTV block include:

  • Kool Ka Lang
  • Nuts Entertainment
  • Idol Ko Si Kap
  • Beh Bote Nga
  • Lagot Ka, Isusumbong Kita
  • Daddy Di Do Du
  • Bahay Mo ‘Ba To
  • Bubble Gang

By 2008, however, KiliTV was deemphasized in favor of an extended GMA Telebabad. Today, ‘Bubble Gang’ was the lone program left from the original block.

Eight years later, however, a revival of the KiliTV block appeared to be in the works. As GMA shifted its focus to comedy/romance in some of their Telebabad series (e.g. ‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Juan Happy Love Story’), it was only fitting that a new comedy program will consolidate all of that.

Tonight, GMA proudly presents ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, a sexy sitcom that should make every Thursday nights hotter and funnier. The program will be led by Jaclyn Jose, who will play the role of a talent manager who searches for a perfect beauty queen.

Also starring in ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ are Gardo Versoza, Solenn Heussaff, Sef Cadayona, Denise Barbacena, Gee Canlas, Benjamin Alves, Roi Vinzon, Ervic Vijandre and Mara Alberto. It will be directed by Randy Santiago.

With the entry of ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’, the Koreanovela slot of GMA Telebabad will now be reduced to just three episodes per week. This should not pose a problem, as most Koreanovelas tend to have fewer episodes.

Still, it remains to be seen if ‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ can revive the presence of sitcoms on weeknights. That said, expect an interesting first few weeks for the sitcom, as they try to convince viewers that change is once again on the horizon.

‘A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo’ airs Thursday nights after ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ on GMA.

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