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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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

Snubbed: 24 Oras Does Not Mention Coco Martin in Chika Minute Report on MMFF

It is obvious that GMA wants no part of Coco Martin.

The ‘Ang Probinsyano’ star will have an official entry into the upcoming Metro Manila Film Festival starring alongside Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza. But in Wednesday’s news report from ’24 Oras’, Coco was not mentioned at all during the clip.

Also during that night, ‘TV Patrol’ aired a similar report about Coco’s upcoming film. Unlike GMA, however, ABS-CBN showed some respect to its rival by including the names of Vic Sotto and Maine Mendoza in the clip.

Talk about getting humiliated. After all, when ‘The Cure’ ends later tonight, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ will have conquered past nine different GMA teleseryes in a span of nearly three years.

But this is not about a rivalry between two of the Philippines’ top networks. It is about a collaboration between Kapuso (or Dabarkads in the case of Vic and Maine) and Kapamilya stars in a future MMFF entry.

Unfortunately for GMA, they failed to keep the peace or the friendly rivalry in order (at least for this clip). Their blatant disrespect for Coco Martin made it clear that the network is desperate to conquer its older and more accomplished rival at all costs.

Any mere mention of Coco’s name on GMA News reports would mean that Kapuso viewers may switch to Channel 2 just to see Cardo in action. That said, GMA is simply avoiding this predicament for the purpose of improving its ratings (which unfortunately hasn’t been in their favor for a long time now).

But what if Marian Rivera and Dingdong Dantes suddenly collaborates with, let’s say, Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla in a future MMFF film? Would GMA also be willing not to mention KathNiel in a news report?

Or what if some of its young talent like Barbie Forteza and Jak Roberto join forces with the likes of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano? Would GMA likewise not give LizQuen the proper treatment?

Perhaps GMA should change that notion and give its regards to a perennial adversary. There is nothing wrong with mentioning actors from another network as long as it is done with proper respect.

The same goes with ABS-CBN, although at least they did a good job in referencing Vic and Maine. Setting aside that hatred is worth a try.

In the end, GMA only made a long-standing feud worse by disregarding an actor of Coco Martin’s stature. ‘Ang Probinsyano’ may have dominated against its Kapuso rivals, but the lack of respect that GMA showed is so uncalled for.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Road Trip: Another Short-Term Solution in GMA’s Late Sunday Afternoon Timeslot?

Instability has defined GMA’s late Sunday afternoon slot.

Since ‘Juan Tamad’ ended its 29-episode run in March 2016, five different programs were placed at the 4:45 p.m. slot on Sundays. They are:

  • Alamat – six episodes from May 15 to June 19, 2016.
  • Conan, My Beautician – 13 episodes from June 26 to September 18, 2016.
  • Usapang Real Love – 14 episodes from September 25 to December 18, 2016.
  • People vs. the Stars – 14 episodes from January 15 to April 16, 2017.
  • Follow Your Heart – 13 episodes from April 23 to July 16, 2017.

Talk about running in the short term. With the exception of ‘Alamat’ which was only slated for six episodes, every program that GMA placed in the timeslot was given only 13 to 14 episodes to broadcast.

The fact that late Sunday afternoons are usually the least-watched period on Philippine television may have played a factor on why GMA continues to experiment with short-term programs in this timeslot. And come this Sunday, that experiment is expected to continue when they premiere a travel show called ‘Road Trip’.

Produced by no less than GMA News and Public Affairs, ‘Road Trip’ is a one-hour show that will feature celebrities and their friends and family going on a field trip to some of the country’s most breathtaking destinations. The program’s premiere episode will see Carmina Villaroel, Zoren Legaspi, and twins Mavy and Cassy go to Batanes.

Future episodes of ‘Road Trip’ will also feature the likes of Rochelle Pangilinan, Max Collins, Andrea Torres, Kris Bernal, Arny Ross, Jinri Park and Meg Imperial. So while news of celebrities going on vacation are a regular sight in tabloids and entertainment websites, GMA is now using it as a tool to create a reality series in ‘Road Trip’.

Now here is a very crucial question. Can ‘Road Trip’ survive past the 13th or the 14th episode?

On a normal basis, Filipino travel shows tend to last for only a few episodes. Case in point: ABS-CBN’s ‘G Diaries’ and TV5’s ‘Lakbai’, which lasted 13 and eight episodes respectively.

That said, it will not be a surprise to see ‘Road Trip’ conclude after only 13 or 14 episodes. But if this program manages to survive past those numbers, then it will be a huge morale boost for GMA.

‘Road Trip’ airs starting this Sunday at 4:45 p.m. on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

Why GMA’s Teleserye Countdown Timer is Overrated?

GMA is going to great lengths in hopes of winning back its audience.

The past two weekends saw the network post a countdown timer for their soon-to-air series ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘My Love from the Star’ (see example from ‘Dear Uge’ below). This timer was flashed during most GMA programs (exceptions are variety shows, other blocktimed programs and select GMA News shows).

The reason is unclear, but it is presumed that GMA is using the timer to promote and add some hype to their upcoming series. To be honest, though, the utilization of a countdown timer for nothing but promotion of a program is very overrated.

For starters, GMA has long been an advocate of the countdown timer, having been used to advertise not only dramas but also variety shows and other network-produced programming. However, not even the addition of a timer is enough to jack up ratings of a particular show.

‘Encantadia’, for example, had a countdown timer in the days leading up to its premiere last year. Unfortunately, despite the good reviews and the positive reception from viewers, the fantaserye failed to keep up with the juggernaut that is ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

GMA also made a countdown timer for AlDub’s ‘Destined to Be Yours’. Even though it was hyped well, the series regularly fell short to ‘My Dear Heart’ mainly because Maine Mendoza’s acting is still raw by viewers’ standards.

Contrast that to ABS-CBN’s own approach to promote a teleserye. Rather than utilizing a countdown timer like GMA does, they take advantage of the hype through social media, on-demand streaming and a strong regional and global presence.

So where does GMA stand at this point? Considering that they still have a long way to go before closing in on ABS-CBN’s national (and global) superiority, they should focus more on strengthening their regional and international reach, a deficiency that they continue to endure for many years now.

The power of social media is also a necessity for GMA to aggressively promote their programs. However, they must engage more in order to make an impact.

There are plenty of options to promote a drama. But a countdown timer for GMA teleseryes and other programs? That is unnecessary and distracting.

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entertainment, live events, Philippines, television

A Look Back at the First and Only GMA Artist Center Ball

Remember the first and only time GMA held the Artist Center Ball?

On November 8, 2011, the GMA Artist Center staged its own ball at the Shangri-La Hotel in Makati. A majority of Artist Center talents attended the event, each of whom showed up in their most elaborate attire.

The GMA Artist Center Ball was presented in response to the growing glamor of ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball. At the time it was held, the Star Magic Ball had been staged five times since its inception in 2007.

The theme of the 2011 event was about the launching of the short-lived Profiles magazine. It was supposed to be GMA’s answer to the annual Star Magic catalogue magazine, but it only had one catalogue before it was shut down that same year.

Unfortunately, the 2011 Artist Center Ball marked the last such event for the network. Lack of funds, declining television ratings and programming concerns were too much for GMA to handle, and they have not produced a ball since.

On the contrary, ABS-CBN’s Star Magic Ball continues to put on a show for all of its talents. In fact, the tenth edition of the ball will take place tomorrow night, which should only add insult to injury for GMA’s Artist Center and even to Entertainment department head Lilybeth Rasonable.

Five years after the last Artist Center Ball, there are still questions of what might have been. Regardless of the unfortunate circumstances, Kapuso faithful can only hope for the best, as GMA tries to make sense of their ongoing dilemmas.

For those who may have forgotten the last GMA Artist Center Ball, Pep.ph has some interesting photo galleries to show for. Click the following links and look back at a time when Kapuso stars used to show up in their glamorous dresses and suits for this occasion.

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