comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Not a Good Sign: The Declining Interest of Late-Morning Dramas on Philippine Television

‘Playhouse’ is only averaging around 13% in the ratings, a far cry from past late-morning teleseryes aired on ABS-CBN. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

There was a time when late-morning teleseryes on television were a thing in this decade.

It started in 2012 when the unlikely pairing of Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap took off with ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. The series became an immediate hit, reaching ratings of as high as 27%, and ran for over two years.

From then on, ABS-CBN kept the wheel rolling, airing either romantic comedies such as ‘Oh My G!’, ‘Be My Lady’ and ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ or kid-oriented tear-jerkers like ‘Ningning’ and ‘Langit Lupa’. ABS-CBN even tried to get serious for once with the triathlon-themed ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’.

But in the past several months, late-morning dramas began to lose viewer interest. By August, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ slumped to around 13-15% in the ratings (this despite having Jodi and Richard in the series), and this decline only continued through its successor ‘Playhouse’.

Over on GMA, the network already waved the white flag at the start of the month. Their most recent local late-morning drama, ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, was cancelled last November 2, and after only two weeks, GMA moved the Koreanovela ‘Woman of Dignity’ to an earlier timeslot due to poor ratings.

Prior to that, GMA tried to counter ABS-CBN with their own dramas that were either self-produced or under the TAPE Inc. production team. Unfortunately for GMA, each of their dramas backfired, with the likes of ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ ending after only two or three months.

While ABS-CBN continues to claim victory over this timeslot, the declining ratings of ‘Playhouse’ is something that should cause a lot of concern to the network. If the 13% ratings are of any indication, then there must be something wrong.

Either that viewers are getting tired of watching too much of the same thing, that the story in itself lacked substance and originality, that the cast is boring, or that they just can’t wait for ‘It’s Showtime’ to start. Whatever the case, it is up to ABS-CBN to regroup and see what needs to be corrected.

It is too early to tell if this will spell the end for Filipino late-morning dramas. That said, one can only hope that a turnaround in fortune is imminent, but if this spell continues, then a programming reboot is necessary.

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anime, entertainment, Philippines, television

Is It Time for GMA to End Astig Authority on Weekdays?

The entry of ‘Assassination Classroom’ (retitled ‘Invincible Teacher’) on GMA may have excited anime fans, but the network’s short leash on Astig Authority suggest that its days are numbered. (Photo credit: Crunchyroll, Shuiesha, Fuji TV, Funimation, Viz Media)

This is not a good sign.

For many years, GMA’s Astig Authority dominated early mornings with new and repetitive anime programs that every generation can appreciate. Not any amount of criticism or hate can stop this block from becoming a ratings darling in a period where overall viewership is lower compared to later hours.

However, it seems like the days of Astig Authority are being numbered. Since last week, Astig Authority on weekdays was reduced to just two anime titles, a far cry from several years ago when it went as high as five programs.

And it’s not just the number of programs that is decreasing. Even the overall running time was compromised as well, with commercial breaks enjoying longer airtime than the anime themselves.

So what is going on with Astig Authority lately? Perhaps one should point out a time when GMA introduced a new anime to its audience.

When GMA decided to air ‘Assassination Classroom’ on the block (retitled ‘Invincible Teacher’ to avoid negative connotations), that was where the butchering began. For some unexplained reason, editors began to cut some scenes without warning to compensate for the short running time.

Even some more recent anime such as ‘Hunter x Hunter’ or ‘Detective Conan’ were not safe from the editors’ hands. With all that’s going on behind the scenes, not even its good ratings could prevent anime fans from harshly criticizing GMA for doing such a bad deed.

Perhaps GMA should do the right thing and cease airing anime on weekdays altogether. After all, they have essentially neglected such programs to the point that they simply don’t care.

If this abolition were to happen, GMA has three choices. They could either replace Astig Authority with the Heart of Asia block (with one Koreanovela airing every morning in a 45-minute span), move its imported fantasy series to an earlier time and accommodate two Tagalized movies, or simply add EZ Shop to fill in airtime.

For now, GMA’s Astig Authority is still around. However, with all that took place of late, it will not be long before GMA finally pulls the plug on this long-running anime block.

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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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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Mid-Morning Problems Continue with Kapuso Movie Festival

GMA is bringing back ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ as they continue to figure out the problems that plague them every weekday morning. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Poor ratings have characterized GMA’s mid-morning lineup.

After an impressive showing for the network’s Astig Authority block (some of which are often reaired), the drop-off in ratings becomes noticeable once they move into a different set of programs. This has been a perennial problem for the network since Lilybeth Rasonable took over, and they have tried everything just to shake the mid-morning slate up.

There was the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block, which was their obvious answer to ABS-CBN’s ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’. Then came Heart of Asia Mornings, a block that contains new light-hearted Koreanovelas.

They even attempted to air talk shows (e.g. ‘Basta Every Day Happy’, ‘Yan ang Morning) and local dramas (e.g. ‘With a Smile’). Unfortunately, all of these attempts failed miserably.

Now they are going back to airing movies via the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ block. Not to mention a rerun of an old QTV program called ‘H20: Just Add Water’, which will be obviously dubbed in Filipino unlike its original airing on Channel 11.

Let’s face it, there is no way GMA can beat ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ with their own movie block. Their portfolio of new movies to air is running low, and to make matters worse, GMA Films has only a few titles to choose from, which is basically 1/8th to 1/16th of what rival Star Cinema has produced lately.

If GMA were smart enough to admit that they can no longer beat ABS-CBN after 9:00 a.m., perhaps the time has come to welcome a TV shopping block of their own choosing. Whether or not it is Shop Japan, EZ Shop or even Shop TV, it doesn’t matter, as long as they fill in GMA’s programming hours every morning.

They could also welcome blocktimers who can produce their own programs. While they already have established blocktimers in TAPE, Inc. (‘Calle Siete’, ‘Eat Bulaga’) and APT Entertainment (‘Sunday PinaSaya’), they might as well need another for non-entertainment purposes, such as lifestyle shows or documentaries.

Still, it is up to GMA management to decide the fate of the mid-morning slot. They need to think twice about giving up this venture.

Otherwise, they will be stuck with this hashtag: #KMFMForever, which translates to Kapuso Movie Festival Mornings Forever.

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drama, entertainment, Korea, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Koreanovelas Add to GMA News TV’s Woes

GMA News TV added Koreanovelas to its ever-confusing lineup. (Promotional photo courtesy of GMA Network)

It is hard to tell what kind of network GMA News TV is right now.

In the last three years, From the Tube has been able to dissect the programming issues that surround the sister channel of GMA Network. Whether it is movies, drama series, reruns of public affairs shows, boxing matches or even TV shopping blocks, the true identity of GMA News TV continues to be a question mark.

Now add another wrinkle to this ongoing dilemma. Enter Koreanovelas on GMA News TV.

It all started on July 11, when News TV began to air reruns of three Koreanovelas, namely ‘Empress Ki’, ‘Pinocchio’, and ‘The Producers’. All three were broadcast on GMA’s Telebabad block a few years ago, each with varying degrees of success.

By re-airing Koreanovelas from the parent network, GMA News TV is once again defying the notion that they are indeed a news channel. To make matters worse, the management made the network look as if they are a mirror image of Channel 7, or perhaps the second coming of the old QTV.

What happened to the slogans ‘Oras-oras, Alam Ko’ and ‘Serbisyong Totoo’? It doesn’t make any sense.

The issues surrounding GMA News TV have been well-documented since their 2011 rebrand. As far as the most critical viewers are concerned, News TV is ill-equipped to be a news channel based on content alone.

Let’s face it, a revamp should have been in the works for this channel at this point. Even rival AksyonTV, a one-time news channel, is gradually morphing into a sports channel in the mold of ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

That said, it is never too late for Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Nessa Valdellon to finally give up on this venture. GMA News TV is going nowhere fast, and adding Koreanovelas only made things worse.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA Koreanovela to Oppose Dolce Amore

The high cost of running ‘Encantadia’ is currently felt throughout GMA Telebabad.

As director Mark Reyes earlier revealed, ‘Encantadia”s production budget is ‘roughly equal to two primetime shows or three non-primetime shows‘. As a result of these huge expenses, GMA was left with no choice but to resort to two Koreanovelas as a cheap alternative on their Telebabad block over producing another local drama.

One of these Koreanovelas happen to be the next opponent of ABS-CBN’s ‘Dolce Amore’. The latter series, starring Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil, has given GMA a lot of problems, having defeated ‘That’s My Amboy’ and the short-lived ‘Once Again’ by big margins.

It is clear to GMA that they can no longer beat the more popular tandems of ABS-CBN. With that in mind, their only course of action now is to stop chasing either LizQuen, KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre), and air a Koreanovela in its place, which is exactly what they’ll do tonight.

Enter ‘Descendants of the Sun’, the hit Korean drama that starred Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo. The series’ plot revolves around a love story between a doctor and a soldier stationed within Greece and the Balkans.

‘Descendants of the Sun’ ran for 16 episodes in its native Korea. In the Philippines, however, it is expected to air for roughly 20-25 episodes, which is still a typically short run for a GMA Koreanovela.

The other Koreanovela in question is ‘The Healer’, which unlike ‘Descendants of the Sun’, will only air three times a week. The series will star Ji Chang-wook, Park Min-young and Yoo Ji-tae.

In its native Korea, ‘The Healer’ ran for 20 episodes. This equates to roughly 30 episodes once it airs in the Philippines.

As two Koreanovelas permeate the Telebabad lineup, GMA is now feeling the sting of frustration. After the rough start that the new ‘Encantadia’ endured, it won’t be long before GMA admits its mistake of investing heavily on the fantaserye over more important projects (e.g. digital and high-definition broadcasts).

That said, two Koreanovelas on Telebabad could only be a short-term solution to compensate for the heavy expenditures of ‘Encantadia’. But as far as GMA is concerned, these two may not be enough to solve its ratings and broadcast issues.

‘Descendants of the Sun’ airs after ‘Encantadia’, while ‘The Healer’ airs after ‘Juan Happy Love Story’ on GMA Telebabad.

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