drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: Ika-5 Utos Underachieves in Pilot Week

Maybe Vice Ganda should extend his invitation to the cast of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ on ‘It’s Showtime’.

After all, the new GMA afternoon series started off on a disappointing note. The premiere episode of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ last September 10 only registered an 11% rating while ‘It’s Showtime’ fared better at 16.2%.

The trend would continue for the remainder of the week. In fact, the first Saturday episode of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ only scored a 10.3% rating compared to ‘It’s Showtime”s 16.6%.

Overall, it was not a good start for ‘Ika-5 Utos’. Still, it is too early to tell if this series will become a flop considering that the sample size is only six episodes so far.

Who knows, maybe some kind of an ‘Ika-6 na Utos’-like comeback can give this series new life. We’ll just see.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Staying Light: Playhouse to Premiere Monday on ABS-CBN

ABS-CBN is keeping things light and loose every weekday mornings.

While GMA took on a more serious route with ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’, ABS-CBN continues its tradition of romantic comedies and child-oriented dramas to the 11:15 a.m. slot. And their newest series ‘Playhouse’ is no exception.

‘Playhouse’ will star Angelica Panganiban and Zanjoe Marudo as Patty and Marlon, two college lovers who will eventually get married only to split up after a series of struggles. The rest of the main plot are as follows.

Via ABS-CBN PR:

After of a long time living separately, the two meet again as Patty files for an annulment to formally separate with Marlon. But just when they think everything is over between them, an unfortunate tragedy will change their lives forever.

Their friends Emily and Brad will get into an accident, leaving their child Robin (Justin James Quilantang) behind. As the kid’s legal guardians, Patty and Marlon will be forced to stay together under one roof to take care of Robin and make sure he gets the love he needs. This gives Marlon the opportunity to patch things up with Patty, despite her constant disapproval.

Will Robin be the key to giving Patty and Marlon a second chance?

Also part of ‘Playhouse’ will be up-and-coming teen stars Donny Pangilinan and Kisses Delavin, who will play enemies-turned-lovers Zeke and Shiela. The rest of the cast will include Kean Cipriano, AC Bonifacio, Ariella Arida, Dexter Doria, Nadia Montenegro, Ingrid Dela Paz, Jomari Angeles, Malou De Guzman, Smokey Manaloto, and Maxene Magalona.

Here is a little spin on the formulas that ABS-CBN uses for its late-morning dramas. While ‘Playhouse’ is for the most part a romantic comedy, it is also a child-oriented series since child actor Justin James Quilantang will play a vital role here as the child that Patty and Marlon are forced to take care of.

That said, it will be interesting to see how this hybrid format will work in this increasingly competitive late-morning slot. In spite of ABS-CBN’s success on that timeslot, ‘Playhouse’ will still have its work cut out here and if they win right away it will boost its confidence.

‘Playhouse’ airs weekdays before ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Sana Dalawa ang Puso to Conclude Friday

‘End it while you still can!’

This is probably the message that ABS-CBN management sent to the producers of ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’, the romantic comedy series that starred Jodi Sta. Maria, Richard Yap and Robin Padilla. After all, the network did not want a repeat of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ in which the show ran for far too long that viewers grew tired of it.

‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ was the second television project of the JoChard tandem after the aforementioned ‘Be Careful with My Heart’. In hopes of making it more interesting, the series added Robin Padilla as the third wheel while it gave Jodi a chance to play two different characters.

First premiered on January 29, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ made an immediate impact in its first few weeks, scoring around 16-20%. The series was so popular that it led to the cancellation of ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ and forced GMA to produce its own drama shows in the late-morning slot.

Even though ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso”s ratings dipped to around the 14-17% mark by March, it still won its timeslot on a consistent basis. At this point GMA began to produce its own dramas in response, but short-lived series in ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ and ‘My Guitar Princess’ were unable to solve JoChard and Robin.

However, by late August, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso”s magic started to wear off. The series was no longer a top-10 show, and with paltry ratings of around 13% (even though they still won over ‘Kapag Nahati ang Puso’), ABS-CBN realized that enough was enough.

Overall, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ will have a total of 163 episodes once they conclude Friday. But like ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, ABS-CBN made the costly mistake of keeping ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ for far too long which led to a huge dip in its ratings.

Still, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ was considered a success by ABS-CBN’s standards. Regardless of how it turned out the series should continue the streak of good fortune for ABS-CBN in the late-morning slot, and for JoChard, it only proves that they are still a formidable love team.

On Friday, ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’ will bow out. One can only hope that it will be a graceful exit.

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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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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Contessa Bids Farewell

The merciful end of ‘Contessa’ has finally arrived.

After a run of 147 episodes, ‘Contessa’ will officially close its book Saturday afternoon. And while 147 episodes seem like a successful run by GMA’s standards, its performance was anything but.

When ‘Contessa’ began, GMA initially penciled the series to air only from Monday to Friday. But when no suitable replacement for the Saturday timeslot came, GMA reluctantly added a Saturday episode to ‘Contessa’.

That said, GMA placed extremely high expectations on ‘Contessa’. They thought that airing ‘Contessa’ six times a week would capitalize on the gains made by its predecessor ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. ‘Contessa’ started slow, registering ratings of under 10% during its initial few weeks.

While the series was able to increase its ratings to 12-14% over the next several months, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved in comparison to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Many viewers felt that the series was never compelling enough to begin with and some even went as far as comparing ‘Contessa’ to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to its similar themes.

It also did not help that ‘Contessa’ struggled against ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. Even with the criticism surrounding the latter’s penchant to go overtime (thank you Vice Ganda), ‘Contessa’ was unable to capitalize simply due to the viewers’ apathy of the situation.

If there is one solace for ‘Contessa’, it is that it gave Glaiza de Castro a chance to play the victim. Normally known for her antagonistic roles, Glaiza’s complete 360 on ‘Contessa’ proved that she is just as good playing the compassionate and sometimes vengeful characters.

Still, it did not change the fact that ‘Contessa’ never became a hit series despite its long run. Let’s face it, adding a Saturday episode was a mistake and viewers got burned out, consequently resulting in poor ratings.

In the end, GMA should learn a harsh lesson from this debacle. Airing a series five times a day was enough, but six was simply too much to feed your viewers.

On Saturday, it will be ‘Contessa”s last stand. Perhaps the time has come for GMA to end this charade once and for all.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Postscript: Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka; Preview: My Special Tatay

From one advoca-serye to another.

Friday marked the final episode of ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, an AIDS-themed drama that starred Yasmien Kurdi, Martin del Rosario, Jackie Rice and Mike Tan. The series ran for 132 episodes and posted decent ratings despite airing against ‘Hanggang Saan’ and ‘Araw Gabi’.

Even though ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ had a rather up-and-down run, its 132 episodes suggest that it was a success. The show fulfilled its purpose of showing one’s struggles of living with AIDS, a deadly disease that remains virtually incurable.

Still, with that kind of inconsistency in the ratings it is clear that GMA is still finding a cure for its afternoon mood swings. Which leads to the next series that will replace ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’.

‘My Special Tatay’, to be led by Ken Chan, will focus on mental illnesses. As the intellectually challenged father Boyet, Ken will portray a man who suffers from Mild Intellectual Disability with Mild Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Despite his mental shortcomings and other people’s doubts, Boyet grew up as a kind-hearted man with a positive outlook. However, his life would turn upside down once he finds out that he has a child.

Also part of ‘My Special Tatay’ are Jestoni Alarcon, Teresa Loyzaga, Carmen Soriano, Lilet, Candy Pangilinan, Arra San Agustin, Rita Daniela, Jillian Ward, Bruno Gabriel, and JK Giducos. Initial episodes of the series will feature special guest appearances from Matt Evans, Empress Schuck, Valeen Montenegro, and Ashley Rivera.

Once again, GMA will use the power of advocacy as a weapon to send a message to its viewers. This time, the focus is on mental health problems and ‘My Special Tatay’ will take a look at how a person deals with intellectual disabilities.

However, it remains to be seen if ‘My Special Tatay’ will be more consistent in overcoming ‘Araw Gabi’. While GMA is working on a good cause, high viewer support remains a must and unless ‘My Special Tatay’ proves a point their hard work will go for nothing.

Directed by LA Madridejos and Conrado Peru, ‘My Special Tatay’ airs weekdays after ‘The Stepdaughters’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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