drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

A Tough Act to Follow for Contessa

From ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Contessa’.

Following the successful year-long run of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA will now look to fill in the big shoes that the former left. They decided to replace ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with a series that reminded viewers of another successful teleserye from a rival network.

From the moment ‘Contessa”s teaser was aired, netizens immediately compared the series to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to their similar storylines of revenge. But ‘Contessa’ lead star Glaiza de Castro had a different take, saying that her upcoming show focuses more on a woman’s constant quest for justice.

In ‘Contessa’, Glaiza is initially known as Bea, a woman who is accused and imprisoned for a crime she never committed. Determined to seek revenge and reclaim those who were taken away from her, she assumes a new identity, that of Contessa.

Throughout the series, ‘Contessa’ will feature some important characters who will be crucial to the story of Bea/Contessa. Marco (Mark Herras) is a writer and Bea’s long-time boyfriend whose gruesome murder will be central to the evolution of Bea into Contessa.

Marco’s brother Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) is a successful OFW who returns to the country following his murder. Meanwhile, Bea’s best friend Jong (Jak Roberto) is a secret admirer of hers who hopes to love him back.

The Imperial family, led by the matriarch Charito (Chanda Romero) and her children Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) and Daniella (Lauren Young), will serve as a major obstacle to Bea/Contessa’s plans for justice. In typical villainous fashion, the Imperials are considered manipulative, influential, sophisticated and powerful individuals who will do whatever is necessary to destroy the protagonist.

Completing the rest of the cast are Tetchie Agbayani, Leandro Baldemor, Dominic Roco, Bernadette Allyson, Melissa Mendez, Tanya Gomez, Karel Marquez, Phytos Ramirez, Denise Barbacena and Will Ashley. ‘Contessa’ will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Replacing a top-rating series in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will be a daunting one for ‘Contessa’. In order for viewers to commit to this new series in the long term, some interesting bits and pieces are needed to make ‘Contessa’ worth watching, a task that is difficult to fill considering it will go head-to-head with ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment.

With all things considered, GMA should only hope for the best with ‘Contessa’. It may never be able to replicate the ratings of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, but if it all goes well, who knows what will happen next.

‘Contessa’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

comedy, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s New Rival to Sana Dalawa ang Puso Premieres Monday

GMA has a new series coming up to counter ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’.

After over a month of staying away from the dreaded love team that is Jodi Sta. Maria and Richard Yap (with some sprinkling of Robin Padilla in between), GMA will once again look to defeat the popular tandem. This time, however, they will not have the benefit of TAPE Inc. as a blocktimer and production partner.

Instead, the new series ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be self-produced by the network, the first time they have done that in a pre-noontime show since ‘Cielo de Angelina’ in 2012. But unlike the latter which is more of a tear-jerker, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be done in the same way as ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’: a romantic comedy.

‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ will be headlined by Camille Prats, Neil Ryan Sese, Ayra Mariano and Bruno Gabriel. Camille (as Ginny) and Neil (as Lance) are single parents still attached to their past, but with some common ground between them (e.g. living in the same condo, enjoy the same brand of coffee), it seems like a relationship is about to bloom.

Their lives will also intertwine with that of their children. Ginny’s daughter Marione (Ayra) and Lance’s son Benjie (Bruno) are also on the verge of falling in love, but it remains to be seen if either or both of their relationships will flourish.

GMA is no stranger to morning romantic series, having aired ‘With a Smile’ and ‘Dangwa’ in years past. Unfortunately, the presence of TAPE’s pre-noontime shows prevented GMA from seriously challenging ABS-CBN’s popular late-morning dramas, which led to both shows’ failure to make an impact.

The curse of ‘JoChard’ has become a long-standing dilemma for GMA ever since ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ premiered in 2012. That said, GMA can only hope for the best with ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’, as this could be their last-ditch attempt to overcome the problem.

If they fail on this objective, it will not be a surprise to see the network return to a pupal state and fill the airtime with ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’. It is either all-out or stay out as far as GMA is concerned.

Directed by Tata Betita and Jojo Nones, ‘Ang Forever Ko’y Ikaw’ airs weekdays before ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

AIDS-Themed Series Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka to Premiere Monday

A new GMA series that focuses on AIDS will enter the fray this Monday.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, which GMA dubbed as an ‘advoca-serye’, will take a look at one of mankind’s deadliest diseases. The series will be led by Yasmien Kurdi, Martin del Rosario, Jackie Rice and Mike Tan.

Yasmien, as Thea, is a simple probinsyana with a promising career as a public accountant. She falls in love and marries a handsome and charming lad named Marco (Mike) (against the latter’s mother’s wishes), and is later blessed with fraternal twins.

However, Thea’s life soon changed upon testing positive for the HIV virus. After Marco filed for legal separation and takes the two kids with him, Thea loses her will to live as the HIV worsens, until an unexpected meeting with her daughter convinces Thea to fight not only the disease but also herself.

While Thea and Marco endures this struggle to live together, two other characters will also play big roles. Lawrence (Martin) is Jackie’s college friend and an AIDS victim, while Ava (Jackie) is Marco’s ex-girlfriend who, despite going in and out of the U.S., is still determined to settle with him.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ also stars Gina Alajar, Shamaine Buencamino, Charee Pineda, Ina Feleo, Mike “Pekto” Nacua, Catherine Rem, Caprice Cayetano and Seth dela Cruz. The series will be directed by Roy Iglesias.

This is not the first time that a particular Filipino drama series featured a storyline involving AIDS. Back in 2013, TV5 (now T5N) aired the weekly drama series ‘Positive’ starring Martin Escudero and it also focuses on AIDS.

However, in the case of ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, it will be a five-times-a-week drama that will delve deeper into one person’s struggles to deal with AIDS. Viewers who know all too well about this deadly disease and the consequences of an afflicted person’s actions should relate to this series as well.

Despite the unique premise of this series, it remains to be seen if it will be able to pick up from where ‘Haplos’ left off. That said, the pressure is now on ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ to deliver and inspire viewers with a one-of-a-kind story that would make them cry.

‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ airs weekdays after ‘The Stepdaughters’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Asintado’s Newest Challenger: The Stepdaughters

A new opponent awaits ‘Asintado’.

After taking out ‘Impostora’, the ABS-CBN afternoon drama will face a different challenger starting today. Looking to match wits with Julia Montes will be Katrina Halili and real-life couple Megan Young and Mikael Daez, who will lead GMA’s newest drama series ‘The Stepdaughters’.

The story of ‘The Stepdaughters’ revolve around two women who were both beautiful and intelligent but have contrasting personalities. Mayumi (Megan) is a chemistry graduate with dreams of setting up her own makeup line, while Isabelle (Katrina) already manages one, yet as an only child she grew self-centered and spoiled.

Francis (Mikael), a head product engineer, becomes Mayumi’s love interest, even though Isabelle pleads to love her back. The growing dislike between Mayumi and Isabelle grows even more apparent when Mayumi’s mother Luisa (Glydel Mercado) and Isabelle’s father Hernan (Gary Estrada) get married, making them stepsisters.

‘The Stepdaughters’ also star Allan Paule, Angelu de Leon, Sef Cadayona and Samantha Lopez, with the special participation of Dion Ignacio. It will be directed by Paul Sta. Ana.

As ‘The Stepdaughters’ makes its debut, they will have their hands full in trying to solve ‘Asintado. Since premiering last month, the Julia Montes-led drama revitalized ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block, and if not for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ they would have taken the mantle of afternoon’s top drama series.

But if ‘The Stepdaughters’ want to defeat ‘Asintado’, they will have to convince viewers that veterans such as Megan Young and Katrina Halili are still worth watching. After all, GMA’s overdependence on older stars has become a problem this decade and it cost them a majority of their audience.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Stepdaughters’ can help rekindle Afternoon Prime’s flickering fortunes. After a strong finish in the second half of 2017, the block finds itself in the doldrums once again and it will be up to ‘The Stepdaughters’ to put them back to relevance.

‘The Stepdaughters’ air weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

GMA Takes Another Shot at Ang Probinsyano with Sherlock Jr.

Seven have arrived, and seven have failed.

For nearly three years, GMA found no answers on how to solve ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Whether it is a remake of a telenovela (‘MariMar’), a pair of light-hearted dramas (‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’) or a series of fantasy and action programs (‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Super Ma’am’), all of them were helpless to stop Cardo (Coco Martin) and his gang from total domination.

Now here comes an eighth entry in GMA’s plan to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. ‘Sherlock Jr.’, the newest primetime series of the network, is a vastly different animal compared to the previous seven series, thanks in part to a pair of rising young stars in Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid.

In ‘Sherlock Jr.’, Ruru is Jack, a clever investigative reporter who does not back down from solving mysteries. Gabbi, on the other hand, is Lily, a jolly and bubbly veterinarian assistant who loves to join anything to make her famous.

Playing a special role in the series is Janine Gutierrez as Irene, Jack’s girlfriend and lifestyle reporter. A golden retriever named Serena will also join in as Irene’s companion and later on Jack’s partner.

‘Sherlock Jr.”s story will revolve around Jack and Irene’s relationship, which then took a new turn once Lily got involved. From then on, the series will take a look at how Lily became friends with Irene one night and then fell in love with Jack in the midst of the investigation surrounding them.

Also part of the ‘Sherlock Jr.’ cast are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Tonton Gutierrez, Andre Paras, Roi Vinzon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Rochelle Barrameda, Matt Evans, Kate Valdez, Alyana Asistio, and Sofia Pablo. It will be directed by Rechie del Carmen.

Despite a younger lead cast in Janine Gutierrez and the GabRu love team, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ still has a long shot to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, it will take an epic miracle to at least come close to ‘Ang Probinsyano”s near-40% ratings, which as proven by the previous seven opponents it has had, is a daunting task indeed.

There is also a minor controversy surrounding the series’ title that was reminiscent of the ‘Alyas Robin Hood’-‘Arrow’ issue. But regardless of these odds and distractions, GMA should hope that ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will make its viewers happy and help advance the careers of Gabbi, Ruru and Janine.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Staying Loose: GMA Premieres The One That Got Away Tonight

Three ladies, one guy, all for the promise of rekindling one’s love.

This theme will be premise of GMA’s newest romantic comedy series ‘The One That Got Away’. Premiering later tonight, the series will be led by four of GMA’s most sought-after lead stars, namely Rhian Ramos, Max Collins, Lovi Poe and Dennis Trillo.

The central character behind ‘The One That Got Away’ will be Liam (Dennis), the owner of an organic farm and the ideal boyfriend. Soon after, however, he meets a fatal accident and when he wakes up from a coma, his three ex-girlfriends are inside the hospital room to meet him.

These three ex-girlfriends are as follows:

  • Alex (Lovi) – her relationship with Liam was approved by both family and friends, but they broke up as soon as her personal goals got in the way.
  • Darcy (Max) – met and fell in love with Liam as soon as he broke up with Alex; however, she later ended her relationship with him to pursue opportunities abroad.
  • Zoe (Rhian) – after her parents separated, she and Liam fell in love with each other, but they broke up due to Zoe’s insistence to stick with Liam amid his busy schedule.

All three, as it seems, are still in love with Liam even after going their separate ways. But it will be up to Liam to choose his one true love.

Rounding out the cast of ‘The One That Got Away’ are Ivan Dorschner, Migo Adecer, Jason Abalos, Bembol Roco, Snooky Serna, Luz Valdez, Ervic Vijandre, Ayra Mariano, Nar Cabico, Ashley Rivera, Sophie Albert, Jason Francisco, Patricia Ismael, Dea Formilleza, and Euwenn Aleta. It will be directed by Mark dela Cruz and Conrado Peru.

‘The One That Got Away’ will be the latest in a series of romantic comedies that GMA will offer in the third slot of Telebabad. But despite the premise of ‘good vibes’ and ‘light-heartedness’, GMA has yet to figure out a way to make their romantic comedies succeed every night.

Going up against ‘The Good Son’, a more serious and mature drama that ABS-CBN currently offers, will be a huge test for the veteran foursome of Dennis Trillo, Lovi Poe, Max Collins and Rhian Ramos. One can only hope that ‘The One That Got Away’ will put up a good fight and give Kapuso viewers something to enjoy and love.

‘The One That Got Away’ airs weeknights after ‘Kambal Karibal’ on GMA Telebabad.