drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Hanggang Saan Nears Finale

Two different sides of the story.

Indeed, the long run of ‘Hanggang Saan’ can be divided into two parts. One part featured a series that struggled right out of the gate, and the other part featured a series that became a winner in the viewers’ book.

‘Hanggang Saan’ first aired on November 27, 2017 amid a slump in Kapamilya Gold’s fortunes. When it began its run, rival GMA series ‘Haplos’ was still ruling its timeslot, and it also helped that its success was bolstered by its lead-in shows ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘Impostora’.

The fact that ABS-CBN received some criticism for overemphasizing ‘kabitseryes’ in the afternoon weighed heavily on ‘Hanggang Saan’. At the time, it seemed like the series was on the verge of immediate cancellation with the way it performed from the start.

But when ‘Haplos’ was replaced by ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’, ‘Hanggang Saan”s fortunes soon turned for the better. After scoring an average of only 12% in the ratings to ‘Haplos” 14%, ‘Hanggang Saan’ raised its mark to 14% whereas ‘Hindi Ko Kayang Iwan Ka’ fell to 10%.

In a similar manner as ‘Haplos’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ benefited from the success of ‘Asintado’, which replaced ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ as the Philippines’ top-rating afternoon series by late March. That, of course, helped save the series from the guillotine and assured that ‘Hanggang Saan’ would end on its own terms.

Overall, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will have a total of 108 episodes once it reaches its finale this Friday. While it didn’t come close to reaching the heights of Sylvia Sanchez’s previous series ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Hanggang Saan’ still enjoyed a respectable performance on its own right.

That said, ‘Hanggang Saan”s successful run only added to Sylvia’s growing legend as a top-billing actress in her 50s. It may be a case of late blooming, but it was still good to see a career supporting actress turn into a bankable star at this point in her career.

The series also provided a boost to the careers of emerging stars Arjo Atayde (Sylvia’s real-life son) and Sue Ramirez. Both should be primed for greater roles in future projects.

On Friday afternoon, ‘Hanggang Saan’ will air its last episode. Notwithstanding the slow start, the most important thing here is the finish, and that is how this series will be remembered for it.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Lost Opportunity: GMA Loses Ryza Cenon to ABS-CBN

‘If you beat them, join them!’

This is exactly what happened when Ryza Cenon made the shocking jump from GMA to ABS-CBN Thursday morning. Welcomed by network executives Cory Vidanes, Carlo Katigbak and Laurenti Dyogi, Ryza officially signed an undisclosed exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, thus ending her 14-year stint with GMA Network.

It can be recalled that Ryza’s last project with GMA was the year-long afternoon drama series ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, whose successful run ended last month. GMA could have capitalized on Ryza’s renewed success, but in the end, it was a bad case of ‘one that got away’ (in reference to the network’s current primetime teleserye).

In the press conference announcing her transfer, Ryza revealed that it was her talent managers from VIVA Entertainment which convinced her to change addresses. Moreover, she explained the need to explore different endeavors and the need to work with a different set of actors.

Like former GMA-turned-ABS-CBN talents Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes before her, Ryza will begin her Kapamilya career on the high-rating primetime series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as one of its guest stars. She will also appear in a series of out-of-town and TFC shows.

Considering how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ revitalized Ryza’s career, it was surprising to see her in a different network amid a resurgence in her career. But then again, GMA has had a history of not properly utilizing its talents, so this was probably the right move for her.

Still, in a loaded primetime series like ‘Ang Probinsyano’, there is no guarantee that Ryza will have a long-term role within the program. Somewhere down the road ABS-CBN will prepare an upcoming series for Ryza, one that should give her a greater responsibility.

Fans can only hope that Ryza Cenon’s move to ABS-CBN will pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how she will thrive in a new environment, so good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Is It Time for GMA to End Contessa’s Saturday Experiment?

‘Contessa”s first few episodes did not impress viewers. Even its first Saturday episode failed to deliver. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Talk about a complete 360.

Through its first nine episodes as of April 4, GMA’s ‘Contessa’ was only able to average 10% in the ratings according to Kantar. In contrast, ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ raked in around 17%, and while its numbers declined by around 2% during the Holy Week, it was still enough to dispatch ‘Contessa’.

Even the first Saturday episode of ‘Contessa’ on March 24 was a flop, as it earned only 9.9% compared to ‘It’s Showtime”s 17.4%. By comparison, the finale of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ which aired the previous Saturday finished with a 20.6% rating, 10.7% better than its successor.

The slow start of ‘Contessa’ should cause plenty of concern within GMA Network. Following up a successful afternoon drama in ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was no easy task, but no one expected ‘Contessa’ to fall way below expectations.

In the days leading up to its premiere there were some doubts on whether or not ‘Contessa’ will have a Saturday episode. Initially, GMA considered having ‘Contessa’ air only from Monday to Friday, but when the network realized that they lack suitable replacements for the 2:30 p.m. slot, they reluctantly added a Saturday episode on ‘Contessa’.

In doing so GMA gave ‘Contessa’ enormously high expectations to succeed. Unfortunately, ‘Contessa’ didn’t come close to sustaining ‘Ika-6 na Utos” high viewership, and it also didn’t help that its first foray into Saturdays failed to produce the desired result.

Perhaps it is those bandwagon viewers that only showed up during ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and then switched to ‘It’s Showtime’ and other programs once it ended. Or perhaps GMA dramas have had a history of starting slow and then occasionally picking up ratings midway through.

Whatever the reason, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved from the get-go. Adding a Saturday episode was a huge mistake and the possibility of viewer burnout became more apparent.

But as far as GMA is concerned, ‘Contessa’ has had only one Saturday episode so far (there was no episode during Black Saturday) so it is too early to tell. Still, it remains to be seen whether or not succeeding episodes will increase viewership and give ‘Contessa’ some much-needed respectability.

If it does not improve, the onus is on GMA to end its Saturday experiment on ‘Contessa’. Good luck.

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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.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ika-6 na Utos to End This Saturday, But Not Without Controversy

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is down to its last six episodes.

That’s right, the series is really down to its last six episodes. Unlike typical teleseryes whose finales end on a Friday (or Wednesday if it falls during Holy Week), ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will air its last episode this Saturday, an unusual yet satisfying way to end such a successful series.

To cut the long story short, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ first aired on December 5, 2016, extended to Saturdays starting April 1, 2017, and by August became the highest-rated afternoon teleserye in the country. In doing so, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ joined ‘The Half-Sisters’ as the only GMA teleseryes to air for over a year this decade.

But in the lead-up to its final few episodes, controversy sparked between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. When the latter (whether intentional or not) decided to extend its running time to 3 hours and 30 minutes, GMA responded by having ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ air for another 30 minutes.

Consequently, the extended airtime between the two programs pushed its primetime newscasts to air at a later-than-expected time. Both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ now air at around 6:40 p.m., largely due to the brewing rivalry between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘It’s Showtime’.

It was clear that ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was having ‘It’s Showtime”s number. So much so that ABS-CBN, whether intentional or not, went all-out in an attempt to dispose a teleserye they couldn’t solve, even going as far as allowing Vice Ganda plenty more time to talk on the microphone during ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

But regardless of this controversy, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ provided a moral victory for GMA. While its other programs continuously fail to make an impact against its ABS-CBN counterparts, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ gave GMA some semblance of hope.

This is proof that ABS-CBN, no matter how dominant it is, still has some weaknesses in its arsenal. And ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was one of them.

This Saturday will mark the 383rd and final episode of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. It will be interesting to see how this convoluted love story between Rome (Gabby Concepcion), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Georgia (Ryza Cenon) turn out to be, and whether or not the first two will enjoy a satisfying conclusion.

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New Trend: GMA Responds to It’s Showtime Going Overtime

Looks like a new trend in primetime newscasts has begun.

In response to ‘TV Patrol’ now airing at around 6:40 p.m. due to ‘It’s Showtime’ exceeding beyond its allotted time, GMA countered by having rival newscast ’24 Oras’ air 10-20 minutes later than its previous timeslot. To do that, GMA intentionally allowed one of its programs to go past its duration.

That turned out to be the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, which usually airs for only 45-50 minutes at best. But Wednesday afternoon (see episode hashtag below) saw ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ go beyond its usual running time and air for 80 minutes, uncharacteristically long for a teleserye.

GMA’s version of Vice Ganda and company excessively talking for minutes came by way of long commercial breaks. But much like what ABS-CBN allowed (whether intentional or not) ‘It’s Showtime’ to do, isn’t this a little too much for viewers to take?

Consider this: ‘It’s Showtime”s archrival ‘Eat Bulaga’ is only given 2 1/2 hours of airtime by GMA from Monday to Friday due to its blocktimer status. GMA can’t obviously loosen this rule because even Antonio Tuviera is strict enough to enforce such a ruling.

They also cannot allow ‘Wowowin’ to go past its allotted time and go live because of Willie Revillame’s past controversies. The onus fell on one of GMA’s afternoon teleseryes, and that turned out to be its highest-rated program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

This is definitely a bad case of ‘fight fire with fire’. The recent shenanigans of ABS-CBN and GMA dragged its other programs down, and it also affected the airtimes of the respective networks’ late-night newscasts in ‘Bandila’ and ‘Saksi’.

If this game of one-upsmanship continues, both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ might end up airing at an uncharacteristically late timeslot of 7:00 p.m. Not a good way to kick off the primetime slate.

But at least there are earlier primetime newscasts that viewers can tune in to. The choices include PTV-4’s ‘PTV News’ (if viewers can tolerate Erwin Tulfo’s biased reporting), CNN Philippines’ ‘News Night’, Net 25’s ‘Mata ng Agila’, UNTV’s ‘Ito ang Balita’ and even ‘Top Story’ of the ABS-CBN News Channel.

Apologies to T5N’s ‘Aksyon Prime’, but its timeslot inconsistencies are too much to handle. But regardless of that, alternatives in primetime news are worth the time and money.

Still, ABS-CBN and GMA should know all too well that time is precious. They could at least adjust this new trend in primetime programming, but they need to stop allowing its programs to go overtime so as not to compromise the patience of viewers.

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