Legally Blind Concludes This Friday

So long, ‘Legally Blind’.

The finale of this tension-filled GMA Afternoon Prime drama will air tomorrow afternoon, 83 episodes after the story of blind lawyer Grace (Janine Gutierrez) began. But while its episode total is more than enough by typical teleserye standards, ‘Legally Blind’ proved to be anything but a success.

When ‘Legally Blind’ first premiered, it had to face stiff competition against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Better Half’, an equally dramatic series starring Shaina Magdayao, Carlo Aquino, JC de Vera and Denise Laurel. While the former earned some victories against the latter, on average, ‘The Better Half’ scored 15%, 2-3% better than ‘Legally Blind’.

On April 24, 2017, ABS-CBN premiered another kabitserye in ‘Pusong Ligaw’, which stars Beauty Gonzalez, Bianca King, Joem Bascon and Raymond Bagatsing. But instead of replacing ‘The Greatest Love’ in its vacated timeslot, the network decided to place ‘Pusong Ligaw’ opposite ‘Legally Blind’.

As it turned out, ‘Pusong Ligaw’ became even more dominant than ‘The Better Half’ was in its original timeslot. A new opponent spelled doom for ‘Legally Blind’, as ‘Pusong Ligaw”s 18% average ratings were 4-5% better than the former.

It also didn’t help that viewers who watch the surprisingly successful lead-in drama ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ failed to turn out in droves to support ‘Legally Blind’ on a majority of occasions. Such is the cruel fate for GMA’s teleseryes.

Still, for Janine Gutierrez, ‘Legally Blind’ turned out to be a much better outing for her than the short-lived series ‘Once Again’. Notwithstanding its shortcomings in the ratings, its 83-episode run was nothing to be ashamed of.

The finale of ‘Legally Blind’ should be a very gripping one. Now that Grace (Janine) has regained her sight, will justice finally prevail, or will she end up behind bars?

Viewers can only hope that this impending finale will make a lasting impression. This is ‘Legally Blind”s last chance to stand out, and they look to go out with a bang.

UPDATE: For some unknown reason, GMA extended ‘Legally Blind’ for another two weeks. Thus its finale will now be aired on Friday, June 30.

Tadhana: Another GMA Public Affairs’ Intervention to Entertainment

Another drama anthology will hit GMA screens this Saturday afternoon.

This time, the focus of this up-and-coming series will be on the lives of OFWs whose trials and tribulations abroad are well-documented. Their struggles to fit in another country and bring a better life to both country and family will be told every week on ‘Tadhana’, presented by Marian Rivera.

As is customary to all drama anthologies, celebrity guests will portray a particular subject(s) week after week. For the premiere of ‘Tadhana’, Kris Bernal will portray Elvie, a former Saudi Arabia-based OFW who was constantly abused by her employer, played by Ms. Cherie Gil.

Unsurprisingly, GMA Public Affairs will be responsible for the production of ‘Tadhana’. Considering their recent dabbing into non-news programming, this bit of news should once again add insult to injury to Lilybeth Rasonable and GMA’s Entertainment group.

So what challenge awaits ‘Tadhana’? For starters, this drama should pose another obstacle to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘SOCO’ when it comes to performance.

Not only that, GMA also hopes to see a carry-over in ratings from ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Tadhana’. With the former enjoying impressive ratings since its extension to Saturdays, the network now banks on the latter to maintain the momentum, something that ‘Karelasyon’ was not able to do.

However, expect a lot of alienation from more traditional viewers who view ‘Tadhana’ as another cowardly attempt by GMA Entertainment to get bailed out by the news division. It’s a shame, since Rasonable and company have done nothing right to salvage whatever pride they have left.

If this is indeed a production of GMA Public Affairs, ‘Tadhana’ should have been a docu-drama instead, with one of GMA News’ reporters presenting the show plus reenactments from various no-name actors and interviews from the subject involved. That said, their decision to use Marian Rivera and bring to life a story by using Kapuso actors leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

For now, the verdict is on ‘Tadhana’ to defy all prognosticators. Come this Saturday, this show should experience a baptism of fire.

‘Tadhana’ airs every Saturday after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA.

Karelasyon Officially Cancelled by GMA

The one-time archrival of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ is now history.

Last Saturday marked the 108th and final episode of the GMA drama anthology series ‘Karelasyon’. Hosted by (and occasionally featured) Carla Abellana, the series focused on love and relationship stories that has hostility, jealousy, temptation and infidelity written on it.

‘Karelasyon’ first premiered on April 11, 2015, and as such, it was GMA’s own response to rival ABS-CBN’s revival of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’. While the series had some moments of ratings glory during its run, it was no match to the more superior and compelling stories that ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ presents.

On September 3, 2016, ‘Karelasyon’ was demoted to a later timeslot, which remained for the rest of its run. The change did little to improve ratings, as ‘Karelasyon’ regularly fell short to its new opponent in ‘SOCO’.

So why did ‘Karelasyon’ fail to pan out? Looking at its format, it was clear that the show has no place in GMA’s Saturday afternoon lineup due to these factors.

Similarity to Wish Ko Lang

Anyone who watches ‘Wish Ko Lang’ lately know that the program is no longer the wish-giving public service show that the now-ABS-CBN News personality Bernadette Sembrano once hosts. Under Vicky Morales, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ became just another drama anthology in GMA’s scheme of things.

That said, the similarity between ‘Karelasyon’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’ made viewers too uncomfortable. GMA would have been smart to cancel ‘Wish Ko Lang’, but instead they gave ‘Karelasyon’ the boot.

Case Solved and Imbestigador

‘Case Solved’ and ‘Imbestigador’ also added to ‘Karelasyon”s issues. Both shows may have the words ‘public service’ and ‘docu-drama’ written all over it, but their occasional focus on love stories that end in tragedy may have also turned viewers off.

Entry of Ika-6 na Utos to the Saturday Lineup

When GMA decided to extend the weekday afternoon drama ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturdays, it turned out to be the last straw for ‘Karelasyon’. The former continued its momentum that it established on weekdays, while the latter sunk even further.

Despite airing for over two years, ‘Karelasyon’ will forever be remembered as a show that was aired at the wrong place and at the wrong time. Its format alone may be intriguing, but from the looks of it, GMA concocted a grave mistake on their part.

Thanks for the good (and bad) memories, ‘Karelasyon’. This show is worth forgetting for.

ABS-CBN’s Ika-6 na Utos Problem

It seems like ABS-CBN is having a problem with ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Since late March, the GMA Afternoon Prime drama has earned an average rating of 17% per episode (via Kantar Media), a far cry from the unimpressive 11% average it enjoyed in its first month. Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ (introduced April 1) were just as strong, scoring around 15%.

Much of the spike in popularity has something to do with a combination of factors, such as:

  1. Memorable scenes and interactions between the characters Georgia (Ryza Cenon), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Rome (Gabby Concepcion)
  2. Lack of interest in ‘It’s Showtime”s Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids
  3. ‘Eat Bulaga”s continued decline post-Kalyeserye

The stunning success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ left ABS-CBN dumbfounded and perplexed as to what happened. While they still rule most timeslots every day, it is against ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ that they are noticeably struggling at this point.

So why is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ giving ABS-CBN fits? Here are the three possible factors to look at.

It’s Showtime”s Long Running Time

‘It’s Showtime’, unlike ‘Eat Bulaga’, runs for over three hours six times a week (in contrast to ‘Eat Bulaga’ running 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday and three hours on Saturday). That said, a total of 18 hours per week can be totally draining for both the hosts and the audience.

Coupled with a recent streak of uninspiring pre-Tawag ng Tanghalan segments, and ‘It’s Showtime’ is left to lick their wounds amid the surge of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Cutting it to 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday may be the best way to remain efficient while maintaining its top-notch ratings.

Resistance to Change

In the past, ABS-CBN aired three teleseryes in the afternoon to counter GMA’s own set of three. Since reducing the amount to only two, the tables seem to have turned in the Kapamilya network’s favor, that is until ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ came along.

Sticking to what seems best might not be a good idea for ABS-CBN at this point. With a surplus of upcoming teleseryes in the pipeline, it is best for them to counter ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with another teleserye (probably not a ‘kabitserye’) in hopes of reversing its momentum.

A New Trend: Saturday Teleseryes

Before ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, a typical Filipino teleserye only airs from Monday to Friday. That has changed since April 1, when GMA extended ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons, in a move reminiscent of Latin American telenovelas.

The sudden move caught ABS-CBN off-guard, as ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ began to struggle against the surging ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Still, the extension is only four weeks old so anything can happen in the long run.

With ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ now a major dilemma for ABS-CBN, drastic changes should be in the offing. But unless they figure out a way to overcome this popular Kapuso drama, their overall dominance will become nothing more than a punchline.

The Greatest Love’s Last Week, Plus D’Originals’ Premiere Week

For one week only, it will be ‘The Greatest Love’ versus ‘D’Originals’.

This week will mark the last for ‘The Greatest Love’, the top-rating afternoon drama that starred Sylvia Sanchez as a mother suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. The series first premiered on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block on September 5, 2016, and will finish its 163-episode run this Friday afternoon.

‘The Greatest Love’, which also starred Dimples Romana, Andi Eigenmann, Matt Evans, Arron Villaflor, Ellen Adarna and Nonie Buencamino among others, was also a constant trending topic on social media. Its inspiring and tear-jerking storyline gripped the nation and the world, giving them greater awareness to the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

On the other side of the spectrum, GMA’s Public Affairs team will once again try to salvage whatever shortcomings the Entertainment team has had of late. Their latest project is a sexy comedy drama series, ‘D’Originals’, which will premiere today.

‘D’Originals’ (click its synopsis here) will be the network’s replacement to the short-lived ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’, whose brief 53-episode run concluded last Holy Wednesday. ‘D’Originals’ will also be LJ Reyes’ second project in a row on the afternoon slot after starring as Angeli in ‘Pinulot Ka Lang sa Lupa’.

Also part of ‘D’Originals’ cast are Ms. Jaclyn Jose, Kim Domingo, Katrina Halili, Jestoni Alarcon, Mark Herras, Meg Imperial, Archie Alemania, Lovely Abella, Mikoy Morales, Arny Ross, Elyson De Dios, and Chlaui Malayao. The director of the series is Adolf Alix Jr.

If ‘The Greatest Love”s impressive ratings are of any indication, then ‘D’Originals’ is in for a rude awakening. Recent GMAPA-produced entertainment shows (see ‘Dangwa’, ‘To the Top’, ‘#Like’) have failed to make a desirable impact, thus putting tremendous pressure on ‘D’Originals’ to defy all expectations.

With the dominance of ABS-CBN in the afternoon slot (save for the surprisingly popular ‘Ika-6 na Utos’), this is one battle that ‘D’Originals’ must win. Saving the reputation of both GMA Entertainment and GMA Public Affairs is a must for the series, otherwise the blame game should continue for both departments.

It’s either win or give up for ‘D’Originals’ and GMA Public Affairs. Good luck.

Ika-6 na Utos Extends to Saturday Afternoons

GMA gets even more desperate.

Due to so-called ‘insistent public demand’, the network announced that the teleserye ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now air on Saturday afternoons as well. In doing so, GMA made some history by becoming the first TV network to air a new episode of a weekday teleserye on a weekend.

The upcoming Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will replace the short-lived and poorly-rated crime and investigation series ‘Case Solved’, which only lasted six episodes from February 18 to March 25. But can this risky move work?

According to the national Kantar Media ratings, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ trails ‘It’s Showtime’ by around 3-4% since its premiere on December 5, 2016. While the former’s ratings were on the upswing of late (they even defeated ‘It’s Showtime’ by 0.3% on March 2), they still failed to topple the latter since the popular ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment airs at the same time.

As ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ goes deep into Saturday afternoon, they face an even tougher test. The legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ made mincemeat of ‘Case Solved’ during the past month, and with the latter raking in around 20% ratings in recent episodes, chances are ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is in for a reality check.

To make matters worse for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the viewers’ demands for a sixth episode every weekend could prove too much to ask for. Let’s face it, the need for variety on television is obvious here, and GMA’s desperate move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons could easily tire out even the most demanding of viewers.

That said, GMA’s daring move to extend ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturdays may come back to haunt them. After all, everybody wants a break from watching teleseryes each and every weekend, but for GMA, all roads lead to disaster simply because of a needless opportunity to boost ratings.

Sorry GMA, but this is not going to work, regardless of what the viewers say.