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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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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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television, variety show

It’s Showtime Going Overtime Not a Good Sign for ABS-CBN

Overtime has become a trend for ‘It’s Showtime’ of late.

The ABS-CBN noontime show normally runs for three hours at best. But in recent episodes, ‘It’s Showtime’ went beyond that allotted time duration and ended up lasting for another 20-30 minutes (see most recent episode video below).

As a result, the rest of ABS-CBN’s lineup wound up airing at a later timeslot than they usually do. Not a good sign for a network that prides itself for excellence and consistency from morning till night.

Take for instance, ‘TV Patrol’. ABS-CBN’s flagship newscast usually begins at 6:28 p.m., but because of ‘It’s Showtime”s extended run, it was now pushed to 6:45 p.m.

While its ratings were not affected at the moment, many feared that the late start of ‘TV Patrol’ could push more viewers to switch to GMA’s ’24 Oras’. And worse, the longer-than-expected run of ‘It’s Showtime’ could give GMA Afternoon Prime (or at a lesser extent ‘Eat Bulaga’) a much-improved spike in its ratings.

‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ may be ‘It’s Showtime”s most popular segment right now (and the one that essentially ended AlDub as a formidable tandem), but the unnecessary banter could drag the noontime show’s viewership down. And the fact that ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ runs opposite ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is perhaps the biggest concern coming out of ABS-CBN management.

No offense to Vice Ganda and company, but the trio of Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion is having ‘It’s Showtime”s number, particularly once ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ takes place. One thing ABS-CBN would like to do is to eliminate most of the talking and focus solely on the singing itself in order to save a lot of time and viewers.

In doing so, ‘It’s Showtime’ will return to its normal three-hour duration and perhaps add motivation to a struggling Kapamilya Gold. Not only that, ‘TV Patrol’ will be able to start on time and save whatever grace it has left.

But the decision to reduce some of the talk on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will only depend on management convincing Vice Ganda and company to lessen all the banter. Which is not an easy thing to do considering Vice’s mass appeal.

Still, preventing the inevitable loss of viewership is a must for ABS-CBN, particularly when it comes to ‘It’s Showtime’. They may be the No. 1 network in the country ratings-wise, but even ABS-CBN has its own weaknesses that needs to be addressed.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ika-6 na Utos Reaches the One-Year Mark

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is now a year old.

The top-rating GMA afternoon teleserye will officially celebrate its first anniversary on television today. In doing so, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will join the likes of ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, ‘The Half-Sisters’, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ as the only teleseryes this decade to air for more than a year.

First premiered on December 5, 2016, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ came in to GMA Afternoon Prime as a replacement for ‘Oh My Mama’. At the time of its debut, ABS-CBN’s ‘Doble Kara’ was still the highest-rated afternoon drama, and like all GMA teleseryes back then, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ struggled to find its footing.

But once ‘Doble Kara’ ended its year-long run in February 2017, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ began to make some headway. By March, the series assumed its current perch as the highest-rated afternoon drama in the country.

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became so popular that GMA even added a Saturday episode beginning April 1. Although there were some concerns regarding GMA’s decision, namely possible burnout among viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos” performance remained top-notch averaging around 16-18% in the ratings.

The popularity of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ also improved the standing of succeeding GMA dramas. By August, thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA Afternoon Prime constantly outperformed ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold in the ratings.

As of December 5, 2017, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will have aired 295 episodes in all. The series is expected to reach 300 episodes by next week.

So what made ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ so popular? Perhaps these scenes may explain why.

No wonder the campy nature of the series endeared with the viewers. Still, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remained mostly serious and straightforward, but with some elements of humor in every encounter involving Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Georgia (Ryza Cenon), there is no doubt why this series has earned many fans in its year-long run.

Now a part of teleserye immortality, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now look forward to even bigger things come 2018. The question is, can they keep the momentum up?

Starring Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ airs after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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Struggling Kapamilya Gold Needs a Boost

Thanks to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’, GMA Afternoon Prime suddenly looked imposingly strong against ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The struggle is indeed real.

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block has hit a rough patch of late. In the last several weeks, teleseryes ‘Pusong Ligaw’, ‘The Better Half’ and its replacement ‘The Promise of Forever’ scored fewer ratings than GMA Afternoon Prime counterparts ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’.

Although the three series did have a few winning moments, it was clear that the momentum is now on GMA’s side. ABS-CBN may be the better network overall, but their issues in the afternoon slots are causing plenty of concerns.

One reason why GMA suddenly became winnable in the afternoon is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the popular yet at times campy drama series starring Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion. Since March, the series earned ratings of 15 to 18%, good enough to give ‘It’s Showtime’ plenty of fits.

In a previous article, From the Tube discussed how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was able to win the hearts of viewers while at the same time exposes ABS-CBN’s weaknesses in the afternoon slots. Although ‘It’s Showtime’ recently countered by replacing ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ with ‘Miss Q&A’ as the noontime show’s final segment, it still had a hard time cracking ‘Ika-6 na Utos” armor.

The success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ has since spread like wildfire to the two succeeding GMA Afternoon Prime series. From late August onwards, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ earned better ratings than ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, and even though the latter was then replaced by ‘The Promise of Forever’, the results were mostly the same.

If ABS-CBN wants to restore order within Kapamilya Gold, drastic measures must be implemented. Going back to a three-teleserye setup is what the network desperately needs at this point, but in order to do that, they need to make some sacrifices.

For one, they must convince ‘It’s Showtime’ to either cut a portion of their airtime or return to the pre-noontime slot. Regarding the third teleserye, a possible option for that would be ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’, which despite earning good ratings in the pre-noontime slot, has a more serious storyline than its predecessors and is better equipped for the afternoon slot.

Would it be better to see Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia go up against Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion? Perhaps, but given ABS-CBN’s pre-noontime dominance, that potential matchup between ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ and ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will only be just that, a fantasy.

Still, the sudden change of fortune on Kapamilya Gold should give the ABS-CBN brass some sense of urgency. After all, despite their success, there are always holes with which the opponent will take advantage of, and ABS-CBN should be aware of that.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can The Promise of Forever Help Reverse Kapamilya Gold’s Slide?

ABS-CBN may be the country’s most-watched network last month, but weekday afternoons are a different story.

Over the last few weeks, GMA’s Afternoon Prime became the most-watched block from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. While ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remains the most-watched program during weekday afternoons, its follow-up dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were not far behind in dispatching the opposition.

The recent change of fortune in the weekday afternoon slots should cause plenty of concern within the ABS-CBN camp. Both ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and the soon-to-conclude ‘The Better Half’ were derisively labeled ‘kabitseryes’, and viewers became fed up with the direction ABS-CBN is taking.

Looking to address concerns that Kapamilya Gold is becoming increasingly stale, ABS-CBN decided to change things up with a new teleserye that is drastically different from the recent norm. Enter ‘The Promise of Forever’, starring Paulo Avelino and the network’s new addition Ritz Azul.

‘The Promise of Forever’ tells the story of Nicolas (Paulo), an immortal man who saves Sophia (Ritz) from a burning house and years later fall in love with each other. However, inside Nicolas lies a curse that prevents him from entering into a relationship while at the same time preventing him from feeling the pain of loss.

Moreover, Sophia’s lover Philip (Ejay Falcon) and Nicolas’ descendant Marlon (Tonton Gutierrez) were out to ruin their lives. With that in mind, it will be up to Nicolas to overcome the curse while preserving his relationship with Sophia.

‘The Promise of Forever’ will also star Cherry Pie Picache, Amy Austria, Benjie Paras, Susan Africa, Ynna Asistio, and Nico Antonio. It will be directed by Darnel Villaflor and Hannah Espia.

The lead-up to the premiere of ‘The Promise of Forever’ is a cautionary tale of biding one’s time. A trade trailer for the series was released in November of last year, but it took nearly ten months before ABS-CBN realized that the time is finally right.

However, with Kapamilya Gold mired in a slump, is ‘The Promise of Forever’ worth the long wait? One can only hope that this series will turn things around for the suddenly beleaguered block and in turn restore the faith of viewers that had betrayed the network of late.

‘The Promise of Forever’ airs weekday afternoons on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. Timeslot to be determined.

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