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

Epic Fail: GMA Airs Teleseryes on SONA Day

It was mostly memorable State of the Nation Address for President Rodrigo Duterte.

The speech lasted a better part of two hours, nearly half of which deviated from the original script and contained some profanity. Most major and minor Philippine television and radio networks went all out to deliver the most comprehensive wall-to-wall coverage of the SONA.

Unfortunately, there is one network that failed to take the SONA seriously. Enter GMA Channel 7.

While most networks were busy dealing with Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, GMA simply stood pat and did virtually nothing. From 2:30 to 4:15 p.m., they aired afternoon teleseryes ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ on the day of the SONA, an uncharacteristic deviation from more recent years.

Consequentially, when the time to air the actual SONA arrived, ‘Haplos’ was cut short 15 minutes in. After that, Pia Arcangel, not Mike Enriquez, Mel Tiangco and Vicky Morales, was at the scene to present a somewhat brief pre-speech and post-speech report of the SONA.

If that is not enough for Felipe Gozon and company, it was sister station GMA News TV that actually picked up the slack. Channel 11’s coverage, which was anchored by Jessica Soho and Arnold Clavio, was a redemption of sorts for the network after their inability to air an extensive coverage of the SONA the past two years.

Overall, GMA’s decision to air teleseryes on SONA day came back to haunt them. The network’s programming organizers underestimated the SONA’s unpredictable nature, as evidenced by the fact that the SONA ended well before 6:30 p.m.

As a result of the SONA’s lengthy duration, Monday’s episode of ‘Haplos’ was left unfinished, and it remains to be seen if GMA will reair that very episode in full later today. Had they become aware of its unpredictability, they could have preempted all of their afternoon teleseryes and devote themselves to the SONA instead of leaving one of them incomplete.

In the end, GMA’s latest gaffe should be a harsh lesson for everyone involved. One can only hope that they will learn from this mistake and do the right thing come the 2018 State of the Nation Address.

Otherwise, expect more of the same jokes from critics and haters alike. That said, good luck GMA in correcting this failure.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Version of Impostora to Air This Monday on GMA

A new version of ‘Impostora’ awaits viewers of GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

The upcoming series is loosely based on the original ‘Impostora’ that aired on the Kapuso network back in 2007. In that particular series, Iza Calzado and Sunshine Dizon played dual roles (Iza as twins Lara and the deformed Sara, and Sunshine as the wicked cousin Nessa and a surgically repaired version of Sara).

In turn, that 2007 version was based on the 1994 movie ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’, starring Alice Dixson. In each case, the protagonist was portrayed as an ugly duckling that was transformed into a vengeful beauty through facial reconstruction surgery.

For the 2017 version of ‘Impostora’, Kris Bernal will breathe life into two different individuals. At first, Kris will play the ugly street vendor Nimfa, but through plastic surgery, she will be transformed into the beautiful and rich woman named Rosette who seeks to escape from her husband Homer, played by Rafael Rosell.

‘Impostora’ will also star Ryan Eigenmann, Assunta de Rossi, Elizabeth Oropesa, Aicelle Santos, Vaness del Moral, Rita Daniela, Leandro Baldemor, Sinon Loresca, Yuan Francisco, Dayara Shane, and James Blanco. The series will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Initially, GMA announced that ‘Impostora’ was to begin on June 19, replacing ‘Legally Blind’. But the latter’s last-minute extension and change of ending forced the network to move its premiere to July 3.

Now that its run is about to begin, ‘Impostora’ is sure to face a very serious challenge. ABS-CBN afternoon series ‘Pusong Ligaw’ has enjoyed ratings of 16-17% in more recent episodes, and ‘Impostora’ has a daunting task of closing in, if not surpassing the former’s marks.

Come this Monday, it will be interesting to see how playing two characters of differing personalities will elevate the career of Kris Bernal. ‘Impostora’ may be her most serious series yet, but it could also be the one that she needs to become relevant again.

‘Impostora’ airs weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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.

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