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

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

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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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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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

Still Undisputed: Gandang Gabi Vice Claims Another Victim

‘Bossing & Ai’ was cancelled by GMA after only 20 episodes and low ratings opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, no one can stop ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’.

The latest victim of this ABS-CBN Sunday night talk show was ‘Bossing & Ai’, a game show/talk show hosted by Vic Sotto and Ai-ai delas Alas. Following its last episode on February 4, GMA quietly cancelled the program without any explanation.

First premiered on September 24, ‘Bossing & Ai’ marked Vic Sotto’s first foray into late-night television after years of producing primetime sitcoms. It also became his first television project with Ai-ai delas Alas following a string of box-office films.

From the moment it first aired, however, it became clear that ‘Bossing & Ai’ was destined to fail. The program only mustered an average of 6% in the Kantar ratings whereas ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ scored around 11%.

The mismatch between ‘Bossing & Ai’ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ was of no surprise considering that ‘Eat Bulaga’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ are also running in the same vein in recent years. It can also be said that Vice Ganda has had Vic Sotto’s number on television unlike in the Metro Manila Film Festival where the two comedy legends seem to be evenly matched.

Overall, ‘Bossing & Ai’ only aired a total of 20 episodes. While it was still eight episodes better than ‘Pare & Pare’ and nine more than ‘Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To’, the run of ‘Bossing & Ai’ remains short by GMA’s standards.

After the cancellation of ‘Bossing & Ai’, GMA reverted back to airing ‘Sunday Night Box Office’ opposite ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ (with occasional airings of Manny Pacquiao’s drama anthology ‘Stories for the Soul’ in between). Perhaps this is their last resort considering the numerous shows that failed against Vice Ganda’s talk show.

It remains to be seen whether or not GMA will once again try to beat ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ with a program of their own. But if ‘Bossing & Ai’ is definitely the last straw, then what a way to wave the white flag of surrender and concede to an unbeatable opponent.

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