drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Desperate Times: Ika-5 Utos Represents GMA’s Last Hope for Six-a-Week Relevance

Let’s state the obvious to begin with.

On Monday, September 10, GMA will introduce a new drama called ‘Ika-5 Utos’. And the series will air from Monday to, not Friday, but Saturday afternoons after ‘Eat Bulaga’.

‘Ika-5 Utos” main plot centers around three families whose bonds will be destroyed by a series of incidents. The series, in particular, will take a look at the issue of hazing in college fraternities.

The cast of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ includes Jean Garcia, Gelli de Belen, Valerie Concepcion, Jake Vargas, Kiko Estrada, Inah de Belen, Tonton Gutierrez, Antonio Aquitania, Jeric Gonzales, Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda. The series, like its sister program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, will be directed by Laurice Guillen.

So another teleserye that will air six times a week? It seems like GMA is obsessed with this new habit.

And since they do not have any further ideas to fill in on a Saturday afternoon (they do not even bother producing a program to match ABS-CBN’s ‘Pareng Partners’), they are stuck with using a teleserye as a desperate ploy to boost ratings. But as seen in the ill-fated tale that is ‘Contessa’, it was a flawed strategy to begin with.

The approach initially worked on ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ due to ‘insistent public demand’ (its finale earned around 20% despite airing on a Saturday). But when ‘Contessa’ took over viewers were soon fed up by GMA’s over-saturation tactics, and instead opted to watch either Vice Ganda running his mouth on national television or Netflix shows online.

As a result, ‘Contessa’ underachieved and GMA’s strategy backfired. With that in mind, ‘Ika-5 Utos’ is now stuck in the crossroads that will either appease its audience to watch the series or force GMA to finally admit the problems in its approach.

It will be interesting to see how this latest maneuver plays out. Can ‘Ika-5 Utos’ deliver on a six-a-week basis, or will GMA ever regret making this risky move?

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television

Kambal Karibal Starts Tonight, Seeks to Topple La Luna Sangre

KathNiel, meet BiGuel.

It seems like nothing can stop ABS-CBN’s ‘La Luna Sangre’. After all, since it premiered last June it became the second most-watched teleserye in the Philippines behind only ‘Ang Probinsyano’.

Three times GMA has tried to curb the dominance of ‘La Luna Sangre’, and three times they miserably failed. After striking out with ‘My Love from the Star’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ and ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ season 2, they decided to go fire with fire by going with a supernatural theme and a love team.

Their response is a teleserye titled ‘Kambal Karibal’, starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix. In the series, twin sisters Crisanta and Criselda (Bianca) battle for the love of both her family and Diego (Miguel), with the already dead Criselda consumed by Crisanta’s increasing affection for Diego and her mother.

The story begins with the death of Criselda from a rare disease, leaving her spirit behind that only appears to Crisanta. But after Crisanta gains the favor of Diego and her mother, Criselda decides to inhabit another person’s body in an attempt to stop Crisanta from getting the love that she deserves.

‘Kambal Karibal’ also stars Jean Garcia, Marvin Agustin, Alfred Vargas, Carmina Villarroel, Gloria Romero, Christopher De Leon, Jeric Gonzales, Pauline Mendoza, Rafa Siguion Reyna, Sheree, Racquel Montessa, and Kyline Alcantara. Katrina Halili and Gardo Versoza will also play special roles in the series.

If ‘La Luna Sangre”s ratings of over 30% and a disparity of over 15% are any indication, then ‘Kambal Karibal’ is in for a rude awakening. The powerhouse cast of ‘La Luna Sangre’, led by Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla and Kapuso castoffs Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez, continues to wreak havoc, and it will be very difficult for BiGuel to overcome KathNiel.

Nevertheless, the battle between ‘La Luna Sangre’ and ‘Kambal Karibal’ should be an interesting one. Not only will this be a competition between love teams, it will also be a fight between vengeful vampires and possessed spirits.

Directed by Don Michael Perez, ‘Kambal Karibal’ airs weeknights after ‘Super Ma’am’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Once Again to Challenge LizQuen Starting Monday

‘Dolce Amore’ will have a new opponent next week.

After taking care of business against ‘That’s My Amboy’, the ABS-CBN drama series will now go up against ‘Once Again’. The upcoming GMA series will be topbilled by Janine Gutierrez and Aljur Abrenica, and will premiere this coming Monday.

In ‘Once Again’, Janine and Aljur portray two different characters whose fates will both intertwine through the power of reincarnation. Janine will play Reign and Des, while Aljur will play Edgar and Aldrin.

Reign, a rich girl, and Edgar, a meek baker, fell in love with each other, but Reign’s family objected and she was forced to marry an elite bachelor named Lukas (Joko Diaz). While trying to overcome these obstacles, both Reign and Edgar met their demise – Edgar during a fight, and Reign after a horrific accident.

Twenty years later, they met anew, but as Des and Aldrin and in a different place. Though they were different people, they still shared the same love and passion that Reign and Edgar once showed.

Joining Janine and Aljur in ‘Once Again’ are Jean Garcia, Sheryl Cruz, Chanda Romero, Emilio Garcia, Timmy Cruz, Thea Tolentino and Jeric Gonzales, with special participation from Christopher de Leon, Bembol Roco, Irma Adlawan, Sharmaine Arnaiz and Phytos Ramirez. The series will be directed by Don Michael Perez.

‘Once Again’ should have its hands full as they face the established love team of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. With GMA’s recent unwillingness to promote their teleseryes*, the series may find themselves in a tough spot against ‘Dolce Amore’, especially with the latter posting consistent ratings of over 30% nationally.

If Janine and Aljur were to stand a chance against LizQuen, they need to prove their worth chemistry-wise and talent-wise. Given the success of LizQuen, it will not be easy, but if they can somehow click, that will help ‘Once Again”s chances.

With all obstacles thrown at them, it will be interesting to see how can ‘Once Again’ play a big factor. That said, the first week of this series will be very crucial, and if they can survive, it will be a huge help to their confidence.

‘Once Again’ airs starting this Monday after ‘Poor Señorita’ on GMA Telebabad.

*Exceptions are upcoming series, such as ‘Once Again’.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, religion, television

More Than Words Concludes, Pari ‘Koy Commences This Monday

Fresh from his marriage to Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes makes his return to the small screen.

His new project, ‘Pari ‘Koy’, will star ‘Dong in a role of a priest with an unconventional preaching approach. The main plot of the story will focus on Dingdong’s character being sent to Barangay Pinagpala in order to put his unorthodox style to the test in a seemingly pessimistic and corrupt community.

Joining ‘Dong on ‘Pari ‘Koy’ are Sunshine Dizon, Gabby Eigenmann, Chanda Romero, Luz Valdez, Dexter Doria, Rap Fernandez, JC Tiuseco, Carlo Gonzales, Jillian Ward, Jeric Gonzales, Lindsay de Vera, Hiro Peralta, and David Remo.

In the initial teaser to the upcoming teleserye, Dingdong’s priest character was portrayed as a drummer, not knowing he was actually a priest with the vestments under his jacket. Later teasers showed the antagonists doing corrupt practices in Barangay Pinagpala, and more recently, ‘Bubble Gang’ cast members were shown giving their thoughts on ‘Pari ‘Koy’.

‘Pari ‘Koy’ premieres this Monday on GMA Telebabad, replacing this teleserye.

Yes, ‘More Than Words’ will air its final episode tomorrow. The love story of Hiro (Elmo Magalona) and Ikay/Katy (Janine Gutierrez) has seen its ups and downs throughout the series’ run, and as it enters its final two episodes, an emotional ending is in store for both of them.

Premiering on November 17, 2014, ‘More Than Words’ went up against ABS-CBN’s ‘Dream Dad’, coincidentally featuring Elmo’s sister Maxene Magalona, for a majority of its run. The series enjoyed mixed success according to AGB Nielsen, but struggled against its opponent as far as Kantar’s ratings were concerned.

As it turned out, the pairing of Zanjoe Marudo and Jana Agoncillo proved to be stronger and more compelling than the duo of Elmo and Janine.

Now ‘Dream Dad’ will await the challenge of ‘Pari ‘Koy’, GMA’s latest attempt in the value-oriented teleserye. It will be interesting to see how a series with a radical priest will go up against another featuring a single father and his adopted daughter in the ratings game.

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