entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

Studio 7: GMA’s Primetime Version of ASAP

Call it a ‘new era’ for GMA.

On Sunday, GMA will embrace this culture change with a new variety show called ‘Studio 7’. The program, which airs every Sunday night, will highlight the network’s young but oftentimes underappreciated talent, plus some newcomers to go along with it.

‘Studio 7”s first two episodes will feature performances from the likes of Christian Bautista, Julie Anne San Jose, Mark Bautista, Gabbi Garcia, Rayver Cruz, Kyline Alcantara, Migo Adecer, Mikee Quintos, Kate Valdez, and twins Mavy and Cassy Legaspi. There will also be a comedic skit from DonEkla, composed of comedians Donita Nose and Tekla.

In addition, the finalists of ‘The Clash’, led by grand winner Golden Cañedo, will make an appearance. Golden will be joined on stage by Jong Madaliday, Garrett Bolden, Josh Adornado and Mirriam Manalo.

‘Studio 7’ will also feature interactive segments such as Trending (stories of viral, heartwarming and interesting personalities online), G na G (a challenge where the hosts must perform a task given by netizens), and On the Spot (a vocal showdown between the network’s top singers). And finally, audiences are encouraged to join in alongside the performers and interact during their performances.

For starters, GMA is once again working on a brand new variety show. However, there is one glaring omission on ‘Studio 7’ that piqued the audience’s interest.

When ‘Studio 7’ was announced to the public two weeks ago, Regine Velasquez was conspicuously absent. The erstwhile host of ‘The Clash’ officially became a free agent as soon as the show ended, but at the moment she remains undecided on her future plans.

It is also worth noting that ‘Studio 7’ will air on primetime every Sunday, in contrast to past GMA Sunday variety shows. Perhaps the network’s inability to defeat ‘ASAP’ (and subsequent yielding of the noontime slot to APT Entertainment for ‘Sunday PinaSaya’) that became the impetus for ‘Studio 7”s move to primetime.

Still, ‘Studio 7’ will have its hands full against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Kids’ Choice’ in its timeslot. While the latter has not been a favorite of viewers from the start, its decent ratings will still pose a test to ‘Studio 7”s resolve.

That said, getting a few victories should give ‘Studio 7’ and GMA’s young talent a sense of vindication. For now, though, the show is slated to air only 14 episodes, and if executives are satisfied perhaps it might run a little while longer.

‘Studio 7’ airs every Sunday after ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Onanay: A New GMA Series with a ‘Little’ Twist

‘Bagani’ now has a ‘little’ problem, literally.

The ongoing ABS-CBN teleserye will face a new challenger starting Monday, but this is not an ordinary drama series. Instead, GMA’s ‘Onanay’ will be led by an actress who may be physically short as an adult but is big in potential.

The actress in question is Jo Berry, who suffers from dwarfism which causes her to remain short in height as an adult. In ‘Onanay’, Jo is Onay, a mother of two born with Achondroplasia which is a bone growth disorder that impeded her growth.

Her two daughters Maila (Mikee Quintos) and Natalie (Kate Valdez) has contrasting personalities. While Maila is cheerful, obedient and respectful of her mother, Natalie is spoiled, arrogant and ashamed of her mother’s condition.

The series will also feature a special appearance from Ms. Nora Aunor, who will portray Onay’s mother Nelia. In addition, Ms. Cherie Gil will play Helena, Onay’s mother-in-law and a wealthy owner of a fashion magazine, who is determined to give Onay and Nelia’s life a living hell.

‘Onanay”s other cast members include Gardo Versoza, Wendell Ramos, Rochelle Pangilinan, Vaness del Moral, Enrico Cuenca, and Adrian Alandy. The series will be directed by Gina Alajar.

Talk about starting small and dreaming big. For someone as little as Jo Berry, getting into show business takes a little luck and determination, but GMA did not find her short stature as a detriment to conquering the entertainment world.

However, ‘Onanay’ should have a lot to worry about moving forward. While it has the potential to become a critically inspiring drama, it will only depend on how viewers will be able to relate to this series.

And considering that ‘Bagani’ is still dominant in its timeslot, ‘Onanay’ may have a hard time keeping up with the duo of Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil. Regardless, not all are LizQuen fans, and ‘Onanay’ can only hope that they can turn these doubters into believers.

It will be interesting to see how a midget can rise to the occasion and become a bonafide star. This is what ‘Onanay’ will look forward to as they get underway.

‘Onanay’ airs weeknights after ‘Victor Magtanggol’ on GMA Telebabad.

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

GMA Takes Another Shot at Ang Probinsyano with Sherlock Jr.

Seven have arrived, and seven have failed.

For nearly three years, GMA found no answers on how to solve ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Whether it is a remake of a telenovela (‘MariMar’), a pair of light-hearted dramas (‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’) or a series of fantasy and action programs (‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Super Ma’am’), all of them were helpless to stop Cardo (Coco Martin) and his gang from total domination.

Now here comes an eighth entry in GMA’s plan to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. ‘Sherlock Jr.’, the newest primetime series of the network, is a vastly different animal compared to the previous seven series, thanks in part to a pair of rising young stars in Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid.

In ‘Sherlock Jr.’, Ruru is Jack, a clever investigative reporter who does not back down from solving mysteries. Gabbi, on the other hand, is Lily, a jolly and bubbly veterinarian assistant who loves to join anything to make her famous.

Playing a special role in the series is Janine Gutierrez as Irene, Jack’s girlfriend and lifestyle reporter. A golden retriever named Serena will also join in as Irene’s companion and later on Jack’s partner.

‘Sherlock Jr.”s story will revolve around Jack and Irene’s relationship, which then took a new turn once Lily got involved. From then on, the series will take a look at how Lily became friends with Irene one night and then fell in love with Jack in the midst of the investigation surrounding them.

Also part of the ‘Sherlock Jr.’ cast are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Tonton Gutierrez, Andre Paras, Roi Vinzon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Rochelle Barrameda, Matt Evans, Kate Valdez, Alyana Asistio, and Sofia Pablo. It will be directed by Rechie del Carmen.

Despite a younger lead cast in Janine Gutierrez and the GabRu love team, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ still has a long shot to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, it will take an epic miracle to at least come close to ‘Ang Probinsyano”s near-40% ratings, which as proven by the previous seven opponents it has had, is a daunting task indeed.

There is also a minor controversy surrounding the series’ title that was reminiscent of the ‘Alyas Robin Hood’-‘Arrow’ issue. But regardless of these odds and distractions, GMA should hope that ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will make its viewers happy and help advance the careers of Gabbi, Ruru and Janine.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

With Impending Encantadia Requel, GMA Goes for Broke

It’s official: ‘Encantadia’ is returning to GMA.

The announcement was made last night during the evening newscast ’24 Oras’. Throughout the newscast, the upcoming ‘requel’ (portmanteau of reboot and prequel) revealed its main cast members, which are as follows:

  • Glaiza de Castro (as Sang’gre Pirena, originally portrayed by Sunshine Dizon)
  • Kylie Padilla (as Sang’gre Amihan, originally portrayed by Iza Calzado)
  • Gabbi Garcia (as Sang’gre Alena, originally portrayed by Karylle)
  • Sanya Lopez (as Sang’gre Danaya, originally portrayed by Diana Zubiri)
  • Ruru Madrid (as Ybarro/Ybrahim, originally portrayed by Dingdong Dantes)
  • Rocco Nacino (as Aquil, originally portrayed by Alfred Vargas)

They will be joined by Marian Rivera, who will play Dawn Zulueta’s original role as the Inang Reyna.

In addition, the press conference announced the names of the supporting cast members. They are:

  •  John Arcilla (as Hagorn)
  • Rochelle Pangilinan (as Agane)
  • Vaness del Moral (as Gurna)
  • Pancho Magno (as Hitano)
  • Christian Bautista (as Apitong)
  • Carlo Gonzales (as Muros)
  • Kate Valdez (as Mira)
  • Mikee Quintos (as Lira)
  • Klea Pineda (as Muyak)
  • Migo Adecer (as Anthony)
  • Solenn Heussaff (as Cassiopeia)

Mark Reyes will be the director of the new ‘Encantadia’, and he revealed that a few changes will be made on the ‘requel’ without sacrificing the main story of the original series. That said, expect a fresher and more modern ‘Encantadia’ for the new generation.

The original ‘Encantadia’ aired on GMA during the mid-2000s, and spawned two sequels in ‘Etheria: Ang Ikalimang Kaharian ng Encantadia’ and ‘Encantadia: Pag-Ibig Hanggang Wakas’. A planned reboot of ‘Encantadia’ (titled ‘Encantadia: The Second Saga’) was announced in 2010, but was never materialized.

When it first aired, ‘Encantadia’ became one of GMA’s highly-rated series, thanks in large part to the popularity of the fantaserye during that time. But the production of ‘Encantadia’ and its two sequels took its toll on GMA financially, and they have never recovered since.

With the Kapuso network in a crisis of confidence, what chances will they have with the ‘requel’ of ‘Encantadia’? And how will this series be able to thrive amidst a more conservative approach in teleserye production?

Only time will tell.

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