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Alaala on GMA This Sunday

Martial Law in the Marcos era is still a relevant topic in Philippine history.

Which is why on the 45th anniversary week of this dreaded event, GMA will rekindled harsh memories of the era through the two-hour made-for-TV film ‘Alaala: A Martial Law Special’. The special will star Alden Richards, Rocco Nacino, Gina Alajar and Bianca Umali, and is directed by Adolf Alix Jr.

In ‘Alaala’, Alden and Rocco will bring life to Martial Law activists Boni Ilagan and Pete Lacaba respectively. The special will take a look at the two activists’ hardships and trials during one of the darkest chapters in Philippine politics.

It will also take a look at Martial Law in both a positive and negative light. Overall, ‘Alaala’ should be a series worth watching for history enthusiasts and Martial Law victims alike.

Not surprisingly, the special will be under the helm of GMA Public Affairs, the same group that brought the likes of ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Ilustrado’ to the small screen. With a reputation for bringing award-winning (albeit oft-criticized) docu-dramas to the limelight, expect GMA Public Affairs to bring that same fire on ‘Alaala’.

In one of the rare moments of GMA’s recent history, they will air a made-for-TV film in the dreaded Sunday night slot. Considering the many times that Sunday Night Box Office brought in old Tagalized foreign films for nostalgia’s sake, ‘Alaala’ is definitely a change from the norm, and it’s a good thing to see regardless of how it fares in the ratings.

Come this Sunday, history will be relived. Anyone who suffered under the wrath of Martial Law, and those who still don’t understand its consequences, should watch ‘Alaala’ in order to look back at the people’s suffering, pain and misery during this dark age in Philippine history.

‘Alaala’ will air this Sunday on GMA’s Sunday Night Box Office.

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News TV Continues Fall From Grace with Amaya Rerun

‘Amaya’ returned to the airwaves, this time on GMA News TV last Monday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It doesn’t get any worse for GMA News TV.

After defying the logic of a news channel with classic movies and reruns from their previous incarnation QTV, News TV took it one step further by re-airing an old teleserye from their parent channel. And it was led by no less than the network’s so-called ‘Queen of Primetime’.

‘Amaya’, the 2011 ‘epicserye’, started re-airing on Channel 11 last Monday. The said series, which took place in 16th century Visayas, starred Marian Rivera, with supporting roles from Rochelle Pangilinan, Glaiza de Castro, Sid Lucero, Mikael Daez, Aljur Abrenica, Diana Zubiri, Gardo Versoza, Raymond Bagatsing, Lani Mercado, Gina Alajar and Ayen Munji-Laurel.

The series originally aired on GMA from May 30, 2011 to January 13, 2012. ‘Amaya”s run coincided with the gradual decline in the network’s performance during the current decade, as ABS-CBN’s counterparts began to dominate the ratings.

Nevertheless, ‘Amaya’ received citations from the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Department of Education for its culturally significant story.

But that is not the real story behind News TV’s decision to re-air ‘Amaya’. Having exhausted all of their programming material to air, and having lacked the drive and the resources to produce more news programs, News TV resorted to another desperate manuever: re-airing older teleseryes from the parent Channel 7.

News TV is no stranger to airing historical and socially-significant dramas. After all, they aired GMA News-produced mini-series such as ‘Titser’, ‘Katipunan’ and ‘Bayan Ko’ to critical success, and they even re-aired the equally costly but less popular drama ‘Ilustrado’ at one point.

But ‘Amaya’ is a different animal. After all, it was a ‘true’ teleserye that GMA produced, and not a mere mini-series like the aforementioned ‘Ilustrado’.

And while ‘Amaya’ shares a similar historical significance as the other dramas, the fact that it had over 150 episodes to boot makes it an exhausting series to watch and remember. That said, re-airing ‘Amaya’ is a waste of time and space for GMA News TV.

So what’s next for the suddenly teleserye-friendly News TV? Will they re-air a Koreanovela remake like ‘Endless Love’, a fantaserye like ‘Encantadia’, or a more mature drama like ‘My Husband’s Lover’? We’ll never know, but one thing’s for sure: the worst is yet to come for GMA’s troubled little sister.

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Of Gandang Gabi Vice and GMA’s Inability to Beat the Show

Sunday nights have not been kind to GMA in recent years, thanks to shows like ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ has victimized GMA programming for the past three years.

Not only is GGV a top-rater on ABS-CBN and a social media hit, but it also forced GMA to make some changes in an attempt to beat the program. Still, no matter how many changes GMA would make, Vice Ganda’s show will always find a way to stay on top.

Among the notable victims of GGV’s success were a pair of Manny Pacquiao’s programs in ‘Show Me da Manny’ and ‘Para Sa ‘Yo Ang Laban Na ‘To’, the ill-fated talk show ‘Pare & Pare’, the sitcom ‘Andres de Saya’, and most recently the public affairs program ‘Imbestigador’.  All of the aforementioned programs, save for ‘Imbestigador’ which moved to a new timeslot, were axed by GMA.

Making it even worse for GMA is the guesting of their prized talents on Vice’s program. While contracted GMA artists Richard Gutierrez and Dingdong Dantes managed to make an appearance on GGV to promote their films (and subsequently get high ratings), the same cannot be said for Marian Rivera, who last year turned down a guesting stint on GGV out of respect for her mother network.

Nevertheless, the guestings of Chard and Dong will always prove that GGV is welcome to all artists, no matter which network they belong. Even the embattled Aljur Abrenica, who recently filed a case to void his GMA contract, is welcome to guest on Vice’s program.

Moving on, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ will have a new opponent two Sundays from now. ‘Sa Puso ni Dok’, the upcoming medical docudrama on GMA, will premiere this Sunday night, but with the finale of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All-In’ expected to run for two hours, the rivalry between the two shows will have to wait for another week.

The new series, starring Dennis Trillo and Bela Padilla, follows a similar formula that was used on critically-acclaimed GMA News docudramas ‘Katipunan’, ‘Bayan Ko’ and ‘Titser’. ‘Sa Puso ni Dok’ was originally slated to air on GMA News TV, before it was decided that the show will instead air on GMA in order to attract a bigger audience.

Whether or not ‘Sa Puso ni Dok’ will overcome the juggernaut that is ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ will always be a formidable and strong opponent, no matter what show it faces.

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More Programming Changes within GMA

This past week, GMA shook up its programming schedule in both weekday and weekend slots, in hopes of reversing the downward trend in terms of ratings. However, these changes do not seem to help the Kapuso network at all.

In the weekday morning slot GMA extended its anime block to nearly three hours. However, all they did was to re-air ‘Flame of Recca‘ and ‘Shaman King‘, which like ‘YuYu Hakusho‘ (Ghost Fighter) held a sentimental value to the network. Then ‘Kusina Master’, formerly a 30-minute ‘live’ program converted to a 15-minuter, airs shortly afterward. After Chef Boy Logro’s program, things seem to get interesting.

GMA’s extension of its anime block cost them two programs: the Mexican telenovela ‘Lola’ (original title Bella Calamidades), and the parent-child reality show ‘Anak Ko Yan’. The latter aired its series finale, with Jen-Jen Chubb crowned as the grand champion. The former, which replaced ‘With a Smile’ nearly two months ago, abruptly ended its run due to low ratings, even though more episodes were in the offing. In ‘Lola”s case, its abrupt cancellation has something to do with the viewers’ lack of interest towards Latin American drama series, which has fallen out of favor since the Asianovela invasion of the mid-2000s.

Meanwhile, the biography series ‘Tunay na Buhay‘ moved from the Saturday night slot to the weekday morning slot, to make way for another movie block called ‘Sabado Horror Night’. With the eight-part historical drama series ‘Katipunan’ currently airing, GMA had no room for ‘Tunay na Buhay’, thus moving it to the weekday morning slot. However, the ‘Sabado Horror Night’ block is deemed unnecessary, since GMA now has three movie blocks on Sundays and that ‘Katipunan’ runs for only a short period of time.

‘Sabado Horror Night’ also forced the variety show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman‘ out of its typical 12:00 a.m. timeslot. By all accounts, 12:00 a.m. is usually the best timeslot for German Moreno‘s program viewership-wise. But by forcing ‘Walang Tulugan’ out of its comfort zone, viewership losses are expected and many would be asleep by the time the show airs at 1:00 a.m.

Also this Saturday, the new game show ‘Picture! Picture!’, hosted by Ryan Agoncillo, will air after 24 Oras Weekend. In my previous blog, I wrote about GMA’s decision to pit ‘Picture! Picture!’ opposite wife Judy Ann Santos‘ game show ‘Bet on Your Baby’, and the reason why GMA wanted Ryan’s show to compete against Juday’s show is because of the poor ratings sustained by the children’s fantasy show ‘One Day Isang Araw’. Thus they answered with their own game show, which unlike ABS-CBN’s, is an original creation of the network.

And finally, GMA decided to cancel the docudrama series ‘Bingit’. The program, which is about stories of individuals surviving near-death experiences, aired its final episode last November 16, after which GMA decided to cease production of ‘Bingit’ out of respect to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

GMA’s programming changes were intended on improving its quality and viewership. However, with the kind of mediocre production they’re creating, it’s no secret why they were falling behind ABS-CBN in the ratings.

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