entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

In 100 Words: GMA Teased Upcoming Season of StarStruck on Facebook

Even GMA is itching to find a new star.

As ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ continues to look for future artists among its housemates, GMA teased its audience by updating the Facebook page of ‘StarStruck’, implying that a new season will come around very soon.

‘StarStruck”s most recent season came in 2015 when it crowned Klea Pineda and Migo Adecer as the Ultimate Female and Male Survivor respectively. However, that season of ‘StarStruck’ was a disaster as it endured poor ratings while airing in the early primetime slot.

It remains to be seen if GMA will indeed produce another season of ‘StarStruck’. Considering how bad last season turned out, it will not be a surprise if viewers have seen the last of the country’s original ‘artista search’ program.

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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, fantasy, Philippines, television

Thoughts on Sirkus

GMA’s new weekly fantaserye ‘Sirkus’ premiered last January 21 and has had a mixed performance since. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

A fantaserye on a Sunday night?

This is exactly what GMA delivered when it premiered ‘Sirkus’ last January 21. But in contrast to the network’s other fantaseryes, ‘Sirkus’ is a production of the GMA Public Affairs group (notorious for bringing non-news programs to the network) and it only airs once a week.

The premise of ‘Sirkus’ is that of two fraternal twins Mia (Mikee Quintos) and Miko (Mikoy Morales) finding themselves in the company of a traveling circus in order to escape from the clutches of an evil villainess. Throughout their quest, the motive behind the villainess’ obsession to catch them will be revealed and their true identities will also be discovered.

Also part of the cast of ‘Sirkus’ are Andre Paras, Chariz Solomon, Sef Cadayona, Klea Pineda, Gardo Versoza, Ms. Cherie Gil, Divine Tetay, Gerald Acao, Zoren Legaspi and Angelu de Leon. The director is Zig Dulay.

When the series was first introduced to the public in late December, many thought that ‘Sirkus’ would replace ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’ as the opponent of the long-running fantasy anthology ‘Wansapanatym’. However, GMA had other plans in mind.

Not only did the network keep ‘Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko’, it also made significant changes to the late afternoon-early evening Sunday timeslots. As a result, ‘Sirkus’, which replaced the travel series ‘Road Trip’, was assigned to the 6:30 p.m. timeslot and ’24 Oras Weekend’ was bumped to an earlier time.

Through two episodes, ‘Sirkus’ has had mixed results in the ratings. Its debut episode barely defeated ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ by 0.4%, but the following week saw ‘Sirkus’ slump by 4% to its opponent.

Given the often volatile financial situation of GMA, it was a better idea for them to just produce a weekly fantaserye instead of one that airs on weeknights. But to be produced by GMA Public Affairs instead of GMA Entertainment is once again a desperate act altogether.

Whatever the case, one can only hope that ‘Sirkus’ will be the start of many elaborate once-a-week projects that GMA embarks. Such series is for the better of the network at this point because they need all the money in the world to focus on technological improvements that will make them more viable in the age of digitization.

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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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drama, entertainment, Korea, Philippines, television

GMA’s Post-StarStruck Response is a Koreanovela, Plus No Miss World Telecast

A new Koreanovela will kick things off for GMA Telebabad.

Tonight will be the premiere of ‘The Producers’, a recently-aired Korean drama series starring Kim Soo-hyun, Cha Tae-hyun, Gong Hyo-jin and IU. The series is produced by the same group who created another hit Korean drama in ‘My Love from the Star’.

This brings the total number of current Asianovelas on GMA to three. Two of them (‘Someone Like You’, ‘Ice Adonis’) form part of the network’s Heart of Asia Mornings block.

Unfortunately for GMA, ‘The Producers’ will be up against ‘Pasion de Amor’, the ABS-CBN teleserye that continues to heat up the ratings with each intense scene. Combined with waning interest in the Koreanovela genre, and a programming mismatch ensues between the two shows.

That said, it will be a very tough challenge for GMA and ‘The Producers’ to rekindle the once-popular Koreanovela genre. Whether or not they will accomplish that remains to be seen.

‘The Producers’ airs weeknights at 5:50 p.m., before ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

No Televised Broadcast of Miss World

The 2015 Miss World was held last Saturday, with Spain’s Mireia Lalaguna winning the crown. The Philippines’ Miss World representative, Hillarie Parungao, finished in the top ten.

Unfortunately, despite the presence of ‘MariMar’ star and 2013 winner Megan Young as one of the pageant’s hosts, this year’s Miss World was not televised at all in the Philippines. The reason: GMA’s concurrent live broadcast of ‘StarStruck: The Final Judgment’, won by Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda.

There was also no delayed broadcast of the said pageant the following day, as GMA realized it was not worth it given the country’s Miss World bet only made the top ten. News reports were also absent on GMA News programs within days of the event; the only Miss World-related report is of Parungao’s return to the country.

With GMA unable to air this year’s Miss World (even though they aired the Miss World Philippines pageant two months earlier), it may be a better idea for the organizers to find a new network for subsequent Miss World and Miss World Philippines pageants. GMA’s non-commitment to a Miss World broadcast is not a good sign for their relationship, and worse, a black eye for the embattled network.

That said, next year’s Miss World will provide a lot of questions to prospective coverors. Will there ever be another broadcast of Miss World in the Philippines? Only time will tell.

Postscript: Speaking of beauty pageants, congratulations to Pia Wurtzbach for winning the 2015 Miss Universe pageant, albeit with the help of a premature announcement of Miss Colombia’s victory by host Steve Harvey. The victory of the Philippines’ Wurtzbach should help spike the event’s ratings on ABS-CBN this week. 

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

StarStruck Ends This Saturday

The Ultimate Male and Female Survivor will be crowned this Saturday, as ‘StarStruck’ presents ‘The Final Judgment’. (Photo credit: GMA Network/StarStruck Official Facebook)

The most forgettable season in ‘StarStruck’ history is finally coming to a close.

On Saturday, December 19, ‘StarStruck”s Final Four, consisting of Klea Pineda, Migo Adecer, Elyson de Dios, and Ayra Mariano, will vie for the Ultimate Male and Female Survivor crowns in front of a nationwide audience. As it has been the case in past seasons, ‘StarStruck”s season finale will be dubbed ‘The Final Judgment’.

The season finale of ‘StarStruck’ will also feature a special guest. Former ‘StarStruck’ reject-turned-rising star Alden Richards will make a special appearance on the show, joining hosts Dingdong Dantes and Megan Young alongside ‘StarStruck’ segment hosts and judges.

Saturday’s finale will mark the only time that the sixth season of ‘StarStruck’ aired an episode on a weekend. This is surprising for the reality show, considering that past seasons always featured a weekend edition (typically elimination nights that lead up to the coronation of that season’s male, female and sole survivors).

But not this year, as elimination nights took place on a Friday.

Overall, the sixth season of ‘StarStruck’ failed to recapture the aura of past seasons, thanks to a poor choice of timeslot and the lack of a weekend edition. Losing to ‘Pasion de Amor’ and avoiding ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ proved to be two sins that this season’s ‘StarStruck’ were not able to avoid.

With ‘StarStruck’ not performing up to expectations, an uncertain path awaits this season’s survivors and avengers. Staying with GMA may be a risky course for some, but moving over to ABS-CBN or other outfits may still help them enhance their skills.

It remains to be seen whether or not the ‘StarStruck’ finale will finish strong. But one thing’s for sure: it’s make or break for ‘StarStruck’ this Saturday.

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