drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

GMA’s Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko Looks to Make Saturdays Relevant Anew

As stubborn as they come.

Even in a losing cause GMA continues to defy the norm. Their insistence comes in the form of one afternoon drama that airs from Monday to Saturday.

Initially they only used this formula for ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, by far their most successful afternoon drama in the recent past. But later dramas such as ‘Contessa’ and ‘Ika-5 Utos’ proved to be flukes as neither show was able to keep viewers tuned in six times a week.

And after only 36 episodes, GMA demoted ‘Ika-5 Utos’ to a later timeslot to make way for yet another ‘kabitserye’. As far as the new series ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ is concerned, there is no need to explain, not even the story itself.

(Spoiler alert: one of the lead characters is a gay man who underwent sexual reassignment surgery ala Jake Zyrus to become a woman)

For those who still want to check in on the plot, just click this link. Enough said.

Anyway, ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ will be led by Kris Bernal, Rayver Cruz, Thea Tolentino and Jason Abalos. The supporting cast will include Lotlot de Leon, Devon Seron, Annalyn Barro, Caprice Cayetano, Jean Saburit, Ricardo Cepeda, Maricris Garcia, Matthias Rhoads, and Phil Noble.

While ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ has some recognizable names and an intriguing yet familiar storyline, the challenge now for the show is its ability to keep viewers glued to their seats from Monday to Saturday. Considering its opponent is ‘It’s Showtime’, it is not going to be an easy task, especially on Saturdays.

That said, GMA can only hope that ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ will give Vice Ganda and company a lot more than they can chew. If not, then it will not be a surprise to see GMA demote this series and try a new strategy every Saturday.

Directed by Mark Sicat dela Cruz, ‘Asawa Ko, Karibal Ko’ airs every Monday to Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Impostora to End Tomorrow

The new version of ‘Impostora’ will officially bow out.

Tomorrow afternoon will mark the 160th and final episode of this GMA afternoon drama. And much like the villainous Rosette and the good-but-ugly Nimfa (both played by Kris Bernal), ‘Impostora’ had two different faces: one that was dominant and the other inferior.

First premiered on July 3, 2017, ‘Impostora’ was based on the 2007 version of the same title starring Sunshine Dizon and Iza Calzado, which in turn adopted the story from the 1994 film ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’. Pitted against ‘Pusong Ligaw’ for a majority of its run, the new ‘Impostora’ had a slow start but by August the series began to win over the viewers and beat its closest competitor.

For a while, it seemed that nothing can stop ‘Impostora’. However, the series began to lose anew as 2017 turned to 2018, thanks largely to a late push by the concluding ‘Pusong Ligaw’.

It only got worse for ‘Impostora’ once Julia Montes entered the fray. Her series ‘Asintado’ made an immediate impact from the get-go and while ‘Impostora’ relived some past glory in some of its episodes, a younger Julia Montes was simply too much for Kris Bernal to handle.

Regardless of the late swoon, the 160-episode run of ‘Impostora’ remains an impressive feat by GMA’s standards. To air so many episodes speaks volumes of its immense impact in the weekday afternoon landscape, particularly with ABS-CBN’s struggles in the afternoon slots that gave ‘Impostora’ an opportunity to strike.

But even if Kris Bernal made a good account of herself by playing a bad girl on ‘Impostora’, she won’t be able to escape the ‘good girl’ persona that she always prides with. Much like ‘Rhodora X’ with Jennylyn Mercado, it is highly unlikely to see Kris play a villain in future drama series.

Perhaps GMA could change that stereotype in order to elevate younger and up-and-coming stars to the fold. Still, it will be up to Kris to make a decision that could either help or hurt the network.

As ‘Impostora’ nears its finale, one must wonder which fate will await Rosette and Nimfa. The last episode should be a must-watch, so good luck.

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action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Bouncing Back: Julia Montes Returns in Asintado

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold badly needs a boost.

For months, the block has struggled against a resurgent GMA Afternoon Prime. It was clear that Kapamilya Gold has gone stale with a repetitive ‘kabitserye’ formula, and as a result, viewers tuned away in favor of series that had campy scenes (‘Ika-6 na Utos’), one actress playing two contrasting personalities (‘Impostora’), and allusions to the supernatural (‘Haplos’).

This Monday, Kapamilya Gold will try to return to relevance with a familiar face and a new attitude. Enter ‘Asintado’, the newest afternoon series starring daytime drama’s undisputed queen in Julia Montes.

In ‘Asintado’, Julia is Ana, a member of a rescue team who looks to make her adoptive family proud. After saving Gael (Paulo Avelino) from a mining accident, she became his personal nurse and eventually fell in love with each other.

But just as their relationship blooms, Gael’s ex-girlfriend Samantha (Shaina Magdayao) returns to try to win back his heart, even if it means killing Ana. Fortunately, Ana was saved by Xander (Aljur Abrenica), only to find out later on that Gael and Samantha are about to get married.

Just as Ana is plotting her revenge, she finds out that Samantha was her long-lost sister. Samantha, as it turned out, was lost in the fire that killed their parents.

The search for love and justice in ‘Asintado’ will also involve a veteran supporting cast consisting of Lorna Tolentino, Cherry Pie Picache, Lito Pimentel, Agot Isidro, and Nonie Buencamino. The series will be directed by Onat Diaz and Lino Cayetano.

If Julia’s previous series ‘Doble Kara’ helped Kapamilya Gold reclaim the ratings lead from Afternoon Prime, then ABS-CBN should look for ‘Asintado’ to do the same. Still, the series will be up against a formidable foe in ‘Impostora’, and battling a tested star in Kris Bernal will not be a walk in the park.

But considering Julia Montes’ star power, facing such an obstacle is no big deal. That said, it will be up to her to lead Kapamilya Gold back to where it wants to be.

‘Asintado’ airs weekdays after ‘It’s Showtime’ on ABS-CBN.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Road Trip: Another Short-Term Solution in GMA’s Late Sunday Afternoon Timeslot?

Instability has defined GMA’s late Sunday afternoon slot.

Since ‘Juan Tamad’ ended its 29-episode run in March 2016, five different programs were placed at the 4:45 p.m. slot on Sundays. They are:

  • Alamat – six episodes from May 15 to June 19, 2016.
  • Conan, My Beautician – 13 episodes from June 26 to September 18, 2016.
  • Usapang Real Love – 14 episodes from September 25 to December 18, 2016.
  • People vs. the Stars – 14 episodes from January 15 to April 16, 2017.
  • Follow Your Heart – 13 episodes from April 23 to July 16, 2017.

Talk about running in the short term. With the exception of ‘Alamat’ which was only slated for six episodes, every program that GMA placed in the timeslot was given only 13 to 14 episodes to broadcast.

The fact that late Sunday afternoons are usually the least-watched period on Philippine television may have played a factor on why GMA continues to experiment with short-term programs in this timeslot. And come this Sunday, that experiment is expected to continue when they premiere a travel show called ‘Road Trip’.

Produced by no less than GMA News and Public Affairs, ‘Road Trip’ is a one-hour show that will feature celebrities and their friends and family going on a field trip to some of the country’s most breathtaking destinations. The program’s premiere episode will see Carmina Villaroel, Zoren Legaspi, and twins Mavy and Cassy go to Batanes.

Future episodes of ‘Road Trip’ will also feature the likes of Rochelle Pangilinan, Max Collins, Andrea Torres, Kris Bernal, Arny Ross, Jinri Park and Meg Imperial. So while news of celebrities going on vacation are a regular sight in tabloids and entertainment websites, GMA is now using it as a tool to create a reality series in ‘Road Trip’.

Now here is a very crucial question. Can ‘Road Trip’ survive past the 13th or the 14th episode?

On a normal basis, Filipino travel shows tend to last for only a few episodes. Case in point: ABS-CBN’s ‘G Diaries’ and TV5’s ‘Lakbai’, which lasted 13 and eight episodes respectively.

That said, it will not be a surprise to see ‘Road Trip’ conclude after only 13 or 14 episodes. But if this program manages to survive past those numbers, then it will be a huge morale boost for GMA.

‘Road Trip’ airs starting this Sunday at 4:45 p.m. on GMA.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

New Version of Impostora to Air This Monday on GMA

A new version of ‘Impostora’ awaits viewers of GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

The upcoming series is loosely based on the original ‘Impostora’ that aired on the Kapuso network back in 2007. In that particular series, Iza Calzado and Sunshine Dizon played dual roles (Iza as twins Lara and the deformed Sara, and Sunshine as the wicked cousin Nessa and a surgically repaired version of Sara).

In turn, that 2007 version was based on the 1994 movie ‘Sa Isang Sulok ng mga Pangarap’, starring Alice Dixson. In each case, the protagonist was portrayed as an ugly duckling that was transformed into a vengeful beauty through facial reconstruction surgery.

For the 2017 version of ‘Impostora’, Kris Bernal will breathe life into two different individuals. At first, Kris will play the ugly street vendor Nimfa, but through plastic surgery, she will be transformed into the beautiful and rich woman named Rosette who seeks to escape from her husband Homer, played by Rafael Rosell.

‘Impostora’ will also star Ryan Eigenmann, Assunta de Rossi, Elizabeth Oropesa, Aicelle Santos, Vaness del Moral, Rita Daniela, Leandro Baldemor, Sinon Loresca, Yuan Francisco, Dayara Shane, and James Blanco. The series will be directed by Albert Langitan.

Initially, GMA announced that ‘Impostora’ was to begin on June 19, replacing ‘Legally Blind’. But the latter’s last-minute extension and change of ending forced the network to move its premiere to July 3.

Now that its run is about to begin, ‘Impostora’ is sure to face a very serious challenge. ABS-CBN afternoon series ‘Pusong Ligaw’ has enjoyed ratings of 16-17% in more recent episodes, and ‘Impostora’ has a daunting task of closing in, if not surpassing the former’s marks.

Come this Monday, it will be interesting to see how playing two characters of differing personalities will elevate the career of Kris Bernal. ‘Impostora’ may be her most serious series yet, but it could also be the one that she needs to become relevant again.

‘Impostora’ airs weekdays after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Tadhana: Another GMA Public Affairs’ Intervention to Entertainment

Another drama anthology will hit GMA screens this Saturday afternoon.

This time, the focus of this up-and-coming series will be on the lives of OFWs whose trials and tribulations abroad are well-documented. Their struggles to fit in another country and bring a better life to both country and family will be told every week on ‘Tadhana’, presented by Marian Rivera.

As is customary to all drama anthologies, celebrity guests will portray a particular subject(s) week after week. For the premiere of ‘Tadhana’, Kris Bernal will portray Elvie, a former Saudi Arabia-based OFW who was constantly abused by her employer, played by Ms. Cherie Gil.

Unsurprisingly, GMA Public Affairs will be responsible for the production of ‘Tadhana’. Considering their recent dabbing into non-news programming, this bit of news should once again add insult to injury to Lilybeth Rasonable and GMA’s Entertainment group.

So what challenge awaits ‘Tadhana’? For starters, this drama should pose another obstacle to ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘SOCO’ when it comes to performance.

Not only that, GMA also hopes to see a carry-over in ratings from ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to ‘Tadhana’. With the former enjoying impressive ratings since its extension to Saturdays, the network now banks on the latter to maintain the momentum, something that ‘Karelasyon’ was not able to do.

However, expect a lot of alienation from more traditional viewers who view ‘Tadhana’ as another cowardly attempt by GMA Entertainment to get bailed out by the news division. It’s a shame, since Rasonable and company have done nothing right to salvage whatever pride they have left.

If this is indeed a production of GMA Public Affairs, ‘Tadhana’ should have been a docu-drama instead, with one of GMA News’ reporters presenting the show plus reenactments from various no-name actors and interviews from the subject involved. That said, their decision to use Marian Rivera and bring to life a story by using Kapuso actors leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth.

For now, the verdict is on ‘Tadhana’ to defy all prognosticators. Come this Saturday, this show should experience a baptism of fire.

‘Tadhana’ airs every Saturday after ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ on GMA.

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