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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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‘Marian’ Ends Tomorrow. Will ‘Bet ng Bayan’ Finally Air on Saturdays Too?

Take a bow, Marian Rivera.

After over five months, ‘Marian’ will officially air its final episode tomorrow. The dance show’s finale will feature a dance number starring Rivera and her fiance Dingdong Dantes, along with highlights of their ‘Despedida de Soltera’.

No third season will be produced, as Rivera expressed the need for rest in preparation of her wedding on December 30.

Debuting on June 21, ‘Marian’ hoped to be GMA’s solution to its ongoing ratings woes on Saturday evenings. Instead, the show failed to live up to the hype, losing on a consistent basis to ABS-CBN rivals ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Wansapanatym’, and ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ during its run.

While Marian Rivera was undoubtedly GMA’s top female star, the fact that their biggest asset failed to deliver in the ratings may have affected the network’s morale. The truth is, ‘Marian’ was basically intended to keep her on television, but as it turned out, not even her skill in dancing can keep audiences interested.

Looking ahead, GMA will now have a vacancy to fill on their Saturday night lineup come December 13. The question is, will ‘Bet ng Bayan’ fill that void?

When the second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ added a Saturday edition on November 8, it gave GMA a huge mismatch. This forced the Kapuso network to switch the timeslots of both ‘Marian’ and ‘Magpakailanman’ the following week, but even with that change, it still failed to beat the former.

Meanwhile, the first two months of ‘Bet ng Bayan”s run had been uneventful. The reality talent show would have given ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ a run for their money*, but instead, they were handcuffed by the lack of airtime space on Saturday nights, and the extended running time of ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ on Sunday nights.

That said, getting rid of the 15-minute recap shows on weeknights in favor of a 90-minute episode on Saturday nights should give ‘Bet ng Bayan’ a more competitive spot on weekends. More importantly, it should provide a little more breathing room for GMA Telebabad to thrive upon.

Still, the fate of the vacated timeslot of ‘Marian’ will be up to GMA management. Hopefully they make the right decision as soon as possible.

Note: ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ season 2 debuted on October 26, three weeks after ‘Bet ng Bayan’ premiered.*

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Marian, Magpakailanman Exchange Timeslots

GMA’s Sabado Star Power will have a minor makeover this Saturday.

In response to the entry of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ to ABS-CBN’s strong Saturday night lineup, GMA decided to switch the timeslots of both ‘Marian’ and ‘Magpakailanman’. As a result, the latter will now be seen ahead of the former, in between ‘Pepito Manaloto: Ang Tunay na Kwento’ and ‘Celebrity Bluff’.

For GMA, it was just another attempt to curb the increasing popularity of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’. So far, ratings for the latter have been very strong, as they average 27% or better according to Kantar.

It can be recalled that GMA was forced to change its weekend lineup several times during the run of TVPH’s sister show ‘The Voice Kids’. As it turned out, those tweaks did not even result in a victory for the struggling network in Timog.

So what are the implications of GMA’s most recent scheduling change?

With the move to a later timeslot, ‘Marian’ will be pitted against ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, which is an obvious mismatch. Considering that the dance show never even lit up the stat sheet against TVPH’s sister show ‘The Voice Kids’ a few months earlier, it will even harder for Marian Rivera’s dancing skills to outwit the singers of Team Sarah, Team Lea, Team Bamboo and Team apl.

As for ‘Magpakailanman’, they will resume their rivalry against ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, albeit at an earlier timeslot. However, the tweak will do little good for the former, as the latter’s recent dominance in their head-to-head matchup will continue.

Overall, this latest change made by GMA will not change the fact that they are on the decline. While ABS-CBN will continue to put up superior projects with impressive results, the same cannot be said for its rival within Quezon City’s South Triangle, whose best days are clearly behind them.

Sabado Star Power may have a new look come this Saturday, but don’t expect better results from GMA’s Saturday night lineup.

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The Voice PH Returns, Poses Huge Challenge to Bet ng Bayan

A new challenger awaits ‘Bet ng Bayan’ this Sunday.

The second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ will air starting October 26 and every weekend thereafter on ABS-CBN. The popular reality singing show will replace ‘I Do’, whose finale is set tomorrow night.

The first season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, which ran from June 15 to September 29, 2013, was won by Team Lea’s Mitoy Yonting. A spinoff, ‘The Voice Kids’, ran from May 24 to July 27, 2014, and was won by Team Sarah’s Lyca Gairanod.

Returning as judges for season 2 will be Sarah Geronimo, apl.de.ap, Bamboo Manalac and Lea Salonga. Toni Gonzaga and Luis Manzano will reprise their roles as hosts, while Robi Domingo and Alex Gonzaga will join as its ‘V-reporters’.

Since it premiered in June of last year, ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ became one of ABS-CBN’s highest-rated programs. TVPH season 1 finished in the top five in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen, with ratings usually hovering over 20% or better.

The success of the show (and its spinoff ‘The Voice Kids’) was so tremendous that GMA’s attempts to tweak their programming on weekends always backfire. Not even the entry of ‘Marian’ helped GMA’s dire weekend situation.

Perhaps due to apparent jealousy over ABS-CBN’s reality show success, GMA finally decided to create their own talent show, which became ‘Bet ng Bayan’.

Nevertheless, GMA’s weekend problems continued even with their latest creation on board. ‘Bet ng Bayan’ was pitted against ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, easily GMA’s biggest weekend threat, and as expected, the former struggled in the ratings.

Without a Saturday show to begin with (‘Bet ng Bayan’ has a 15-minute recap show on weeknights instead), it is clear that ‘Bet ng Bayan”s chances against ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ won’t be any better. Considering TVPH’s overwhelming ratings success in Season 1, it will be a very daunting task for GMA to overcome this juggernaut.

The season premiere of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’ should give GMA every reason to fear. Better act now, or else.

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