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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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

Wish I May Ends Tomorrow

‘Wish I May’ is down to its final episode.

The GMA Afternoon Prime series, whose story focuses on a rare genetic disorder called ‘chimerism’, will conclude tomorrow afternoon after a run of 88 episodes. It will be replaced by ‘Magkaibang Mundo’, starring Louise delos Reyes and Juancho Triviño.

Named after a hit song by fellow Kapuso star Alden Richards, ‘Wish I May’ starred Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, along with Camille Prats, Mark Anthony Fernandez and Rochelle Pangilinan, among others. It was co-directed by Neal del Rosario and Mark Sicat de la Cruz.

‘Wish I May’ was originally announced in October of last year to coincide with the AlDub phenomenon, but the premiere of the highly-anticipated series was delayed by a three-month extension of its eventual predecessor ‘The Half-Sisters’. It finally hit the airwaves on January 18, however, the long wait took its toll.

Not only did ‘Wish I May’ fail to make an impact, but its low ratings came at the same time as the decline of AlDub’s popularity. By the time the series aired, viewers were once again switching to ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’ to watch the revival of ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ instead of ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Kalyeserye’.

Even worse for ‘Wish I May’ is the impressive performance of rival series ‘Doble Kara’. Ratings for both series consistently favor the latter, and as ‘Wish I May’ continued to fall short of expectations, it came to a point that GMA decided to lessen the promotion of the series by early April.

Suffice to say, it’s a decision that justified ‘Wish I May”s inability to succeed. The series whose premiere had been long overdue to begin with is about to end with a whimper.

‘Wish I May’ may be unique thanks to its focus on ‘chimerism’, but its long-delayed premiere will forever be remembered for all the wrong reasons. That said, it’s going to be a long day at the office for GMA management, wondering what might have happened if ‘Wish I May’ premiered as originally scheduled.

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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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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Is ‘Wish I May’ Too Late the Hero?

‘Wish I May’ has been given the go-signal by GMA.

After a long and tenuous delay, the series, named after a popular song by Alden Richards, will finally make its debut. The question is, will ‘Wish I May’ be worth the wait?

The journey of ‘Wish I May’ began in October of last year, when GMA released a pair of short teasers for the series. Regularly played during commercial breaks, many thought the series would premiere within that month, given its release at the height of the AlDub phenomenon.

Unfortunately, it never materialized. Already penciled in as a lead-out program to ‘Eat Bulaga’ (whose Kalyeserye featured the AlDub tandem), ‘Wish I May”s premiere was postponed when its eventual predecessor ‘The Half-Sisters’ was given a three-month extension.

The series was also considered for Telebabad, but GMA chose to air ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘Because of You’ instead. Eventually, GMA revealed the premiere date of ‘Wish I May’ in the teaser video below, which premiered before the end of 2015.

Which leads to today’s long-awaited premiere. ‘Wish I May’, although named after Alden’s hit song, will not feature Alden himself nor his Kalyeserye partner Maine Mendoza, for obvious reasons.

Instead, the lead stars of the series will be Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix, popularly known as the BiGuel tandem. The premise of the series will involve two teens (Bianca and Miguel) falling in love with each other amid tumultuous circumstances involving their families, brought about by the genetic disorder called ‘chimerism’.

Also starring in ‘Wish I May’ are Camille Prats, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Glydel Mercado, Rochelle Pangilinan, Mark Herras, Alessandra de Rossi, Neil Ryan Sese, Juan Rodrigo, Marni Lapuz, Ash Ortega, Sancho delas Alas and Prince Villanueva. Neal del Rosario and Mark Sicat de la Cruz will direct the series.

The premiere of ‘Wish I May’ comes at a time when the AlDub phenomenon was presumed to have winded down. While ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye continues to rack up millions of tweets with each episode, ratings for the show were on the decline, as viewers find the skit boring, repetitive and uninspiring of late.

Although GMA was able to capitalize on AlDub’s success by placing ‘Wish I May’ after ‘Eat Bulaga’, having endured a lengthy delay may not help the show’s cause at all. Had it premiered during the height of AlDub’s popularity (‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ presentation, to be specific), they may have had a chance to succeed.

Still, GMA’s hopes were on ‘Wish I May’ to flourish in the same way its predecessor ‘The Half-Sisters’ did. However, it remains to be seen if the series will be worth watching after several months of hype.

‘Wish I May’ airs weekdays at 2:35 p.m. on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

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drama, entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

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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