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Lost Opportunity: GMA Loses Ryza Cenon to ABS-CBN

‘If you beat them, join them!’

This is exactly what happened when Ryza Cenon made the shocking jump from GMA to ABS-CBN Thursday morning. Welcomed by network executives Cory Vidanes, Carlo Katigbak and Laurenti Dyogi, Ryza officially signed an undisclosed exclusive contract with ABS-CBN, thus ending her 14-year stint with GMA Network.

It can be recalled that Ryza’s last project with GMA was the year-long afternoon drama series ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, whose successful run ended last month. GMA could have capitalized on Ryza’s renewed success, but in the end, it was a bad case of ‘one that got away’ (in reference to the network’s current primetime teleserye).

In the press conference announcing her transfer, Ryza revealed that it was her talent managers from VIVA Entertainment which convinced her to change addresses. Moreover, she explained the need to explore different endeavors and the need to work with a different set of actors.

Like former GMA-turned-ABS-CBN talents Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes before her, Ryza will begin her Kapamilya career on the high-rating primetime series ‘Ang Probinsyano’ as one of its guest stars. She will also appear in a series of out-of-town and TFC shows.

Considering how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ revitalized Ryza’s career, it was surprising to see her in a different network amid a resurgence in her career. But then again, GMA has had a history of not properly utilizing its talents, so this was probably the right move for her.

Still, in a loaded primetime series like ‘Ang Probinsyano’, there is no guarantee that Ryza will have a long-term role within the program. Somewhere down the road ABS-CBN will prepare an upcoming series for Ryza, one that should give her a greater responsibility.

Fans can only hope that Ryza Cenon’s move to ABS-CBN will pay dividends. It will be interesting to see how she will thrive in a new environment, so good luck.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ika-6 na Utos to End This Saturday, But Not Without Controversy

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is down to its last six episodes.

That’s right, the series is really down to its last six episodes. Unlike typical teleseryes whose finales end on a Friday (or Wednesday if it falls during Holy Week), ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will air its last episode this Saturday, an unusual yet satisfying way to end such a successful series.

To cut the long story short, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ first aired on December 5, 2016, extended to Saturdays starting April 1, 2017, and by August became the highest-rated afternoon teleserye in the country. In doing so, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ joined ‘The Half-Sisters’ as the only GMA teleseryes to air for over a year this decade.

But in the lead-up to its final few episodes, controversy sparked between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’. When the latter (whether intentional or not) decided to extend its running time to 3 hours and 30 minutes, GMA responded by having ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ air for another 30 minutes.

Consequently, the extended airtime between the two programs pushed its primetime newscasts to air at a later-than-expected time. Both ‘TV Patrol’ and ’24 Oras’ now air at around 6:40 p.m., largely due to the brewing rivalry between ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and ‘It’s Showtime’.

It was clear that ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was having ‘It’s Showtime”s number. So much so that ABS-CBN, whether intentional or not, went all-out in an attempt to dispose a teleserye they couldn’t solve, even going as far as allowing Vice Ganda plenty more time to talk on the microphone during ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

But regardless of this controversy, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ provided a moral victory for GMA. While its other programs continuously fail to make an impact against its ABS-CBN counterparts, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ gave GMA some semblance of hope.

This is proof that ABS-CBN, no matter how dominant it is, still has some weaknesses in its arsenal. And ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was one of them.

This Saturday will mark the 383rd and final episode of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. It will be interesting to see how this convoluted love story between Rome (Gabby Concepcion), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Georgia (Ryza Cenon) turn out to be, and whether or not the first two will enjoy a satisfying conclusion.

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It’s Showtime Going Overtime Not a Good Sign for ABS-CBN

Overtime has become a trend for ‘It’s Showtime’ of late.

The ABS-CBN noontime show normally runs for three hours at best. But in recent episodes, ‘It’s Showtime’ went beyond that allotted time duration and ended up lasting for another 20-30 minutes (see most recent episode video below).

As a result, the rest of ABS-CBN’s lineup wound up airing at a later timeslot than they usually do. Not a good sign for a network that prides itself for excellence and consistency from morning till night.

Take for instance, ‘TV Patrol’. ABS-CBN’s flagship newscast usually begins at 6:28 p.m., but because of ‘It’s Showtime”s extended run, it was now pushed to 6:45 p.m.

While its ratings were not affected at the moment, many feared that the late start of ‘TV Patrol’ could push more viewers to switch to GMA’s ’24 Oras’. And worse, the longer-than-expected run of ‘It’s Showtime’ could give GMA Afternoon Prime (or at a lesser extent ‘Eat Bulaga’) a much-improved spike in its ratings.

‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ may be ‘It’s Showtime”s most popular segment right now (and the one that essentially ended AlDub as a formidable tandem), but the unnecessary banter could drag the noontime show’s viewership down. And the fact that ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ runs opposite ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is perhaps the biggest concern coming out of ABS-CBN management.

No offense to Vice Ganda and company, but the trio of Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion is having ‘It’s Showtime”s number, particularly once ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ takes place. One thing ABS-CBN would like to do is to eliminate most of the talking and focus solely on the singing itself in order to save a lot of time and viewers.

In doing so, ‘It’s Showtime’ will return to its normal three-hour duration and perhaps add motivation to a struggling Kapamilya Gold. Not only that, ‘TV Patrol’ will be able to start on time and save whatever grace it has left.

But the decision to reduce some of the talk on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ will only depend on management convincing Vice Ganda and company to lessen all the banter. Which is not an easy thing to do considering Vice’s mass appeal.

Still, preventing the inevitable loss of viewership is a must for ABS-CBN, particularly when it comes to ‘It’s Showtime’. They may be the No. 1 network in the country ratings-wise, but even ABS-CBN has its own weaknesses that needs to be addressed.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Ika-6 na Utos Reaches the One-Year Mark

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ is now a year old.

The top-rating GMA afternoon teleserye will officially celebrate its first anniversary on television today. In doing so, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will join the likes of ‘May Bukas Pa’, ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, ‘The Half-Sisters’, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ as the only teleseryes this decade to air for more than a year.

First premiered on December 5, 2016, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ came in to GMA Afternoon Prime as a replacement for ‘Oh My Mama’. At the time of its debut, ABS-CBN’s ‘Doble Kara’ was still the highest-rated afternoon drama, and like all GMA teleseryes back then, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ struggled to find its footing.

But once ‘Doble Kara’ ended its year-long run in February 2017, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ began to make some headway. By March, the series assumed its current perch as the highest-rated afternoon drama in the country.

‘Ika-6 na Utos’ became so popular that GMA even added a Saturday episode beginning April 1. Although there were some concerns regarding GMA’s decision, namely possible burnout among viewers, ‘Ika-6 na Utos” performance remained top-notch averaging around 16-18% in the ratings.

The popularity of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ also improved the standing of succeeding GMA dramas. By August, thanks in large part to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, GMA Afternoon Prime constantly outperformed ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold in the ratings.

As of December 5, 2017, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will have aired 295 episodes in all. The series is expected to reach 300 episodes by next week.

So what made ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ so popular? Perhaps these scenes may explain why.

No wonder the campy nature of the series endeared with the viewers. Still, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remained mostly serious and straightforward, but with some elements of humor in every encounter involving Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Georgia (Ryza Cenon), there is no doubt why this series has earned many fans in its year-long run.

Now a part of teleserye immortality, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will now look forward to even bigger things come 2018. The question is, can they keep the momentum up?

Starring Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion, ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ airs after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA Afternoon Prime.

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Struggling Kapamilya Gold Needs a Boost

Thanks to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ and succeeding dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’, GMA Afternoon Prime suddenly looked imposingly strong against ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

The struggle is indeed real.

ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold block has hit a rough patch of late. In the last several weeks, teleseryes ‘Pusong Ligaw’, ‘The Better Half’ and its replacement ‘The Promise of Forever’ scored fewer ratings than GMA Afternoon Prime counterparts ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’.

Although the three series did have a few winning moments, it was clear that the momentum is now on GMA’s side. ABS-CBN may be the better network overall, but their issues in the afternoon slots are causing plenty of concerns.

One reason why GMA suddenly became winnable in the afternoon is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, the popular yet at times campy drama series starring Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion. Since March, the series earned ratings of 15 to 18%, good enough to give ‘It’s Showtime’ plenty of fits.

In a previous article, From the Tube discussed how ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ was able to win the hearts of viewers while at the same time exposes ABS-CBN’s weaknesses in the afternoon slots. Although ‘It’s Showtime’ recently countered by replacing ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ with ‘Miss Q&A’ as the noontime show’s final segment, it still had a hard time cracking ‘Ika-6 na Utos” armor.

The success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ has since spread like wildfire to the two succeeding GMA Afternoon Prime series. From late August onwards, ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ earned better ratings than ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and ‘The Better Half’, and even though the latter was then replaced by ‘The Promise of Forever’, the results were mostly the same.

If ABS-CBN wants to restore order within Kapamilya Gold, drastic measures must be implemented. Going back to a three-teleserye setup is what the network desperately needs at this point, but in order to do that, they need to make some sacrifices.

For one, they must convince ‘It’s Showtime’ to either cut a portion of their airtime or return to the pre-noontime slot. Regarding the third teleserye, a possible option for that would be ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’, which despite earning good ratings in the pre-noontime slot, has a more serious storyline than its predecessors and is better equipped for the afternoon slot.

Would it be better to see Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca and Coleen Garcia go up against Sunshine Dizon, Ryza Cenon and Gabby Concepcion? Perhaps, but given ABS-CBN’s pre-noontime dominance, that potential matchup between ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ and ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ will only be just that, a fantasy.

Still, the sudden change of fortune on Kapamilya Gold should give the ABS-CBN brass some sense of urgency. After all, despite their success, there are always holes with which the opponent will take advantage of, and ABS-CBN should be aware of that.

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ABS-CBN’s Ika-6 na Utos Problem

It seems like ABS-CBN is having a problem with ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Since late March, the GMA Afternoon Prime drama has earned an average rating of 17% per episode (via Kantar Media), a far cry from the unimpressive 11% average it enjoyed in its first month. Saturday episodes of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ (introduced April 1) were just as strong, scoring around 15%.

Much of the spike in popularity has something to do with a combination of factors, such as:

  1. Memorable scenes and interactions between the characters Georgia (Ryza Cenon), Emma (Sunshine Dizon) and Rome (Gabby Concepcion)
  2. Lack of interest in ‘It’s Showtime”s Tawag ng Tanghalan Kids
  3. ‘Eat Bulaga”s continued decline post-Kalyeserye

The stunning success of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ left ABS-CBN dumbfounded and perplexed as to what happened. While they still rule most timeslots every day, it is against ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ that they are noticeably struggling at this point.

So why is ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ giving ABS-CBN fits? Here are the three possible factors to look at.

It’s Showtime”s Long Running Time

‘It’s Showtime’, unlike ‘Eat Bulaga’, runs for over three hours six times a week (in contrast to ‘Eat Bulaga’ running 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday and three hours on Saturday). That said, a total of 18 hours per week can be totally draining for both the hosts and the audience.

Coupled with a recent streak of uninspiring pre-Tawag ng Tanghalan segments, and ‘It’s Showtime’ is left to lick their wounds amid the surge of ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Cutting it to 2 1/2 hours from Monday to Friday may be the best way to remain efficient while maintaining its top-notch ratings.

Resistance to Change

In the past, ABS-CBN aired three teleseryes in the afternoon to counter GMA’s own set of three. Since reducing the amount to only two, the tables seem to have turned in the Kapamilya network’s favor, that is until ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ came along.

Sticking to what seems best might not be a good idea for ABS-CBN at this point. With a surplus of upcoming teleseryes in the pipeline, it is best for them to counter ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ with another teleserye (probably not a ‘kabitserye’) in hopes of reversing its momentum.

A New Trend: Saturday Teleseryes

Before ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, a typical Filipino teleserye only airs from Monday to Friday. That has changed since April 1, when GMA extended ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ to Saturday afternoons, in a move reminiscent of Latin American telenovelas.

The sudden move caught ABS-CBN off-guard, as ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ began to struggle against the surging ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Still, the extension is only four weeks old so anything can happen in the long run.

With ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ now a major dilemma for ABS-CBN, drastic changes should be in the offing. But unless they figure out a way to overcome this popular Kapuso drama, their overall dominance will become nothing more than a punchline.

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