drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

ABS-CBN Raises the ‘Daring’ Stakes, Plus GMA’s Inability to Respond

The trend towards mature and dark subject matter on ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida continues with ‘Bridges of Love’. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

Tonight’s premiere of ‘Bridges of Love’ on ABS-CBN has From the Tube wondering: Why is GMA not responding to the increasingly ‘daring’ route of Primetime Bida?

Mature and dark relationship-oriented themes have virtually become a norm on Primetime Bida’s 9:15 p.m. slot. Last year, ‘The Legal Wife’ became a rousing success due to the seemingly shocking portrayal of jealousy and infidelity involving the love triangle of characters portrayed by Jericho Rosales, Maja Salvador and Angel Locsin.

And just recently, viewers were treated to a similar display of deception and envy in the adaptation of the Koreanovela ‘Two Wives’. Like ‘The Legal Wife’, the series involved a love triangle, this time between the characters portrayed by Jason Abalos, Kaye Abad and Erich Gonzales.

Although ABS-CBN has trended in the right direction with the more mature-oriented teleseryes, it all began, however, with one bold move from its rival in Timog: ‘My Husband’s Lover’.

The 2013 GMA drama starring Carla Abellana, Tom Rodriguez and Dennis Trillo made the same-sex relationship a must-see during its run. Running from June to October 2013, ‘My Husband’s Lover’ briefly provided a boost to the sagging ratings of Telebabad.

Unfortunately, the Kapuso network failed to create a successful follow-up to ‘My Husband’s Lover’. The teleseryes that followed MHL (‘Akin Pa Rin ang Bukas’, ‘Rhodora X’, ‘Ang Dalawang Mrs. Real’, ‘Hiram na Alaala’, ‘Second Chances’) didn’t feel up to the task of elevating the dark and moody themes to a new level.

As a result, the 9:15 slot of Telebabad returned to its old sinking ways, while Primetime Bida continued to increase its gap. Worse for the Kapuso network, ‘The Legal Wife’ and later ‘daring’ Kapamilya dramas became a local and international social media sensation.

That said, GMA’s regression back to more wholesome and ‘tweener’ stories in the latter part of Telebabad became its undoing. And it only gets worse.

Next on ABS-CBN’s ‘daring’ list is ‘Bridges of Love’. Like ‘The Legal Wife’ and ‘Two Wives’, a love triangle will be involved in the series, only this time, it’s between two men fighting for the love of one woman.

‘Bridges of Love’ will be led by Maja Salvador, Jericho Rosales and Paulo Avelino. The story will feature two brothers (Echo and Paulo) who were separated by guilt and hatred, but were bridged together by love through one woman (portrayed by Maja).

The upcoming Kapamilya series should pose a big threat to its Kapuso counterpart ‘Second Chances’. The latter series failed to keep up with the success of ‘Two Wives’ during its first two months, and it won’t be a surprise if its new opponent makes a similar impact.

Now GMA should start revisiting the very theme that made ‘My Husband’s Lover’ a success. A new strategy should be in store for Telebabad if they still want to keep in step with Primetime Bida, otherwise there will be more trouble for the embattled block.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Last Minute Change for ‘Once Upon a Kiss’; GMA’s Need for a ‘Second Chance’

GMA management is once again at the forefront of last-minute changes.

The latest of these moves took place Monday night, as ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ was placed after ‘More Than Words’ on GMA’s Telebabad block. Prior to the late switch, ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ was scheduled to premiere after ’24 Oras’.

Despite the last-minute change in schedule, the pilot episode of ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ still failed to impress viewers. The teleserye only managed a 15.2% rating against the 23.6 % of ABS-CBN’s ‘Forevermore’, according to Kantar.

That said, the series starring Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix will have a lot more work to do if they want to get past the increasingly popular tandem of Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano. Considering the momentum that ‘Forevermore’ generated from day one, it will be a daunting task for the former to overcome.

Meanwhile, the long-overdue premiere of ‘Second Chances’ will take place this Monday. The series had been scheduled to air back in November, but GMA postponed its premiere in hopes of making a splash for the new year.

As seen in the teasers released by the network, the series tells the story of four different individuals whose lives will change by way of a traumatizing event. Portraying these life-changing characters are Jennylyn Mercado, Camille Prats, Raymart Santiago and Rafael Rosell.

‘Second Chances’ has been in production since early August, and was intended to replace ‘Ilustrado’ on Telebabad back in November. But due to some last minute programming changes, the series premiere was postponed until the early part of 2015.

Now that ‘Second Chances’ finally gets its due, it will be interesting to see how a story of inspiration and determination fare against one featuring infidelity and jealousy. Its pilot week will be against the hot-as-lava ‘Two Wives’, who has thoroughly dominated the former’s predecessor ‘Hiram na Alaala’ for the most part.

That said, GMA now hopes to have a second chance of their own. A traumatizing event like low ratings, declining revenue and front office mismanagement are definitely worth overcoming, but unless GMA finds a way to make a second chance, they will again find themselves on the losing end of ABS-CBN’s dominance.

‘Second Chances’ premieres this Monday after ‘Once Upon a Kiss’ on GMA Telebabad.

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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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No Sibling Rivalry in Premieres of Dream Dad and More Than Words

There will be no rivalry between the children of the late ‘Master Rapper’ Francis Magalona on Philippine television.

Fresh from re-signing with ABS-CBN, Maxene Magalona will co-star alongside Zanjoe Marudo and child actress Jana Agoncillo in ‘Dream Dad’. The series will also star Beauty Gonzales, Yen Santos, Ana Feleo, Katya Santos, Ketchup Eusebio, Ariel Ureta and Gloria Diaz.

‘Dream Dad’ will focus on an orphan who searches for a loving family, and a bachelor who tries to mend a broken heart by focusing on his family’s welfare. Ultimately, their lives would change after they cross paths with one another.

(Due to unforeseen circumstances, the full trailer of ‘Dream Dad’ on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s official YouTube was taken down as of November 14).

Over at GMA, younger brother Elmo Magalona will reunite with ‘Villa Quintana’ co-star Janine Gutierrez in ‘More Than Words’. Also starring in this series are Rey ‘PJ’ Abellana, Leni Santos, Jaclyn Jose, Gardo Versoza, Yayo Aguila, Enzo Pineda, Stephanie Sol, Mayton Eugenio, Mikoy Morales and Coleen Perez.

The story of ‘More Than Words’ will revolve around two individuals: a teenage boy whose memory was lost following an accident, and a daydreaming female student who created an imaginary ‘dream boy’ in one of her blogs. After finding the supposed boy of her dreams, they would grow fond of each other, while the boy begins a new life with his adoptive parents.

While ‘Dream Dad’ will premiere in its expected timeslot, the same cannot be said for ‘More Than Words’. It was supposed to premiere November 3, replacing both ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’, but GMA management wanted none of the possible sibling rivalry between the Magalonas, and as a result, they hastily re-aired ‘Coffee Prince’ on the timeslot that was supposed to be filled by ‘More Than Words’.

Then in a somewhat surprising decision, they moved the premiere date of ‘Second Chances’, which was supposed to replace ‘Ilustrado’, to the first quarter of 2015. And to top things off, both ‘Strawberry Lane’ and ‘Hiram na Alaala’ will now be moved to later timeslots, paving the way for ‘More Than Words’ to occupy the slot after ’24 Oras’.

Thus, ‘More Than Words’ will go up against the soon-to-conclude ‘Hawak Kamay’ while ‘Dream Dad’ will face the re-airing ‘Coffee Prince’ on their respective networks.

It will be interesting to see how both Magalonas fare in their respective new series, but even in different networks, they will always be family off-screen. Good luck.

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A Sad Ending to Ilustrado, Plus Second Chances Moved to Early 2015

The highly-budgeted but low-rated GMA bayaniserye ‘Ilustrado’ will end this Friday . (Photo credit: GMA Network)

‘Ilustrado’ ends this Friday with little to show for.

GMA’s so-called ‘bayaniserye’, which was produced by the News and Public Affairs department, failed to impress in the ratings throughout its run. This despite the fact that it boasted a more hi-tech production and added a more educational approach to the story.

Figures from both Kantar and AGB Nielsen showed that ‘Ilustrado’ was way behind ABS-CBN’s ‘Two Wives’ in the ratings for much of its run. ‘Ilustrado’ also failed to make an impact on social media, as netizens focused more on the intimate and hostile scenes between the characters of Jason Abalos, Erich Gonzales and Kaye Abad rather than Alden Richards’ portrayal of Jose Rizal as a student in Europe.

‘Ilustrado’ premiered on October 20 amid high expectations. GMA gave the show’s producers a big budget, investing on the latest computer technologies to digitally recreate the look of late 19th century Europe.

But the big investment did not translate into ratings success, even though more advertisers pitched in to help recover the losses. That said, expect GMA to lose more money after the disastrous returns of ‘Ilustrado’.

With ‘Ilustrado’ about to leave the airwaves this Friday, a new series will come to the Kapuso network starting November 17.

Contrary to earlier reports, ‘Second Chances’ will not be the replacement for ‘Ilustrado’. The teleserye, starring Jennylyn Mercado, Rafael Rosell, Raymart Santiago and Camille Prats, will now air beginning the first quarter of 2015.

Instead, ‘More Than Words’, starring Elmo Magalona and Janine Gutierrez, will replace ‘Ilustrado’, but not at the latter’s old timeslot. The series is expected to move at an earlier time.

Like ‘Ilustrado’, ‘Second Chances’ is expected to be a big-budgeted series. For the second consecutive year, a series starring Jennylyn Mercado will lead a list of GMA’s first quarter offerings, with the first being ‘Rhodora X’.

The move of ‘Second Chances” to an early 2015 premiere should boost its chances somewhat, as the series’ producers will now use the time to improve the story, production and character development.

This does not mean, however, that ‘Second Chances’ will be a potential hit. As it has been proven time and time again, GMA’s overreliance on its veterans have cost them both ratings, young talent and ad loads, and this latest venture shows how poor GMA is at managing and developing talent.

As 2014 winds down, expect yet another down year for the Kapuso network, both in financial health and in viewership. And it only gets worse.

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Another Last-Minute Change Further Ruins GMA Telebabad

‘More Than Words’, starring Elmo Magalona and Janine Gutierrez, was supposed to premiere November 3, but was moved instead to November 17. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

It is becoming an infectious habit for GMA Telebabad to screw its viewers.

Last Friday, the official Facebook account of the upcoming Kapuso teleserye ‘More Than Words’ announced that they would air starting Monday, November 3. However, in a last-second move, GMA decided that the series will air beginning November 17 instead.

And in a rather awkward change of direction, GMA chose to air a re-run of the Koreanovela ‘Coffee Prince’ yesterday, as a replacement to the fill-in programs ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’. As Timow’s Turf pointed out, the decision of GMA to re-air ‘Coffee Prince’ was in response to government station PTV-4’s airing of ‘Here Comes Mr. Oh’, which is really pointless given that PTV-4 is not a rich network giant that GMA is.

In essence, the latest programming change implemented by GMA’s entertainment division only made things even more complicated.

By re-airing ‘Coffee Prince’ on the early evening slot, GMA has essentially conceded defeat to ‘Pure Love’, one of ABS-CBN’s strong primetime performers. The Filipino remake of the Koreanovela ’49 Days’ has been a thorn on GMA’s side since its premiere, as it beat the likes of ‘My BFF’, ‘Seasons of Love’ and ‘Elemento’.

Because of that, expect nothing from ‘Coffee Prince’ on primetime since it is a re-run. Sorry GMA, but ‘Coffee Prince’ is no ‘Meteor Garden’.

With regards to ‘More Than Words’, the postponement of its premiere came at a not-so opportune time. The historical drama ‘Ilustrado’ is on its final two weeks, and it is expected to be replaced by the Jennylyn Mercado-starred series ‘Second Chances’.

Given the recent tendency for GMA to cram its teleseryes on primetime, it seems likely that GMA will use this strategy once again, just to include ‘More Than Words’ on Telebabad. This should spell disaster for the Kapuso network, as the potential eight-pack would push ‘Saksi’ to the more dreaded 11:15-11:30 slot, and worse, further the gap between Telebabad and ABS-CBN’s Primetime Bida.

Already wrecked by poor ratings and lack of bankable and relatable stars, this latest blunder only shows how dilapidated GMA Telebabad is now. And unfortunately, it only gets worse from here.

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