drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Contessa Bids Farewell

The merciful end of ‘Contessa’ has finally arrived.

After a run of 147 episodes, ‘Contessa’ will officially close its book Saturday afternoon. And while 147 episodes seem like a successful run by GMA’s standards, its performance was anything but.

When ‘Contessa’ began, GMA initially penciled the series to air only from Monday to Friday. But when no suitable replacement for the Saturday timeslot came, GMA reluctantly added a Saturday episode to ‘Contessa’.

That said, GMA placed extremely high expectations on ‘Contessa’. They thought that airing ‘Contessa’ six times a week would capitalize on the gains made by its predecessor ‘Ika-6 na Utos’.

Unfortunately, that did not happen. ‘Contessa’ started slow, registering ratings of under 10% during its initial few weeks.

While the series was able to increase its ratings to 12-14% over the next several months, it was clear that ‘Contessa’ underachieved in comparison to ‘Ika-6 na Utos’. Many viewers felt that the series was never compelling enough to begin with and some even went as far as comparing ‘Contessa’ to ABS-CBN’s ‘Wildflower’ due to its similar themes.

It also did not help that ‘Contessa’ struggled against ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. Even with the criticism surrounding the latter’s penchant to go overtime (thank you Vice Ganda), ‘Contessa’ was unable to capitalize simply due to the viewers’ apathy of the situation.

If there is one solace for ‘Contessa’, it is that it gave Glaiza de Castro a chance to play the victim. Normally known for her antagonistic roles, Glaiza’s complete 360 on ‘Contessa’ proved that she is just as good playing the compassionate and sometimes vengeful characters.

Still, it did not change the fact that ‘Contessa’ never became a hit series despite its long run. Let’s face it, adding a Saturday episode was a mistake and viewers got burned out, consequently resulting in poor ratings.

In the end, GMA should learn a harsh lesson from this debacle. Airing a series five times a day was enough, but six was simply too much to feed your viewers.

On Saturday, it will be ‘Contessa”s last stand. Perhaps the time has come for GMA to end this charade once and for all.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, talent show, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 10)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2:26 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ starts with highlights from yesterday’s episode. Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime”s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ introduces Luzon contender Charity Fabon.

2:29 p.m. – Gabriel (Geoff Eigenmann) and Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) reconcile.

2:32 p.m. – Vice Ganda and Vhong Navarro interview Charity after a stirring performance.

2:37 p.m. – Vito (Gabby Eigenmann) fights the police and gets involved in an accident. ‘Contessa’ takes a break while Vice, Jhong Hilario and an audience member converse.

2:42 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with Vito on the verge of escape. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Vice’s shenanigans continue.

2:45 p.m. – News of Vito’s escape reach the Imperials and Bea/Contessa. And more Vice Ganda shenanigans.

2:47 p.m. – Remember the mansion of Lola Nidora on ‘Eat Bulaga”s Kalyeserye? This is where the Caballeros take refuge, but Vito is lurking nearby.

2:49 p.m. – Commercial time for ‘Contessa’. It’s already 23 minutes since the episode started.

2:53 p.m. – Visayas contender Bless Ebarita is introduced.

2:55 p.m. – After a second MTRCB SPG advisory, ‘Contessa’ returns with Bea/Contessa showing a serious look on her face. Flashback scenes of Vito and Bea/Contessa are played in the background.

2:58 p.m. – Vice and Anne Curtis talk to Bless following her performance.

3:01 p.m. – Another break for ‘Contessa’.

3:07 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back from commercial. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is about to head to a commercial themselves.

3:10 p.m. – The 3:00 p.m. prayer is now being aired on ABS-CBN, just as Vito attacks Bea/Contessa’s friends.

3:11 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break anew.

3:17 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is back with a standoff down at the Caballero household. Looks like the show will finish on time.

3:20 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end. Meanwhile ‘It’s Showtime’ is not yet through with its commercial and ‘The Stepdaughters’ is about to begin.

The end result: It turns out ‘Contessa’ is not to blame for GMA’s ‘overtime’ and ‘long commercials’ shenanigans. But the question remains, which GMA show is to criticize for the network’s ‘play fair’ strategy against ABS-CBN?

From the Tube will continue to monitor this ongoing saga between GMA and ABS-CBN throughout the day. Thank you for joining us.

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drama, entertainment, game show, hits, music, Philippines, songs, television, variety show

Live Blog: Contessa vs. It’s Showtime, The Overtime Period (July 9)

Welcome to the Overtime Period between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’.

Over the next several days, From the Tube will conduct a live blog in which the writer will simultaneously watch ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Contessa’ starting at 2:30 p.m. Throughout the proceedings, a stopwatch will be used to determine how much time has elapsed between the two shows.

‘It’s Showtime’, an ABS-CBN noontime variety show, will be followed via iWant TV from the writer’s mobile phone, while ‘Contessa’, a GMA afternoon drama series, will emanate from the writer’s television set. With that, let the countdown begin.

Monday, July 9, 2018

2:28 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ got underway with a standoff between the police and Duquessa (Gabby Eigenmann). Meanwhile, ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts Vhong Navarro and Anne Curtis interviews Luzon representative Marvin Dacillo on ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

2:33 p.m. – Bea/Contessa (Glaiza de Castro) was proven innocent while Duquessa was accused of the murder of Bea’s husband and parents. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, the TNT judges comment on Marvin’s performance.

2:35 p.m. – Commercial break for ‘Contessa’. It’s already seven minutes into the episode.

2:39 p.m. – It’s time for the second TNT contestant. Introducing Sherry Ann Archer, who represents Visayas.

2:41 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, and Bea/Contessa is officially released from prison. Over on ‘It’s Showtime’, Jhong Hilario rings the gong on Sherry Ann who is promptly disqualified for singing out of tune.

2:44 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ takes a break, while Bea/Contessa was interviewed by the media.

2:48 p.m. – Duquessa is taken out of prison, prompting a commercial break for ‘Contessa’.

2:54 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns from break, but not after a second SPG advisory from the MTRCB.

2:57 p.m. – ABS-CBN airs the customary 3:00 p.m. prayer.

2:58 p.m. – ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces the Mindanao contestant for ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan, Roy Limcaoco.

3:00 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break after Vito/Duquessa threatens to choke Bea/Contessa.

3:06 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns, having already spent 38 minutes on the air.

3:11 p.m. – Another commercial break for ‘It’s Showtime’ even as Bea/Contessa visits the grave of her husband Marco (Mark Herras).

3:13 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ takes a break too.

3:14 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ is already on its fourth commercial break. Looks like it will finish on time, contrary to my expectations.

3:19 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ returns with a visit to Vito’s prison from his family.

3:22 p.m. – ‘Contessa’ comes to an end, just as ‘It’s Showtime’ introduces its Mindanao contender Roy Limcaoco. So ‘Contessa’ didn’t go overtime, only lasting 54 minutes.

3:28 p.m. – Jeramae Narca, the Metro Manila contender and defending champion, wins today’s ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. That ends ‘It’s Showtime’.

The end result: Neither show went to overtime, at least for today.

Catch us again tomorrow for another live blog. Thank you for joining us.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

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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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

In 100 Words: Ogie Alcasid Officially a Kapamilya

Say hello to new ABS-CBN star Ogie Alcasid.

The multi-awarded singer-songwriter officially inked a contract with ABS-CBN yesterday. formally welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp. This is now his second stint with ABS-CBN after starting his entertainment career with the said network over two decades ago.

Ogie, who also carved a career as a comedian on shows like ABC-5’s ‘Tropang Trumpo’ and GMA’s ‘Bubble Gang’, is currently a judge on ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ and ‘It’s Showtime”s Tawag ng Tanghalan. He also joins a rare list of couples who work on separate networks, as wife Regine Velasquez-Alcasid remains under contract with GMA.

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entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

It’s Showtime’s Fall and Rebirth Amid the AlDub Saga

What a difference a year makes.

Back on July 16, 2015, viewers of the then-hit noontime show ‘It’s Showtime’ were suddenly stunned to see the debut of the popular AlDub tandem on ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Kalyeserye’ segment. Thanks to the split-screen magic between Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was able to win by just 0.2% in the national ratings that day.

The surprising love team took not only the nation, but the entire world by storm. Twitter went abuzz as Alden and Maine exchanged Dubsmash replies through song each and every day, while Lola Nidora (played by Wally Bayola) tried to play it as if it is only fictional in nature.

While the AlDub phenomenon was hitting its stride, ‘It’s Showtime’ tried its best to keep up. They answered the AlDub love team by trying to give Angelica Yap (a.k.a. Pastillas Girl) a new partner in the skit ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’, which did not work out.

The peak of the AlDub fever took place on October 24, when ‘Eat Bulaga”s ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ charity concert at the Philippine Arena drew not only 50,000 or so fans, but also millions of viewers around the world. The national ratings reflected that success as well, as ‘Eat Bulaga’ scored a 40.1% rating over ‘It’s Showtime”s 10.2%.

The lopsided ratings could have ended ‘It’s Showtime’ as viewers know it. Instead, they persevered and finally came up with a segment that took the steam out of AlDub.

Enter ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’, the 1950s classic singing competition that returned as a segment of ‘It’s Showtime’ on January 2. The premise of the segment was simple: singers must perform well to win, then defend the title the next day against other aspirants from around the country.

Thanks to the presence of the revived TNT, the show gradually rebounded, and by January 11, ‘It’s Showtime’ overtook ‘Eat Bulaga’ for good in the ratings. The aura that once enveloped AlDub on ‘Kalyeserye’ disappeared.

Many factors were given as to why ‘Kalyeserye’ suddenly fell flat. But perhaps the most notable of these was the fact that Maine Mendoza, whose real voice had been withheld from the public for months (except for an interview on ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’), was finally ‘given’ an ability to talk fluently during the ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ concert.

Skits soon became predictable and repetitive, and as a result, viewers who were once part of the AlDub fever were switching back to ‘It’s Showtime’. Even after the July 16 episode in which Alden and Maine celebrated their first anniversary as a couple, ‘Eat Bulaga’ was unable to recapture past glory.

On the other hand, ‘It’s Showtime’ was back to its old entertaining self. They not only have the hit ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ segment, but also ‘TrabaHula’, a skit where players had to guess the real worker among the four in the audience.

Indeed, the recent dominance of ‘It’s Showtime’ in the first half of the decade is manifesting itself once again. And for Vice Ganda and company, they have no intention of letting it go.

So what’s next for this noontime rivalry? One can only hope that ‘Eat Bulaga’ can find a way to regroup their ‘Kalyeserye’ strategy, otherwise, ‘It’s Showtime’ and TNT will continue to assert their place atop the noontime charts.

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