drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Desperate Times: Ika-5 Utos Represents GMA’s Last Hope for Six-a-Week Relevance

Let’s state the obvious to begin with.

On Monday, September 10, GMA will introduce a new drama called ‘Ika-5 Utos’. And the series will air from Monday to, not Friday, but Saturday afternoons after ‘Eat Bulaga’.

‘Ika-5 Utos” main plot centers around three families whose bonds will be destroyed by a series of incidents. The series, in particular, will take a look at the issue of hazing in college fraternities.

The cast of ‘Ika-5 Utos’ includes Jean Garcia, Gelli de Belen, Valerie Concepcion, Jake Vargas, Kiko Estrada, Inah de Belen, Tonton Gutierrez, Antonio Aquitania, Jeric Gonzales, Migo Adecer and Klea Pineda. The series, like its sister program ‘Ika-6 na Utos’, will be directed by Laurice Guillen.

So another teleserye that will air six times a week? It seems like GMA is obsessed with this new habit.

And since they do not have any further ideas to fill in on a Saturday afternoon (they do not even bother producing a program to match ABS-CBN’s ‘Pareng Partners’), they are stuck with using a teleserye as a desperate ploy to boost ratings. But as seen in the ill-fated tale that is ‘Contessa’, it was a flawed strategy to begin with.

The approach initially worked on ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ due to ‘insistent public demand’ (its finale earned around 20% despite airing on a Saturday). But when ‘Contessa’ took over viewers were soon fed up by GMA’s over-saturation tactics, and instead opted to watch either Vice Ganda running his mouth on national television or Netflix shows online.

As a result, ‘Contessa’ underachieved and GMA’s strategy backfired. With that in mind, ‘Ika-5 Utos’ is now stuck in the crossroads that will either appease its audience to watch the series or force GMA to finally admit the problems in its approach.

It will be interesting to see how this latest maneuver plays out. Can ‘Ika-5 Utos’ deliver on a six-a-week basis, or will GMA ever regret making this risky move?

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action, drama, entertainment, fantasy, Philippines, television

GMA Takes Another Shot at Ang Probinsyano with Sherlock Jr.

Seven have arrived, and seven have failed.

For nearly three years, GMA found no answers on how to solve ‘Ang Probinsyano’. Whether it is a remake of a telenovela (‘MariMar’), a pair of light-hearted dramas (‘Poor Señorita’, ‘Little Nanay’) or a series of fantasy and action programs (‘Encantadia’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’, Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Super Ma’am’), all of them were helpless to stop Cardo (Coco Martin) and his gang from total domination.

Now here comes an eighth entry in GMA’s plan to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. ‘Sherlock Jr.’, the newest primetime series of the network, is a vastly different animal compared to the previous seven series, thanks in part to a pair of rising young stars in Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid.

In ‘Sherlock Jr.’, Ruru is Jack, a clever investigative reporter who does not back down from solving mysteries. Gabbi, on the other hand, is Lily, a jolly and bubbly veterinarian assistant who loves to join anything to make her famous.

Playing a special role in the series is Janine Gutierrez as Irene, Jack’s girlfriend and lifestyle reporter. A golden retriever named Serena will also join in as Irene’s companion and later on Jack’s partner.

‘Sherlock Jr.”s story will revolve around Jack and Irene’s relationship, which then took a new turn once Lily got involved. From then on, the series will take a look at how Lily became friends with Irene one night and then fell in love with Jack in the midst of the investigation surrounding them.

Also part of the ‘Sherlock Jr.’ cast are Ai-Ai delas Alas, Tonton Gutierrez, Andre Paras, Roi Vinzon, Sharmaine Arnaiz, Rochelle Barrameda, Matt Evans, Kate Valdez, Alyana Asistio, and Sofia Pablo. It will be directed by Rechie del Carmen.

Despite a younger lead cast in Janine Gutierrez and the GabRu love team, ‘Sherlock Jr.’ still has a long shot to overcome ‘Ang Probinsyano’. That said, it will take an epic miracle to at least come close to ‘Ang Probinsyano”s near-40% ratings, which as proven by the previous seven opponents it has had, is a daunting task indeed.

There is also a minor controversy surrounding the series’ title that was reminiscent of the ‘Alyas Robin Hood’-‘Arrow’ issue. But regardless of these odds and distractions, GMA should hope that ‘Sherlock Jr.’ will make its viewers happy and help advance the careers of Gabbi, Ruru and Janine.

‘Sherlock Jr.’ airs weeknights after ’24 Oras’ on GMA Telebabad.

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drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Can The Promise of Forever Help Reverse Kapamilya Gold’s Slide?

ABS-CBN may be the country’s most-watched network last month, but weekday afternoons are a different story.

Over the last few weeks, GMA’s Afternoon Prime became the most-watched block from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. While ‘Ika-6 na Utos’ remains the most-watched program during weekday afternoons, its follow-up dramas ‘Impostora’ and ‘Haplos’ were not far behind in dispatching the opposition.

The recent change of fortune in the weekday afternoon slots should cause plenty of concern within the ABS-CBN camp. Both ‘Pusong Ligaw’ and the soon-to-conclude ‘The Better Half’ were derisively labeled ‘kabitseryes’, and viewers became fed up with the direction ABS-CBN is taking.

Looking to address concerns that Kapamilya Gold is becoming increasingly stale, ABS-CBN decided to change things up with a new teleserye that is drastically different from the recent norm. Enter ‘The Promise of Forever’, starring Paulo Avelino and the network’s new addition Ritz Azul.

‘The Promise of Forever’ tells the story of Nicolas (Paulo), an immortal man who saves Sophia (Ritz) from a burning house and years later fall in love with each other. However, inside Nicolas lies a curse that prevents him from entering into a relationship while at the same time preventing him from feeling the pain of loss.

Moreover, Sophia’s lover Philip (Ejay Falcon) and Nicolas’ descendant Marlon (Tonton Gutierrez) were out to ruin their lives. With that in mind, it will be up to Nicolas to overcome the curse while preserving his relationship with Sophia.

‘The Promise of Forever’ will also star Cherry Pie Picache, Amy Austria, Benjie Paras, Susan Africa, Ynna Asistio, and Nico Antonio. It will be directed by Darnel Villaflor and Hannah Espia.

The lead-up to the premiere of ‘The Promise of Forever’ is a cautionary tale of biding one’s time. A trade trailer for the series was released in November of last year, but it took nearly ten months before ABS-CBN realized that the time is finally right.

However, with Kapamilya Gold mired in a slump, is ‘The Promise of Forever’ worth the long wait? One can only hope that this series will turn things around for the suddenly beleaguered block and in turn restore the faith of viewers that had betrayed the network of late.

‘The Promise of Forever’ airs weekday afternoons on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold. Timeslot to be determined.

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New Teleserye Alert: The Greatest Love and Someone to Watch Over Me

Two new teleseryes premiere today on ABS-CBN and GMA respectively.

On the former’s Kapamilya Gold, ‘The Greatest Love’ will finally make its long-awaited debut. The series will star veteran actress Sylvia Sanchez in what is perhaps her most definitive starring role yet.

In ‘The Greatest Love’, Sylvia will play the role of Gloria, a mother of four who is determined to have a happy and lovely family. But a terrible secret soon broke the bond between Gloria and her children, and what remained of her are memories of her problematic past.

As the story goes on, Gloria begins to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, a crippling disorder that could erase her memories. As a result, she must find a way to reunite with her children before her condition proves too much to overcome.

Gloria’s children will be portrayed by Dimples Romana (as Amanda), Matt Evans (as Andrei), Arron Villaflor (as Paeng), and Andi Eigenmann (as Lizelle). The supporting cast of ‘The Greatest Love’ will consist of Joshua Garcia, Nonie Buencamino, Rommel Padilla, Tonton Gutierrez, Ejay Falcon, Ellen Adarna, Junjun Quintana, Aleck Bovick, Luis Alandy, Bobby Andrews, Alex Medina, Mercedes Cabral, and Guji Lorenzana.

It will be interesting to see how ‘The Greatest Love’ fares on its first week. But as far as ABS-CBN is concerned, the recent streak of good fortune on Kapamilya Gold should be more than enough to ease the pressure on the newcomer.

Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, Mervyn Brondial, and Dado Lomibao, ‘The Greatest Love’ airs weekdays after ‘Doble Kara’ on ABS-CBN’s Kapamilya Gold.

Over on GMA’s Telebabad block, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ will mark the full return of more serious dramas on primetime. The series will be headlined by Lovi Poe, Tom Rodriguez and Max Collins.

Like ‘The Greatest Love’, ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ will explore the harsh effects of Alzheimer’s disease. In the upcoming series, TJ (Tom) is an office worker who is married to his wife Joanna (Lovi), but after TJ begins to suffer from early onset Alzheimer’s disease, Joanna decides to take care of her ailing husband.

Soon after, Irene (Max), TJ’s ex-girlfriend, is allowed by Joanna to enter their home. After that, things begin to change as TJ loses memory of Joanna and instead recognizes Irene as his true love.

‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ will also include Edu Manzano, Jackie Lou Blanco, Isay Alvarez, Ronnie Lazaro, Boy 2 Quizon, Ralph Noriega, and Frances Makil. The series will be directed by Maryo J. delos Reyes.

It will be interesting to see how this upcoming GMA drama will fare against ‘Born for You’. With the latter series on a roll, and with GMA’s talent problems already well-documented, this is going to be a difficult journey for Lovi, Tom, Max and company.

‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ airs weeknights after ‘Descendants of the Sun’.

 

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Destiny Rose, And I Love You So End Tomorrow

Another ‘Battle of the Finales’ takes place tomorrow afternoon.

ABS-CBN’s ‘And I Love You So’ and GMA’s ‘Destiny Rose’ will officially conclude after their respective runs of 70 and 130 episodes. The two series have been on a collision course since December of last year, with both shows exchanging ratings victories on numerous occasions.

‘Destiny Rose’ premiered on September 14, 2015, and was the latest GMA series to tackle LGBT issues (similar to ‘My Husband’s Lover’ and ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’). The series starred Ken Chan as a transwoman, and was joined by Fabio Ide, Katrina Halili, Manilyn Reynes, Michael de Mesa and Joko Diaz, among others.

Replacing ‘Healing Hearts’ on Afternoon Prime, ‘Destiny Rose’ initially struggled in the ratings when it premiered, but soon managed to win the hearts of viewers with the transformation of Ken’s character into a woman. Like the two prior LGBT-themed GMA series, its story received numerous praise from critics.

‘And I Love You So’, on the other hand, premiered on December 7, 2015, and it starred Julia Barretto and Miles Ocampo as rivals turned stepsisters. They were joined by Dimples Romana, Tonton Gutierrez and Angel Aquino, among others.

Premiering as a replacement to the short-lived Kapamilya series ‘Walang Iwanan’, ‘And I Love You So’ proved that it can keep up with ‘Destiny Rose’ in the ratings. But unlike their fellow Kapamilya Gold dramas ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’ and ‘Tubig at Langis’, ‘And I Love You So’ was unable to dominate, which should bother the cast given the potential of both Julia and Miles.

In any event, this should be an exciting ‘Battle of the Finales’. For ‘And I Love You So’ and ‘Destiny Rose’, it’s all about finishing on a right note, and tomorrow afternoon, viewers will find out how their stories conclude.

Meanwhile, ABS-CBN and GMA have announced replacements for the two series. The Kapamilya network will go back to airing Koreanovelas with ‘My Love Donna’, while the Kapuso network will counter with ‘The Millionaire’s Wife’.

More on that in upcoming articles.

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That’s My Amboy Premieres Tonight

The AnBie love team takes its act to primetime.

Fresh from a successful run on ‘The Half-Sisters’, Andre Paras and Barbie Forteza now gear themselves up for their first lead role in a primetime series. The duo star in ‘That’s My Amboy’, a light-hearted series that airs starting tonight.

‘That’s My Amboy’ tells the story of Maru (Barbie), a young but determined girl, and Bryan (Andre), a rising actor. Their story began when Bryan was blamed for the accident that involved Maru’s stepfather, and in order to pay for the damages, Maru was hired as his personal assistant.

At first, Maru and Bryan’s relationship was tense and jittery. But an incident that affected Bryan soon brought the two together, and the once distant relationship turned into a friendly, and eventually, lovely one.

Also starring in the series are Tonton Gutierrez, John Arcilla, Donita Rose, Kiko Estrada, Jazz Ocampo, Matet de Leon, Meryll Soriano, Maritoni Fernandez, Jerald Napoles, Pam Prinster, Jan Manual, Philip Lazaro, Pauline Mendoza, Kryshee Grengia, and Rob Walcher. It will be directed by Bb. Joyce Bernal, with the help of Dominic Zapata.

‘That’s My Amboy’ was slated to replace ‘MariMar’ in the network’s Telebabad block (the latter ended January 8). However, the series premiere was delayed for two weeks due to a conflict of interest, since ‘The Half-Sisters’ was still ongoing at the time.

That led to a rather unusual programming lineup on Telebabad, where the block only had two teleseryes, a movie block, and a two Koreanovelas. This week, Telebabad will go back to its usual lineup of three teleseryes and two Koreanovelas, and thus, changes in schedule will be utilized.

‘That’s My Amboy’ will be placed opposite ABS-CBN’s ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, which means that the KathNiel-starred series will have faced all three ongoing Telebabad dramas in a three-week span. Although ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’ will only have two more weeks in its run, it remains an imposing challenge to ‘That’s My Amboy’, considering the series has beaten ‘Little Nanay’ and ‘Because of You’ in those three weeks.

That said, the AnBie love team will have its work cut out for them. Although they’ve been successful in the afternoon, primetime is a very different animal, which only adds pressure to the duo.

‘That’s My Amboy’ premieres later tonight after ‘Little Nanay’ on GMA Telebabad.

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