drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

The Half-Sisters Joins the ‘One-Year Serye’ Club

Welcome to the ‘one-year serye’ club, ‘The Half-Sisters’.

The highly popular teleserye on GMA’s Afternoon Prime block celebrated its one-year anniversary last Tuesday, June 9. As of today, June 11, ‘The Half-Sisters’ has a total of 262 episodes aired, with more to come as the series continues to progress.

With the milestone of reaching a year on the air, ‘The Half-Sisters’ joins a very exclusive club of local drama series with a run of at least a year. The most recent series to join the club was ABS-CBN’s ‘Be Careful with My Heart’, which aired for over two years.

‘The Half-Sisters’ premiered on Monday, June 9, 2014 as the lead-off program of Afternoon Prime. The series replaced the remake of ‘Villa Quintana’, which starred Janine Gutierrez and Elmo Magalona.

At the time of its premiere, ‘The Half-Sisters’ was joined by ‘Innamorata’ in the Afternoon Prime block. Since then, a total of five other teleseryes (‘Dading’, ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Kailan Ba Tama ang Mali?’ ‘Healing Hearts’) have aired alongside ‘The Half-Sisters’, with ‘Yagit’ by far the longest-running of the five to date.

The pilot episode of ‘The Half-Sisters’ registered an 11.5% rating on AGB Nielsen, and a 7.3% on Kantar. Its opponent at the time, ‘Moon of Desire’, registered a 9.2 and 10.2%, respectively.

While ‘The Half-Sisters’ had a slow start early in its run, by the middle of the -ber months, it began a steady climb atop the afternoon ladder. The series ranked as the top-rated program in the weekday afternoons at the end of 2014.

Not even a new opponent in ‘Flordeliza’ can slow ‘The Half-Sisters’ down, even though the series’ criticism regarding its lengthy run began to grow. Today, ‘The Half-Sisters continues to rank among the top ten programs in the country in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen.

Typically the lifespan of a modern-day teleserye lasts four to eight months, depending on ratings and critical acclaim. But ‘The Half-Sisters’ are a different breed, a throwback to the teleseryes of the old days.

That said, expect more twists and turns to develop as ‘The Half-Sisters’ continues.

Starring Barbie Forteza, Thea Tolentino, Jean Garcia, Jomari Yllana, Ryan Eigenmann, Eula Valdes, Andre Paras, Mel Martinez, Vanness del Moral and Winwyn Marquez, ‘The Half-Sisters’ airs weekdays after ‘Eat Bulaga’ on GMA’s Afternoon Prime.

Notes: From the Tube will take a break tomorrow, June 12, in commemoration of Independence Day in the Philippines. Regular posts resume on Monday, June 15.

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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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Reformatting GMA’s Afternoon Prime

Award-winning documentary programs such as ‘I-Witness’ will greatly benefit from the move to GMA’s ‘Afternoon Prime’.

Desperate times need desperate measures. And for GMA, it’s all about trying to reverse an ongoing ratings slide.

Already suffering from a decline in viewership in the Telebabad slot, the Kapuso network’s fortunes in the afternoon slot took a turn for the worse after ABS-CBN‘s post-‘Showtime’ afternoon ratings improved, largely due to the success of programs such as ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’,  ‘Galema: Anak ni Zuma’, ‘Pinoy True Stories‘, and ‘Princess Hours‘. As a result, GMA responded with their own movie block in ‘GMA Blockbusters’, which like its ABS-CBN counterpart, will feature more recent films from the GMA Films library.

But is the movie block really the answer for their ratings slide? As far as I’m concerned, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ is not the solution to the network’s problems. In fact, it would have been better if they moved their award-winning documentary programs out of the midnight slot. Why? Because the awards that shows like ‘I-Witness‘ earned would be worthless if no one is watching. By placing them into the afternoon slot it will help them attract more viewers, in the same way that ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy True Stories’ accomplished a few months earlier.

Aside from the GMA documentary programs, I also liked to see ‘Love Hotline’ move from GMA News TV to the mother network. ‘Love Hotline’, a love advice program hosted by Jean Garcia, has been airing on weeknights since it debuted last October, opposite the main networks’ newscasts. Moving ‘Love Hotline’ to GMA’s afternoon slot will greatly benefit the program, as it will now go head-to-head against TV5’s ‘Face the People’ on the same timeslot.

With that, here is what I think should be the best lineup for GMA’s ‘Afternoon Prime’:

2:30 p.m. – Villa Quintana

3:20 p.m. – Magkano Ba ang Pag-Ibig

4:10 p.m. – I-Witness/Reporter’s Notebook/Born to Be Wild/Alisto/Out of Control

5:00 p.m. – Love Hotline

With ABS-CBN pushing the right buttons for the past few years, perhaps it is time for GMA to do the same. And shuffling its afternoon slot should help.

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