While other tv networks have long resumed production for their on-going and upcoming shows, GMA Network seems to be taking its time with its response to the currently surging local demand for new and fresh content.
Since March, when draconian measures were raised by the government to stop the spread of covid-19, production units were forced to cease filming, thereby prompting tv networks to bring back old shows to temporarily fill up vacated time slots.
Its former biggest rival, ABS-CBN has so far premiered a number of new shows and has never stopped filming under strict safety guidelines since June. TV5, on the other hand, sealed block time deals with some of the biggest production units in the country to shake up its programming, debuting more non-scripted shows than either GMA Network or ABS-CBN.
ABS-CBN, with its partnership with Bro. Eddie Villanueva’s Zoe Broadcasting Network Inc. was able to return to free television via the rebranded Channel 11, A2Z, allowing the embattled tv broadcast giant to air new shows.
More and more audiences are evidently getting tired of the current tv landscape, as reflected by the booming popularity of online streaming services, which may suggest that more viewers are participating in the currently active consumer shift happening between the more contemporary and traditional platforms.
This can be seen as an added hindrance for GMA Network and TV5, which have been less leaning towards capitalizing online venues as content delivery platform, than the now franchise-less, ABS-CBN, which has been more reliant on its streaming and cable TV services, since Congress denied its franchise application in July.
For GMA Network’s part, the transit has been slow but sure. But since free television is what enables the network to maintain its nationwide coverage, the challenge is still in shaking up its main channel’s programming as its competitors have been aggressively giving local audiences new offerings.
Eat Bulaga, its noontime show, is among the first non-scripted shows to return to live broadcasting, albeit without a studio audience. Also, as the network complies with industry-wide guidelines and regulations, safety and health measures are sternly imposed by its shows, especially those tv programs tapping lock-in tapings to produce new episodes.
Among those shows, are primetime dramas, Descendants of the Sun and Anak ni Biday vs Anak ni Waray, whose new episodes are finally being seen on GMA Telebabad starting in November.
Prior to these shows’ return, the network managed to treat its faithful viewers with four 5-episode. mini-series under the I Can See You drama anthology, featuring various big Kapuso stars.
Its hit afternoon drama, Prima Donnas is also reportedly doing lock-in tapings and will soon return to the network’s Dramarama sa Hapon block.
Already on its third season and managing to beat pandemic restrictions, The Clash, the network’s flagship singing talent search, premiered on October 3.
GMA News and Public Affairs-produced programs, likewise have been able to deliver new and fresh episodes since October, including the Marian Rivera-hosted drama anthology, Tadhana. Wish Ko Lang, which bid farewell on air in February, returned with a brand new season in July. Likewise, Dear Uge, has been back on the air with new episodes, since August.
After months of doing work-from-home shows, All Out Sundays, GMA Network’s musical variety show, return again to the Studio last September, while Willie Revillame’s Wowowin continues to air shows from Revillame’s very own Wil Tower studio in Quezon City.
Talk shows, Sarap ‘Di Ba and Mars Pa More have been airing freshly-taped episodes since July, while the network’s chart topping and critically-acclaimed news magazine show, Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, resumed regular programming in October. Long-running weekly drama anthology, Magpakailanman, likewise resumed production in July.
Along with these programs, GMA News and Public Affair documentary shows, I-Witness, and Reporters’ Notebook, also returned with new episodes in August.
Comedy programs, Bubble Gang, Daddy’s Gurl, and Pepito Manaloto, also made successful returns in October, June, and August, respectively. The Dingdong Dantes-hosted informative show, Amazing Earth, likewise resumed airing on July 26.
As the government ban on mass gatherings prohibits performers to stage concerts, GMA Network begins tapping online platforms to hold concerts and other similar events. Its biggest project, so far, is Alden Richards’ first-ever virtual reality concert this coming December.
Arguably, GMA Network has been lagging behind its two biggest rivals, ABS-CBN and TV5, in keeping up with the pandemic, with its biggest scripted programs, especially its afternoon dramas, still unable to resume regular programming. Nevertheless, there are still enough indications and developments that the network is already poised to go all-out in giving its audiences new and fresh line-ups, sooner than they may expect.
The media giant’s film production outfit, GMA Films, has yet to announce new developments, following its long years of inactivity. GMA Music, on the other hand, shows some promises, as it’s been continuously releasing new singles of Kapuso artists, especially The Clash alumni.
The Kapuso Network is also set to premiere big primetime dramas in 2021, including the Sanya Lopez-led First Yaya, which was supposed to star Marian Rivera who backed-out of the project due to safety concerns and family reasons.
Loyal Kapuso viewers have also set their sights on Owe My Love, starring Lovi Poe and Benjamin Alves, the Philippine live-action adaptation of the Japanese classic, Voltes V, and the Philippine edition of the hit Korean reality show, Running Man.