Competing networks launch their big primetime series

by Nickie Wang

Two big series debuted last Monday:  Amaya on GMA-7 and The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition on ABS-CBN.

Amaya made an initial impression leaving its audience captivated by its grandiose production design and intricately detailed costumes. The actors also did a great job, most specially on delivering their lines in pure Tagalog and Visaya.

According to a statement released by GMA-7, the series is shot using HD cameras giving it a better sound quality and a movie-like texture. Indeed, Amaya’s first episode can pass as an epic film only it’s on television. Beyond outstanding technical aspects and colorful costumes, Amaya would like to give viewers a glimpse of how rich Philippine culture was before the colonial period. So far, it’s been successful in making viewers believe that our ancestors were great mariners, depended solely on high priests (Babaylan) for guidance and believed that forces of nature contain spirits that they could make contact with.

Meanwhile, The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition also made a big impression. The pilot was captivating you would think you’re watching an episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya. Fourteen heavy weight contestants were introduced and were welcomed to their home for four months—the biggest loser camp. And while being introduced, their individual story and struggles being obese were also revealed, and that was quite touching.

Among the reality presented on TV these days, The Biggest Loser is the only series focused on boosting the morale of the participants. Instead of embarrassing their families due to their stupid actions like what happens in Survivor and Pinoy Big Brother, the contestants in one way or another make their relatives proud.

Ratings war

The pilot episodes of Amaya and The Biggest Loser also signaled another scorching battle for the elusive primetime supremacy.

According to AGB Nielsen Mega Manila People Ratings, Amaya entered the numbers game landing at no.2 with 14.3 percent viewership while The Biggest Loser debuted at no. 10 with 9 percent ratings.

Amaya goes against action drama Minsan Lang Kita Iibigan that posted a ratings of 11.6 percent. The Biggest Loser is in the same timeslot as the Korean series Secret Garden that posted higher numbers against the Kapamilya show. On the second day, the trend was still the same but Amaya’s ratings was down to 13.6 percent while The Biggest Loser improved with 9.6 percent.

It seems that Amaya is losing its first battle. Landing only at no. 2, behind Mara Clara, is not what GMA-7 executives want for the big-budget primetime program. Meanwhile, The Biggest Loser is gaining more viewers, a feat for a show in a late night timeslot.

Donde esta Elisa?

In February, Nasaan Ka Elisa had a grand launch on Asap Rocks. The series is inspired by a Chilean telenovela that aired in April 2009. The cast includes Melissa Rick, Agot Isidro and Albert Martinez. It’s been four months now since the teaser of the big-budget show was released, but Kapamilya disciples have yet to see Elisa?

We ask the same question about Maria La del Barrio and Precious Hearts Romances: Hiyas.

The first is the local adaptation of Thalia’s popular telenovela. It stars Erich Gonzales in the title role and Enchong Dee as Fernando Jose.

The latter is set to launch the onscreen team-up of Zanjoe Marudo and Megan Young. Both shows were scheduled to air on the reformatted afternoon block called Kapamilya Gold, but like Nasaan Ka Elisa?, they are on the shelves of the network, waiting to be touched,maybe by someone with a Midas touch.They were supposed to give Kapuso’s Dramarama sa Hapon a hard time. But the two series that are supposed to be the centerpiece of the Kapamilya Gold could be tarnished by now.

Will these shows suffer the same fate as Utoy? To refresh your memory, Utoy is a fantasy drama inspired by Pinocchio that was supposed to star Dolphy and Makisig Morales. The production started in 2008 but was completely cancelled when Dolphy moved to TV5. And Makisig is now…err kind of…makisig now.

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