Thanks to an indefatigable roster of women, GMA Network triumphantly closed 2016 on top of the vicious TV ratings game. Towards the last quarter of the year, its Drama group’s final bets to sway primetime viewing their way decisively hit the jackpot—via fantasy remake Encantadia and the original action-series Alyas Robinhood shooting up to No. 1—making their “blood, sweat and tears” all worth it.
All the same, not one smug face met the traditional new year roundtable with Entertainment editors this week at GMA’s headquarters in Quezon City. Usually led by network Chairman and CEO Felipe Gozon, the head honcho seemed to have purposely skipped the annual luncheon to give the GMA Drama group the spotlight, and ultimately credit where credit is due.
Senior Vice President Lilybeth Rasonable sat as captain of the table during this meeting, who, along with her all-women line up of fellow executives, was both humble and gracious in acknowledging their success.
“The year 2016 started out rough and tough but all the same, we knew what we wanted to achieve,” Rasonable recalled. “We experienced a lot of challenges along the way, but we knew if we kept on trying—what production is essentially about—we would reap what we sow, so that by September, we started winning the ratings, most especially with Encantadia, and when December came along, it was clear we were No. 1.”
Flanked by VP for Drama Productions Redgie Magno, Vice President and Head of GMA Entertainment’s Business Development Darling de Jesus, Senior Assistant Vice President for Business Development Janine Piad-Nacar, Assistant Vice President for Drama Productions Cheryl Ching-Sy, and Vice President for Corporate Communications Angel Javier Cruz, Rasonable happily appraised, “It was a great year. Nabura yung pagod naming—yung blood sweat and tears. But that we’re No. 1, it’s tougher for us, because now we have to maintain and surpass what we’ve achieved in 2016.”
Asked by The Manila Times what she believes the leadership of an all-female team for the Drama Group has contributed to the network’s last quarter coup, Rasonable initially laughed and jested, “Atty. Gozon may be the best person to answer that kasi pag sabay-sabay na kaming mag-salita, maingay!” But following a reflective pause, she replied, “What we believe we bring as women to the table is our sensitivity–puso–but in any battle, women can also be tougher than men. Hindi sumusuko at laging palaban. I think this balance enabled us to take risks in programing that proved successful in 2016, and like I said, will be tougher on ourselves in 2017 to stay at No. 1.”
And with that, GMA’s fearless females went on to announce GMA Drama Group new line-up of shows in 2017 beginning with the ongoing original series Meant To Be, a romantic comedy, starring Barbie Forteza and four leading men in Ken Chan, Jak Roberto, Ivan Dorschner, and Addy Raj; the much awaited soap Destined To Be Yours starring “TV’s Phenomenal Love Team” Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza; a Filipino adaptation of the hit Koreanovela My Love From The Star, starring top “GMA Ultimate Star” Jennylyn Mercado and newcomer Gil Cuerva; an even bigger telefantasya in Mulawin vs. Ravena, headed by “GMA Drama King” Dennis Trillo, with no less than Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez fortifying the cast; a remake of 1987’s Pinulot Ka Lang Sa Lupa with popular young artists Julie Anne San Jose, Benjamin Alves, Martin del Rosario and LJ Reyes; an afternoon drama series Legally Blind, with Janine Gutierrez tackling her most challenging and mature role as a rape victim who becomes a lawyer to seek justice; another remake in Impostara starring Kris Bernal, Rafael Rosell and Ryan Eigenmann; and a docu-drama for “Kapuso Primetime King” Dingdong Dante via Case Solved.
A mix of game shows, variety shows, and comedies are also in the running, beginning with the newly premiered People vs. The Stars hosted by Drew Arellano and Iya Villania; the return of Celebrity Bluff with Eugene Domingo and award-winning actor and host Edu Manzano as “Master Bluffer;” and Full House Tonight, a weekly comedy-musical show top billed by Regine Velasquez-Alcasid.