Marian Rivera (left) is the lead star of GMA-7's upcoming primetime show Carmela while Louise delos Reyes plays dual characters in Kambal Sirena.


GMA Network is gearing up for the new programs to be launched in the first quarter of 2014.

In a press conference with select members of the media, GMA-7 executives explained why they chose specific Kapuso stars to topbill these programs that will kick off the New Year.

Here is the list of upcoming Kapuso shows for 1Q 2014:

The Borrowed Wife (afternoon soap opera starring Camille Prats, TJ Trinidad, Rafel Rosell, and Pauleen Luna); Innamorata (starring Max Collins and Luis Alandy); Paraiso Ko‘y Ikaw (starring Kristoffer Martin and Kim Rodriguez); Kambal Sirena (starring Louise delos Reyes as dual characters); Rhodora X (starring Jennylyn Mercado and Mark Herras); and Carmela (starring Marian Rivera and Alden Richards).

The Kapuso Network also acquired the franchise of the game show Don‘t Lose The Money but they have not yet chosen a host for this game show.

In addition, a new Koreanovela will debut on GMA starting January 20. Titled Tale of Arang, this series stars Shin Min-ah and Lee Jun-ki. In the story of Arang (Shin Min-ah), the daughter of a magistrate who is brutally murdered. She returns from the dead as a ghost and she meets Eun Oh (Lee Jun-ki), a young magistrate who has an ability to communicate with the dead.

Lilybeth Rasonable, GMA-7's Senior Vice President for its Entertainment Group, led the executives who attended the press conference held yesterday, January 8, at the GMA Network building in Quezon City.

In order to help them decide on the lineup of shows, the executives rely on market research.

Ms. Cheryl Ching-Sy, AVP for Drama, explained: "Viewers are boss in GMA.

"It always [addresses] kung ano ang hanap nila. We do surveys. Naghahanap sila ng bago. GMA Drama naman hindi naman afraid to take risks like My Husband's Lover.  

"Traditional pa rin pero nagi-inject pa rin ng something new.

"Ang audience kasi hinahanap something relatable to them."  


THE BORROWED WIFE. In the afternoon soap The Borrowed Wife, viewers will get to know the intertwined lives of Maricar (Camille Prats), Earl (TJ Trinidad), Rico (Rafael Rosell) and Tessa (Pauleen Luna). According to GMA, this show depicts "how one secret sets their destinies in a shared trajectory towards love and redemption."  

Directed by Gil Tejada, this show will air its pilot episode on January 20. It also stars Yayo Aguila, Sherilyn Reyes, Kevin Santos and Caridad Sanchez.

(Read: Rafael Rosell, Camille Prats, and TJ Trinidad topbill The Borrowed Wife)


(L-R, Pauleen Luna, Rafael Rosell, Camille Prats, and TJ Trinidad)



CARMELA. Starting January 27, viewers will be able to see a new loveteam: Marian Rivera and Alden Richards.

The upcoming primetime show aims to "validate every woman's aspiration to be understood through a beautiful story of love that can never be."

Marian's character Carmela is described as a very beautiful woman who had gone through a lot in life. With her beauty, she is judged not only by other people but also by people close to her. When Carmela falls in love with a man who despises her mother, she is forced to make heart-wrenching decisions.

When asked why they decided to pair Marian with a much-younger leading man, Rasonable explained, "Yung kay Alden intentional yun kasi nung prinesent ang project, talaga namang bata yung guy.

"Binigay kay Alden kasi gusto namin siyang i-push.

"Palagi gusto rin natin na comfortable ang stars with their co-actors. Pero kung may disagreements, it is in their contracts that the decision of GMA will prevail."  



Marian Rivera and Alden Richards in Carmela



RHODORA X. The reunion project of StarStruck alumni will premiere on January 27.
 
Rhodora X is a drama that challenges viewers to examine how deeply they know their loved ones. The show prompts people to discover the nuances of their own personal relationships.

The show stars Jennylyn Mercado, Yasmien Kurdi, Mark Herras, and Mark Anthony Fernandez.

Directed by Albert Langitan, the series also stars Gardo Versoza, Glydel Mercado, Irma Adlawan, Rachel Ann Go, Frank Magalona, and Lollie Mara.


PARAISO KO’Y IKAW. Starting January 27, viewers will get to see Kapuso teen stars Kristoffer Martin, Kim Rodriguez, and Joyce Ching in one teleserye.  

Bb. Joyce Bernal directs Paraiso Ko'y Ikaw, which aims to show that "no obstacles can keep us apart from the ones we love."

This soap opera also introduces Phytos Ramirez. Completing the cast are Janno Gibbs, Gabby Eigenmann, Jessa Zaragoza, G. Toengi, Maricel Morales, Neil Ryan Sese, Irene Celebre with the special participation of Joey Marquez.


 
INNAMORATA. This February, Max Collins is paired with Luis Alandy in the afternoon series Innamorata.

Directed by Don Michael Perez from the original concept of RJ Nuevas, the program aims to show "what can be more dangerous than losing one’s self in wanting something or someone so much."

Max and Luis will joined by Kapuso artists Jackie Rice, Dion Ignacio, Gwen Zamora and unforgettable portrayals by seasoned actors Michael de Mesa and Rita Avila.


KAMBAL SIRENA. GMA returns to the telefantasya genre by presenting Kambal Sirena this March on Telebabad.

Louise delos Reyes plays dual characters in this fantasy drama series helmed by New York-trained director Dondon Santos.

Louise will bring life to twins Alona and Perlas in the series which admonishes viewers with this very powerful message, "Inggit ang unang sumisira sa magkapatid."

Aljur Abrenica is cast as her leading man named Kevin.

Why did they choose Louise to topbill Kambal Sirena?

"Kailangan natin magpakita ng new faces. Si Louise has been tested naman in our programs, with the most recent one being Mundo Mo'y Akin, which did very well.

"It's about time na i-elevate siya," explained Ms. Cheryl Ching-Sy.

Rasonable then added, "The thrust of the network is to develop more artists.

"Ang Kambal Sirena kasi, aside from it showing skin, is an acting piece for an artist kasi kambal sila at magkaibang characters.

"Si Louise nakita namin...hindi pa siya GMA noon, nakita na namin na meron siyang acting talent. We started giving her more challenging roles and she delivered. It's just right that we give her this project."

When asked regarding possible comparisons to ABS-CBN's upcoming version of Dyesebel, Rasonable pointed out:

"Yung sirena naman, time and again...hindi naman natin malalaman kung sino ang mauuna o kung sino ang mahuhuli.

"Dati, nagawa naman namin ang Marinara at Dyesebel."
 
Other stars in Kambal Sirena include Mike Tan, Rich Asuncion, Pancho Magno, Winwyn Marquez, Nova Villa, Tessie Tomas, Chanda Romero, Lotlot De Leon, Gladys Reyes, Angelika Dela Cruz, Mickey Ferriols, and Polo Ravales.


LESBIAN-THEMED SERIES? Considering the success of My Husband's Lover, do they have plans of doing a Book 2 of this gay-themed drama series?

"To be honest, we were thinking of whether to do a Book 2 kasi ang lakas ng clamor for that," admitted Rasonable.

"But as of now, hindi namin makita na magawa. But in the meantime, they cannot be idle so we have proposals for each of them."

She later added: "Ang hirap mag Book 2 kasi kailangan higitan mo ang Book 1. Kailangan alam mo rin kung ano ang ikukwento mo na hindi mo pa nakuwento.

"Abangan nyo kasi we're coming up with something as riveting but not a Book 2 [of My Husband's Lover]."  

What are their plans for the lead stars of My Husband's Lover?

"Meron na kaming proposal for each of them," revealed Rasonable about MHL lead stars Dennis Trillo, Carla Abellana, and Tom Rodriguez.

Are they considering doing a lesbian-themed drama series as well?

"We're open naman to it pero sa lineup namin wala pa."

Assistant Vice President for Talk, Variety, Musical and Specials Darling de Jesus pointed out: "Yung point naman kung bakit ginawa ang My Husband's Lover, hindi naman namin inisip na pang LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community]. It was unintentional.

"We just wanted to tell the story of two gay men who fell in love who had trouble. Hindi porke't ginawa namin yun, gagawa na kami ng [series featuring] same-sex with girls.

"That's not supposed to be the intention when we do soaps. Basta kami, iniisip namin na gumawa ng istorya na naiiba naman."