Alakdana gathers fresh talents (L-R) Paulo Avelino, lead star Louise delos Reyes, Alden Richards, and Ritchie Paul Gutierrez, in one drama-fantasy program designed to shake up GMA-7's afternoon slot. Photo: Noel Orsal (main); Courtesy of GMA-7 (inset)

GMA-7 is bringing its tried-and-tested primetime formula into the afternoon fold.

Director Mac Alejandre, however, clarifies that Alakdana is still very much a drama series and not an outright fantasy offering in the mold of past evening hits like Encantadia or Atlantika.

"Don't be mistaken, drama siya!" Direk Mac told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in an interview held recently at the Executive Lounge of the GMA Network Center in Quezon City.

"Isa siyang drama na merong elemento ng fantasy para ma-push 'yong dramatic story. So, isa siyang straight all-out drama na may elemento lang ng fantasy. Interesting siya kasi isa sa strongest equities ng Channel 7 ang fantasy at dati nakukuha 'yon sa primetime block.

"Ngayon, it is being cascaded into the non-primetime block, and it's so nice to see the effect of this equity on an audience na sila din naman ang audience ng primetime—how will they be able to accept it on an earlier block."

FRESH FACES. The Kapuso network is also proud to present young actress Louise delos Reyes in her biggest break on television.

Louise was previously seen in the shows Lipgloss (2008), BFGF (2010), Pilyang Kerubin (2010), and Reel Love Presents: Tween Hearts (2010), aside from appearing in the independent film Agaton and Mindy (2009).

Giving Louise a lead role even without an audition shows the high confidence that network executives have for the pretty actress.

"Binigay nila po sa akin 'to tapos nagkaroon po ng series of screen tests kasama po 'yong mga leading men ko and workshops, 'yon po. Parang ang bilis nga po kasi in the span of one week nabuo na agad lahat ng ito. Nabigla ako!" smiled Louise.

Serving as one of Louise's leading men is another newcomer, commercial model Alden Richards, who unlike the lead star had to go through an audition together with other Kapuso talents.

The two other leading men are Paulo Avelino and Ritchie Paul Gutierrez.

Direk Mac takes pride in molding new talents. He likes the challenge of guiding "diamonds in the rough" and being able to gradually bring out the best in them until they are confident enough to move forward to other projects.

"Ako lagi akong excited na gumawa ng mga projects pag may nila-launch. I consider myself a talent development director. Sa akin mahalaga 'yon, to be one with the objective of the network to launch stars. Dun ako nanggaling, e and dun ako nagsimula bilang direktor," explained Direk Mac.

Louise confessed feeling intimidated the first time she saw the  director in person.