ABS-CBN and GMA-7 have long engaged in a battle for ratings supremacy, particularly in the teleserye genre.
Fortunately for viewers, each network has established its own strength in a sub-genre of the teleserye.
If ABS-CBN's strength is its teledramas, GMA-7 leads the game in the telefantasyas.
A telefantasya is a drama series mixing the elements of reality and fantasy.
ABS-CBN calls its version the fantaserye.
It is GMA-7's telefantasyas that have become iconic, breaking records in the TV ratings game.
Apart from telefantasyas, GMA-7 has also pioneered in adaptations of foreign content of material formerly aired in the Philippines, such as the Mexicanovelas and Koreanovelas.
It is no wonder that among its top teleseryes, GMA's fantaseryes and adaptations of novelas rate the highest.
In 2008, ratings provider AGB Nielsen released a long list of highest-rating Filipino TV shows of all time. An updated version of this list was released in 2012.
With teleseryes, AGB Nielsen set the bar at a 40-percent-and-above rating for a single episode.
Of the 60 highest-rating shows on the AGB Nielsen list, 25 aired on GMA-7, with 12 of these network-produced teleseryes.
Here is The PEP List of 12 GMA-7 TELESERYE EPISODES that are in AGB Nielsen's ranking of the highest rating in the Philippines.
DARNA (2005 VERSION)
Starring: Angel Locsin, Dennis Trillo
Airing: April 4 to November 25, 2005
All-time-high rating: 54.3% (2005)
Fresh from the success of Mulawin, GMA-7 chose Angel Locsin to top-bill its TV adaptation of Mars Ravelo's classic, Darna.
Angel played the role of Narda, an ordinary woman suddenly called to fulfill a mission to save the world when she stumbles upon a stone that transforms her into Darna, a superhero. Alessandra de Rossi portrayed the role of Darna's nemesis, Valentina.
Darna holds the highest rating for a pilot episode of any TV show, at 47.1%. However, it broke the record of its pilot rating on April 7, 2005, for the episode where Narda first transforms into Darna. This episode scored a rating of 52.1%.
According to GMA-7 records, the April 7 episode is the highest rating for a Darna episode.
However, AGB Nielsen records indicate that Darna registered a higher rating of 54.3% for another episode, which stands at the 18th highest-rating of any Filipino TV program.
MARIMAR (2007 VERSION)
Starring: Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes
Airing: August 13, 2007 to March 14, 2008
All-time-high rating: 52.6% (2008)
Marimar is an adaptation of Thalia's 1994 Mexican drama series which first aired in the Philippines in RPN-9. When the original MariMar first aired in the Philippines, it was a big hit.
In 2007, GMA-7 bought the rights of MariMar in order to do a Pinoy adaptation.
Even before the MariMar adaptation could air, it had become controversial after Angel Locsin, the reported first choice to play the Thalia role, declined the offer, which eventually led to her transfer to ABS-CBN.
GMA-7, which said that the role had not been formally offered to Angel, held auditions. In the end, it was Marian Rivera—whose acting credits included three afternoon shows with Oyo Sotto—who won the role.
MariMar tells the story of Marimar Perez (Marian Rivera), a naive barrio lass who falls in love with the rich Sergio Santibañez (Dingdong Dantes), who marries her only to get back at his ex-girlfriend Angelika (Katrina Halili).
The remake was also a hit.
Throughout its run, the series performed well in the ratings game, but it was with its final episode on March 14, 2008 that it reached its highest rating of 52.6%.
The one-hour finale episode featured the two-part wedding of Marimar and Sergio: first was the taped church wedding; the second was the live wedding reception held in the GMA-7 studio.
The TV rating of MariMar's finale now ranks 21st in AGB Nielsen's list of highest-rating Filipino TV programs of all time.
This MariMar finale is tied with ABC-5's rating for the 2005 South East Asian Games.
ENCANTADIA (2005 VERSION)
Starring: Sunshine Dizon, Iza Calzado, Karylle, Diana Zubiri
Airing: May 2, 2005 to April 28, 2006
All-time-high rating: 51.7% (2005)
Encantadia is GMA-7's phenomenal telefantasya that aired from 2005 to 2006. It is dubbed the grandest production of the Kapuso network because of the set and costumes especially constructed for the show.
Encantadia tells the story of the four Sang'gre sisters, or the royal goddesses of the Encantadia universe: Pirena (Sunshine Dizon), Amihan (Iza Calzado), Alena (Karylle), and Danaya (Diana Zubiri).
Their relationship as sisters is destroyed when Pirena retaliates after she is not chosen as queen. She steals one of the four elemental gems, causing trouble for all four kingdoms of Encantadia: Hathoria, Sapiro, Adamya, and Lireo.
Encantadia was such a huge success in the ratings game, it defeated all of its rivals on the same time slot. Its highest rating for a single episode in 2005 was 51.7%, which ranks 25th in AGB Nielsen's list of highest-rating TV shows of all time.
Because of Encantadia's success, GMA-7 produced two more books under the series: the prequel Etheria as Book Two, and Encantadia: Pag-ibig Hanggang Wakas as Book Three.
Years later, in 2016, GMA-7 did a another incarnation of Encantadia, calling it a "requel," which meant a remake of and a sequel to its 2005 version.
Starring: Richard Gutierrez, Angel Locsin, Dennis Trillo
Airing: August 2, 2004 to March 18, 2005
All-time-high rating: 48.6% (2005)
Mulawin is GMA-7's first full-length telefantasya, after the network attempted to produce the fantasy-drama series, Marinara, in 2004.
Mulawin brings its viewers to the world of humanoid birds called Mulawin. It tells the story of Aguiluz (Richard Gutierrez) and Alwina (Angel Locsin), who use their abilities as Mulawins to save the mortal world from the Ravenas, a rebel band of Mulawins.
Mulawin sealed the success of GMA-7 with telefantasyas, recording high ratings during its run, beating rival programs on ABS-CBN. Its highest rating was 48.6% for one of its episodes in 2005. Based on AGB Nielsen records, this rating puts Mulawin in the 33rd highest-rating slot of Filipino TV shows of all time,
In 2005, GMA Films and Regal Films produced the movie sequel, Mulawin: The Movie, which raked in roughly P62 million at the box office. The movie was an entry to the 2005 Metro Manila Film Festival.
In 2017, GMA-7 produced a sequel it called Mulawin vs. Ravena. But because Angel Locsin and Richard Gutierrez had both signed up with rival station ABS-CBN, only Dennis Trillo was included from the original cast. Unfortunately, the show registered mediocre figures in the ratings game.
Starring: Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes
Airing: April 28 to October 17, 2008
All-time-high rating: 44.9% (2008)
Dyesebel is a TV adaptation of the comic serial written by Mars Ravelo.
Marian Rivera plays the title role of Dyesebel, a mermaid who wishes for human legs and feet after she catches sight of the mortal Fredo (Dingdong Dantes) and falls in love with him at first sight. To get human legs, Dyesebel makes a deal with the scheming Amafura (Rufa Mae Quinto).
Dyesebel serves as the follow-up series of Marian and Dingdong after the success of MariMar. Dyesebel replicated their previous success in the ratings game. Its all-time-high rating for a single episode was 44.9%, which lodges it at the 43rd highest-rating Filipino TV show.
In 2014, ABS-CBN produced its own version of Dyesebel with Anne Curtis in the title role. The series would only be a mild hit throughout its run.
DARNA (2009 VERSION)
Starring: Marian Rivera
Airing: August 10, 2009 to February 19, 2010
All-time high rating: 44.1% (2009)
In 2009, GMA-7 did its second adaptation of Mars Ravelo's comic classic, Darna, with Kapuso Primetime Queen Marian Rivera playing the titular role.
The writers of this latest Darna version added elements to make it different from its first TV version featuring Angel Locsin.
They wrote Narda, Darna's alter-ego, as a cripple staying in an orphanage. Narda is also a reluctant superhero. She resists the magical stone given to her. According to Jun Lana, Darna 2009's creative director, that subject has never been touched in other versions of the graphic novel.
The writers also put depth into the character of Valentina, nemesis of Darna, played by Iwa Moto. She was written up as Narda's best friend who grew up a scorned woman because of her appearance.
Despite a neck-to-neck fight against its ABS-CBN rival, May Bukas Pa, the latest Darna managed to register good ratings throughout its run. Its highest recorded rating was 44.1%, placing it in the 46th spot in the 60 highest-rating Pinoy TV shows of all time.
CAPTAIN BARBELL (2006 VERSION)
Starring: Richard Gutierrez
Airing: May 29, 2006 to January 12, 2007
All-time high rating: 43.7% (2006)
After the success of Angel Locsin's Darna, GMA-7 bought the rights to another Mars Ravelo classic, Captain Barbell.
Plans of GMA-7 to do a TV adaptation of Captain Barbell were first confirmed when an unknown man wearing Captain Barbell's costume appeared in the last episode of Darna. Back then, rumors floated that Cogie Domingo was going to be tapped to play the title role.
In 2006, GMA-7 announced that Richard Gutierrez got the coveted role. At the time, Richard was still doing his series Sugo. Richard was also assigned to portray Captain Barbell's alter-ego, Teng.
GMA-7 called for an audition for the leading lady of Richard in Captain Barbell. The 15-year-old Rhian Ramos won the part of Richard's love interest.
At this time, the Filipino audience showed that it liked superhero stories. Captain Barbell consistently won the ratings against its ABS-CBN rival show, Bituing Walang Ningning.
Captain Barbell's highest recorded rating was 43.7% in one of its episodes in 2006. AGB Nielsen ranks this the 47th highest-rating single episode of any Filipino TV show.
In 2011, GMA-7 produced a sequel to Captain Barbell, but this would never match the ratings success of the 2006 series.
Starring: Richard Gutierrez
Airing: November 19, 2007 to April 25, 2008
All-time-high rating: 43.6% (2008)
Kamandag is a remake of the graphic novel written by Carlo J. Caparas, with Richard Gutierrez in the title role.
It tells the story of Vergel (Richard), a kindhearted human who transforms into a half-snake superhero to save the world.
Kamandag was the first project of Eula Valdes in GMA-7 after being with ABS-CBN since 1999. It was also the first series where Richard had three leading ladies: Maxene Magalona, Ehra Madrigal, and Jewel Mische.
Like Richard's past projects, Kamandag captured the attention of viewers. It registered good ratings throughout its run, with Kamandag's highest rating for a single episode at 43.6%, making it the 48th highest-rating TV show of all time.
Starring: Richard Gutierrez
Airing: July 4, 2005 to February 10, 2006
All-time high rating: 43.2% (2005)
Sugo is the follow-up project of Richard Gutierrez following the success of Mulawin.
Richard portrayed the role of twins Miguel and Amante, who represent opposing tribes. Miguel is from the Karag-ayan tribe, the good side; while Amante comes from the Binhi-lan, the evil force.
Apart from representing opposing forces, more conflicts arise as Miguel and Amante fall in love with the same woman, Isabel (Isabel Oli).
Sugo, although shown at a later time slot because of its more mature theme, managed to capture a niche market. Its highest rating was 43.2%. This puts the Sugo episode at 49th in the Top 60 highest-rating Filipino TV shows, according to AGB Nielsen.
Starring: Robin Padilla
Airing: February 11 to July 11, 2008
All-time-high rating: 42.2% (2008)
In 2007, GMA-7 tapped Robin Padilla to portray the title role in Joaquin Bordado, another graphic novel written by Carlo J. Caparas.
Joaquin Bordado tells the story of Joaquin Apacible (Robin), an assassin whose mission goes wrong and sends him to prison.
While in prison, a fellow inmate tries to kill him, but the mysterious Jilco (Pen Medina) revives him and gives him powerful tattoos.
Joaquin Bordado, Robin's second teleserye for GMA-7, was a big success in its timeslot. Its all-time-high rating for an episode is 42.2%, making it AGB Nielsen's 55th highest-rating episode of any Filipino TV show.
Starring: Angel Locsin, Robin Padilla
Airing: January 15 to June 19, 2007
All-time-high rating: 41.8% (2007)
Asian Treasures marks the first team-up of Angel Locsin and Robin Padilla. It is also the first GMA-7 show of Robin.
Asian Treasures was the most expensive project of GMA-7 in 2007, as it was the first TV series to be filmed in three different countries: Mongolia, Thailand, and China. Unconfirmed reports say the show cost more than P140 million to produce.
It tells the story of Gabriela (Angel) and Elias (Robin) who are in a quest for hidden treasures dating back to pre-colonial Philippines.
Together, Gabriela and Elias travel to different countries of Asia in search of 10 powerful amulets and clues that will lead to the secret location of the Asian Treasures.
Asian Treasures's highest rating for a single episode, according to AGB Nielsen, is 41.8%. That gives the episode the 56th highest-rating of any Philippine TV show of all time.
Asian Treasures, however, served as the last project of Angel Locsin in GMA-7. She and then-manager Becky Aguila decided not to renew Angel's contract with the Kapuso network. Soon after, Angel made the transfer to ABS-CBN.
Starring: Richard Gutierrez, Heart Evangelista
Airing: July 14, 2008 to November 14, 2008
All-time-high rating: 40.1% (2008)
Codename: Asero is Richard Gutierrez's sixth title role in a GMA-7 drama series. This time, he is paired with Heart Evangelista. The project is Heart's debut project in GMA-7 after leaving ABS-CBN that same year.
After Asian Treasures, GMA-7 called Codename: Asero its next most expensive project. The first two weeks of its shoot were set in Dubai.
Codename: Asero is about the young man Grecko Abesamis (Richard) who will do anything to protect his family. Unknown to his family, Grecko lives a double life. He is also the talented Agent Phoenix of The Advocate, a secret agency whose mission is to rid the world of lawbreakers.
After a mission that puts Grecko's life in danger, he undergoes a delicate procedure. The operation erases his memory and turns him into a powerful cyborg, whose codename is Asero.
Codename: Asero's pilot episode got a rating of 40.1%, also its highest rating. To go by AGB Nielsen data, the episode ranks 60th in its list of highest-rating episodes of a TV show.
(Alam mo ba ang latest sa showbiz? Find out kung anong level ang showbiz IQ mo by subscribing to PEP.ph Viber Chatbot here: https://bit.ly/PEPBotQuiz)