[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This post is a piece of fiction based on a handful of facts. Please take this with a grain of salt.]
WE CAN ALL agree about these two maxims: We can neither change the past nor regain the lost time.
During our (normal, face-to-face) school days, we keep asking questions to our history teachers “hows” and “whys,” over significant happenings of places but a few dared to ask “What if” or “What could’ve happened…?”
Those few belong to an academic realm of alternate history, a type of speculative fiction consisting of one or more different historical events. For those who will take this genre, the decision lies up to one’s belief and others have some reservations. On YouTube, you can find these genres with supporting maps; others have showcased in DeviantArt or in related forums.
However, in this specific AH, we will not include maps.
This idea came from a comment by Twitter user @tootongjomartin back in January after publishing the second part of the series “If There Is No More ABS-CBN” where the remaining competitors respond in a normal (non-pandemic) setting.
Now it happened.
Therefore, in retrospect, The main question of this AH project is: “What might have happened to the media networks if the COVID-19 pandemic never happened?”
The constraints: You cannot change the weather patterns from May 6 to the present.
BEAR IN MIND: In a supporting YouTube video, the acronyms A.E.T. stands for “Alternate Earth Timeline” (the situation of what and R.E.T. stands for “Real Earth Timeline,” as in what happened in reality.
THE ALTERNATE TIMELINE
Before May 4
The daily Laging Handa public briefing from PCOO would simply not exist.
SMAC Television Production’s shows would have rolled: one on IBC 13 (Yes! Yes! Yow!) and two on GMA News TV.
On PTV, Lotto draws would’ve conducted as usual while on IBC, El Shaddai would have been airing.
On TV5, Aksyon newscast branding would’ve stayed. The Buhay Komedya Channel on Cignal would’ve been launched as scheduled.
Wednesday, May 6
- Emergency meetings were summoned from advertising agencies, KBP to media networks like GMA and TV5.
- Two months after finishing Season 95, the NCAA Policy Board was shocked by the news as they were literally halfway through the contract.
- Roberto P. Galang, president of TV5, would be hinted to the press about their plans, “Our entertainment programming will be revived perhaps after the Tokyo Olympics.”
- Meanwhile, the master control on GMA Network logs that programs were finished on time as promoted after a bit more than two years of being head-to-head.
Tuesday, May 12
- One month before the 2020-2021 season tipoff, MPBL faces a dilemma on which broadcaster be their new home. PTV is next in option.
- ALTERNATE EARTH HEADLINE: Palawan nixes division
The UAAP 82 women’s volleyball is finished — with Liga carrying the Finals. With the five-year contract of UAAP and ABS-CBN expired, the prestigious collegiate league’s board faces jitters.
Sunday, June 14
On GMA, All Out Sundays threw a grandiose party on their network’s 70th anniversary with the formal launch of GMA Affordabox (12 days earlier than in real time). Tomorrow, Heart of Asia becomes the first digital subchannel other than GMA News TV to formally launch.
Saturday, July 5
NCAA Season 96 (host school: Colegio de San Juan de Letran) would proceed without a terrestrial broadcast partner.
Friday, July 10
With the House of Representatives denied the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, the UAAP board summoned an emergency meeting on determining who will be their new broadcast partner.
Friday, July 24
The Tokyo Olympics would’ve begun. Though the country’s broadcast rights are awarded to MVP Media Group, the opening ceremony was aired on One Sports instead of TV5 because of PBA because the league doesn’t respect the international multi-sporting event.
Saturday, July 25
In gymnastics qualifying, Carlos Yulo was qualified on the men’s floor competition. The coverage aired on both TV5 and One Sports.
Friday, July 31
Because it was a holiday and due to the qualification, TV5 decided to cover Carlos Yulo’s final competition on the main channel instead of their sports channel. Thankfully, it was in the morning. He won the first Olympic gold for the country, the Filipino audience was jubilant. The Philippine national anthem was played for the first time, Yulo wept tears of joy.
Monday, August 10
Just as Galang promised, the first wave of programs from TV5 began (one week earlier than in real life) to roll.
ALTERNATE EARTH HEADLINE: [Carlos] Yulo to get hero’s welcome, meet Rody
Monday, August 31
As ABS-CBN Regional Group folded, GMA Regional TV’s programs in the morning began to expand.
Saturday, September 5
UAAP Season 83 (host school: De La Salle University) would’ve tipped off — not canceled — on a new broadcast partner, TV5 / One Sports. During the week leading to the season, Cignal subscriptions go higher.
- The Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), despite the panic due to affiliation of publicists with the fallen giant, announced the nominees for the 34th Star Awards for Television. Most of the nominees are from GMA. The winners were to be awarded in New Frontier Theater in Araneta City with a delayed telecast a week later on PTV.
- DJ Chacha and Ted Failon joins Radyo 5 one week earlier than in real life.
Miss World Philippines would be airing on PTV, instead of long-time partner GMA, to avoid beauty pageant monopolization.
- On the awards night of PMPC Star Awards, GMA would’ve won the Best TV Station after seven years. The streak would go on until at least 2022.
- The new NBA season tipped off on One Sports (two months earlier than today).
Sunday, November 1
REAL NEWS: Super Typhoon Rolly battered Bicolandia.
GMA News TV would’ve responded away — instead of airing non-news programs that became a source of ridicule in real time — and converted into a 24-hour news channel.
Thanks to the windfall, GMA’s net profit for the first nine months of 2020 would be about 85% higher than the same period last year — 6 percentage points more than in the real world.
Like in real life, Miss Earth 2020 was aired for the first time on TV5. Like in Miss World, Carousel Productions, the organizer behind the pageant, didn’t want GMA to go into portfolio overload.
- Miss Universe 2020 was aired exclusively live on GMA Network after ABS-CBN fell. Our contingent, Rabiya Mateo of Iloilo City, finished in the Top 20.
- GMA covered a Christmas special — the only network to have an all-star holiday special since TV5 was just restarting.
- AGB-Nielsen released the result of the nationwide TV ratings, Voltes V: Legacy would’ve been the No. 1 in the weekday primetime program.
What’s the Difference than In Real Life?
Without the pandemic, GMA would’ve gotten a bigger rate of growth in revenue for the first nine months than in real life. Regional news services would’ve been established ahead of time before the storm. The main channel’s entertainment programs would’ve gone ahead of time but their shows go and prouder than we harnessed right now. Network fanatics take revenge with more awards but others would still get angrier.
The revival of local entertainment on TV5 in three phases would’ve started one to two weeks ahead.
Even with Martin Andanar’s promise, PTV would’ve started ahead but no viewer would care (other than the pro-admin fanatics) and dare to watch them, save the Lotto draw and PTV Sports.
Even if the displaced technical and creative employees would invite the offer, IBC 13 would still be an unwatchable channel because of pay issues and financial stature. (Company culture matters!)
NET 25’s new programs might not have been on the air today or they would go earlier. The segments of their noontime show, Happy Time, would be really different.
Had not for the pandemic that rechanneled their funds for response, community broadcasters would’ve emerge further. More entities would register and file their franchises to Congress before getting the revoked frequencies.
What would be your TV timeline if the COVID-19 never happened?
Timow’s Turf wishes every reader a contemplative Christmas.