Billy Crawford

Crossing the Bridge of No Return, One Year After


(NOTE: This post serves as Quarterly Open Pit No. 16. Consider this as my candid confession post; it’s hard to hold your silence but this has to be done.)

The Bridge of No Return crosses the Military Demarcation Line (MDL) between North Korea and South Korea. The name comes from the final ultimatum that was given to prisoners of war brought to the bridge for repatriation. Once they crossed the bridge, they will never go back, even if they later changed their minds.

FIFTY-TWO TUESDAYS AGO, the Philippine media industry has inevitably crossed the metaphorical bridge of no return amidst the new normal. The landscape of television has shifted forever and many of us — including yours truly — will be remembered and be traumatized.

While some audacious politicians say they’re not affected by that. It truly did. It affected not just the mental health of both those who are laid off and those who remained with more heavier workload. It also affected the job prospects (not just for Mass Communication graduates but also for Electronic Communications Engineering) and felt the chilling effect of government agencies like the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) when it comes the overall progress of digital terrestrial television (DTT) transition and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on their revenue stream.

While some enforce callously for closure and healing (babang luksa) tomorrow after a year, its wounds are still fresh in their inerasable memories.

While the sore winners say it’s “no big deal,” it unfolded to be a consequential move, especially in the far-flung areas.

Since the start of this year (2021), I cannot utter the name of the former TV network or its corresponding nickname anymore — and I euphemized them —  because saying its name is a “mortal sin.” Not to mention, I glaringly omitted their programs and/or described them indirectly. (Reminder: I didn’t include their teleseryes because it’s not our policy, enforced before 2020, to tackle upcoming and ending teleseryes in detail.)

I have imposed a “Give Chance to Others” Policy; the answer of why I’ve done that will be tackled after.

Come tomorrow, they’ll celebrate this as the “Day of Thanksgiving” with prideful taunts on the other side while ignoring their errors. In this post, I’ll tackle two invectives you probably hear from them and how I appropriated them with the current progress.

(more…)

What’s Wrong with Brightlight Productions?


[Requested by MJH]

BRIGHTLIGHT GONE DIM? Albee Benitez’s new venture to TV ended up with a dim result.

THE REQUESTER behind this post decided to do this as the production company was reportedly ending its contract with TV5 in March due to financial losses.

At first, it was shocking because of those talents who are primarily relying on their exposure on the small screens to sustain their means of living amidst the pandemic after losing their home network’s license. Alas, we are disappointed but not shocked of the strong affinity of belongingness (in politically incorrect term: fantardism) between Mother Ignacia and Kamuning remains for more than three decades, even though the former choked and forced to close the case until next year’s election if the new President favors a fresh start.

For the readers who are ignorant of the production company that saved a handful of talents and their track record because of your sharp mindset. Let me reintroduce to you: Brightlight Productions (hereinafter BLP).

 

The background behind Brightlight

BLP was founded by former Negros Occidental congressman Albee Benitez when they produced “Game Changer” that aired in 2014 on the Cable News Channel that We Cannot Utter.

Six years later, the premeditated loss of the Six-Lettered Network’s license — and the Chief Perpetrator’s continuation of its unhealthy obsession to annihilate them from memory (an attempt of damnatio memoriae) — marked the last straw to the decades-old exclusivity culture within the media industry. With TV5 ready to reinstate their entertainment division from the invincible monopoly of GMA, Game Changer Benitez decided to save the talents from their irrelevance.

The talents under his media company came mostly from Sgt. Esguerra and a few from Kamuning; the directors involved in this new production firm include veterans like Johnny Manahan, Edgar Mortiz and Gina Alajar.

 

The First Programs

BLP’s first programs under the arrangement with the Reliance Network began to air on October 18, 2020, with Sunday Noontime Live, I Got You (starring Beauty Gonzales, RK Bagatsing and Jane Oineza) and Sunday ‘Kada (the successor to Banana). However, they all ended last January 17 when the talents of SNL like Piolo Pascual and Maja Salvador crawled back to their mother network.

The following day (October 19), Lunch Out Loud, spearheaded by first-time father Billy Crawford after defecting with permission from the “Sinful” Network, premiered and became the striving competitor to Eat Bulaga. On Saturday afternoons since October 24, Rated Korina and the sitcom, Oh My Dad! (starring Ian Veneracion) came on the air.

The blocktimers’ advertisements come mostly from ACS Manufacturing Corporation (yeah, that advertiser most popularly associated with Manila Broadcasting Company’s radio stations) — more specifically from Charm Fabric Conditioner (which you are probably under LSS in their jingle) and Pride Fabric Conditioner Sakura Blossom.

Announcements in the Works, Materialization in the Doubts

Love on The Move was supposed to start last February 7 but the agreement to cover the 26-year-old Sunday noontime musical variety show and FPJ Classics block took effect two weeks ago as BLP became a co-distributor to the fallen giant-turned-content distributor. The Spotlight and Mr. M Show are also on the roster of the upcoming shows on TV5 this 2021 but are facing the same fate of non-materialization.

Social media rumors have it that Sunday ‘Kada has just reportedly finished filming in Boracay for their second season but the airing is another question.

 

Another reason for striving

Other than the heavily-defined affinity between South Triangle and the reach, some blamed the financial woes of the production company over their first Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entry, Magikland.

Named after the theme park in Silay, Negros Occidental (where Albee used to serve) and a spiritual nod to the 1996 film Magic Temple, Magikland took three years to complete. The production process hindered due to the demise of its producer, Peque Gallaga, and the pandemic’s impact on cinema that forces all MMFF entries to be streamed online via Upstream. Despite reaping lower returns than expected, it garnered six awards (Best Musical Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design, Best Virtual Float, FPJ Memorial Award and Special Jury Prize for Gallaga).

There are four films to be reportedly produced and co-produced this year. The aforementioned criticism and this kakistocracy’s questionable handling of the pandemic by permitting movie houses to open up to half of the normal capacity while the virus’ new contagious variant emerges and the inoculation against COVID scarce with the enforced preference of a brand of such a jab with contentious efficacy rate, BLP might wind up faster.

Conclusion

This fledgling TV production and distribution company would’ve been prosperous or last longer had the pandemic not happen or be as severe as is today. But then it happened, they should’ve been really careful in making financial decisions and we can’t blame them due to the reach and recognition factor.

Don’t get it wrong, it’s better to seize the opportunity when TV5 made a radical programming strategy rather than wait for their original home network to come back (if ever) or that newly-crowned media giant who waits for the ex-rival to fall, plays them too safely and creates their new programs with mediocre quality.


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Photo courtesy of Brightlight Productions / PhilNews.PH

[The New PHTV Order] TV5’s Obstacles Need More Than Hail Mary Passes (or 3-Point Goals)


[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This is the first of the two-part series.]

THE OLD ORDER of things has passed away and Philippine television is no exception.

After the decades of heated head-to-head rivalry in the South Triangle of Quezon City, they concluded not just from a planned fall of a pioneering giant but also by a global pandemic.

With the New Normal now adapted, we also witnessed a New Landscape of this traditional media. It will be a test between the triumphant giant, GMA and the momentum-gaining challenger, TV5.

In the first part, we will tackle the latter because they are very encouraging and understandable. (more…)

Local Entertainment Renaissance in Reliance


[Requested by Zyle Asajar]

AS THIS MONTH of PHTV’s 67th anniversary closes, a national, commercial network witnessed the renaissance of local entertainment.

After four years of dissolution, TV5 regained such an impetus with two “waves” in two and a half months to gratify viewers with different tastes after being fed up from the virtual monopoly in general entertainment provided by GMA.

How did this happen?

Background

THE PERSON FOR THE JOB. Perci Intalan made the radical approach to reinstate local entertainment programming on TV5.

In 2019, then-TV5 President Jane Basas wanted to restore local entertainment. Before the turn of the decade, APT Entertainment has forged a deal with the network to be launched in the first quarter of 2020 with Buhay Komedya (BuKo) Channel on Cignal but when the COVID-19 outbreak elevated into a pandemic, the plan was postponed indefinitely. The revitalization of the mother channel originally scheduled on April 13 also followed suit but their renaming as One TV abandoned in July.

The premeditated fallout of ABS-CBN on May 5 — which reaffirmed on July 10 — signaled the network executives to admit that there is a programming deficiency and resolved to take the proactive initiative.

Percival “Perci” M. Intalan returned to TV5 as the programming head. In his game plan, he decided not to follow the big mistake that occurred by the South Triangle Duopoly that molded through the decades – the exclusivity of talents. Also, he pledged that the network will not do a repeat of pirating talents in the preceding decade.

To date, two new production companies have cashed in, in addition to the resuscitated partnership with Viva Entertainment. Let us examine their dossiers:

 

The Two New Blocktimers

Archangel Media

GAME SHOW REVIVAL. Archangel Media’s first two programs revived the particular genre after the controversial processes that ABS-CBN has done in the previous decade.

APT Entertainment’s Michael Tuviera – APT’s son — and Jojo Oconer (spouse of Ciara Sotto) established this production company but they functioned independently.

In this production company, four active Eat Bulaga Dabarkads and two Kapamilya-molded talents are presenters on three programs since August 15:

  • Fill in the Bank (originally on M-W-F): Presented by Jose Manalo and Pokwang, two contestants vie for the chance to win big bucks in “Juan Bank” and make it to the jackpot round to keep their earnings. They have to go through four rounds, which has some resemblance to two pricing games in The Price is Right and two segments of Eat Bulaga.
  • Bawal na Game Show (originally on T-TH-S): Presented by Paolo Ballesteros and Wally Bayola as Barby and Bebeh Ghorl, respectively, they are reminded of Kalyeserye lolas five years ago. They are four contestants to begin; after each challenge, one gets eliminated until one remains as the “Pasawai” of the Day to compete for the jackpot round.
  • Chika BESH! (Basta Everyday Super Happy!). This is the morning talk show presented by Pokwang (who left Mo. Ignacia), Ria Atayde (who stays in Star Magic) and Pauleen Luna-Sotto. The original working title was Rise and Shine (until PTV grabbed the title and aired it as their breakfast show 3 weeks later) and the studio setup is pretty much like Umagang Kay Ganda whose time slot reminds us of Sis (GMA).

The first two shows marked the revival of the game show genre in a new normal setup; today, they are back-to-back every Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays due to the return of PBA.

 

Brightlight Productions

THE GAME CHANGER. Former Negros Occidental representative Albee Benitez (right) takes the risk from the profits from his gaming business to invest in entertainment production following the fallout of Mother Ignacia.

This production company is founded by former Negros Occidental congressman Albee Benitez. The roster of talents comes from mostly Kapamilya-molded personalities because the reach on the Kapamilya Channel and A2Z are obviously limited and it would be missed by loyal viewers — especially outside Mega Manila — who don’t have cable and/or spotty-and-slow Wi-Fi connections.

Here are their lineup of programs that kicked off on October 18:

  • Sunday Noontime Live (Oct. 18). Directed by the veteran director and outgoing Star Magic head Johnny Manahan, this musical variety show served as an offshoot to ASAP, starring Piolo Pascual, Maja Salvador, Lani Misalucha, Donny Pangilinan, Jake Ejercito and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray. The title of the show was mixed because it shares with NBC’s Saturday Night Live but this show broke the five-month monopolistic reign of GMA’s All-Out Sundays.
  • I Got You (Oct. 18). A Sunday romantic drama, starring RK Bagatsing, Beauty Gonzales and Jane Oineza, is directed by Dan Villegas.
  • SundayKada (Oct. 18). This is the successor to Banana Sundae but without JC de Vera and Angelica Panganiban (the latter being the most loyal). The former cast members of Sundae that arrived at Reliance include Jayson Gainza, Wacky Kiray and the returning talent Ritz Azul with director Edgar Mortiz joining on board.
  • Lunch Out Loud (Oct. 19). The six-day-a-week noontime variety show directed by Mr. M that stars Alex Gonzaga (returning), Billy Crawford, Bayani Agbayani (returning), Isabelle Daza, KC Montero, Wacky Kiray, K Brosas and for the first big break, Macoy Dubs (born Mark Averilla). This program effectively upended the five-month monopoly, if one uses a digital TV receiver but discounts NET 25’s Happy Time six weeks ago.
  • Rated Korina (Oct. 24). Obviously, a successor to Rated K that airs on Saturday afternoon instead of Sunday evening. Instead of pitting against long-time rival Jessica Soho, she’s pitting against Vicky Morales.
  • Oh, My Dad! (Oct. 24). Directed by Jeffrey Jeturian, this is a sitcom, starring Ian Veneracion, Dimples Romana, Sue Ramirez, Ariel Ureta and Gloria Diaz. This show serves as an alternative and early response to Pepito Manaloto.

 

Why are the Viewers Still Unhappy? (The Afterthought)

As mentioned earlier, the South Triangle Duopoly’s talent exclusivity is an integral part of the “Old” Network War lingered on for the past 30+ years. Such a long duration has permanently cultivated this black-and-white mentality that are obviously seen in the cyberspace.

When a talent of a major entity falls out and jumps directly to the rival or a neutral network like TV5 (even with the said thespian’s consent), they will be labeled as “drama kings/queens” or “traitors” with cheering them to fail (e.g. calling them “laos” or wishing their new projects on the new network to flop.)

When do we realize that the talents that we tuned to for years have entered an individual dilemma between loyalty and practicality, especially in very challenging times?

With that moment of truth already happened but remains a fresh scar in their memory, why did the former TV giant executives (like Mr. M) realize a month and a half later? Why didn’t they do it years ago before it could go wrong?

But here we are now. With the old chapter is (somehow) laid to rest (but never to be forgotten and to learn from it), it’s time to welcome a new chapter and formulate new resolutions.

Please do a favor, toxic tribalists (fantards): Give your icons in TV5 a chance.


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Photos courtesy of IMDb, PEP and PhilStar

The State and the Future of Franchised Programs in the Philippines


[Requested by JC Domondon with slight modification]

ON the Quarterly Open Pit (QuOP) a bit more than a week ago, I whimsically tinkered about the fate of five international franchised programs that had a run here in the Philippines.

Of the five TV show franchises I selected, three were on the recent hands of ABS-CBN and one each that used to be on GMA and on TV5.

In the past 10 years, the most-talked media conglomerate had the virtual monopoly on these specific types of programs because they have the money to afford it and in return, make better yields.

The library of program franchises that Mother Ignacia had in the past decade is split into two: the game show group and the reality/competition show (R/CS) group.

The GS group contains Bet on Your Baby, Deal or No Deal, Family Feud, and Minute to Win It.

This particular cluster, save Bet on Your Baby, was mired with criticism for having their non-committed stars playing as contestants while barring ordinary folks for the same opportunity. As they knew the scheme, this group of shows was ditched before the decade ended in favor of the next group.

The R/CS group contains the likes of Pilipinas Got Talent, World of Dance and Your Face Sounds Familiar.

On that group, some of them made an offshoot from the regular editions like having teens’ and kids’ versions; such offshoots are counted as official versions.

Some of them were memorable (Pinoy Big Brother‘s live weekly eviction nights) and few would just be forgettable (Idol Philippines and their selection of judges).

In both groups, the most irksome of these is the eliciting humor for at least a few moments every episode from any of the hosting trinity (e.g. Billy Crawford, Luis Manzano and Robi Domingo).

I Can See Your Voice (season 2) and The Voice (Teens 2) were the last franchised programs that aired on free-to-air Channel 2 before getting interrupted by both the COVID-19 pandemic and the broadcast license denial. The latter was able to finish through the Kapamilya Channel with four co-champions (one for each coach); for the former is now in limbo after realizing how their first season lasted more than a year.

 

Who will get the ‘buried treasure’?

Now that Channel 2 is no more, it could mean the division of spoils — for that matter, the unfinished and yet-to-be-started contracts between the elephant in the room and the respective production companies — between the remaining, qualified rivals (TV5 and GMA.)

Although there are online platforms like Kapamilya Online Live to utilize as their digital TV broadcasting project is prohibited, the production companies of franchised programs USUALLY PREFER free-to-air coverage, as far as the Turf is concerned.

Why? The primary reason for that is to get the maximum, possible reach; second is for copyright issues.

Anyway, what would be the pros and cons of Kamuning and Reliance on getting that precious booty?

GMA

Logically speaking, the sole TV giant from Timog Avenue is next in line since they have an equal reach as its former competitor. The track record there was conservative. With the declaration of the corporation’s operation “debt-free,” it should be another logical parameter that this network should get that treasure.

There are obvious setbacks:

  • As they are not a KBP member for a bit more than 17 years now, this would turn off viewers as the network accept unlimited ad loads without regard to the attention span of the viewers. (No wonder, KMJS viewers keep complaining over this.)
  • Entertainment executives in Kamuning seem to be contented with what they have (i.e. resting on their laurels) and are hesitant to take the risks.
  • The reality shows they desperately pitted against the former rival tend to be “original” — like Centerstage and The Clash. With the tables turned and they are given the offer, will Direk Louie Ignacio decide to give in?

In case you don’t know, before the quarantine period, the network acquired the franchise rights to have our version of South Korea’s famous Sunday variety show Running Man.

Regardless, placing in their own hands would incite an online dumpster fire between staunch Kapuso loyalists and displaced solid Kapamilya viewers blending in.

TV5

TV5, which gained programming momentum since last month, could continue where Dos left off since they would reach out their hands for displaced talents and personalities like a Good Samaritan. There’s a solid nutcase who presented a strong case of the network to be the new home for Big Brother with improvements and rectification of the errors of the ways the previous network has done for 15 years.

One big challenge: When PBA resumes action at least this October, such shows would have to wait until at least 9:00 p.m. on the affected game days.

When it comes to blending in, they wouldn’t mind unlike in the case of GMA.

Another Option and Afterthought

In both cases, this may not be materialized for now because of the prevailing prohibition of gathering a live audience and/or walk-in auditions.

If some learners who are not ready in adapting to the new normal in education called for an “academic freeze,” then why not have a “programming freeze” for this specific genre?

That being said, if someone would ask if we will have our local version of The Masked Singer, then the answer to this question, for now, is we just don’t know and shrug. (But I heard PEP.ph last Thursday that TV5 secure the rights in partnership with VIVA and air it next month. Anyway, best of luck.)


NOTE: This is the third and last post of the very dense week of post-mortem thoughts on the post-Kapamilya Philippine television. In fact, it filled up all the slots that are calculated for the whole month and the next scheduled post would be published in October. Urgent topic proposals that happened or will happen for the rest of the month will depend on our discretion.


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If There Is No More ABS-CBN Again (Part 1): Faring Mother Ignacia’s Performance and Finding the Hatred


[WARNING: The author is not a hater of the media entity in hot water. With apologies to fanatics of this particular network but let’s face it, no media entity is perfect or sacred; every network has its flaws and successes. Please read at your own risk.]

IN the opening salvo almost two weeks ago, this year is the most crucial moment in the Philippine media industry; this is the year ABS-CBN is facing a make-or-break situation — the franchise renewal is at stake.

Six days from now, Congress will resume its plenary session and the bills regarding their franchise renewal are in the bind. Some solons like Laguna Representative Sol Aragones — who was a reporter of her previous employer — wanted to put this bill as urgent and priority before March 30 strikes.

For the past three years, President Rodrigo Duterte constantly objected for their renewal by playing different mind games. Recently, he wanted the network to be sold to his business friend Dennis Uy, the Villars or Manny V. Pangilinan — despite a mix of denials and interests — in order to dilute the Lopezes out of boardroom control anew. In a nutshell, as Ryan Ortega opined, these acts seem to generate “terrible optics.”

While media professionals and enthusiasts generally saw Mother Ignacia’s success in ratings and in business strategy, not everyone is pleased (and it’s not simply because they are hardcore loyalists from Kamuning).

What if the then-fringe, now-significant hardcore supporters of this administration got what they wished for — shutting ABS-CBN down for good or for at least, two years — despite little or no effect or even silence from both the telecommunications authority and their broadcasting associate for their non-renewal.

But before we answer that big question, we will delve into why that particular hate on the network grew and how did the network fare out for the past 10 years.

When did all the hate begin?

It all began after Cory Aquino’s funeral. MMK aired the two-part story of the couple on what would have been the former beloved President’s 77th birthday in January 2010.

Due to the airing, netizens criticized the airing as an indirect platform for their unico hijo, Noynoy Aquino to victory in the polls. At that time, certain personalities were active in the network during the period like Korina Sanchez (spouse of his running mate Mar Roxas) and obviously, her sister, Kris. However, not all personalities in the network endorsed him such as Willie Revillame and Dolphy who endorsed Manny Villar.

When Noynoy won the Presidency at the inaugural automated elections, Ricky Carandang and Manuel L. Quezon III from ANC became part of the Palace’s communications team. (The latter was responsible for making the Official Gazette in touch and informative with social media.) Thus, the weekly anthology series every Saturday became a tool to propel certain candidates into victory.

The year after (2011), a YouTube creator named PinoyMonkeyPride published a series of animated videos repeating buzzwords against the network as it was owned by “oligarchs” and their story “biased” in favor of the then sitting administration.  It may have paved the way for netizens’ inspiration to create their fan pages and blog sites to hate the then-President and its actions wholeheartedly. Their accusations, however, were a mix of truths and baseless claims; it did not pay much attention in the general social media news feed but it escalated as the next presidential election approaches.

During the last days of the election campaign in 2016, this particular network aired attack ads against two candidates in two separate positions. One of them was paid by then-Senator Antonio Trillanes IV (who ran for Vice President but eventually placed dead last) attacking then-Davao City mayor. The other ad is by then-Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares (who at that time ran for Senator for the first time) who attacked against then-Senator Bongbong Marcos (wherein the latter ran but almost won the vice presidency).

After the clear and vindicated victory, the new President persistently made sporadic accusations against the network — from taking unauthorized loans from the Development Bank of the Philippines, unpaid ads and unpaid taxes despite being not true in their annual reports. These soundbites have been relayed over the cyberspace, without fact-checking and hearing the other side, and simply accepted them as gospel truth.

ABS-CBN in the 2010s

Casting aside the political colors, the 2010s on ABS-CBN made significant differences in their programming operations.

Free TV

Through cunning exploitation of absolute advantage, this network broadcast their acquired international franchises of competition shows and freely create their deviations for teens and kids like The Voice and Your Face Sounds Familiar, just to name a few.

As reality competition shows became all the rage and expanded back-to-back on weekend primetime, it pushed game shows obsolete. Regardless of that trade-off, those shows have repetitively been hosted in circles by what the Turf called, the Trinity: Luis Manzano, Billy Crawford and/or Robi Domingo. Speaking of game shows, their selection of players shifted to exclusive, non-committed stars in order to avoid defection to another network. (which became the Turf‘s first breaking point) Nonetheless, both types of shows have injected some comic relief for ratings.

Vice Ganda became the face of the network in the past decade as we see him every day of the week —  at least, on It’s Showtime and on Gandang Gabi Vice (sometimes, he performs on ASAP). His incorrigible, panlalait style of comedy has influenced his co-equals with their fans continuing to tolerate him. In the late part of the decade, his jockeying antics on their live noontime show continued without a sense of time (which became another turning point).

Throughout the past 10 years, this network was responsible for boosting up the “love team manufacturing and enhancing” industry. From their conception at Pinoy Big Brother, they ventured out into drama and anthology and without a doubt, it was successful. It’s no wonder that the reboot of Wansapanataym lost its zeitgeist as a fantasy anthology with moral lessons like the first incarnation into a springboard of kalandian. (Thank goodness, they ended it last September.)

With unified MTRCB ratings fully implemented since 2011, their network’s teleseryes were mostly classified into the SPG territory. The starting times of teleseryes every weekday shifted to pre-noontime since 2012, beginning with Be Careful with My Heart.

In 2013, during their 60th anniversary, they forge a deal with CJ ENM to broadcast O Shopping as an overnight blocktimer. It almost fills up ABS-CBN’s round-the-clock schedule except on Tuesday.

In 2014, Studio 23 became ABS-CBN Sports + Action (later shortened as S+A). In the same year, late-night newscast Bandila reported a mysterious flesh-eating disease in Pangasinan, which turned out to be false.

In 2015, their encrypted set-top box, ABS-CBN TVplus was introduced in the market and were sold hot like hotcakes; as of this publication, it sold 8.9 million units and just last year, they launch their mobile version, TVPlus Go, for commuters. On that same year, Boy Abunda’s The Buzz pulled the plug — putting an end of an era for weekend afternoon showbiz scoops. Meanwhile, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano premiered and still is the successful teleserye in weekday primetime.

The following year (2016), another TV program genre was put into the dustbins of history as Luv U was the last teen-oriented program to broadcast. Children’s programming (including cartoons and anime) was downgraded into one meager slot on free TV every Sunday morning as the rest were migrated to Yey! (their exclusive digital sub-channel)

In 2019, after 14 years, kiddie-casted sketch comedy show Goin’ Bulilit pulled the plug.

Cable Operations

Because of the trend of cord-cutters — wherein cable subscription is dropped in favor of cheaper or reasonable pricing of the promised offerings on video-on-demand platforms — ABS-CBN discontinued these cable channels within the decade: ABS-CBN Regional Channel, Balls (replaced with Liga), CgeTV, Hero (became a Web portal), Lifestyle (became Metro Channel), Tag (in favor of Cine Mo! and Movie Central) and Velvet.

Radio Operations

In 2013, the network unified the FM branding as My Only Radio (M.O.R.).

Other Ventures

ABS-CBNmobile, their exclusive mobile service provider, did not last that long; the service ran from 2013 to 2018.


 

If we were to step into their shoes, what will happen if ABS-CBN’s core broadcasting operations suddenly gone? Will their competitors replicate the success of all or certain aspects of Mother Ignacia? That will be discussed further in Part 2.

South Triangle Duopoly’s Early Christmas Specials with Top E-Commerce Platforms


CALL IT an early Christmas TV special for the South Triangle Duopoly but unlike the usual pre-recorded annual show, both of the shows will happen live tomorrow night but with a bold, new experiment.

Both ABS-CBN and GMA have tied up exclusively with the top two e-commerce platforms — Lazada and Shopee, respectively.

In both online shopping platforms, they strategically and competitively bring down their prices on selected — if not all — items with free shipping with little or no minimum spending.

On both particular specials, their respective platforms will have the livestream of the said event. Their televised specials will start from 10:30 p.m. to midnight of their culminating day’s eponymous sale.

So what are the differences between the two, you might ask?

Lazada 11.11 Super Show (ABS-CBN)

Lazada 1111.jpg

Lazada’s 11.11 is considered a one-day event. To promote them further, their Super Show will broadcast from Sofitel Tent, Pasay City but the livestream will start half an hour ahead of the television broadcast.

They will star Vice Ganda, James Reid, Maja Salvador, Karylle, Billy Crawford and Maja Salvador with performances of Maymay Entrata, Edward Barber and other Kapamilya stars.

Shopee 11.11 Big Christmas TV Special (GMA)

Shopee 1111 TV Special.jpg

On the other hand, Shopee 11.11’s promo lasted almost a month — well, since October 15.

For this year, Senator Manny Pacquiao is their brand ambassador.

Like Lazada, Shopee will star the Kamuning counterparts with an emphasis on top celebrities like Alden Richards, Maine Mendoza and Heart Evangelista. They will join last year’s ambassador — the Mr. Pinoy Christmas himself — Jose Mari Chan, where he will perform exclusively the latest jingle of this e-commerce platform.

Unlike the rival, there is no specific place where their live performance; thus, we assume that it will broadcast within the Network Center. Also, there is a bonanza of exciting prizes within the show including a motorcycle, a car and a house and lot.

NOTE: GMA’s Christmas Station ID will be released ahead of the show during or before Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho. (Consider this as a bonus.)

Smelling a New Tie-Up

That being said, the tie-up could turn into an opportunity for network executives’ chance of exclusivity for the holiday seasons to come. (Well, if one’s franchise will survive next year.)


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Photos courtesy of Lazada/LhyzieBongon.com and Shoppee/TheSummitExpress

Why is the World of Dance Philippines Not Airing Yet?


[NOTE: This is inspired, but not requested, by JC Domondon and dedicated to Sairen]

WHEN Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids Season 2 (where the TNT Boys unsurprisingly became the champions) on ABS-CBN was about to end, the trailer plugs of World of Dance Philippines were promoted to the small screens during the commercial breaks, making viewers look forward to their immediate replacement.

Instead of that, the currently-running replacement is an original concept, The Kids’ Choice, enjoying a 28+ rating (Kantar) as the top show of the weekend primetime slot.

The last-minute replacement (current) show’s overview was explained by Ralph of From The Tube:

What if the kids are the judges of a reality talent show?

In a role reversal of sorts, ABS-CBN will give its young child stars an opportunity to play the part of judges on ‘The Kids’ Choice’.

x x x

Every week, the Just Kids League will discuss and evaluate the performance of four “Fambatos” or non-celebrity families brimming with talent. Being the youngest of the bunch, expect these kids to be more spontaneous with their comments.

Despite the receipts (for regular “non-millennial” term: proof) from social media, it seems the primary and agreeable reason is WODPH is not on the taste of the masses as they did not get over from YFSFK 2’s repercussions.

To those who were disappointed, scammed or pinaasa (given false hopes) who auditioned particularly for that show through Star Hunt, the Turf understands the deep sentiment over the network’s last-minute drop and we try to go deeper.


The Supposed Replacement Show in Concept

In their country of origin (the United States), the World of Dance — which just ended its second season on NBC is divided into four divisions, regardless of their dance styles: Junior (groups of 1-4, under 18), Upper (groups of 1-4, 18 and older), Junior Team (groups of 5+, under 18) and Upper Team (groups of 5+, 18 and older).

The elimination process of the competition proper has four sequential rounds: the Qualifiers (where contestants have to qualify with at least 80 points to survive), the Duels (where the contestants choose their opponent starting with the highest scorer from the qualifiers), the Cut (where mentors are assigned to each division to prepare the contestants for their performances; the top three scoring acts in each division move on to The Division Finals) and the Division Finals (where mentors still support the contestants from each division but the top scoring act in each division will become division champion and move on to The World Final)

The World Final is the grand finale where all four division champions battle it out for the grand prize of US$1,000,000 (~PHP 53.92 million).

The points system are judged by five (5) categories of equal weight — 20 points each for performance, technique, choreography, creativity and presentation — for a perfect score of 100.

Possible Application for PH’s Setting

Unlike Dance Kids, WoDPH’s qualifications are wider: participants must be at least 8 years old and are open to both amateurs and professionals.

The process would likely be the same.

Challenges and Threats

Going back to the main question, even though the show’s auditions have been recorded and edited in the post as the set is already up, the delay has been impliedly justified with other two following factors, aside from the taste we primarily said at the star. First is the hectic schedule of supposed judges and second is the presenter must be from the experienced Trinity — Luis Manzano, Billy Crawford or Robi Domingo. (The man in the middle hosted YFSFK2 and thus needs to rest. Luis still hosts I Can See Your Voice, which will tackle a bit later and Robi is currently hosting TKC)

A season of any weekend competition show over Mother Ignacia, regardless if franchised or original, lasts at least 2.5 months (about 11 weeks or 22 episodes).

That being said, after The Kids’ Choice, WODPH might have to wait until at least mid-November but then, even more, popular franchised competition shows on the network’s backlog might possibly overtake, especially the return of Little Big Shots 2, The Voice PH or Pilipinas Got Talent 7.

Another franchised competition show that is still running on Dos is I Can See Your Voice. ICSYV‘s gameplay and direction are different from the South Korean original; in our setting, instead of releasing as a digital single, the SEE-nger has a quick ticket to enter Tawag ng Tanghalan on It’s Showtime — yes, that staple segment that is walang-kamatayan (never dies) and enabler of the pushing other shows late.

The show now runs a bit more than a year but its first season is not yet finished but user Alpha on that FTT article warned that Pinoy Big Brother will be the projected replacement once it ends.

Contractual Implications, Solution & Reality Check

The contract between Nuyorican Productions (one of the production companies behind the U.S. version, owned by Jennifer Lopez) — or its exclusively local yet unnamed distributor — and ABS-CBN (owned and chaired by another-but-obviously-not-related-to-Jennifer, Mark Lopez) is ostensible but definitely not publicized.

Nonetheless, if the network still fails to materialize if they did not settle the requirements and conflicts within, Nuyorican could simply rescind the contract, due to the network’s internal constraint of programming and constant pandering to the demands of the masses.

Reigniting the Spirit of the Turf‘s Advocacy

The Turf already made the solution four years ago on the case of broadcast programming grid reform four years ago on fixing TV season, in addition, the gradual reduction of teleseryes’ frequency from five to one or two to accommodate other genres.

Overall, there is another strong benefit of defending in light of the matter: lessening the breach of contracts with outside producers and/or local distributors.

Reality: The Unavoidable Deadweight

It can be done but as always, reality check hampers our constructive criticisms to be pursued as the business model of Mother Ignacia remains smartly yet monstrously rich while caring less about the quality of programming and its discipline.

As Ralph said, the long delay “could cost” the supposed show’s rating. He could not wait for the network to arrive forever on WODPH or it could be GMA’s gain.

To be honest, Kamuning is not even keen on acquiring franchises and their stars are too hard to be scouted as mentor judges (well, there’s Mark Herras and if only they have learned very hard from The Clash.)

Not just on weekends but on weekdays too (Afterthought)

The case of delay by the network can also happen on teleseryes. Last year, The Promise of Forever, set mostly in the Czech Republic, was pre-produced after a year of filming. It was delayed due to their response to the appeals of Koreanovela fans over Love in the Moonlight which consequently costed the ratings due to demotion as part of the Kapamilya Gold (their afternoon block).

The equivalent will apply for The General’s Daughter, the prepared replacement of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, which will turn three (3) years old by next Friday (28th). Despite the hinted posts of artists involved via their respective Instagram accounts — especially Angel Locsin and Ryza Cenon (for the second acting stint but first full time after jumping the fence) — and significant and substantial saturation of viewers from watching him over this feat, Cardo Dalisay’s saga is far from over.


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Why Don’t We Have Our Own ‘Jeopardy’?


(Dedicated to The Professional Heckler & So What’s News)

TODAY – tonight, rather — I Can See Your Voice’s (ABS-CBN) Sunday iteration will challenge the spiritually reviving karaoke-based game show, All-Star Videoke (GMA).

However, here on Timow’s Turf, we will neither talk on any of the two; despite both entertaining, they are not for stimulation, as it can be or is a form of escapism (depending on one’s personal philosophy).

Most of you might say, “Why not a trivia quiz show?” but some would raise a common objection because there is already Celebrity Bluff (GMA) but then answered back, saying that they need direct, ordinary – not indirect, celebrity – participation just like Jeopardy.

As exactly said on the tin, this special feature will find the answer to the situation but first, let’s delve into the related background before answering the question.

Show background

Currently running on its 34th season, Jeopardy is an American trivia show, presented by Alex Trebek. The show features a quiz competition in which contestants are presented with general knowledge clues in a form of an answer and they must respond in a form of a question.

The first two rounds

Contestants will have to pick a category and a clue value. After the clue is fully read aloud, any contestant may ring in, respond verbally in a form of a question; if the response is right, the corresponding value is added, get it wrong, and it’s deducted.

However, there is one “Daily Double” hidden in the first round and two in the second but before the clue is revealed, the contestant must declare a wager up to one’s current score. Get the response right and it adds value or otherwise, it’s subtracted.

Final Jeopardy

The contestants who have positive score after two rounds will proceed to the Final Jeopardy. There, the category is revealed before the commercial break. During the break, the contestants will enter their final wager (from 0 to their current score) in the electronic display. After the break, the host will read the final clue and then, they have to write their response within 30 seconds.

Afterwards, the contestants’ responses are revealed in order of their pre-Final Jeopardy scores from lowest to highest. Like the two rounds, if they respond correctly and properly, the wager adds the current score while incorrect answering, failure to respond or failure to phrase as a question deducts it.

The contestant that has the highest score wins and returns in the following match and will lead on selecting the first clue on the next match.

Jeopardy’s involvements with Filipinos

Fans of this show will remember Ken Jennings winning 74 straight matches in 75 appearances back in 2004 – the longest streak in the game show’s history but on December 8, 2014, a Filipino named Patrick Fernandez from Irvine, California participated but failed to defeat challenger Ann Conger, landing in second place.

Our country has been mentioned in clues ranging from lechon (food) to Alma Moreno (politics).

What are ‘complicated reasons?’

Now we go back to the main question: Why we don’t even have a localized Jeopardy?

If your answers were any one of these: network war culture, overemphasized pandering to the masses, or anti-intellectualism. You do have a point.

The likes of the Battle of the Brains or the Digital LG Quiz of the 1990s and early 2000s are now portable in our pockets but free data promos in mobile communication duopoly excluded websites that could enrich minds for understanding general and specific knowledge. Hence, we have a double-edged consequence of a very significant populace that is prone or at an irreversible point of disinformation and misinformation — making materialization an obstacle. In addition, the nature of the show will interest few despite the gradually rising share.

Interestingly, Jeopardy franchises were neither acquired nor materialized in Southeast Asia. Had done so, Singapore would have been the first but Indonesia claimed it — citation needed — but without any signs of the latter’s emergence.

Thought-stimulating experiment needing questions

Should a network acquired the local franchise; it would have been easy for ABS-CBN due to experience as GMA would go original and TV5 would always destine to fail. Of course, the main objection to this is the selection of contestants that are mostly celebrities at the expense of audience exploitation, which is contrary to their longtime philosophy of servicing the Filipino. Remember their version of Family Feud? Despite the ratings and clear classification as a thought stimulating show, it fared no better than its predecessor networks due to such treatment.

If they promise to come clean, the next in the checklist would be hosting. In the recent years, three men are well-renowned hosting franchised shows: Billy Crawford, Robi Domingo & Luis Manzano.

Most of you complained about the trending host rotation: Wala nga bang iba kundi sila? (Don’t you have another than them?) Currently, Crawford is still hosting Little Big Shots as Manzano is just getting started with ICSYV; so, Robi Domingo would have definitely been a no-brainer but of course, Robi is busy with University Town as part of the UAAP. Thus, we need a new one.

All right, assuming that settled it, the last thing is the time slot. When kids come back home from school in the afternoon, there is a good chance that they will turn on the TV – if they don’t have mobile devices and that’s why Jeopardy would serve better at that time. The sole benefit is one less slot for cringe-worthy, SPG-laced and cancerous teleserye in Kapamilya Gold but the offsetting drawback is always the never-ending resolution of the 5:00 p.m. dilemma outside Metro Manila.


What do you think? Is it time for a real Jeopardy Philippines?


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#PHTVzg2015: ABS-CBN


[Author’s note: #PHTVzg2015 stands for Philippine Television Zeitgeist 2015, a five-part year-ender series.]

Another year has come and gone, but before we enter the sweet 2016, the Turf looks back on the roller-coaster moments of ABS-CBN.

Star-studded for the Papal Visit (January). Five Kapamilya stars (Lyca Gairanod, Angeline Quinto, Jed Madela, Darren Espanto & Erik Santos) performed in different venues of the itinerary of Pope Francis’ five-day visit. The Voice Kids Season 1 champion, Lyca Gairanod, performed “Tell the World of His Love” before the main program of Encounter with Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Quinto, Madela and Espanto performed during the Encounter with the Youth at the University of Santo Tomas and Erik Santos sang the Responsorial Psalm at the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.

Trashing film tourism (February to May). Success does not need to trash the wondrous creation but the aftermath of such in teleserye “Forevermore” and the film “That Thing Called Tadhana” came with the attention of collateral damage in Cordillera. Located in Tuba, Benguet, the filming location of LizQuen’s primetime drama became a hit tourist destination but its watershed contributed significant damage. The criticism is not noticed until May, just as their program is about to end, a writ of kalikasan was issued from the Court of Appeals and thus, forcing the cancellation of the farewell concert there. On the other hand, Angelica Panganiban and JM De Guzman’s indie flick is located in Sagada. Because of immense popularity, the swarming of tourists there left their trashes behind and netizens made rounds of criticism.

The Declining and the Denial (February-present). ASAP reached 20 this year but the longevity of the institution paid the decline of its domestic base as viewers at home are fed up with repetitive dance movements and its lack of innovation. When its Kamuning neighbor decided to scrap the cowardice Sunday All Stars in favor of the comedic Sunday PinaSaya, they try to compete with the comedic opening but the main host, Martin Nievera, was disappointed with the setup by a tweet. SPS won the ratings game from August and ASAP is decided to shorten their airtime to two hours and again, Nievera remained in denial.

Onward towards DTV. After five years of trial and error, the ABS-CBN TVPlus, nicknamed as the “Mahiwagang Black Box,” is released commercially to selected markets since February 11, with new sub-channels such as Yey! and Cine Mo and existing ones from cable such as Knowledge Channel and DZMM Teleradyo. Nine months later, the high-definition feed of the mainstream channel, ABS CBN HD, is released in selected cable operators (Oct 3).

This Success Sounds Familiar (March to December). Hosted by Billy Crawford, Your Face Sounds Familiar, a new game show franchise, where celebrities impersonates music icons, became a hit for viewers during weekend prime time, not once but twice.

The End of the Buzz (April 5). Easter Sunday this year marked the new life but for Boy Abunda, it marked the death of his showbiz show, The Buzz. Though they would be come back soon, the return is remote from being materialized, thanks to social media. However, the show was posthumously awarded as the Best Showbiz Oriented Talk Show on the 29th PMPC Star Awards.

Duo Dynami-nation (May and August). Primetime Bida for 2015 is mostly significant for the two love teams for social media. KathNiel’s “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (since May 25) and JaDine’s “On The Wings of Love” (since August 10) hyped up the national Twitter trending list during weekdays.

S+A going full capacity (June 20). From that day, NCAA aired on its new home on ABS-CBN Sports + Action since UAAP was moved to September. The decision of covering the oldest (but not popular) collegiate athletic association would not simply make their Sports Division very busy year-round but astonish their technological advancement to sportscasting.

Pinoy Big Bromance? (June 20). Pinoy Big Brother commemorated its 10th anniversary this year with a new hybrid edition, “PBB 737.” During the early run, when the teens entered the Bahay ni Kuya, the show drew fire over bromance and the action of one housemate, Ryan James Bacalla. Because of this, the 24/7 live cable streaming was pulled out until the teens’ part ended after seven weeks of stay.

It’s Showtime’s immorality segments (August to October). As the Kalyeserye on the Kamuning neighbor became successful, It’s Showtime attempted to counter it with Twerking Girls but it drew fire by a solid Kapamilya netizen. After the controversial celebrity competition, they replaced it with “Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas” featuring Angelica “Pastillas Girl” Yap. However, netizens are unamused by the content as it acts as the antithesis of the norms of traditional Filipino courtship exemplified by its rival. Not only that, the girl herself was also the butt of the joke with one of her old videos posted containing dirty language spreading online with degrading reactions in return. The segment was also compared it to an American reality dating show, “The Bachelorette” and called it “Bugawserye.” Such complaints drew Gabriela Partylist’s attention to call MTRCB and to summon the show’s creators.

Krissy decides to tone down (August-September). (Soon-to-be-outgoing) Presidential sister and veteran Kapamilya, Kris Aquino, narrowly escapes stroke after filming “Etiquette for Mistresses.” Because of the traumatic health effect, she decided to leave “Aquino and Abunda Tonight” and decided to remain only on KrisTV in order to achieve a “healthy work and life balance.”

Hisses from the two entities (August and September). During the Iglesia ni Cristo rally in EDSA in late August, social media blared up messages of the network’s bias against the Church. Few members of INC made a rash payback by mauling one of its camera operators covering the situation. Two weeks later, during a students’ forum in UP Los Banos with Vice President Jejomar Binay, a news writer mistakenly heard the crowd shouting “trapo” (traditional politician) instead of “sample.” Despite of netizens’ praise for the student body’s fearless inquiry over current issues thrown against him (i.e. overpricing infrastructures and making under-the-table deals in Makati City as mayor), the student council demanded the broadcaster’s apology.

Big shot coming from a single bullet (September 28). After Coco Martin’s portrayal as a commando of PNP Special Action Force that was part of the Fallen 44 tribute on MMK, he became the lead role of the TV drama adaptation of the 1997 action film, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano.

ANC prepares for APEC. As the Philippines hosted APEC 2015, cable news channel ANC decided to reinstate Cathy Yang as the business news anchor. On October 26, ANC freshened up their identity.

Advertising jealousy (November). With AlDub’s* exponential success, it stripped their endorsers from the last Kapamilya talents (such as McDonalds’ chicken meals from Toni Gonzaga and Nino Muhlach, Hapee toothpaste from Angel Locsin and Rejoice shampoo from Kim Chiu). Because of that phenomenon, according to an insider, some advertisers decided not to renew their contract with ABS-CBN. Hence, the network issued a memo to advertisers that they have a right not to air any commercials that is associated with the rival’s programs, indirectly or directly. Hence, their intentional acts of not airing it, reducing it, splitting Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards apart or omitting Maine whatever possible. Kapamilya fans, belonging to the AlDub* nation, sees it as a form of bitterness (jealousy) and endorsement protectionism, calling both as unfair, as KathNiel and JaDine’s commercials on GMA were aired in full.

Gone from the news, stay for Sunday nights. Despite of departure on TV Patrol and DZMM for her news delivery, Korina Sanchez still maintains Rated K every Sunday night. The said program and the presenter won the Best Magazine Show and Host respectively on the Star Awards.

Talent Newsmakers of 2015

New and shining talents

  • Jana Agoncillo of Dream Dad and Ningning
  • Marco Masa of Nathaniel
  • Elha Mae Nympha of the Voice Kids 2
  • Bailey May and Ylona Garcia (BaiLona) of PBB 737 Teens
  • Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida (ToMiho) of PBB 737 Regulars
  • Xymon Ezekiel Pineda (Onyok) of Ang Probinsyano

Migrants from other networks:

  • From GMA: Sarah Lahbati and Elmo Magalona
  • From TV5: Wendell Ramos and Vin Abrenica

Outlook for 2016

Financial and operation wise, the corporation will remain profitable and the transition for digital television as feasible for 2016.

However, the Turf issues a RED ALERT for Mother Ignacia for the New Year.

Despite the revenues of political advertisement making up less percentage of their consolidated revenue, they will go in hot water for favoring former DILG Secretary Mar Roxas, the second Aquino administration’s anointed successor, over their flagship news programs and its senatorial lineup would be promoted through their life stories on MMK.

*The AlDub phenomenon will be discussed continuously in the next Zeitgeist (GMA 7).

Addendum: UFC will no longer be under ABS-CBN Sports’ hands this 2016.