The Trouble With Last Saturday’s TV Programming

Last Saturday on television was memorable for both the right and wrong reasons. There was a PBA doubleheader, a double-overtime NBA thriller, a boxing event, and a dance contest featuring elementary school students. It also witnessed a pair of programming changes, and a slew of programs that ran way behind schedule.

On this article, the focus of attention will be on the programming problems that plagued the ‘Big 3′ networks last Saturday. Here is how I looked at the programming that took place last March 22, and how they need to be rectified.

ABS-CBN

The Oklahoma City-Toronto NBA game lasted until the second overtime, and as a result ‘It’s Showtime’ began later than usual, at around 12:45-1:00 p.m. The highlight of the variety show was the grand finals of the ‘Stars on 45′ talent contest, where Haydee Manosca emerged the winner. ‘It’s Showtime’ lasted until 4:00 p.m., affecting other programs’ start times for the remainder of ABS-CBN’s operating day.

Perhaps the Kapamilya network’s Saturday schedule would have served better if ‘It’s Showtime’ airs from 12:30-3:30, making it a three-hour program similar to the Saturday edition of its competitor ‘Eat Bulaga’. In addition, the airing of ‘Saturday Specials: Shake, Rattle and Roll’ is unnecessary, and should be removed in favor of making ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’ into a pair of hour-long programs.

GMA

‘Eat Bulaga’ took place at Resorts World Manila, where the grand finals of ‘Junior Pinoy Henyo”s cheerdancing competition was held. However, it was the broadcast of another movie on the ‘GMA Blockbusters’ block following ‘Laban ng Lahi’, and the transfer of ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ which affected its programming for the remainder of the day. Poor German Moreno and his ‘Walang Tulugan’ variety show.

To keep Kuya Germs and his loyal viewers happy and awake, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ should be restricted to just one movie or event rather than the unnecessary two. That way, the succeeding programs can be aired at a more comfortable timeslot.

TV5

Gone are the AksyonTV simulcasts of the PBA, and as a result, TV5 was compelled to air every PBA game for the rest of the season. The first Saturday doubleheader aired on the network was not without any complications, however. ‘Aksyon Weekend’ was slotted in between the doubleheader, much to the dismay of the league owners, while the programs that followed the PBA aired later than usual, with the live broadcast of ‘SpinNation’ taking place at a rather unfavorable time of 11:20 p.m.

The only Saturday program that was affected by the change was ‘Juan Direction, which now air on Sunday nights. It would have been better, however, if ‘Kaya’ was included in the move, since that particular program became expendable with the increase of PBA airtime. In addition, ‘Aksyon Weekend’ should be aired after the PBA games are finished.

March 22, 2014 should be remembered as one of the most infamous dates in Philippine television. The programming last Saturday proved to be excruciating and frustrating for the viewers, mostly due to some programs that aired way beyond their usual start times. Unless the executives make some more favorable changes in their respective networks’ programming, things will only get worse from here.

GMA Reshuffles ‘Night Shift’ Lineup

Sandra Aguinaldo, Jay Taruc, Howie Severino and Kara David of I-Witness will now be seen at a more convenient 10:15 slot every Saturday night.

GMA’s ‘Night Shift’ block of public affairs programs will have a new look next week, with two programs from News TV 11 moving to Channel 7 while bumping two other programs to the weekends.

‘I-Witness’, the critically acclaimed and highly awarded documentary series, moves to Saturday nights after ‘Celebrity Bluff’ effective February 8. The timeslot change came amid requests from many loyal viewers who asked to air the program at an earlier time. ‘I-Witness’ will now compete against TV5’s new public affairs program ‘Kaya’ and ABS-CBN gag show ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’. Despite the change, the unnecessary program ‘Kapuso Movie Night’ will continue to air at a later timeslot, putting viewers of ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ at a clear disadvantage.

Replacing the series on Monday nights is former News TV documentary program ‘Front Row’, which will now adopt a formula similar to the ABS-CBN documentary series ‘Storyline': no voice-over narrations and no hosts, only subject interviews. The change in formula is intended to make the program more distinct and movie-like, and to distinguish it from ‘I-Witness’.

Another News TV refugee coming to Channel 7 is ‘Powerhouse’, which will now air on Wednesday nights. The program, hosted by Kara David, features interviews with various influential figures, showcasing both their public and personal lives inside the comfort of their homes. The series was one of the so-called ‘News TV originals’, and has been on the air since News TV debuted in 2011.

With ‘Powerhouse’ moving to Wednesdays, ‘Born to Be Wild’ will now occupy the Sunday morning slot after ‘AHA!’. The nature documentary show takes over the timeslot of its spin-off ‘Born Impact’, in essence merging the two shows together. ‘Born to Be Wild’s new timeslot will be a big help to schoolchildren, enabling them to learn and discover the hidden facts about nature at a more convenient time. The show will be up against ABS-CBN’s ‘Matanglawin’.

Moving ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Born to Be Wild’ will be a big help to GMA in their weekend programming. However, moving ‘Front Row’ and ‘Powerhouse’ from News TV to Channel 7 will be more of a detriment than a benefit. By moving to Channel 7, both shows essentially become reruns when aired on News TV. And with the latter suffering from disorganization and lack of identity, it only justified the departure of both ‘Front Row’ and ‘Powerhouse’.

Still, it remains to be seen whether or not the reshuffling of GMA’s public affairs programs will pay off. Right now GMA will continue to tinker with its programs in hopes of finding the right mix.

GMA’s Weekend Nightmares Continue

I have been saying this over and over again: GMA’s weekend programming lineup is the most uncertain of them all. In a prior article, I wrote about how GMA failed to outdraw ABS-CBN on Sundays with shows such as Party Pilipinas, TeenGen, Showbiz Central and HOT TV, all of which were cancelled due to declining viewership figures, and I have also written about how cluttered their programming schedules are on weekends. And now GMA is trying shake things up again in hopes of reversing their weekend fortunes.

GMA’s main slate of Saturday programs are fully loaded from Eat Bulaga to Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman. So why did they add another public service program to the mix? As announced in the teaser below, the upcoming public service program will be entitled ‘Bingit’, which is basically a program featuring stories of survival and inspiration. The said program’s timeslot remains uncertain, though I think the program will be placed either near Wish Ko Lang, or Tunay na Buhay. The problem with the addition of this program is that it will bump other GMA programs in its stead, so the only way they can fix that is to remove the all-martial arts block ‘Kapuso Movie Night’ off the lineup in order to accompany the new program. Worse, Alisto failed in its Saturday timeslot, so what more will ‘Bingit’ bring against either ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ or ‘Failon Ngayon’?

As previously mentioned, GMA’s Sunday lineup is a total wreck, so much so that they have four movie blocks aired on Sundays (Kapuso Movie Festival, Kapuso Blockbusters, Sunday Night Box Office). The Kapuso Blockbusters segment basically filled the programming vacated by TeenGen and HOT TV. However, the network finally decided to fill in the blanks and replace one of the Kapuso Blockbusters with a Sunday suspense series called ‘Dormitoryo’, which is basically their answer to ABS-CBN’s teen-oriented comedy program ‘Luv U‘. Ok, so they’re trying to revive ‘Oka Tokat’ on a Sunday, but is this the right move? Not so, unless they gain a needed fanbase.

Once again GMA is pulling out all the stops in hopes of improving their viewership on weekends. Unfortunately, with the continuous addition of what I think are mediocre products, GMA’s fortunes regarding their ratings will only get worse.

Meanwhile, the list of other upcoming programs by the Kapuso network can be viewed below.