country, Philippines, politics, United States

In 100 Words… July 4, 2013

Today is the American Independence Day. In the Philippines this used to be our national holiday to commemorate the country’s independence, until then-Philippine President Diosdado Macapagal decided to move the date back to June 12, and since 1964 the Philippine Independence was celebrated on that date.

For some reason I did not like June 12 as the date of independence. While Emilio Aguinaldo proclaimed that independence in 1898, no other country recognized it. The Americans eventually ruled over the Philippines in 1901. The second proclamation on July 4, 1946 was universally recognized by many nations. I rightfully think that July 4, not June 12, is our Independence Day.

entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

ABS-CBN’s Late Night Comedy Defies Tradition

ABS-CBN replaced its late-night current affairs programs with ‘Banana Nite’, a spin-off of the popular ‘Banana Split’. For some reason they were either tired of being serious or that lack of global accolades hurt the current affairs department.

For the past few months, ABS-CBN has been airing the weeknight stand-up comedy program ‘Banana Nite’, a spin-off of ‘Banana Split‘, after the late-night news program ‘Bandila‘. This was a marked departure from the late-night public affairs programs it used to air. If you were a news buff, you may remember recent programs ‘Patrol ng Pilipino‘, ‘Ako ang Simula‘, ‘Storyline’, XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong Expose’, and ‘Krusada‘ airing on the timeslot after ‘Bandila’ before they were replaced by ‘Banana Nite’. For some reason, it is quite a gamble for the network to shift from serious late-night news programming to a more lighter tone.

When ‘Banana Nite’ debuted on the late-night slot, it went head-to-head against GMA’s public affairs programs such as ‘I-Witness’, ‘Born to be Wild’ and ‘Reporter’s Notebook‘, and TV5’s ‘Reaksyon’, and it continues to this day. However, its supposed counterparts GMA’s ‘The Tim Yap Show’ and TV5’s ‘Medyo Late Night with Jojo A.’ air only after the public affairs programs have finished airing. The decision to place a stand-up comedy program immediately after the late-night news raised my eyebrows a bit. Why? Because ABS-CBN’s news department gave their all in producing great current affairs programs to great reviews. These programs have been quite successful in my mind, and they should have stayed there.

However, the fact that the lack of accolades ABS-CBN’s news department have been receiving was partly to blame for the network axing its public affairs programs in favor of ‘Banana Nite’. GMA’s news department have been able to rake up both regional and global accolades for its strong, creative and informative reports, particularly on its ‘I-Witness’ program. While I have criticized GMA News TV for its inability to handle a full 24-hour slate of programming, among other reasons, they have nevertheless made that up with a high-quality and globally recognized brand of news reporting, something that ABS-CBN’s department need to work out if they want to capture a Peabody Award like GMA did. In addition, the network was getting tired of the serious tone that their programs have been airing after ‘Showtime’ that they decided to put a comedy show in the late night slot in order to give viewers some relief and amusement.

Good thing I don’t watch either ‘Banana Nite’ or ‘Banana Split’ for the fact that stand-up comedy needs to be served only on cable networks because of language and other offending factors (see Vice Ganda’s joke on Jessica Soho). And it’s good that GMA 7 is not producing one similar to ‘Banana Split’ because they already have ‘Bubble Gang’, a gag show that is longer, lighter and highly acclaimed than ‘Banana Split’ itself. In any event, ABS-CBN may have either started a new late-night programming approach or watered down its own news programming, something they can’t ill-afford to lose.