The reformatting of Studio 23 to ABS-CBN Sports + Center has had some consequences, and that includes religious programming such as ‘The Word Exposed’, ‘Sunday TV Healing Mass’, ‘Friends Again’ and ‘Family Rosary Crusade’. Of the four, ‘Family Rosary Crusade’ has been aired the longest, and as a result of the reformat, its extremely loyal service to ABS-CBN is put into doubt.
‘Family Rosary Crusade’ has been on ABS-CBN since the network’s early days, starting with the ‘Family Theater’ presentations hosted by its founder, Fr. Patrick Peyton, CSC. When ABS-CBN returned from the incarceration of Martial Law in 1986, ‘Family Theater’ also made a comeback under the title ‘Ang Pamilya Ko’, but poor viewership caused it to be cancelled, and was replaced by a magazine show simply titled ‘Family Rosary Crusade’. Even after Fr. Peyton died in 1992, FRC continued to air on Channel 2, before it was moved to Studio 23 in 2003 in favor of weekend general interest magazine shows.
Which leads to the current status of the FRC on ABS-CBN. Although the said program crossed over to other networks such as PTV-4, RPN-9 and ABC-5, ‘Family Rosary Crusade’ remains closely identified with ABS-CBN thanks to its lengthy loyalty and trust. And it is that loyalty that keeps FRC on the air for a long time. However, thanks to the reformat of Studio 23 into a sports-based network, the status of the FRC on ABS-CBN becomes unclear, and if the network decides to distance themselves from the FRC, it will cause uproar within the Catholic majority.
In my opinion, ABS-CBN should continue airing ‘Family Rosary Crusade’. Moving it back to Channel 2 before or after the Sunday TV Mass should keep Catholic viewers happy. And if not for the ‘Family Rosary Crusade’, ABS-CBN would not have positioned themselves as the No. 1 television network, because as they say, ‘The family that prays together, stays together’. And that’s a fact.