education, game show, Philippines, television

Throwback: Battle of the Brains in 1994

Before David Celdran toured the world in a suit on ANC’s ‘Executive Class’, he was a young and fresh-faced host of one of the longest-running quiz shows on Philippine television.

The 1990s will always be remembered for ‘Battle of the Brains’, a quiz show pitting public and private students from the elementary, high school, and college levels. The program was a fixture on RPN-9 every Saturday morning, and the now-defunct retail giant Uniwide Sales was its major sponsor.

The popularity and success of the program led to an equally successful parody called ‘Battle of the Brainless’. The skit was featured on ABC-5’s ‘Tropang Trumpo’, and was later revived on the renamed TV5 via the gag show ‘Tropa Mo Ko (Unli/Nice Di Ba)’.

Back in 1994, the college grand finals of ‘Battle of the Brains’ was held at the Philippine International Convention Center. The contestants were Giovanni Claveria of Don Bosco Technical School, Oliver Tungol of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Alfonso Gonzales of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

The three-part series of videos, the entirety of which run for over 45 minutes, can be viewed below.

‘Battle of the Brains’ would survive into the new millennium, albeit with a new sponsor in AMA Computer College and a new network in PTV-4, before leaving the airwaves in 2001. Meanwhile, David Celdran became a news anchor on the ABS-CBN News Channel, and as mentioned earlier, he is currently the host of ‘Executive Class’.

Unfortunately, programming changes, changing demographics and budget concerns would take the steam out of this type of game show. The last of these programs, GMA’s ‘Digital LG Quiz’, bowed out in 2004.

Although Eat Bulaga attempted to revive this format with the elementary, high school and college editions of the popular ‘Pinoy Henyo’ game, they were essentially segments of the long-running noontime variety show, and not standalone programs like ‘Battle of the Brains’ and ‘Digital LG Quiz’.

No one knows when will this type of game show returns, considering the frequency of the big stations to air Tagalized movies and teleserye re-runs. But one thing is for sure: ‘Battle of the Brains’ was a great show, and will never be replaced.

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comedy, dance show, entertainment, humor, live events, movies, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

Another Lineup Change on GMA, Thanks to The Voice Kids

The season finale of ‘The Voice Kids’, won by Lyca Gairanod, blasted GMA’s rival programs during the weekend of July 28. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN News)

Blame ‘The Voice Kids’ for forcing GMA into another programming change this past weekend.

The final weekend of ABS-CBN’s ‘The Voice Kids’ Season 1 saw Lyca Gairanod win the cash prize of P1-million, a recording contract, a house and lot, and various other prizes. Rounding out the top four are Darren Espanto, Juan Karlos Labajo, and Darlene Vibares, all of whom finished behind Gairanod in percentage of votes.

‘The Voice Kids’ season finale, held at the Newport Performing Arts Theater at Resorts World Manila, was also a ratings winner. Saturday’s performance episode registered a series-high 37.7% national rating, while Sunday’s results episode ended with an equally impressive 37.7%. In Metro Manila, ‘The Voice Kids’ ended their first season with respectably high numbers of 31.8% on Saturday, and 29.2% on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the never-ending timeslot changes on GMA’s weekend lineup continued. In an attempt to counter the expected lengthy performance episode of ‘The Voice Kids’, GMA hastily added ‘GMA Blockbusters’ to its Saturday lineup, weeks after it was replaced by ‘Marian’. As a result, GMA now has five movie blocks on its weekend slate.

Unfortunately, the last-minute change did little to stem the tide. ‘Marian’ only managed ratings of 18.9% (national) and 15% (Metro Manila), while the ‘GMA Blockbusters’ feature film ‘Snakes on a Plane’ ended with a mediocre 22% (national) and 16.1% (Metro Manila).

Against the results episode of ‘The Voice Kids’, GMA’s sitcoms ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and ‘Ismol Family’ did not fare well either. ‘Vampire’ finished at 10.6% (national) and 11.6% (Metro Manila), while ‘Ismol Family’ mustered ratings of 11.2% (national) and 14.6% (Metro Manila).

Contrary to a recent article written on GMA’s website, this was simply not a fun weekend for the folks inside Timog Avenue. Now the question is, what’s next?

GMA’s soon-to-be-launched reality talent search show, ‘Bet ng Bayan’, is currently on the pre-production stage, with auditions ongoing in various parts of the country. There is a possibility that ‘Bet ng Bayan’ will air every weekend, with the target date for its pilot still unknown.

With ‘Bet ng Bayan’, GMA hopes that they can reverse the course with their latest talent program. Unfortunately, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ will be facing an uphill climb, considering the tremendous strength and consistency of ABS-CBN’s weekend lineup.

For GMA, the saga of weekend changes continues. Sooner or later, they’ll make another change or two. But the truth is, they are slumping, and not even the slightest of changes will help them.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, Sports, television

Lack of Full TV Coverage is Hurting the NCAA

NCAA coverage on television continue to be spotty at best. (Photo credit: GMA News Online)

President Noynoy Aquino’s State of the Nation Address will take place later this afternoon. Unfortunately, it is also a game day in the 90th NCAA season basketball tournament.

The NCAA doubleheader for this Monday afternoon will feature the San Beda-St. Benilde and Mapua-San Sebastian matches for both the juniors and seniors division. The seniors games are usually seen live on television, but due to today’s SONA, tape-delay broadcasts on the TV5 family of networks will be a likely scenario.

Television coverage has always been inconsistent for the Philippines’ oldest collegiate league. During the 1990s, when government TV stations PTV-4 and IBC-13 covered the games, only the opening day and championship matches were aired in full, with highlights of the other games relegated to their newscasts.

It only got worse in 2000, when the championship matches pitting St. Benilde and Jose Rizal College were not aired. Then in 2001, despite the guarantee of PTV-4 and Media Conglomerates, Inc. to air most of the matches, the NCAA tournament was reduced to a mere 30-minute highlight show called ‘Inside NCAA’, with opening day and championship matches being aired live.

In 2002, the NCAA decided to join forces with ABS-CBN Sports, with the league’s games now being featured on a regular basis. But with the UAAP already a fixture on Studio 23 (now ABS-CBN Sports+Action), the NCAA was relegated to a weekday-exclusive schedule, with non-televised games on Mondays. Still, it was a marginal improvement from the PTV-MCI era.

Ten years later, the NCAA signed a deal with Sports5 to cover their games. Initially airing over IBC-13 (via AKTV), the league was forced to return to UHF television via AksyonTV once the AKTV deal expired. In addition, TV5 aired the championship matches, before receiving a select slate of elimination games this year. This time, however, all games were aired on the said network.

Still, circumstances related to national events continued to affect the television coverage of the NCAA. Examples include the funeral of the late Corazon Aquino in 2009, the recent State of the Nation Addresses, and the Janet Lim-Napoles Pork Barrel hearings in 2013, which either led to pre-emptions or delayed broadcasts of the games. And more recently, the impromptu DAP address of President Aquino led to an abrupt end of Sports5’s live NCAA coverage.

In the end, it is clear that the NCAA is at a disadvantage. While television coverage is gradually improving, it is still far from a finished product. What the league needs now at this point is flexibility, from the scheduling to the availability of the venue, in order to take advantage of live television, and to satisfy the demands of loyal fans.

NCAA management should start learning from these experiences. Otherwise, the league will continue to feel its fair share of shortcomings on television coverage.

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hits, music, songs, United States

Billboard Hot 100 – August 2, 2014

Here are the Top 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of August 2, 2014.

1. MAGIC! – Rude. No. 1 last week.

2. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX – Fancy. No. 2 last week.

3. Sam Smith – Stay With Me. No. 5 last week.

4. Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea – Problem. No. 3 last week.

5. Nico & Vinz – Am I Wrong? – No. 4 last week.

6. John Legend – All of Me. No. 7 last week.

7. Maroon 5 – Maps. No. 8 last week.

8. Jason Derulo feat. Snoop Dogg – Wiggle. No. 6 last week.

9. Disclosure feat. Sam Smith – Latch. No. 10 last week.

10. Calvin Harris – Summer. No. 9 last week.

All videos of the Top 10 songs can be viewed above. Our thanks to Billboard for this week’s Hot 100 Top 10.

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dance show, entertainment, music, Philippines, reality show, songs, talent show, television

Bet ng Bayan: A Future Flop in the Making?

Auditions for GMA’s upcoming reality talent show ‘Bet ng Bayan’ are currently ongoing. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

Despite the clear signs of decline on the part of the GMA Artist Center, the network remains defiant in its attempt to hone new stars.

Thus, another attempt at a reality talent show was conceptualized.

Enter ‘Bet ng Bayan’, GMA’s latest attempt at finding new artists and performers. The upcoming reality program will be hosted by Regine Velasquez-Alcasid and Alden Richards, and it will premiere either this August or September.

Auditions for ‘Bet ng Bayan’ are currently ongoing in various parts of the country, and will run until the first week of August.  The show will feature solo, duo, and group singers, dancers, and novelty performers over 15 years old.

Let’s face it, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ is essentially a copycat of ABS-CBN’s ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ and TV5’s ‘Talentadong Pinoy’. While GMA claims that ‘Bet ng Bayan’ is an original concept of theirs, it is clear that they borrowed several aspects of ‘PGT’ and ‘Talentadong Pinoy’ into their reality talent program.

It is also clear that ‘Bet ng Bayan’ is just another move by GMA to replenish their weekend lineup. Already decimated by numerous lineup changes and four movie blocks, they now hope that ‘Bet ng Bayan’ will be their saving grace to their weekend woes. But with ABS-CBN continuing to impose their will on the opposition, it will be an even tougher task for ‘Bet ng Bayan’ to achieve, considering that GMA’s previous weekend reality talent show ‘Protege’ failed to attract viewers during its two-season run.

The producers of ‘Bet ng Bayan’ are definitely under pressure to make the series work. And with GMA’s current roster of artists struggling to stay relevant, they hope that fresh blood will come with this program. However, it remains to be seen if ‘Bet ng Bayan’ can really deliver ‘the next big star’.

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live events, news, Philippines, Sports, television

The Last Home Stand That Never Was

The PLDT Last Home Stand was advertised as a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team, until a last-second announcement forced the players to engage in practice drills with the NBA selection. (Poster courtesy of the MVP Group of Companies)

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be a tuneup game for the Gilas Pilipinas basketball team in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. However, it did not turn out as advertised.

Last night’s event, which involved the Gilas team and a contingent of NBA players led by All-Stars James Harden, DeMar DeRozan and Damien Lillard, was turned into a practice drill. The announcement came after the NBA threatened its players with suspensions and fines if they played in an ‘unsanctioned’ match, or in Filipino terms, ‘ligang labas’.

The unfortunate turn of events did not sit well with fans, who paid as much as P23,000 just to watch a significant tuneup game. As a result, boos rained down the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with some fans demanding refunds for their tickets.

With the event taking a turn for the worse, PLDT executive vice president Ariel Fermin announced later that night that ticket refunds for disgruntled fans will be honored, but still reminded fans that the event was for the benefit of victims of Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda. He even added that ‘there was no mention of a game’, but media outlets who promoted The Last Home Stand in advance said otherwise.

In the aftermath of the poorly-received event, PLDT chairman Manny V. Pangilinan apologized to fans for the turnout of the event. He then said that PLDT will be responsible for the repercussions surrounding the event.

Despite the unexpected change of plans, TV5 still aired The PLDT Last Home Stand as scheduled. But with tonight’s events already cancelled, the usual filler programs featuring Tagalized movies will be aired instead.

The PLDT Last Home Stand was supposed to be the follow-up to the successful Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend in 2011. However, the latter event that also involved an NBA selection was held during an NBA lockout, in which player contracts were suspended while negotiations were ongoing.

All in all, it was a public relations nightmare for the MVP Group of Companies, particularly PLDT. The event was hyped for months, beginning with the PBA and NCAA games, and culminating with the appearance of NBA players on the noontime show ‘Eat Bulaga’ last Monday. But all that hype went down the drain as the NBA decided to get involved with the charity event.

In the end, it was harsh lesson learned by the MVP Group, something they will remember for years to come. Let’s just hope that the unfortunate aftermath of the event will in no way affect the FIBA World Cup preparations of Gilas Pilipinas.

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