concerts, entertainment, live events, Philippines, television, variety show

1995 Flashback: APO Out, ASAP In

Some of the ‘ASAP’ logos that were used throughout the show’s run. (Logos courtesy of ABS-CBN)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

This week will mark the 20th anniversary of the longest-running Sunday afternoon variety show in the country.

‘All-Star Sunday Afternoon Party’, better known as ‘ASAP’, debuted on ABS-CBN on February 5, 1995. The show was created in the wake of predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila”s move to weekdays as ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’ following the move of TAPE, Inc.’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ to GMA.

‘ASAP’ did not follow the precedent of its predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila’, which in many ways was an extension of ‘Eat Bulaga’ up to this point. Instead, it was conceptualized as a ‘concert party’ on Sundays, which means that the performances of ABS-CBN’s contract artists would dominate the show.

For the first two years of its run, ‘ASAP’ competed against ‘GMA Supershow’, then the top-rated show on Sunday afternoons. But on February 2, 1997, ‘SOP’ replaced the latter, setting off a heated rivalry between the two shows that lasted 13 years, mostly resulting in ‘SOP’ winning the ratings battle.

In 2003, ‘ASAP’ was renamed ‘ASAP Mania’, in response to ‘SOP”s rebrand as ‘SOP Rules’. A year later, the two competing shows launched their own spinoffs in ‘ASAP Fanatic’ and ‘SOP Gigsters’, during the height of popularity between rival talent search shows ‘Star Circle Quest’ and ‘StarStruck’.

‘ASAP Mania’ then reverted back to ‘ASAP’ in 2005, and other than the minor name changes such as ‘ASAP Rocks’ and ‘ASAP (year/anniversary)’, the show retained the ‘ASAP’ name for the remainder of its run.

The rivalry between ‘ASAP’ and ‘SOP’ came to an end on February 28, 2010, when ‘SOP’ aired its final episode. By then, ‘ASAP’ had taken over the No. 1 spot, and it would stay there for good despite the best efforts of GMA to replace ‘SOP’ with ‘Party Pilipinas’ and ‘Sunday All-Stars’.

Today, ‘ASAP’ remains the benchmark to which all Sunday afternoon variety shows are measured. With a run of 20 years and counting, it easily surpasses former rival ‘GMA Supershow’ in that regard, and remains atop the ratings game thanks to their mix of high-energy performances and top-notch studio sets.

Now what happened to ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’? The reformatted weekday show only managed to air for another three years, after which it was replaced by ‘Magandang Tanghali, Bayan’. The APO Hiking Society, for whom the show was named after, then returned full-time to the music industry before disbanding in 2010.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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35 thoughts on “1995 Flashback: APO Out, ASAP In

  1. James Ty III says:

    ASAP no doubt rules. GMA’s Sunday All-Stars is still being aired at 2 pm and there are talks that Willie Revillame will take over the 12 nn slot but this is still being worked out.

    Kyla is set to join ASAP this Sunday and the 20th anniversary special of ASAP is set Feb. 22 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Christian Bautista, Iya Villania and Empress, for their part, are now stuck in a mediocre channel after turning their backs on an institution like ASAP.

    • Nowadays, ASAP against its competitor is a mismatch. They were at their best when Supershow and SOP went up against them. So essentially, the more recent history of ASAP seems more of a footnote than ever due to GMA’s inability to compete against the former.

  2. GMA relied too much in EB when it comes to noontime programming that they tend to forget to develop their own. I honestly thought they should have the upper hand since they only need to put one noontime show a week for the past twenty years, and they did not do their job well. It can be said as well with ABS but at least they are conpeting against two creative houses – GMA and TAPE, and ABS has won Sundays long ago and very triumphant during MTB and now ITS Showtime. GMA needs to think outside the box to dislodge ASAP. I dont see a clear path for GMA to recover from Sunday Noontime.

      • For now, we can live to the fact that ASAP is in an undisputed position as No. 1, perhaps in the long term. And GMA should accept that painfully, no matter the cost.

  3. Mah4 says:

    One of the turning points in the battle “ASAP vs SOP” after their youth-oriented spinoffs faded from the air is ASAP acquiring its current stage layout. (SOP Rules became SOP Fuily Charged as a last-ditch attempt to offset its repeated ratings failures and declining production values.)

    In the entire history of ASAP, several short-lived groups were created specifically for the show such as The Hunks, Anime, Coverboys, Giggerboys, UD4, D-Lite, and others. Also part of ASAP tradition are the shots of an array of birthday cakes (outside the stage) of a regular after his/her birthday performance, acoustic tributes to a long prominent artist, and the inclusion of stalls belonging to some of the show’s sponsors in a later spiel.

    ASAP has Gary, Vina, ZsaZsa, Martin and Pops (until the latter’s separation with Martin), while SOP had Janno, Ogie (now with TV5), Regine, Jaya, and Lani (until she went to the United States; now a Kapamilya). (The Janno-Ogie-Regine-Jaya grouping was kept until an early episode of Sunday All Stars that was Ogie’s final episode because of joining TV5.) The competition between two groups of the country’s most prominent (publicly) singers of their time was a recurring feature of the bigger ASAP vs. SOP battle. The core SOP group of singers performed together a bigger number of times (in the show’s entire run) than ASAP’s. (Lani will participate in the ASAP 20 episode in the Mall of Asia Arena on February 22.) When ASAP’s current core group of singers as described earlier retire from the show, I would suggest Erik, Sarah, Angeline, Jed, and some others of their kind to become the new ASAP core group of singers.

    The TV audience interested in Sunday musical variety shows in the Philippines is lower in count today than that during SOP’s run. A January episode of ASAP 20 even garnered a single-digit rating according to Kantar (for the first time in how many years?). ABS-CBN too should think out of the box to offset ASAP’s falling viewership to Tagalized movies.

    • That has to do with new technologies introduced by ABS, such as the iWanTV platform on mobile devices, which is why ratings are lower nowadays for ASAP. Still, it can still impact social media better than SAS, but not in a greater extent as It’s Showtime.

      Neither Kantar nor AGB Nielsen have yet to figure out the impact of mobile devices in the viewers’ habits. New technologies are changing the way television is being perceived, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. James Ty III says:

    Not only that, there is the new DTV box that ABS-CBN launched to ensure clearer viewing of all its shows, as well as its sister cable channels. Ted Failon gives that away as a prize on his DZMM morning radio show.

  5. hindi naman sa ratings ang dahilan kung bakit tinanggal yung GMA Supershow in 1997, nagre-rate naman yung GMA Supershow nung time na yon may ASAP na nun. kaya tinanggal sa ere yung GMAS it’s because may gap o may hidwaan sina Kuya Germs at ung isang exec. ng GMA 7 na wala ngayon yun kaya tinanggal yung GMAS pati yung that’s entertainment niya atchaka yung negosiyete.

    yung SOP aminado ako na mahina ang ratings ng SOP kaya tinanggal yon at pinalitan ng PP.

    yung Party Pilipinas naman hindi naman sa ratings ang reason kung bakit tinaggal yon dahil sa nag-aaway away yung 2 teams yung team mark reyes at team rico guttierez na inaway pa nga ung fans ng team rico g. si mark reyes na binubully nila si mark reyes (cyberbullying nga) tapos nung narating ito sa management ayun hindi nagustuhan yung ganon sitswasyon kaya tinanggal nila yon.

    yung sunday all stars, ayun hindi masyado maganda na mas malala pa ito sa PP at SOP kait yung kapuso fans hindi nila gusto yung show na SAS, biruin niyo 1 & 1/2 hr. sung SAS pinaikli tapos oras nagsimula 2PM na hindi na siya noontime show kasi yung dating niya timeslot 12 nn. binigaa nila sa pelikula na nakakairita din tapos tapos ganon ng dati pilit pinapaperform yung mga artists na hindi kagandahan/kagalingan kumanta instead yung real singers pakantahin tapos inilagay pa nga nila sina boobay at betong tapos hinaluhan nga nila yung comedy na ginawa nila stand up comedy show tapos inilagay pa si ate gay minsan di ba! kung na lang ilagay nila sina jose, allan k, wally b at si ruby r. aba magiging eat bulaga na yan! maryosep.

    and rumors may bagong sunday musical variety show sa GMA 7 na tingin ko tatangalin na yung SAS in the few months.

    • I didn’t mention that ratings caused the cancellation of Supershow. Better re-read the article again. What I said was that SOP replaced Supershow and the rivalry was born.

      SOP was able to beat ASAP for much of their run, but when they again rebranded as SOP: Fully Charged, that’s where ASAP took over the lead for good. Backstage problems really hurt the ratings of Party Pilipinas and SAS, to be honest.

  6. James Ty III says:

    As far as I know, Supershow was axed because GMA felt it needed younger hosts to compete wiht Martin and Pops on ASAP. I remember, Kuya Germs himself produced Supershow during its early years before GMA took over. Until now, GMA solely produces Sunday All-Stars.

  7. James Ty III says:

    While ASAP is celebrating its 20th anniversary tomorrow, GMA’s Sunday All-Stars will celebrate GMA’s month-long 65th anniversary. The movie Despicable Me will air before SAS.

    • Tomorrow’s ASAP anniversary show is expected to be a sellout after watching an advisory from the network earlier regarding ‘first come, first serve’ tickets for those in line. Expect ASAP’s show tomorrow to be a national, if not a worldwide, trend on Twitter.

      • James Ty III says:

        Those free tickets were distributed yesterday at the ABS-CBN Audience Entrance. More tickets will be distributed today at MOA.

        ABS is using a first-come-first-served basis for tickets to make sure that there is an orderly flow of people inside the venue. Remember, there are over a 100 stars that will participate in ASAP’s anniversary.

        I also read in Abante Tonite that Regine Tolentino will be a part of ASAP tomorrow. She is a freelancer, meaning she can work for all three networks.

    • But not as ‘grande’ as ASAP’s 20th anniversary concert at MOA, since SAS’ own celebration will be at the GMA studios.

      GMA as a company is 65 years old, but this is only for Super Radyo DZBB. They only started TV broadcasts in 1961, and since the big networks pool their resources more on television, it doesn’t make sense for GMA to boast their claim to be 65 years old. It may be better if they just celebrate their 54th anniversary as a TV station instead of their so-called 65th anniversary, dahil magmimistulang pagyayabang ito na mas matanda daw sila sa ABS.

  8. James Ty III says:

    The fact that GMA is celebrating its anniversary in its small studios today is an indication of how worse the network has become. Even GMA news personalities will perform with Kapuso stars today.

    At least, ASAP is coming up with more quality performances today. Former Kapuso Regine Tolentino will be in ASAP today because she owes her career to ABS before she became a freelancer.

  9. James Ty III says:

    My wish for ASAP this 2016 is to fully tap those really talented performers. Reducing the show to two hours is a good first step.

      • James Ty III says:

        Sabagay, Banana Sundae also has skits like SPS. Mas maganda sana if they’re matched up against each other. Viewers kasi have a short attention span and they’re getting bored with ASAP which is becoming long and boring.

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