Unang Hirit Extended, Responds to Umagang Kay Ganda

GMA extended ‘Unang Hirit’ for another 30 minutes in response to ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’, whose recent dominance in the early mornings became a cause of concern. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

The morning rivalry between ‘Unang Hirit’ and ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ gets a little more interesting.

Two weeks after ABS-CBN’s ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ received a 30-minute extension, GMA responded Monday by giving ‘Unang Hirit’ an additional 30 minutes of their own. This means that the two rival morning shows now air from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

The 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. slot is nothing new to ‘Unang Hirit’. In the show’s early years, GMA aired it on the exact same timeslot, only to cut it to 2 1/2 hours and shuffle between start times of 5:00 a.m., 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m in later years.

Unfortunately, the extended run of ‘Unang Hirit’ proved to be a consequence to the Astig Authority block. By adding 30 minutes to ‘Unang Hirit, GMA managed to sacrifice 30 minutes of anime programming, and considering that their animes are currently their strongest suit, this will not suit well with their anime fans.

And neither are viewers of ‘Yan ang Morning’. GMA would have had an opportunity to move the low-rating ‘Yan ang Morning’ to an earlier timeslot (in the process cutting ‘Unang Hirit’ to only two hours and giving it a head-start over ‘Magandang Buhay’), but it is clear that GMA’s marquee morning program is in no mood to give way.

Looking at the ratings between ‘Unang Hirit’ and ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’, it is obvious that GMA would have been better off doing a little bit of cost-cutting for the former. In recent years, ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ has had the upper-hand, winning by a small margin on most days.

Let’s face it, after nearly 17 years on the air, ‘Unang Hirit’ is clearly wearing down. Their core lineup of hosts are showing their age, and if there is any chance for the show to survive much longer, they need a lot of tweaks to fit in with a younger generation of viewers.

As far as GMA News is concerned, there is a lot more to do in order to resuscitate the declining ratings of ‘Unang Hirit’. And extending the show by another 30 minutes is not a good idea.

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