FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Best

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this year.

AlDub Invades Eat Bulaga and the World

The now-popular Kalyeserye segment of ‘Eat Bulaga’ began on July 16, as a then-unknown Maine Mendoza (under the Yaya Dub character) caught the eye of rising Kapuso star Alden Richards. Since then, AlDub grew into a social media phenomenon, and it culminated into a slew of advertisements, magazine covers, a supporting role in ‘My Bebe Love: #KiligPaMore’, and a sold-out ‘Sa Tamang Panahon’ live episode at the Philippine Arena.

While the popularity of AlDub had some negative effects on GMA and its rivals, there is no denying that the duo became the key ingredient that introduced ‘Eat Bulaga’ into a new generation. The 36-year-old variety show is now enjoying its best ratings in years, thanks largely to AlDub.

LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine Dominate Primetime Ratings

While AlDub dominated noontime, primetime belonged to ABS-CBN’s three hottest love teams.  The year began with LizQuen (Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil) of ‘Forevermore’ continuing their winning run, before handing it over to KathNiel (Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla) of ‘Pangako Sa ‘Yo’, and JaDine (James Reid and Nadine Lustre) of ‘On the Wings of Love’.

The success of LizQuen, KathNiel and JaDine were crucial in Primetime Bida’s thorough domination of Telebabad in the national ratings. Although GMA responded with BiGuel (Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix) in ‘Once Upon a Kiss’, and GabRu (Gabbi Garcia and Ruru Madrid) of ‘Let the Love Begin’, they were unable to make an impact.

A New Sunday Afternoon Habit

August 9 saw a new rival for the 20-year-old ‘ASAP’, but they did not expect it to be different. In came ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, GMA’s newest variety show that emphasized more on comedy than musical performances.

The presence of ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola and Alden RicRhards (with Maine Mendoza later added) helped ‘Sunday PinaSaya’ defeat ‘ASAP’ on a consistent basis. In response, ABS-CBN moved ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ to Sunday afternoons as ‘Banana Sundae’, but it still failed to reverse the trend.

Willie Revillame Returns 

Speaking of Sunday afternoons, May 10 saw the return of Willie Revillame to the small screen with ‘Wowowin’. Initially airing every mid-Sunday afternoons, it later moved to an earlier timeslot after ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, where it has since flourished.

Even though Willie faced an arrest warrant over the ‘Willing Willie’ macho dancer kid case, this didn’t stop him from receiving accolades for ‘Wowowin’. The rebirth of the controversial host was capped off with a pair of awards for best game show and host in the PMPC Star Awards.

Wattpad Presents Turns 1

The teleserye dominance of ABS-CBN and GMA did not deter TV5. Following the cancellation of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ in early November, ‘Wattpad Presents’ became the network’s longest-running active entertainment program, having been on the air for over a year.

Under-appreciated by most television viewers, ‘Wattpad Presents’ was able to make it over a year thanks to an endless supply of new stories and a dedicated fanbase. It is considered a perfect alternative to the long and dragging storylines that a teleserye usually provides.

ABS-CBN Goes Digital and HD

February 11 saw the much-awaited launch of ABS-CBN TVPlus, the first-ever digital terrestrial television service in the country. The so-called ‘mahiwagang black box’ quickly became popular, selling nearly a million units.

Then on October 3, ABS-CBN HD was launched, bringing virtually every program on Channel 2 into crystal clear high definition. And finally, ABS-CBN announced that they will replace Balls HD with ABS-CBN Sports+Action HD starting January 1, ending a six-year run for the network’s first-ever HD channel.

Kapamilya Gold Reloaded

Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 13, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’.

Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.

NCAA Returns to Channel 23; UAAP Extended

After a fruitless three-year tenure with Sports5, the NCAA returned to ABS-CBN Sports in late June. The renewed partnership featured new innovations, such as social media interaction and high-definition broadcasts.

ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.

The Big Two-0

November 27 saw ‘Bubble Gang’ celebrate its 20th anniversary with a documentary special. The 20-year-old gag show continues to defy time, maintaining its status as a Friday night habit despite an evolving cast of talents and advancements in technology.

Also reaching its 20th year is ‘Saksi’, the second longest-running active free TV newscast in the country. So is ‘ASAP’, who despite fading ratings with the entry of ‘Sunday PinaSaya’, remains a fixture on Sunday noontime.

Janella, Jana Shine on Lunchtime

Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.

In response, the TAPE-produced talk show starring Ryzza Mae Dizon was rebooted into a drama series as ‘Princess in the Palace’. However, the reformat did not produce the desired results.

2015 was another year to remember for television viewers. Although ABS-CBN continued to reign this year, GMA and TV5 enjoyed their own share of moments as well, and with digitization now underway, the preparation for a full-digitized television signal in the Philippines is on.

So what is in store for 2016? Find out as From the Tube continues to look at events and changes that shape Philippine media.

FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

Disney Channel Loses Opportunity at New Mr. Bean Episodes

New episodes of the ‘Mr. Bean’ animated series are now airing on Boomerang and Cartoon Network instead of long-time home Disney Channel. (Photo credit: Endemol)

‘Mr. Bean’ has some new episodes coming.

That’s right, new episodes of the animated series are now making their way to Filipino viewers, just in time for the franchise’s 25th anniversary. However, the said episodes are not airing on Disney Channel as they usually do.

Instead, it was Boomerang and Cartoon Network who made the new episodes available. The former began airing ‘Mr. Bean’ in June, with the latter following suit.

For many years, the cable television rights to ‘Mr. Bean’ in the Philippines belonged to Disney Channel. The station aired not only the animated series, but also the live-action series, as well as the movies ‘Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie’ and ‘Mr. Bean’s Holiday’.

But with Disney Channel unable to secure the rights to new episodes of the animated series, their long-time grip on the franchise appears to be slipping away. That said, losing out on new episodes of ‘Mr. Bean’ proved to be another big blow for the said channel, much like what happened when Cartoon Network beat them out for new episodes of ‘Oggy and the Cockroaches’.

Disney Channel’s loss is now Boomerang and Cartoon Network’s gain. It’s another opportunity lost for the said channel, whose programming remains diluted in comparison to its rivals.

‘Instadad’ Bids Farewell; Two New GMA Shows to Replace

‘Instadad’ ran for four months and 14 episodes, with little success. It will be replaced by ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ and ‘Alamat’ this coming Sunday. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

So long, ‘Instadad’.

The comedy-drama series that starred Gabby Eigenmann, Gabbi Garcia, Ashley Ortega and Jazz Ocampo aired its final episode Sunday afternoon. Overall, ‘Instadad’ aired for only a mere 14 episodes, from April 5 until yesterday.

‘Instadad”s pilot episode was pitted against ‘The Buzz”s finale, and had an impressive start as far as ratings are concerned. But when ABS-CBN moved ‘Luv U’ to a later timeslot the following week, ‘Instadad’ failed to keep up to its new rival.

Not even the premiere of ‘Wowowin’ nearly a month later helped ‘Instadad’ regain its opening day fortunes, nor did the former’s suddenly declining ratings in subsequent weeks. In the end, GMA’s latest attempt at a teen-oriented series was doomed as a failure once again.

Now that ‘Instadad’ is already out of picture, both Gabby Eigenmann and Gabbi Garcia can now focus on their primetime projects in ‘Pari ‘Koy’ and ‘Let the Love Begin’, respectively. At least they still have something to keep busy with.

Moving on, GMA has lined up a pair of programs to replace ‘Instadad’. They are:

Heart of Asia Presents

If five Asianovelas on weekdays are not enough, then a weekend with GMA’s ‘Heart of Asia’ block should satiate the desires of Asianovela fans. As the title suggests, ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ will feature special presentations of various Asian dramas, particularly from Korea.

‘Heart of Asia Presents’ airs every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. starting July 12.

Alamat

GMA dubs it as the first-ever local animated anthology series. Produced by GMA News and Public Affairs, ‘Alamat’ will feature a some of the greatest myths and legends the country has ever told, and will be voiced by some of the country’s most popular and distinguished personalities.

‘Alamat’ airs every Sunday at 5:00 p.m. starting July 12.

This should be another acid test for GMA’s predictably weak Sunday offerings. ‘Alamat’ and ‘Heart of Asia Presents’ may pack some potential, but it remains to be seen if they are definitely good enough for viewers to see.

With that, good luck to both shows.

In 100 Words: The Flying House is Now a Kapamilya

It’s now the turn of ‘The Flying House’ to jump from Timog to Mother Ignacia.

Much like its sister series ‘Superbook’, ‘The Flying House’ has become very synonymous with GMA since the 1980s. But starting this Saturday, it will now be seen on ABS-CBN, who almost a year ago acquired both the classic and reimagined versions of ‘Superbook’ through distributor CBN Asia.

‘The Flying House’ will be dubbed in Filipino, using virtually the same voice cast as ‘Superbook’. The latter series will replace the original ‘Superbook’ at 9:30 a.m., while the reimagined ‘Superbook’ will continue to air on Sundays at the aforementioned timeslot.

Another terrific addition to ABS-CBN’s weekend morning lineup.

Remembering Action Kids on ABS-CBN Sports+Action

 

ABS-CBN Sports+Action once aired animated programs under the ‘Action Kids’ block until late last year. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

There was a time when animated programs used to air on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

Dubbed as ‘Action Kids’, the morning block featured animated programs, both from the United States and Japan. The block usually aired in the early mornings whenever there are no sporting events on tap.

Some of the most notable programs on the block include sports-themed animated series like ‘Supa Strikas’, Nickelodeon educational programs like ‘Dora the Explorer’, and animes such as ‘Metal Fight Beyblade’. Marvel animated series like ‘Avengers Assemble’ and ‘Spider-Man Unlimited’ were also aired during ABS-CBN’s contract deal with Marvel.

‘Action Kids’ was essentially carried over from the animated shows that aired on predecessor Studio 23.  However, in late 2014, the ‘Action Kids’ block was taken off the air for unknown reasons, and Sports+Action soon shifted its focus towards live-action programs, sporting highlights and general information shows, most notable of which were NBA replays.

Thing is, ABS-CBN Sports+Action was aimed at a predominantly male adult audience. ‘Action Kids’ didn’t conform to the channel’s tastes.

Some of the programs that aired on ‘Action Kids’ were moved to the newly-launched ‘Yey!’ channel, which is currently available on SkyCable and on the newly-launched ABS-CBN TVPlus digital TV box. Others were moved to the cable-only Hero TV.

For a station that prides itself in airing sporting events and action-packed programming, ABS-CBN Sports+Action’s brief spell into animated shows was something to forget. While it did provide a bit of action and adventure for younger audiences, it is not what they really have in mind.