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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Imbestigador Moves Back to Saturdays; Kap’s Amazing Stories Cancelled

Mike Enriquez’s long-running program ‘Imbestigador’ will now be aired on Saturday afternoons. (Photo credit: GMA Network)

After three years, ‘Imbestigador’ returns to its most comfortable perch, sort of.

GMA has announced that ‘Imbestigador’ will return to the Saturday slot starting July 12. But instead of airing in the evenings, as it has been the case since 2000, it will now be seen in the afternoons.

During its three-year run on Sunday nights, ‘Imbestigador’ saw its ratings sharply decline. This was mainly due to the popularity of opposing program ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and its shift from a reality documentation format to a dramatization-based format. It also didn’t help that ‘Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho’, its preceding program for the past several years, was extended from 60 to 90 minutes.

The move to Saturday afternoons should give ‘Imbestigador’ less pressure to perform. Instead of facing Vice Ganda, it will now face ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’, whose format may have inspired ‘Imbestigador”s new approach, and ‘Failon Ngayon’, whose format was similar to the ‘Imbestigador’ of old.

Still, it remains to be seen if the new timeslot will result in better ratings for Mike Enriquez’s long-running program.

Kap’s Amazing Stories Finally Cancelled

With host Bong Revilla still incarcerated for his role in the PDAF scam, GMA has decided to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ after nearly seven years.

The cancellation of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is intended to avoid any negative publicity in the light of Bong Revilla’s involvement in the PDAF scam. The senator was arrested on June 20, but ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ continued to air reruns until July 6.

But instead of creating a similar program on Sundays, GMA decided to add a fourth movie block in its timeslot. This new movie block will feature animated movies, and in typical GMA fashion, it will be dubbed in Filipino.

Clearly, GMA has shown a lack of proper direction in their programming. With five movie blocks and a pair of horror-based series, it is understandable why advertising has sharply declined for the network. And it didn’t help that rival ABS-CBN’s dominant weekend lineup has become a huge burden to GMA’s.

Unless they get rid of these movie blocks one by one, and replace them with more reliable programs, GMA’s programming problems will only continue. And Ramon Ang’s minority ownership won’t help matters.

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‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ in a Crisis; ‘Ismol Family’ and ‘Marian’ Debuts

Senator Bong Revilla’s educational show ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is now facing a crisis after the senator was accused of graft and plunder in relation to the PDAF scam.

After airing for several years, GMA’s educational program ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is now facing a huge crisis. This is because the show’s host, Senator Bong Revilla, is currently being linked to the controversial Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam.

Just recently, Senator Revilla, along with fellow senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, PDAF mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles, and numerous other co-accused, were issued hold departure orders by the Sandiganbayan in relation to the scam. Senator Revilla, in a recent interview, has said that he will face the plunder and graft charges brought against him.

As Senator Revilla faces the prospect of arrest and jail time, the status of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ has now become uncertain. Given that the show has been on the air for several years, and with numerous educational stories along the way, it will not be easy for the network to give up on ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’.

But with Senator Revilla currently involved in a controversy of national interest, it is time for GMA to make a difficult decision. Either they replace ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ with a similar program for the sake of credibility, or keep the show, but with a new host, for the sake of loyalty. It is up to the braintrust of the Kapuso network to decide the show’s fate.

Meanwhile, ‘Ismol Family’ will make its debut on the said network this Sunday, replacing ‘Picture! Picture!’ on its timeslot. The new sitcom will star Ryan Agoncillo and Carla Abellana, with supporting roles from Carmi Martin, Mikael Daez, Mike ‘Pekto’ Nacua, Miguel Tanfelix, Kevin Santos, Bianca Umali, Marc Justine Alvarez, and Natalia Moon.

The series, directed by Dominic Zapata, will now be GMA’s third sitcom in its current lineup. The others are ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and ‘Pepito Manaloto’, both of which star preeminent comedians in Vic Sotto and Michael V.

And finally, ‘Marian’, the self-titled dance show hosted by Marian Rivera, premieres this Saturday after ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’. Marian’s first guests on the program will be Maricel Soriano and Vilma Santos, both of which had their own self-titled dance shows in the late 1980s.

Joining Marian on the show are Paolo Ballesteros, Christian Bautista, Mark Bautista, and Julie Anne San Jose. Louie Ignacio will direct the show.

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Another Weekend Shuffle on GMA

Sen. Bong Revilla’s ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is moving to the Sunday morning slot, one of several changes that GMA implemented on its weekend lineup.

GMA’s ‘Startalk’, the longest-running showbiz talk show, returns to the Saturday slot at 3:30 p.m. today. However, the move of ‘Startalk’ is just one of several lineup changes made to GMA’s weekend slate of programs.

Suspense series ‘Tales of Horror’ will air every Saturday and Sunday. The series is basically similar to another GMA program in ‘Asian Horror Stories’ (formerly ‘True Horror Stories’), in which horror flicks are featured. ‘Tales of Horror’ airs every Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ and before ‘Startalk’, and every Sunday after ‘Asian Horror Stories’ and before ’24 Oras Weekend’.

Sitcom ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ will now air after ’24 Oras Weekend’, as the game show ‘Picture Picture’ moves to Sunday nights following the said newscast. An earlier timeslot for ‘Vampire’ means that the ABS-CBN sitcom ‘Home Sweetie Home’ will now face the Vic Sotto-starred sitcom every night, while ‘Picture Picture’ will be up against ‘Goin’ Bulilit’.

Movie block ‘GMA Blockbusters’ moves from Saturday afternoons to replace both ‘Picture Picture’ and ‘Reporters’ Notebook’. The movie block airs after ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and before ‘Magpakailanman’. Meanwhile, ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ was moved to Thursday afternoons in GMA’s ‘Afternoon Prime’ block, leaving ‘I-Witness’ as the sole Saturday night public affairs program.

And finally, the educational program ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ has found a new timeslot. The Bong Revilla-hosted program will now be seen on Sunday mornings, as part of a quartet of educational programs that include ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’, and ‘I-Bilib’.

Looking at GMA’s weekend programming lineup, there are some strong and weak points to consider. Moving ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to Sunday mornings will be a huge boost for the program, as it will now attract young and informative viewers. And with ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’ and ‘I-Bilib’ preceding it, viewership of ‘Kap’s’ will definitely help its cause.

Over at the nighttime slot, an additional hour of ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’, while not favorable to some, will benefit a portion of the viewers who are in need of more intelligent programming. ‘KMJS’, one of GMA’s stronger programs, is up against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Rated K’, and ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’.

Meanwhile, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ and ‘Tales of Horror’ are intended to by the network as ‘stopgap programs’, meaning they currently air on a short-term basis while a new program is in the works. In the case of Sunday’s edition of ‘Tales of Horror’, its possible replacement may be an upcoming dance program featuring Marian Rivera.

And then there is ‘Sunday All-Stars’, now relegated to 1:50 p.m. after the transfer of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’. Having reduced its airtime and crew, it is clear that ‘Sunday All-Stars’ is nowhere close to the level that ‘ASAP’ currently enjoys. And a later timeslot only makes the situation even worse.

In what has become a recurring theme in the last few years, GMA restructures its weekend lineup in hopes of gaining viewers’ interest. And again, will this new lineup pay off? Only time will tell.

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