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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.

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MTRCB Lays Down the Law on PBB: 737

A very different ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ awaits its viewers.

This was after the MTRCB imposed some strict guidelines to the show following complaints that it offended viewer sensibilities. Among these complaints included the controversial ‘bromance’ between 12-year old Bailey May and 18-year old Kenzo Gutierrez.

In a four-page resolution that was signed by the MTRCB, they ordered the producers of PBB: 737 to:

  1. Immediately institute remedial and self-regulatory measures to ensure the protection, welfare and development of all participants, especially minors, as well as the viewing public, a sizable percentage of which is made up of minors
  2. Immediately cease and desist from requiring participants to engage in activities and tasks which may be deemed hazardous to their life and safety
  3. Enter into a strict and close collaborations with the Board, from July 10 until the end of the season
  4. Require all story editors to undergo a ‘Matalinong Panonood’ and audience sensitivity seminar on July 16, 23 and 30 at the MTRCB office
  5. Require ABS-CBN and SkyCable to place an advisory at the beginning of each episode of the three programs, stating that ‘the program may contain sensitive material’ and that ‘viewer discretion is advised’, as long as minor housemates remain present on the show
  6. Elevate the rating classification of PBB: 737 Gold (aired every weekday afternoon) to ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ (SPG), with descriptions of themes, language and sex, from July 10 to the end of the season, or as long as minor housemates remain present; same rule applies to PBB: 737 on Jeepney TV
  7. Limit its application for permit to exhibit to seven episodes per application in order to ensure the correct and proper implementation of the committed remedial and self-regulatory measures
  8. Strictly implement a comprehensive ‘closing-out’ discussion by a subject matter expert after the completion of every task or challenge for the proper understanding of the lesson
  9. Ensure all parallel broadcast of PBB: 737 in cable television and in other media, including social media, shall not be in contravention with the directives and objectives of this order

Even before the MTRCB ruling was made public, ABS-CBN has already shut down the SkyCable and iWanTV livestream of PBB: 737, citing the netizens’ irresponsibility towards the Bailey-Kenzo ‘bromance’ incident. The cancellation took effect a week prior to the meeting between the MTRCB and ABS-CBN executives.

This is not the first time that the MTRCB responded to an incident that took place inside the Big Brother house. Since the first season of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, there have been similar obscene incidents that earned the ire of the MTRCB, the most recent of which was the nude painting task during last season’s ‘All In’.

That said, the producers of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ should be responsible for the way the housemates, especially those below legal age, are being treated. PBB is among the most-watched programs on Philippine TV today, and any further controversy on the show may hurt its strong viewership.

Hopefully this should serve as a lesson to all other Filipino reality shows, both current and future. After all, no one wants to be offended by something immoral.

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The Curse of ‘It’s Showtime’

Billy Crawford, shown here with Coleen Garcia during the 2014 Star Magic Ball, was arrested hours after the event for going berserk outside a police station in Taguig. (Photo credit: Jonathan Asuncion of Philstar.com)

Whether the viewers and the hosts like it or not, it seems like ‘It’s Showtime’ is starting to become a daily magnet for controversy.

The latest incident involving a host of ‘It’s Showtime’ took place yesterday morning. Billy Crawford was detained in a Taguig police precinct after running amok outside a nearby police station within Bonifacio Global City.

The incident took place hours after ABS-CBN held its annual ‘Star Magic Ball’ inside Makati Shangri-La Hotel, in which Crawford was with his girlfriend Coleen Garcia.

Crawford may face charges of direct assault, resistance of arrest, defiance of authority, and malicious mischief.

For some reason, the infamous ‘It’s Showtime’ curse is rearing its ugly head yet again. Early this year, co-host Vhong Navarro was assaulted by a group of men, led by Cedric Lee, inside a Taguig condominium.

Then just weeks ago, Vice Ganda was summoned by the MTRCB for his ‘armpit’ humor on a July 28 episode of ‘It’s Showtime’, which the latter and the National Council for Children’s Television believe is a ‘bad example for children’.

These incidents precede those that happened the previous year, such as Vice’s controversial joke on Jessica Soho and Anne Curtis’ drunken escapades in a Taguig nightclub.

While the hosts have denied the so-called ‘It’s Showtime’ curse, it is clear that they need to grow up in order to minimize such incidents. For all the show’s success and popularity, its hosts’ immaturity continues to be a hindrance to its longevity.

They may not be like the ‘dabarkads’ of ‘Eat Bulaga’ that have been virtually together for over a decade, but the hosts that lead the ‘madlang people’ must grow up together and learn from all of these mistakes in order to emerge as better individuals. After all, maturity and wisdom will always be the keys to long-term success.

For Billy Crawford, getting out of prison a changed man will be his toughest ordeal yet. And for the hosts of ‘It’s Showtime’, dealing with this latest controversy will be more difficult than they could have ever imagined.

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IBC-13: Repeat Offenders of the MTRCB Ratings System

IBC-13’s disregard of the MTRCB’s current ratings guidelines only adds to the network’s ongoing misery. (Logo courtesy of the Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation)

The Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation (IBC-13), already dubbed as the ‘sick network’, has another problem to deal with.

The said network has become infamous for their inability to completely implement the current television ratings system that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) mandated in 2011. While all other networks have taken advantage of the new approach, IBC-13 has not taken the MTRCB’s ruling seriously.

As of today, September 1, the following current IBC-13 programs have not adopted the MTRCB ratings system:

  • The Gospel of the Kingdom (of Sonshine Media Networks International)
  • Cooltura
  • Tipong Pinoy
  • Retro TV
  • Tagamend
  • Home Shopping Network (9TV’s airing of HSN is currently rated PG)
  • EZ Shop

Recently, IBC-13’s rebroadcasts of Ninoy Aquino documentaries also failed to follow the current MTRCB ratings system, when in fact they should have implemented it considering the sensitive subject matter of these documentaries.

Making it worse is the fact that the MTRCB has not reacted in any kind to IBC-13’s defiance of their ratings system. Rather than giving the network numerous warnings with regards to their guidelines, they simply stayed quiet.

It is always the duty of the MTRCB to strictly enforce these classification ratings. All networks must take this current ruling seriously in order to provide a more responsible viewing experience.

But in the case of IBC-13, it is clear that they are not enacting some sort of responsibility to their so-called ‘viewers’ , if there is any, simply because their programming is mediocre.

IBC-13’s blatant disregard of the MTRCB television ratings only adds to the network’s recent reputation as an unreliable, incompetent and disorganized broadcast group. While the addition of the Asian Television Content Corporation (ATC) as a blocktimer saved IBC-13 from further embarrassment, it is still not enough to make the network relevant to viewers.

In the end, more problems than solutions await the embattled management of IBC-13. And once the MTRCB finally decides to act on this matter, things will only get worse for the staff inside Capitol Hills, Diliman.

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