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Revisiting the INC-ADD Rivalry

In the history of religious television, no one had a greater impact than the rivalry between two of the most famous religious organizations in the Philippines: the Iglesia ni Cristo and Members Church of God International. The rivalry became a hot topic among church members, other religious groups, and even a small portion of the media for much of the 2000s.

Beginning with the entry of MCGI’s flagship program ‘Ang Dating Daan‘ in 1980, the group led by executive minister Eliseo Soriano became critical of INC’s beliefs, so much so that in June 2001, INC responded with ‘Ang Tamang Daan‘. From then on, the two churches waged a war of words, with topics related to the Bible and church rituals. The war became so intense that even converts from the two churches joined in the discussion.

Ironically, ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ started its broadcasts on SBN 21, which was also the home network of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ at the time. After the debut of ATD, ADD began to air live on a nightly basis, before both programs left SBN 21 for Net 25 and UNTV 37 respectively. The move of both programs changed the makeup of the two networks, with Net 25 now owned by members of the INC while UNTV was purchased by Soriano’s cousin Daniel Razon.

The rivalry between the two churches took its toll on Soriano, who encountered a variety of legal problems filed by the INC. After receiving numerous death threats from INC members, Soriano eventually left overseas, where he continues to preach his own beliefs today. At the same time, INC ministers ceased its on-air criticism of MCGI, and today ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ (and sister program ‘Ang Pagbubunyag’) is aired similarly to other INC programs.

The INC was not the only organization that criticized Soriano’s beliefs. Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s The Kingdom of Jesus Christ: The Name Above Every Name, and Pastor Arsenio Ferriol’s Pentecostal Ministry Church of Christ 4th Watch were also staunch critics of Soriano. Even the MTRCB took notice of ‘Ang Dating Daan’, particularly during Soriano’s profanity-laced tirades that earned the program numerous suspensions.

Today, ‘Ang Dating Daan’ and its counterpart ‘Itanong Mo Kay Soriano‘, are being aired under close scrutiny by UNTV management. Even as they focused on preaching their own beliefs, to this day MCGI’s reputation as a true church remains a question mark, thanks in part to the role that the Iglesia ni Cristo took in attempting to take down the Members Church of God International.

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MGB Halloween Specials

‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan”s Halloween specials were a cherished tradition for viewers during Halloween week. Sadly it’s been nearly a decade since the last MGB Halloween episode.

Before Saturday night television viewing was taken over by tearjerkers such as ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya‘ and ‘Magpakailanman‘, news and public affairs programs such as ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho‘, ‘Imbestigador‘ and ‘XXX: Eksklusibong, Explosibong Expose’ were keeping viewers informed during the weekend. But let’s go back to the 90s, and one classic program came to mind.

ABS-CBN‘s ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan‘ became a standard of excellence for investigative journalism. The program’s title was a trademark of host Noli de Castro, who frequently begins and ends ‘TV Patrol‘ with this phrase, and likewise uses a variation of the phrase whenever he host his DZMM morning program ‘Kabayan, Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’. The program became closely identifiable with de Castro, and was famous for ‘Kabayan”s hard-hitting interviews with various guests, as well as a detailed study at current events and issues that shaped the nation at the time.

However, its most famous tradition was its Halloween specials. In each special, ‘Kabayan’ would discuss urban myths, encounters with the supernatural, horror stories, and even places that were deemed haunted by bad spirits. The MGB Halloween specials became a chilling affair for the viewer, especially when de Castro narrates in his normally baritone voice how each horror tale took place. The specials would continue even after de Castro ran for the Senate in 2001, but its final special aired in 2005, months before MGB was pulled off the air.

When de Castro returned to ABS-CBN after a nine-year run as both a senator and a vice president, he did not convince management to revive MGB. Instead he focused on both ‘TV Patrol’ and his radio program ‘Kabayan’, but in 2011, the traditional MGB Halloween specials returned as a one-off documentary. The special ‘Kababalaghan’ reminded viewers of how the MGB Halloween specials scared the life out of them, especially when de Castro’s baritone turns spookier with every word. The documentary trended on social media when it aired.

It is unknown when another one-off MGB Halloween special will be produced, but one thing is certain: Halloween won’t be the same without Magandang Gabi, Bayan’s Halloween specials.

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Premier League Out of Balls; BeIN Sport Launches

This past August, ABS-CBN‘s Balls Channel announced the airing of Premier League matches on the network, giving loyal soccer fans an opportunity to watch the most popular soccer league in the world. However, with BeIN Sport finally making its long-awaited debut in the Philippines last October 15, ABS-CBN had no choice but to relinquish the airing of Premier League matches on the Balls Channel starting November 1.

BeIN Sport first acquired the rights for the Premier League during the offseason. Previous broadcasters Fox Sports Asia (formerly ESPN Asia) and STAR Sports aired the Premier League for several years, but mounting broadcast rights expenses forced the networks to step aside, and replace them with the lesser-known Dutch Eredivisie. Despite the announcement, BeIN Sport did not reach cable subscribers in time for the start of the Premier League, forcing ABS-CBN to step in on a temporary basis.

After a successful launch in Indonesia last July, MP & Silva finally launched BeIN Sport in the Philippines last October 15. BeIN Sport will have three channels on the HD dial, one of which will be devoted exclusively to the Premier League. Unfortunately, the channels will only be available on HD, thus loyal and fierce soccer fans will have to shell out more money in order to install a high-definition digibox.

The all-Premier League channel BeIN Sport 3 HD is available on Channel 206, while sister network BeIN Sport 2 HD is available on Channel 205, both through SkyCable. Meanwhile, Balls Channel will continue to air the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League, with the purpose of quenching the thirst of devoted soccer fans craving for some non-stop soccer action.

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Billboard Hot 100 – November 2, 2013

Here are the Top 10 songs from the Billboard Hot 100 for the week of November 2, 2013.

1. Lorde – Royals. No. 1 last week.

2. Katy Perry – Roar. No. 3 last week.

3. Miley Cyrus – Wrecking Ball. No. 2 last week.

4. Avicii – Wake Me Up!. No. 4 last week.

5. Drake feat. Majid Jordan – Hold On, We’re Going Home. No. 5 last week.

6. Ylvis – The Fox. No. 6 last week.

7. Eminem – Rap God. New entry.

8. Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake – Holy Grail. No. 7 last week.

9. Lady Gaga – Applause. No. 8 last week.

10. Robin Thicke feat. T.I. & Pharrell  – Blurred Lines. No. 9 last week.

All videos of the Top 10 songs can be viewed above. Our thanks to Billboard for this week’s Hot 100 Top 10.

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Broadcasting Notes for the PBA, UAAP and NBA Global Games

The PBA Governors Cup Finals is set tomorrow, with the San Mig Coffee Mixers and Petron Blaze Boosters fighting for the tournament championship. The Finals will be seen live on TV5, a sign that with the network’s new programming shift comes the possibility of the PBA returning to the Kapatid network.

The start times for the Finals will be at 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday and Friday, and at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The earlier Sunday start time was made in order to not clash with TV5’s ‘Weekend Do It Better’ block which features ‘Pinoy Explorer‘, ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?‘, ‘Wow Mali Pa Rin’, and ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’. The games will be held at either the Mall of Asia Arena or the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Meanwhile, Game 3 of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Final between La Salle and UST will be seen this Saturday on ABS-CBN. The one-week break was initiated by ABS-CBN themselves, who felt that every potential clincher must be seen on the main Channel 2. Had the series ended on Wednesday, it would only be seen on Studio 23 due to Channel 2’s loaded afternoon lineup. And both the UAAP and ABS-CBN feel it’s the right call, after two of the last three clinchers were broadcast by UHF network Studio 23, with the 2011 clincher of Ateneo over FEU the only such game seen on ABS-CBN.

Game 3 will be at the Mall of Asia Arena, and SM management has placed stricter measures regarding ticket sales after the scalping issue that haunted Game 2. SM announced that limited SRO tickets will only be sold on game day at the MOA’s Marina booth, and only one person per ticket will be issued. The other tickets were taken care of by DLSU and UST.

And finally, the NBA Global Games in Manila tonight will be seen live on Basketball TV, NBA Premium TV and Studio 23. Replay times on BTV and NBA Premium TV can be seen on btv.com.ph.

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Koreanovelas Give Way to Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin

ABS-CBN’s newest teleserye ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin’ is scheduled on a timeslot normally reserved for Koreanoveals, due to its graphic and violent themes.

For the first time in several months, ABS-CBN will have no Koreanovela series aired on its ‘Primetime Bida’ block. The network’s newest teleserye ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin‘ made its debut last night, and the theme of the teleserye revolves around crime, lies, deceit and justice.

The teleserye marks the return of Gerald Anderson in the primetime slot for the first time since 2011’s ‘Budoy’. Anderson will be joined by another returning Kapamilya star in Cristine Reyes, and veterans Dawn Zulueta, Gabby Concepcion, Dina Bonnevie and Tonton Gutierrez. Supporting roles will also be played by Diana Zubiri and Rayver Cruz. Maricel Soriano was supposed to make her return with this teleserye, but pulled out after an alleged confrontation with Anderson and was replaced by Zulueta.

Creating a teleserye with grisly themes is nothing new for ABS-CBN, having produced the popular and critically-acclaimed ‘Nasaan Ka, Elisa’ three years earlier. However, the success of GMA’s ‘My Husband’s Lover’, which is becoming more dramatic and tense of late, prompted the network to launch ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin’ in another attempt to counter the popularity of ‘My Husband’s Lover’, though it had to place it in the 10:00 p.m. or later slot to make it more convenient to older viewers and less appropriate to children. As with all teleseryes tackling mature and serious themes, ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin’ will be rated ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ (SPG) on most scenes containing violence, strong language and sexual acts.

The program’s likely opponents in its timeslot will be ‘The Innocent Man’ on most days, and ‘Bubble Gang’ on Fridays. Despite that, with every ABS-CBN teleserye gaining a wide audience week after week, there is no question that this teleserye will also be a ratings winner despite its late start time.

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