news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

1995 Flashback: Saksi at 20

‘Saksi’ is now on its 20th year, which is by far the second longest among active free TV newscasts in the country. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

It has been over 20 years since ‘Saksi’ premiered on GMA.

These days, the second longest-running active free TV newscast on Philippine television (behind ‘TV Patrol’) is taking its act on late-nights. But it hasn’t always been that way.

At the time ‘Saksi’ (then known as ‘Saksi: GMA Headline Balita’) premiered on October 2, 1995, it was only a 15-minute early evening newscast, which pales in comparison to rival ‘TV Patrol”s running time of nearly an hour. Soon after, it expanded to 30, then to 45 minutes, and it remained that way until it was moved to late nights in mid-2002.

The early years of ‘Saksi’ centered on one man: Mike Enriquez. The former DJ-turned-newscaster became an instrumental figure in the rise of ‘Saksi’, even as he was paired with different co-anchors; namely, Karen Davila, Mel Tiangco and Vicky Morales.

Mike became so attached with ‘Saksi’ that he was given his own radio program: ‘Saksi sa Dobol B’. The now 15-year-old show carried over some of ‘Saksi”s mannerisms, including the iconic catchphrase ‘pasok’ whenever Mr. Saksi himself introduces a reporter on location.

In 2002, ‘Saksi’ moved to its current position as a late-night newscast. Mike Enriquez and then co-anchor Vicky Morales also moved along, but in 2004, Mike rejoined Mel Tiangco (then-anchor of ‘Frontpage’) in the early evening slot, and instead of ‘Saksi’ returning to early evenings as everyone thought, GMA created a new newscast: ’24 Oras’.

As a result, GMA decided to pick a new male anchor, and in came ‘Unang Hirit’ co-host Arnold Clavio (popularly known as ‘Igan’). ‘Saksi”s new moniker became ‘Liga ng Katotohanan’, and for over a decade, the newscast centered around Igan and Vicky, along with GMA’s lineup of veteran journalists.

In late 2014, Vicky Morales joined ’24 Oras’ as its third co-anchor (reuniting with Mike Enriquez and Mel Tiangco), and she was replaced by ’24 Oras Weekend’ anchor Pia Arcangel. Currently, ‘Saksi’ is in its 13th year as a late-night newscast, which is longer than any other late-night newscasts today.

After 20 years, ‘Saksi’ continues to deliver hard-hitting and fast-paced news every night. The newscast may be airing on late nights now, but they are still as good as it gets.

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country, documentaries, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, talk show, television

GMA Reformats Afternoon Prime with the Addition of Public Affairs Programs

Starting with ‘Alisto’ last May 26, GMA’s Public Affairs programs began to air on the teleserye-dominated ‘Afternoon Prime’ block.

Nearly two years ago, ABS-CBN decided to place their news and current affairs programs (a.k.a. ‘Pinoy True Stories’) in the afternoon slot. Soon after, they placed ‘Banana Nite’ in an earlier timeslot following their late-night telecast ‘Bandila’. At the time, I derided their decision to place ‘Banana Nite’ following their news program, simply because ABS-CBN’s late night public affairs programs do not measure up to the standards set by GMA’s award-winning counterparts.

As time wore on, however, the Kapamilya network’s decision appears to have paid off. ‘Pinoy True Stories’, which today consists of ‘Bistado’, ‘Mutya ng Masa’, ‘My Puhunan’, ‘Tapatan ni Tunying’ and ‘Red Alert’, enjoyed ratings of 10% or better, mainly due to higher viewership in the afternoon compared to the late night hours. In addition, the equally high ratings of ABS-CBN’s teleseryes are also helping the program’s cause.

The success of ‘Pinoy True Stories’ prompted GMA to make their own changes in the ‘Afternoon Prime’ block, something I first envisioned in an article back in December. The end result is a reformatted ‘Afternoon Prime’ that now includes five public affairs programs: ‘Alisto!’, ‘Tunay na Buhay’, ‘Power House’, ‘Reporter’s Notebook’, and ‘Love Hotline’. The newly-reassigned programs started airing last May 26, beginning with ‘Alisto!’.

On Mondays, ‘Alisto!’, hosted by Arnold Clavio, tackles various crimes, natural disasters, man-made accidents, and other life-threatening incidents. On Tuesdays, ‘Tunay na Buhay’, hosted by Rhea Santos, features famous individuals and their real life stories. Then on Wednesdays, ‘Power House’, hosted by Kara David, documents the lives of powerful people by showcasing their properties and their prized possessions while talking about their normal lives.

On Thursdays, ‘Reporter’s Notebook’, hosted by Jiggy Manicad and Maki Pulido, investigates a wide variety of stories that affect the Filipino society. And on Fridays, ‘Love Hotline’, hosted by Jean Garcia, spotlights individuals in the need of love advice.

GMA’s afternoon public affairs programs should give viewers a welcome break from the tear-jerking drama series of years past. But more importantly, it should help these programs gain some much-needed exposure from a bigger audience, considering the likes of ‘Reporter’s Notebook’ were regular winners in various international award-giving bodies.

It remains to be seen whether or not these programs will help GMA return to form in the afternoons. But for now, this is a good decision for GMA to bring them out of late nights and into the viewer-rich afternoon slot.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Rufa Mae’s Gags Not Healthy for TV

Just recently, GMA‘s ‘Bubble Gang‘ and its writers were summoned by the MTRCB over the ‘discriminatory and derogatory portrayal’ of a woman in the skit called ‘D’ Adventures of Susie Lualhati’. The violation was the second committed by GMA in over a month, after ‘Unang Hirit‘ and host Arnold Clavio were warned by the MTRCB for a rude interview last November 5.

In the skit aired November 29, Susie (Rufa Mae Quinto) prepared puto bumbong in order to convince the boss (Michael V) to hire her. However, while preparing the puto bumbong, Susie’s breasts shaked vigorously, leaving the male workers at the carinderia startled. The MTRCB took exception to the skit over Susie’s simulation of male self-abuse, and advised the writers of ‘Bubble Gang’ to attend a mandatory conference which took place last December 9.

The video of the said skit can be seen below.

However, the MTRCB missed out on another skit involving ‘Susie’. Aired a week before the above skit, the video shown below involved Susie applying as a construction worker with Paolo Contis acting as the boss. Later in the skit, Susie tries to use a jackhammer, only to have her body vibrate with the machine, in the process startling both Contis and his co-workers. Much like the following week’s skit, it involved Susie simulating male self-abuse.

Having said that, I hope the writers of ‘Bubble Gang’ learned their lesson. The lead character role in a comedic skit does not suit Rufa Mae Quinto. Remember ‘D’ Adventures of Rufa Mae Kwento’? No one wanted to watch that because the skits didn’t make any sense. My advice is to leave the lead characters to the men and let them work their comedic magic on screen.

It is unknown whether the writers will bring this skit back for tonight’s episode. But for now, there are other skits on ‘Bubble Gang’ that people should watch and enjoy.

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Igan is No Talk Show Host

 

In contrast to Arnold Clavio’s jovial look on this TV billboard for ‘Tonight with Arnold Clavio’, some episodes continue to display his more serious news reporting side in the midst of national issues.

Since Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) ravaged much of Visayas last week, the GMA News TV program ‘Tonight with Arnold Clavio‘ went serious in discussing the typhoon. The TWAC band was not present, and neither were the assigned special guests. The last two TWAC episodes went with a news reporting approach, featuring interviews with various experts.  Turns out I was not a fan of the more serious version of TWAC.

Arnold Clavio, the program’s host, is better suited as a news anchor than a talk show host. The reason why News TV decided to assign Clavio to a talk show was to showcase his fun side. But as it turns out, his heart remains news reporting, and in some episodes of TWAC, he decided to eschew the program’s talk show approach for serious news reporting, especially during nationwide disasters and conflicts.

In my opinion, GMA made the wrong decision. TWAC may be on the air for three years now, but it’s hard to fathom why Clavio continues to move back to his news anchor persona when his self-titled program was designed mainly as a late night talk show a la ‘Tonight Show with Jay Leno‘. ‘Tonight with Arnold Clavio’ is a joke, and it deserves to be axed.

If GMA were to produce its own late night talk show, why not bring back Jojo Alejar and his ‘Medyo Late Night’ band? Ever since Jojo A. and his late night talk show took a bow on TV5 last September, the television industry is still searching for a new weeknight talk show featuring monologues and special guests. Even though TV5’s ‘What’s Up, Doods?’ with Edu Manzano qualifies as such, it only airs once a week. And television programs of late portray a more serious tone than in previous years. So the need for such a talk show becomes even more pronounced.

In the meantime, ‘Tonight with Arnold Clavio’ will remain on the air, because ‘Igan’ is such a popular figure of late in the world of broadcast journalism. Popular with the fact that he grilled Janet Lim-Napoles’ lawyer Alfredo Villamor on ‘Unang Hirit’, which of course was criticized on social media and even earned him an MTRCB warning. But for some reason TWAC has become an exhibition for Clavio’s two personas: one as a jovial talk show host, and the other as a no-nonsense news anchor. And the clash of two worlds is not good for television.

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