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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.

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In 150 Words: Banana Sundae Impressive, But Not Enough

The move to Sunday afternoons somewhat benefited ‘Banana Sundae’.

The final airing of ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ last November 7 only garnered a 3.9% rating in Kantar, which is clearly affected by the presence of ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ and ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’. Upon moving to Sunday afternoons, however, the newly-rebranded ‘Banana Sundae’ showed some improvement, as they managed ratings of 14.4 and 12.7% in its first two weeks.

This was not enough to beat GMA’s ‘Wowowin’, though, as Willie Revillame’s game show earned ratings of 14.9 and 14.1%. The same can be said for AGB Nielsen in Mega Manila, as ‘Wowowin’ defeated ‘Banana Sundae’ in each of those weeks (20% and 16.6% vs. 9.8% and 8.3%, respectively).

Despite the defeat, ABS-CBN seems impressed with ‘Banana Sundae’. Nevertheless, Martin Nievera and a few other netizens did not approve of the network’s decision to move ‘Banana Split’ and cut ‘ASAP”s airtime, but let’s face it, it’s clear ABS-CBN needed something to perk things up since ‘ASAP’ is losing big time to ‘Sunday PinaSaya’.

Change is clearly in the offing for ABS-CBN on Sunday afternoons, and ‘Banana Sundae’ is one of them.

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To the Top’s New Timeslot Shows GMA’s Lack of Trust

A new timeslot for ‘To the Top’ on Saturdays shows GMA’s lack of confidence with the show. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

GMA is definitely not confident with ‘To the Top’.

This past Saturday, GMA moved ‘To the Top’ to a new timeslot of 10:40 p.m. This means that it has to face both ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’ and ‘The Bottomline’, two ABS-CBN programs that merely cater to night owls.

Airing this late will definitely not bode well to the show, its participants, and its audience. The exposure of the boyband aspirants would have been more helpful if ‘To the Top’ were to air at an earlier timeslot and with a wider amount of viewers, but at 10:40 p.m., they will be severely handicapped.

While the Sunday edition will stick to its close-to-10:00 p.m. slot, this is still a period where GMA feels uncomfortable with. After all, the Kapuso network still has to worry about ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and much like ‘Bet ng Bayan’ before it, ‘To the Top’ may still have no chance of success.

Despite its premise as a multi-platform reality show, ‘To the Top’ cannot depend on its online viewers alone. After all, television remains the most widespread medium to expose the talents, which ‘To the Top’ desperately needs.

That said, GMA appears to have little to no trust whatsoever in ‘To the Top’. They are not confident that the show will succeed in a traditional media setup, which is why they moved it to a later timeslot to avoid getting humiliated.

‘To the Top’ seems like a lost opportunity than a blessing for GMA. It may be the first show to employ both a traditional and a new media setup, but it is clear that GMA is wasting its time on the show, given its treatment and promotion.

So much for being the first boyband competition in the country. Now let’s see what they will do with ‘StarStruck’.

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Sorting Out ABS-CBN’s Upcoming Weekend Primetime Schedules

With the entry of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’, the weekend scheduling on ABS-CBN becomes even more tricky. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN and Endemol)

The succeeding weekends on ABS-CBN will be very tricky in the programming department.

On Saturday, June 6, the second season of ‘The Voice Kids’ officially kicked off with the ‘blind auditions’ series of episodes. The show aired following ‘Home Sweetie Home’ at 6:45 p.m., thereby putting ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’ into a temporary hiatus.

The following night, TVK’s ‘blind auditions’ continued. This time, the show aired after ‘Wansapanatym’ at 7:00 p.m., pre-empting ‘Goin’ Bulilit’ on that day.

The season premiere of ‘The Voice Kids’ came on the same weekend that ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ aired its season finale. While at first glance it seems that TVK would be the one that would replace YFSF, ABS-CBN braintrust had other ideas.

And so they did, premiering ‘The Voice Kids’ just as ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar”s first season was coming to a close. As expected, both series were a hot topic on Twitter, and as far as ratings are concerned, both are poised to hit it big in both Kantar and AGB Nielsen.

With YFSF taking a break, the focus now shifts to the upcoming weekend schedules on ABS-CBN. On the same night as YFSF’s finale, ABS-CBN announced that ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ will launch on June 20, giving the network enough time to sort out the schedule for the weekend after.

Based on logic, here are the possible weekend primetime schedules for June 20-21 and beyond:

Saturday (6:00 p.m. onwards)

  • Home Sweetie Home
  • The Voice Kids
  • Maalaala Mo Kaya
  • Pinoy Big Brother: 737
  • Banana Split: Extra Scoop
  • The Bottomline with Boy Abunda

Sunday (6:00 p.m. onwards)

  • Goin’ Bulilit
  • Wansapanatym
  • The Voice Kids
  • Rated K
  • Pinoy Big Brother: 737
  • Gandang Gabi Vice
  • Sunday’s Best

Should both TVK and PBB be held live on the same day, it may induce cramming on the part of ABS-CBN once it ran overtime. It is up to the network’s braintrust to sort this one out.

Still, expect ABS-CBN to make a bigger impact in both social media and in the ratings in the succeeding weeks. Both TVK and PBB have proven themselves to be a smash hit in both aspects, so there is nothing to worry about.

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