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FTT Year 2013 in Review: ABS-CBN

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2014, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on ABS-CBN, who dominated television ratings all year.

The Positives

Everything went right for ABS-CBN. And it showed in its weekday offerings. Primetime Bida teleseryes dominated the Kantar ratings, led by the year’s top-rated series ‘Juan dela Cruz’. ‘TV Patrol’ remains the most preferred evening newscast, while ‘Showtime’ introduced the most talked-about ‘That’s My Tomboy’ and ‘Kalokalike’ segments that propelled them atop the noontime pyramid. And thanks to the highly-anticipated November wedding between Maya (Jodi Sta. Maria) and Richard ‘Ser Chief’ (Richard Yap), ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ continued to lord over the late morning slot.

The Kapamilya network continued to rack up ratings victories on weekends, aided by its reality competition shows ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, ‘Masterchef Pinoy Edition’, and ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’. Also helping their cause were the long-running anthology ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and game shows such as ‘Bet on Your Baby’ and ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal‘. ‘Gandang Gabi Vice‘ and ‘ASAP’ remain the most talked-about shows on social media.

Even its sports offerings beat the competition. The Miami-San Antonio NBA Finals and the La Salle-UST UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals scored big in the ratings and in the hearts of netizens. The network also continued to showcase top-notch boxing matches such as the ‘Pinoy Pride’ series and fights featuring Nonito Donaire.

The Negatives

While they were able to enjoy high ratings on primetime, there were still some shows that ended up lasting less than half a year. Examples include ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin‘, ‘Apoy sa Dagat‘ and ‘Muling Buksan ang Puso’, whose storylines required only at least four months of airing. Also getting the ax were the sitcom ‘Toda Max’, after lead star Robin Padilla reportedly left, and ‘The Buzz’, which was reformatted as ‘Buzz ng Bayan’. ABS-CBN’s programs were likewise not spared from MTRCB’s iron hands, as ‘ASAP’ was reprimanded in February for Anne Curtis’ sensual outfit and performance.

ABS-CBN personalities were also involved in various controversies. ‘Kris TV‘ was nearly cancelled when its host Kris Aquino announced her resignation after getting embroiled in a custody case with then-husband James Yap for their son Bimby. However, a month later, Aquino announced that she would only take a ‘leave of absence’ in June. As of now, ‘Kris TV’ continues to air in the morning slot.

And last November, Korina Sanchez criticized CNN’s Anderson Cooper regarding the latter’s report about the slow delivery of goods to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). As a result of the negative reaction she received from netizens, Sanchez took a ‘leave of absence’ before returning to duty a month later.

Outlook

ABS-CBN capped off the year by showcasing the love team of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla on ‘Got to Believe’, young child star Raikko Mateo on ‘Honesto’, and budding star Jessy Mendiola on ‘Maria Mercedes’. For 2014, they are expected to introduce another potential star in Julia Barretto on ‘Mirabella’. Going forward, ABS-CBN is poised for another banner year, and as long as their products continue to entice audiences, ABS-CBN will remain the country’s top network.

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More Programming Changes within GMA

This past week, GMA shook up its programming schedule in both weekday and weekend slots, in hopes of reversing the downward trend in terms of ratings. However, these changes do not seem to help the Kapuso network at all.

In the weekday morning slot GMA extended its anime block to nearly three hours. However, all they did was to re-air ‘Flame of Recca‘ and ‘Shaman King‘, which like ‘YuYu Hakusho‘ (Ghost Fighter) held a sentimental value to the network. Then ‘Kusina Master’, formerly a 30-minute ‘live’ program converted to a 15-minuter, airs shortly afterward. After Chef Boy Logro’s program, things seem to get interesting.

GMA’s extension of its anime block cost them two programs: the Mexican telenovela ‘Lola’ (original title Bella Calamidades), and the parent-child reality show ‘Anak Ko Yan’. The latter aired its series finale, with Jen-Jen Chubb crowned as the grand champion. The former, which replaced ‘With a Smile’ nearly two months ago, abruptly ended its run due to low ratings, even though more episodes were in the offing. In ‘Lola”s case, its abrupt cancellation has something to do with the viewers’ lack of interest towards Latin American drama series, which has fallen out of favor since the Asianovela invasion of the mid-2000s.

Meanwhile, the biography series ‘Tunay na Buhay‘ moved from the Saturday night slot to the weekday morning slot, to make way for another movie block called ‘Sabado Horror Night’. With the eight-part historical drama series ‘Katipunan’ currently airing, GMA had no room for ‘Tunay na Buhay’, thus moving it to the weekday morning slot. However, the ‘Sabado Horror Night’ block is deemed unnecessary, since GMA now has three movie blocks on Sundays and that ‘Katipunan’ runs for only a short period of time.

‘Sabado Horror Night’ also forced the variety show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman‘ out of its typical 12:00 a.m. timeslot. By all accounts, 12:00 a.m. is usually the best timeslot for German Moreno‘s program viewership-wise. But by forcing ‘Walang Tulugan’ out of its comfort zone, viewership losses are expected and many would be asleep by the time the show airs at 1:00 a.m.

Also this Saturday, the new game show ‘Picture! Picture!’, hosted by Ryan Agoncillo, will air after 24 Oras Weekend. In my previous blog, I wrote about GMA’s decision to pit ‘Picture! Picture!’ opposite wife Judy Ann Santos‘ game show ‘Bet on Your Baby’, and the reason why GMA wanted Ryan’s show to compete against Juday’s show is because of the poor ratings sustained by the children’s fantasy show ‘One Day Isang Araw’. Thus they answered with their own game show, which unlike ABS-CBN’s, is an original creation of the network.

And finally, GMA decided to cancel the docudrama series ‘Bingit’. The program, which is about stories of individuals surviving near-death experiences, aired its final episode last November 16, after which GMA decided to cease production of ‘Bingit’ out of respect to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

GMA’s programming changes were intended on improving its quality and viewership. However, with the kind of mediocre production they’re creating, it’s no secret why they were falling behind ABS-CBN in the ratings.

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Ryan vs. Juday on Saturday Nights

Despite their status as a married couple, Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have different loyalties, which will be emphasized when the two celebrities’ programs face off this Saturday night.

It’s difficult to avoid pitting celebrity couples against each other for ratings, and this couple is no exception. In case you missed the point, read this previous article about one-time dating couple Jennylyn Mercado and Luis Manzano and the programs they host opposite each other during weekday mornings.

Ryan Agoncillo and Judy Ann Santos have been married for four years, but both ply their trade on opposite sides of the most heated broadcasting rivalry today. Agoncillo was bred to be a Kapuso, rising from the ranks as a host in ‘Unang Hirit‘ before earning his stripes as a mainstay of ‘Eat Bulaga‘, with several stints as a Kapamilya and Kapatid talent in between. Meanwhile Santos was groomed to be a Kapamilya, starting with a breakthrough role in ‘Mara Clara‘ until her various roles in successful primetime teleseryes earned her the tag of ‘Queen of Pinoy Soap Operas’.

Beginning this Saturday Agoncillo and Santos will be pitted against each other in the same timeslot. Juday’s current project ‘Bet on Your Baby’ has been on the air for over a month now, and is raking in high ratings since its debut. In response, GMA created their own game show with a theme capitalizing on the ‘selfie’ craze. The new show will be titled ‘Picture! Picture!’, with Ryan taking over the hosting job.

‘Picture! Picture!’ will replace the children’s fantasy program ‘One Day Isang Araw’, which unfortunately flopped against ‘Bet on Your Baby’ and previously ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal‘ in its timeslot. With ‘Picture! Picture!’ GMA now has two game shows on a Saturday night, the other being ‘Celebrity Bluff‘ hosted by Eugene Domingo, Jose Manalo and a guest host.

Despite the decision of the GMA management to pit ‘Picture! Picture!’ against ‘Bet on Your Baby’, Ryan has stated that there is no personal rivalry between him and his wife, and insisted that their shows are about ‘good competition’. And why not? Both shows have interesting formats and approaches which should keep audiences thrilled with every move.

The ratings war between ‘Picture! Picture!’ and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ should be a good one, not only because it pits a celebrity couple like Ryan and Juday, but it also raises the bar for game shows to follow.

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When Kids Take Over Showbiz

TV programs such as ABS-CBN’s ‘Bet On Your Baby’ have shifted their attention to young children making an impression in front of a television audience. (Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

The age requirement for people entering the world of showbiz is getting younger. Some years ago ‘Starstruck’ and ‘Star Circle Quest‘ were responsible for extending their hand to teenage talents looking to break into the entertainment world. Now it’s the turn of ‘Bet On Your Baby’ and ‘Anak Ko Yan’ for encouraging even pre-teens and elementary school youngsters to make their mark.

The two talent departments in GMA’s Artist Center and ABS-CBN‘s Star Magic have the responsibility of finding diamonds in the rough, regardless of age. However, in recent years the trend is on preschool and grade school children getting their seat warm. Last night ABS-CBN introduced another child wonder in five-year-old Raikko Mateo in the new teleserye ‘Honesto’, continuing what has been a hot trend for young children to enter the world of showbiz. And it has also extended to programs such as ‘Bet On Your Baby’ and on GMA’s ‘Anak Ko Yan’.

ABS-CBN’s ‘Bet On Your Baby’ focuses on toddlers trying to win various challenges in order to win the top prize of P 1,000,000. The game show proved to be a ratings hit in its first three weeks on the air, peaking after Dello Gatmaitan won the top cash prize of P 1,000,000. ‘Bet on Your Baby’ has been praised for its fresh format and its positive handling of toddlers during the show, and with the high ratings and reviews, it looks like ABS-CBN has found another winner in its long tradition of acquiring franchises of foreign shows.

GMA’s ‘Anak Ko Yan’ follows in the vein of prior reality talent search programs, where young children showcase their talents in hopes of becoming the ultimate winner. The format is nothing new; ‘SCQ Kids’ and ‘Starstruck Kids‘ have used this approach in the past. However, ‘Anak Ko Yan’ also pays attention to the children’s parents who will play key roles in guiding their children in every challenge. The series, while billed as a ‘fresh take’, has not been able to capture most viewers’ attention since it is basically reusing a tried and tested format from older reality series.

Both networks have found a new outlet in discovering talent from the preschool/grade school group. However, the talent centers remain the source of finding new talent. With the exception of a Ryzza Mae Dizon who became an instant celebrity simply by winning a noontime talent competition, most top child stars today came from the talent centers, and were extensively trained by experienced actors and directors. An example of that training is on the ABS-CBN comedy show ‘Goin’ Bulilit‘, whose priority is to prepare young children into more prominent roles later on.

It is not bad for children to become famous early in their lives. However, a little guidance and growth is needed to sustain that level of fame as they get older. And of course, education will remain a priority.

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