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Thanks to Ipaglaban Mo, Startalk and Wish Ko Lang Switch Timeslots

The success of the legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ on ABS-CBN has forced GMA to tweak anew their Saturday lineup, with ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Startalk’ switching timeslots. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

GMA’s weekend programming instability continues.

Last Saturday, the Kapuso network decided to switch the timeslots of ‘Startalk’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’. As a result, the former now airs at 3:45 p.m. while the latter follows suit.

There is a reason why GMA made another change on Saturday afternoons, and that is the ratings success of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ on ABS-CBN. Since the legal drama returned to the small screen this past June, it has managed to dominate ‘Startalk’ in both the TNS Kantar and the AGB Nielsen ratings.

This marked ‘Startalk”s third timeslot change this year, compared to only two in their first 18 years. In January, ‘Startalk’ moved to Sunday afternoons in order to compete against ‘Buzz ng Bayan’, only to move back to Saturdays in May following the revival of ‘The Buzz’ and the reunion of Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda.

The latest change now sees ‘Startalk’ airing at a similar timeslot as its rival ‘The Buzz’, only at a different day and on a running time of 45 minutes to an hour. In addition, ‘Startalk’ will now face ‘Failon Ngayon’, another of ABS-CBN’s highly-rated programs.

For ‘Wish Ko Lang’, it marked their third timeslot change in their 12-year history. Typically a late-afternoon program on Saturdays, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ has once moved to early primetime, and now it airs in the mid-afternoon slot.

While ‘Wish Ko Lang’ was a dominant program early in its run, beating similar rivals on ABS-CBN such as ‘Willingly Yours’, ‘Simpleng Hiling’ and ‘Nagmamahal Kapamilya’, the introduction and subsequent success of ‘Failon Ngayon’ saw its viewership numbers gradually decline. Now GMA management can only hope that ‘Wish Ko Lang’ will fare much better against ‘Ipaglaban Mo’.

In all, it was another tweak to GMA’s rather feeble lineup of weekend programs. But it gets even more interesting come this weekend.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, talk show, television

Startalk Moving Back to Saturdays is a Bad Move

The move of ‘Startalk’ back to Saturdays was basically intended to avoid competing against old friends Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda.

Tomorrow, GMA’s long-running showbiz talk show ‘Startalk’ will move back to Saturday afternoons after a near five-month experiment with a Sunday timeslot. However, the return of ‘Startalk’ to the Saturday slot is just one of several moves made by the network’s management in hopes of reinvigorating its weaker weekend lineup, one in which I will discuss in another article.

Now here’s the big question: Did GMA make the right call in moving ‘Startalk’ back to Saturdays, or did they make a serious mistake?

Back in January, ‘Startalk’ was moved to Sundays in order to challenge ABS-CBN’s ‘Buzz ng Bayan’. GMA hoped that the move of ‘Startalk’ to Sundays will give ‘Buzz ng Bayan’, then formerly known as ‘The Buzz’, some serious challenge, as GMA’s previous Sunday showbiz talk shows like ‘S Files’, ‘Showbiz Central’, and ‘HOT TV’ were unable to match the success of ‘The Buzz’.

Then on May 18, the Kapamilya network decided to bring back ‘The Buzz’ in time for the show’s 15th anniversary. In addition, original hosts and ‘Startalk’ alumni Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda returned to host the show, and were joined by Toni Gonzaga. For the first time ever, the two original ‘Startalk’ hosts in Boy and Kris were up against the program they used to host, now with Butch Francisco, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo and Lolit Solis as the hosts.

But after just two weeks, GMA decided to move ‘Startalk’ back to its familiar Saturday slot, effective May 31. Perhaps it is the fear of getting upstaged by Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino, whose egos are as big as their hosting skills. Or perhaps it is because ‘The Buzz’ had been a consistent ratings winner against ‘Startalk’ in its timeslot, even during the period where some viewers were upset about the format and the hosts of the now-defunct ‘Buzz ng Bayan’. But whatever the reason, ‘Startalk’ seems to be at its best on Saturdays, and for GMA, they seem fine with it.

And while some folks agreed that moving ‘Startalk’ earlier would give them a head-start in reporting the latest showbiz news, the fact is, ‘Startalk”s departure leaves a big hole in GMA’s Sunday afternoon lineup. Not even the upcoming dance show hosted by Marian Rivera, as some of the tabloids have reported, would seriously contend against ‘The Buzz’ or any other Kapamilya show on Sundays.

In short, it was a big mistake for GMA management to place ‘Startalk’ back to the Saturday slot. They not only refused to compete against Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda’s show (in the process surrendering to them too soon), but also left its Sunday afternoon slot prone to ABS-CBN’s consistent dominance.

The decision to move ‘Startalk’ back to Saturdays is something that GMA would like to regret. Instead of giving ABS-CBN a more competitive program, they simply retreated. Where is the ‘Puso ang Una (Heart comes First)’ that the station talks about?

In the end, this only shows that GMA, despite the fact that they are called the ‘Kapuso network’, have little heart whatsoever in making their programs as competitive as possible. Now whether or not ‘Startalk’ will be better off airing on Saturdays remains to be seen. But one thing’s for sure: as long as Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino are with ‘The Buzz’, ‘Startalk’ will never go head-to-head with that said program.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, talk show, television

ABS-CBN Brings Back ‘The Buzz’

Looks like ABS-CBN forgot to use the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

As announced this week, the Kapamilya network decided to rename ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ back to ‘The Buzz’. The rebranded program will be hosted by original hosts Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino, and are joined by Toni Gonzaga, who was Boy’s final co-host of the first version of ‘The Buzz’, which ended on October 13, 2013.

The first sign of ‘The Buzz”s return came via Kris Aquino’s Instagram, stating that ‘true love has a habit of coming back’, and mentioning the date ‘May 18, 2014’. Moreover, her recent contract with ABS-CBN also stated that Kris has a list of three programs, two of which (‘Kris TV’, ‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’) are currently on the air.

Soon after, teasers for the upcoming return of ‘The Buzz’ aired during ABS-CBN’s commercial gaps, as seen in this short video below.

The return of ‘The Buzz’ came at just the right time, as ABS-CBN’s flagship Sunday showbiz talk show enters its 15th year. In addition, the rebrand means that viewers will finally see the long-awaited rivalry between ‘The Buzz’ and GMA’s ‘Startalk,’ which has been halted by ‘Startalk”s initial foray into Saturday afternoons, and the launch of ‘Buzz ng Bayan’.

Despite the fact that ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ earned higher ratings than ‘Startalk’ since the latter’s return to Sundays, it was clear that the audience had a hard time recognizing its concept that emphasized on a panel discussion and audience interaction. And while Carmina Villaroel and Janice de Belen decently played their roles well, viewers were not receptive to them either.

In the end, ABS-CBN decided to bring back ‘The Buzz’ for good reason. The program has had the longevity and the popularity that ABS-CBN’s other showbiz programs never had. And hosts Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino had great chemistry.

In other words, ABS-CBN should have KEPT ‘The Buzz’ rather than reformatting it. ‘The Buzz’ is always an icon and a symbol to the Kapamilya network’s afternoon viewing pleasure, and should never be changed even as it ages.

‘The Buzz’ returns this Sunday afternoon on ABS-CBN.

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Boy and Kris Reunite on Primetime

The ever-popular tandem of Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda returns via ‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’ on ABS-CBN.

Boy Abunda and Kris Aquino always seem to be inseparable. Beginning with ‘Startalk’ in the mid-90s, the duo found its way to other programs; namely ‘The Buzz’, ‘Boy & Kris’, and ‘SNN: Showbiz News Ngayon’. And this Monday, Boy and Kris will return to primetime television via ‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’.

The new program will be similar to ‘SNN’, except that it is condensed into a 15-minute program featuring fast-paced news from the social, political and showbiz perspective. It will also feature a guest interview featuring some of the most controversial personalities today, along with a social media interaction segment.

In essence, ‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’ will be the replacement to Boy’s previous segment on ‘Bandila’ called ‘Ikaw Na’. While the segment itself was popular (resulting to a parody on ‘Banana Nite’ starring Jayson Gainza), the viewers’ requests for an earlier timeslot became a huge factor in moving Boy out of ‘Bandila’ and into his own show with Kris. It is also said that the renewal of Kris’ contract with ABS-CBN also played a huge role in reuniting the showbiz duo.

ABS-CBN also decided to avoid placing the program before ‘Bandila’ in order to avoid the same fate that befell ‘SNN’. During ‘SNN”s two-year run, its ratings suffered due to competition with other entertainment programs, as well as the eventual departure of Kris Aquino during her brother Noynoy’s presidential campaign. The harsh lesson of ‘SNN’ led to the new program’s assignment within Primetime Bida in an effort to maintain a sizable audience from its preceding teleseryes. As a result, ‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’ will be seen after ‘The Legal Wife’ and before ‘The Biggest Loser Pinoy Edition: Doubles’.

‘Aquino & Abunda Tonight’ is expected to be another coup created by the ABS-CBN management. But with the demise of ‘SNN’ still fresh in viewers’ minds, it remains to be seen whether or not the reunited duo will erase the stigma that doomed ‘SNN’. Anything less than high ratings will be a failure for the program and the Kapamilya network.

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entertainment, Philippines, talk show, television

Startalk Returns to Sundays

GMA’s ‘Startalk’ returns to Sundays, and will match up against ABS-CBN’s ‘Buzz ng Bayan’.

After 16 years, ‘Startalk’ returns to its original Sunday slot. GMA’s showbiz talk show will now be seen every Sunday at 4:00 p.m. or after ‘I-Bilib’ and before ’24 Oras Weekend’.

You may recall that I wrote an article suggesting that ‘Startalk’ needs to move back to Sundays in order to give GMA a more formidable counterpart to ABS-CBN’s ‘The Buzz’ (and later ‘Buzz ng Bayan’). And after GMA failed to counter with ‘GMA Blockbusters’, the need to bring ‘Startalk’ back to Sundays became even more pronounced. But ‘GMA Blockbusters’ is not the only reason for the move.

In November of last year, ABS-CBN started airing ‘The Singing Bee’ opposite ‘Startalk’. And based on initial ratings published by both Kantar and AGB Nielsen, the results overwhelmingly favored the former. ‘The Singing Bee”s winning streak continued into the new year, and by January 18, it became clear that ‘Startalk’ no longer has the ability to dominate Saturday afternoon viewership.

Which leads to the switcheroo of sorts this weekend. The move of ‘Startalk’ back to Sundays is seen as GMA’s attempt to re-stabilize their Sunday afternoon lineup. It is also seen as a matchup of the two longest-tenured talk shows in the country, with ‘Startalk’ first airing in 1995, and ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ debuting as ‘The Buzz’ in 1999. But perhaps another intriguing aspect is the fact that ‘Startalk’ is finally up against its original host Boy Abunda, who left the show to host rival ABS-CBN’s ‘The Buzz’.

Moving ‘Startalk’ back to Sundays is undoubtedly the best move that GMA executed to begin the new year. The question is, will the move pay off for the Kapuso network? We’ll see.

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The Buzz and Showbiz Inside Report Merge as Buzz ng Bayan

Last Sunday, ‘The Buzz‘ hosts Charlene Gonzales and Toni Gonzaga confirmed that they’ll leave the show. It was also announced that the program will undergo a ‘makeover’, which became official when news outlets confirmed the arrival of Janice de Belen and Carmina Villaroel from ‘Showbiz Inside Report‘ to join Boy Abunda on the ‘new’ showbiz program ‘Buzz ng Bayan’. The reformat effectively ended ‘The Buzz”s 15-year run.

‘Showbiz Inside Report’ aired for the last time on September 28, to make way for unnamed special programs. While the program decently rated well owing to the chemistry of Janice, Carmina and Joey Marquez, it could not equal or surpass the viewership of GMA’sStartalk‘, which has been a staple of Saturday afternoon viewership since 1998. ‘SIR”s short run was just the latest of many talk show flops that ABS-CBN introduced to compete against ‘Startalk’, which led to another change in programming format.

While ‘The Buzz’ became virtually unbeatable on Sunday afternoons despite competing with ‘S Files’ and ‘Showbiz Central‘, its viewership soon declined after the departure of host Kris Aquino. Many agreed that Aquino’s presence, charisma and chemistry with Boy Abunda made the show a hit, and it earned numerous talk show awards during Aquino’s tenure. After Aquino’s departure, the program experimented with the likes of Ruffa Gutierrez, KC Concepcion and the aforementioned Charlene Gonzales and Toni Gonzaga, but neither were able to replicate the magic that Aquino created on the show. The program flirted with reformatting soon after, but it finally gave in last Sunday, leading to ‘Buzz ng Bayan’.

In an interview with Janice de Belen, she revealed that the format of ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ will feature audience interaction and panel discussion, something unheard of in a showbiz talk show. The program format appears similar to the one used on TV5’s ‘Face the People’, which also allows people to participate and intervene. This novel approach is worthy of a first look, so let’s see if they can pull that off.

‘Buzz ng Bayan’ will debut on October 20 after the successful teen comedy series ‘Luv U’.

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