action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Cignal Steps In for Incapable TV5

The lack of an entertainment division on TV5 has forced its affiliates to pick up the slack.

Satellite subscription service Cignal recently launched its entertainment division, with the intent towards distributing content to its online and satellite television platforms. The newly-launched Cignal Entertainment will kick things off with the mini-series ‘Tukhang’.

The two-episode pilot will air July 22 on Colours and Sari-Sari Channel. It will star James Blanco, Karel Marquez, Mon Confiado, Jake Macapagal, Janna Victoria, Butch Francisco, Yul Servo, Archi Adamos, Jerould Aceron and Zandra Summer.

Cignal Entertainment will also have a few other offerings in store for its subscribers. They are:

Born Beautiful – The sequel to the critically-acclaimed movie ‘Die Beautiful’, it will star Christian Bables as Barbs. The story will pick up from the time Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros) died.

The Orbiters – This original series will star Cedrick Juan, Malak So, Bob Jbeili and Victor Anastacio. It will be directed by Miko Livelo and Dominic Lim.

Sleepless – Another independent film that is being transformed into a television series, it will star Albie Casino, Mara Lopez, Trina Legaspi, Acey Aguilar, Shaira Mae and Martin Escudero. Directed by Prime Cruz.

Feels Like Forever – An original series that focuses on love and other things that can happen in 24 hours. It will be directed by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo and Ivan Payawal.

With the exception of ‘Tukhang’, all of Cignal Entertainment’s upcoming series will be produced by The IdeaFirst Company. The company’s president, Perci Intalan, is a former entertainment head at TV5.

The only way to go is up, and as TV5 focuses more on sports, news and imported entertainment shows, Cignal makes sure that the entertainment aspect within the MVP Group will not go down quietly. The division is still young, but with the help of independent producers such as IdeaFirst, all the hard work should be worth it.

Now let’s just hope that the new Cignal Entertainment will not fall from grace the same way TV5’s entertainment division did. This is a prime opportunity for Manny V. Pangilinan to bounce back, so make it count.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, talk show, television

CelebriTV premiere is Kapuso Network’s another desperate move

Timow's Turf

CelebriTV will premiere tomorrow afternoon on GMA 7. CelebriTV will premiere tomorrow afternoon on GMA 7.

ASIDE FROMIlustrado’s rerun on GMA News TV this Monday, another litany of desperate strategy comes from the main channel in Timog Avenue that will premiere tomorrow.

Enter CelebriTV.

CelebriTV is said to be the weekly “trend-tertainment news” and “comedy talk show” replacing the nearly two-decade-old Startalk (with 1,024 episodes). The end of Startalk was mainly due to the shift of preference of providing local entertainment news online rather than on television.

Unlike Startalk, Butch Francisco will no longer be part of the new show but will be replaced by Ai-Ai de lasAlasfor her second TV project (also, her first in weekend and in afternoon) as an exclusive talent this year. Secondly, Ricky Lo will be demoted from host to a correspondent. Lastly, Heart Evangelista will not be seen on the new program, in order not to show…

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entertainment, Philippines, talk show, television

1995 Flashback: Startalk Takes a Bow

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.

The final episode of ‘Startalk’ will air tomorrow afternoon.

After nearly 20 years of leading the showbiz talk show circuit, GMA realized that the time has come. Like ABS-CBN did when ‘The Buzz’ went off the air last April, GMA knows that the changing needs of its audience (e.g. social media, internet) would become a huge factor, and as result, they finally decided to let go of an institution that has served them well.

‘Startalk’ debuted on October 8, 1995 as a Sunday afternoon talk show, with Boy Abunda, Lolit Solis and Kris Aquino as its hosts. For the next three years, the show competed against ‘Showbiz Lingo’, but it became clear that ‘Startalk’ would never make its presence felt if it were to face another showbiz talk show.

Thus, in June 1998, ‘Startalk’ moved to Saturday afternoons (after ‘Eat Bulaga’), and it would remain that way for nearly 16 years. By then Kris Aquino left for ABS-CBN, and after Dawn Zulueta briefly filled in, ‘Startalk’ hired sexy star Rosanna Roces, and with her controversial antics, the show finally won the hearts of viewers nationwide.

‘Startalk’ suffered a slight dip in its audience when, in May 1999, Boy Abunda joined Kris Aquino at ABS-CBN to host another long-running showbiz talk show in ‘The Buzz’. They quickly recovered, however, when Butch Francisco replaced Boy, and for the next five years, the trio of Butch, Lolit and Osang would lead ‘Startalk’ to unprecedented heights.

Osang’s tenure came to an end in June 2004 after a series of controversies that culminated in a well-publicized feud with co-host Lolit Solis and Dra. Vicki Belo. After that, Butch and Lolit would be joined by the likes of Lorna Tolentino, Joey de Leon, Ricky Lo and Heart Evangelista for the remainder of the show’s run.

At almost the same time, ABS-CBN tried to counter ‘Startalk’ with a variety of showbiz talk shows on Saturday afternoons, none of which were able to win. It became clear that a rivalry between ‘Startalk’ and ‘The Buzz’ was something viewers would like to see, and in January 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Sunday afternoons in order to face ‘The Buzz’ (albeit under the name of ‘Buzz ng Bayan’).

The experiment was a disaster, however, and after ‘Buzz ng Bayan’ reverted to ‘The Buzz’ name in May 2014, ‘Startalk’ moved back to Saturday afternoons, this time cutting the show’s duration by 45 minutes.. The declining ratings would only continue from there, and GMA realized the end was near.

On September 12, GMA announced that ‘Startalk’ will air its final episode. The said episode will feature a list of 20 questions submitted by netizens on ‘Startalk”s official Facebook, during which the hosts will answer each of them throughout the show.

‘Startalk’ will always be remembered as ‘The Only Showbiz Authority’, as well as the longest-running showbiz talk show in the country. But with the show finally taking a bow, it marked the end of an era, for ‘Startalk’ was the benchmark in which all other showbiz talk shows were measured.

A new era beckons in the showbiz industry. Thanks for the memories, ‘Startalk’.

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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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