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FTT Year 2013 in Review: TV5

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 TV5, which enjoyed a slow start before rebounding with a respectable fourth quarter.

The Positives

After it was suspended for a good part of last year because of the you-know-what, T3: Reload rebounded in 2013 with a more toned-down approach, yet maintaining the same ol’ nastiness that the Tulfo brothers constantly address to the bullies and anomalous officials. This year also saw Radyo5 welcome Ben Tulfo and his ‘Bitag sa Radyo’ program after its departure from UNTV, in the process uniting the three brothers on the same umbrella, with Erwin also co-anchoring ‘Punto Asintado’ with Martin Andanar and Raffy hosting ‘Wanted sa Radyo’ with Nina Taduran.

In September, TV5 hired Noel Lorenzana in an effort to overhaul its programming. The end result were three program blocks: ‘Weekend Do It Better’, ‘Everyday All the Way’, and ‘KBO: Karunungan, Balita at Opinyon’. This alternative programming approach would bear fruit by the end of the year, as several of its programs finished among the Top 15 in the Nielsen Media Research ratings. In addition, the network’s willingness to reach out to a younger audience also paid dividends, as programs such as ‘SpinNation’ were among the top trending topics on Twitter.

TV5 also scored big in its sports coverage, with the recent airings of the PBA Commissioner’s Cup and Governors’ Cup Finals, and the Gilas Pilipinas games at the FIBA Asia Championship earning high viewership figures. And to cap off a resurgent finish to the year, TV5 officially christened the new TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong City.

The Negatives

Under Perci Intalan, TV5 tried to compete against more established powers GMA and ABS-CBN. However, it only resulted in revenue losses. None of TV5’s own teleseryes (‘Kidlat‘, ‘Undercover’, ‘Cassandra: Warrior Angel’, ‘Misibis Bay’, ‘Enchanted Garden‘, ‘Never Say Goodbye’) even made noise in the teleserye wars, and programs such as ‘Jeepney Jackpot’, ‘Kanta Pilipinas‘, ‘Alabang Housewives’ and ‘Boracay Bodies’ were critical failures.

But perhaps the most crucial reason behind the reformat was ‘Wowowillie‘. The noontime show, a symbol of the Intalan era, finally left the airwaves in October after three years, numerous controversies and massive losses. Host Willie Revillame would ‘retire’ shortly afterwards. In addition, TV5 originals ‘Face to Face’ and ‘Talentadong Pinoy‘ were also cancelled; its hosts Amy Perez and Ryan Agoncillo would secure new contracts with ABS-CBN and GMA respectively after departing.

TV5 also encountered numerous problems with its sports coverage. In May, they cut block-time ties with IBC-13, but were urged to stay until the PBA Governors’ Cup eliminations. As a result the NCAA was forced to air its nightly games on AksyonTV; the long-delayed finals was aired on TV5 in the early afternoon. And to cap off, many PBA fans were angered when TV5 decided to air only the ‘marquee’ games of the ongoing Philippine Cup live during weeknights and Saturdays, leaving the signal-deficient AksyonTV to air the rest.

Outlook

The motto for TV5 this 2014 should be ‘There’s nowhere to go but up’. With Noel Lorenzana spearheading the rebuilding project, TV5 will continue its commitment to programs that are favorable to younger and socially active citizens. And as they open the TV5 Media Center, it appears that things are on the upswing.

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Amy Perez Returning to ABS-CBN?; Other Notes

A few weeks ago, Amy Perez left TV5 amid a reported fallout between her and the producers of the talk show ‘Face to Face‘. It was reported that a four-a-week taping schedule of the program did not sit well with Perez, who was recovering from the recent birth of her son, thus her decision to leave. Just days after officially departing the Kapatid network, it was reported that Perez will rejoin ABS-CBN and will host ‘The Singing Bee‘ with Roderick Paulate.

Perez and Paulate were no strangers as co-hosts; they hosted the popular ‘Pera o Bayong’ contest on the defunct noontime show ‘Magandang Tanghali, Bayan’. After the demise of the show, both remained active in the industry as freelance artists, until Perez decided to step aside in order to raise her children.

Accordingly Perez chose to return to ABS-CBN for the sake of her health, rather than the financial security she used to enjoy with TV5. The relaxed taping schedule of ‘The Singing Bee’ should aid in her return to full health, and in the process give her more time with her children.

‘The Singing Bee’, a game show where contestants try to remember the missing lyrics to a particular song, was hosted by Cesar Montano and ran from 2008 to 2010. The game show is expected to fill the timeslot vacated by the defunct talk show ‘Showbiz Inside Report‘, although its airing date is yet to be determined.

Meanwhile, a new season of ‘I Dare You’ aired last Saturday night. The program, hosted by John Prats, Deniesse Joaquin, Robi Domingo and Melai Cantiveros, features celebrity guests who were dared to experience the life of an average Filipino. The second season will now see the celebrity and the average Filipino accomplish tasks together in order to help the latter’s community. ‘I Dare You’ took over the timeslot vacated by ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, who will undergo a brief hiatus before its second season.

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In 100 Words: Face to Face Concludes

Earlier today the much-awaited final episode of ‘Face to Face‘ aired on TV5. The program concluded with original host Amy Perez thanking the viewers, the staff, and the people involved in feuds and challenges for making the show possible. The program will be replaced by ‘Face the People’, hosted by Gelli de Belen and Tintin Bersola-Babao, starting October 14.

‘Face the People’ will pick up where ‘Face to Face’ left off, except that the audience will be the decision maker of the problems faced by the guests. While the format will be a bit different, expect ‘Face the People’ to follow the same blueprint as its predecessor. The program is just one of several new TV5 shows under the ‘Everyday All the Way’ block which will premiere this October 14.

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Amy Perez Out of TV5

 

Amy Perez will no longer appear on any TV5 show after departing from the network last Saturday.

For the past few months, no new episodes of ‘Face to Face‘ was aired, fueling speculation of the program’s cancellation. And for the past few weeks, only the episodes hosted by Gelli de Belen were being aired, fueling rumors of the possible departure of the program’s original host Amy Perez. As it turned out, the rumors were true: Amy Perez and TV5 go their separate ways.

As announced on the TV5 showbiz talk show ‘Showbiz Police’, Amy Perez decided to leave the Kapatid network to explore other opportunities. Perez, who left ‘Face to Face’ for good last July after squabbling with management, also departed from hosting the morning show ‘Good Morning Club‘. She later tweeted that she will now become a host/disc jockey for 106.7 Energy FM, a frequency previously owned by TV5.

It was also confirmed by TV5 that ‘Face to Face’ will not be cancelled, but rather a reformat of the show to its new title ‘Face the People’ is being planned. Gelli de Belen will reprise her hosting role on the new program, and will be joined by Tintin Bersola-Babao as co-host. Prior to announcing her departure, Perez was also supposed to host ‘Face the People’ along with de Belen, but was instead replaced by her fellow GMC co-host once her departure came to light.

Meanwhile, TV5’s ‘Weekend Do It Better’ timeslot has been impressing many viewers in only its second week. In fact, both of Ogie Alcasid‘s shows trended on Twitter. ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ was the top trending topic on Twitter last Saturday, on the strength of the ‘Battle of the Brainless’ skit and Ogie’s Ryzza Mae Dizon impersonation called ‘Lasa May Toyo’. The next night, Ogie and Sharon Cuneta’s ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ once again made the list of trending topics. That night’s episode saw the live performance of recent ‘Ellen’ guests Aldrich Talonding and James Bucong. So far, TV5’s new weekend programming approach is working out well, with the new shows playing at par against established drama, comedy and public affairs programs of ABS-CBN and GMA.

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What If TV5’s Untold Stories Remained on the Air?

Had TV5’s ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air, it would have been a clear three-way ratings race between ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Magpakailanman’, and this program.

Every Saturday night we watch the story of a particular individual and their struggles to cope up with their lives on ABS-CBN’sMaalaala Mo Kaya‘ and GMA’sMagpakailanman‘. The two programs have been rivals for several years now and ratings leadership in the primetime slot have gone back and forth between them. However, there was one program that would have rivaled the success of MMK and ‘Magpakailanman’, had it continued to air.

Untold Stories Mula sa Face to Face‘, or ‘Untold Stories’ in short, once aired on TV5 every Saturday nights. The program’s premise is to retell a particular conflict that aired on the tabloid talk show ‘Face to Face’, with hidden details of the conflict revealed along the way. The show began to air in 2010, but was pulled midway in 2012, just as GMA was planning to revive ‘Magpakailanman’.

Just imagine a three-way rivalry between the three programs had ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air. It would have given the television audience an option to choose between three aspects of drama anthology: the confrontational in ‘Untold Stories’, the inspiring in ‘Magpakailanman’, and the anecdotal in ‘MMK’. However, for the most part ‘Untold Stories’ suffered from several shortcomings, hence its short television run.

Audiences never liked the presentation style of ‘Untold Stories’ host Amy Perez, whose approach seems more relative to hosting a documentary or a public affairs program, in contrast to the apparent calm and slow-it-down style of Mel Tiangco and Charo Santos-Concio. ‘Untold Stories’ would have served its purpose if the host came from the news or executive department, namely News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and not a showbiz personality like Amy Perez.

The use of footage from ‘Face to Face’ likewise did not serve ‘Untold Stories’ well. Had TV5 decided to let the actors do the acting instead of splicing footage from ‘Face to Face’, it would have gained a sizable audience. In addition, the use of violence was more rampant on the program than on its rivals, making it harmful and unhealthy for younger children.

So what if TV5 never cancelled ‘Untold Stories’ and kept it on the air? Would the viewers remain interested on the violence and extensive confrontation scenes? Absolutely not. Would a three-way race on Saturday nights become a reality? I don’t think so. The way I see it, even if they were to continue running the program, it would fall way behind its competitors by a wide margin, because the high amount of violence in the program is just enough to turn away advertisers and audiences. For now TV5 shied away from creating drama anthologies to focus on gag shows, game shows and even talk and variety shows on weekends, an approach they dubbed ‘Weekend Do It Better’.

With the way TV5’s weekend lineup is performing, it is unclear whether the drama anthology will return to the Kapatid network. Perhaps in the near future, but not now in the midst of a philosophical shift. ‘Untold Stories’ may be history, but it will not be forgotten.

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Leila de Lima’s Announcement and Subsequent TV Coverage

It only took around 45 minutes, but Department of Justice secretary Leila de Lima swiftly announced the filing of plunder, malversation of public funds, bribery, and graft and corruption charges against Pork Barrel mastermind Janet Napoles, senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla, and 34 others. Seconds after the charges were filed, media reporters rush in to grab documents of the said cases.

Even before the announcement was made, Senator Enrile had been rushed to the hospital after complaining of difficulty in urinating. It was also reported that once the charges against him were announced, he immediately proclaimed his innocence. Let’s face it, Enrile is an ailing 89-year old man, and accusing him of plunder at his advanced age is not what I want to see. The accusations against him would only hasten his already failing health, and may lead to his eventual death.

Senator Estrada had been accused of plunder before, when he and his father, former President and Manila mayor Joseph Estrada, were both charged relating to the Jose Velarde scandal twelve years earlier. Senator Revilla had also been involved in prior legal cases, both during his acting and ongoing political career. While both denied the accusations, Senator Estrada has said he is prepared to face the charges, while Senator Revilla said that the people should not judge him and his co-accusers this early in their ordeal.

In terms of television coverage, all of the major networks aired the live press conference of de Lima’s announcement. While GMA News TV, DZMM Teleradyo and the ABS-CBN News Channel were able to carry the live press conference, TV5 was forced to carry the announcement as sister station AksyonTV carried the live NCAA games. TV5’s live coverage of the announcement affected their programming; their ‘Sine Ko Singko’ program was delayed for several minutes, while another rerun of ‘Face to Face’ significantly cut the airtime allotted for the public service program ‘T3: Reload’. The Tulfo brothers’ program was reduced to 10 minutes rather than the standard 30, and time constraints prevented any complainants from voicing some of their complaints on national TV. If I were News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, I would tell TV5 president Noel Lorenzana to stop airing reruns of ‘Face to Face’ and instead replace it with any of News5’s public affairs programs, or the live simulcast of Radyo5 92.3 News FM‘s ‘Cristy FerMinute’, because it is becoming too annoying.

Meanwhile, the trial for the plunder case against Napoles and 37 other co-conspirators will be announced soon, and is expected to be carried live by all of the major networks.

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