entertainment, Philippines, suspense, television, United States

In 150 Words: The Walking Dead Arrives on TV5

It was only appropriate that ‘The Walking Dead’ will come to TV5.

The hit American suspense series, which also airs on FOX Asia and in Filipino on FOX Filipino, will make its free TV debut this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. on the Kapatid network. And to make it more interesting, people dressed as zombies made their way to various Metro Manila hotspots to promote the upcoming series.

The entry of ‘The Walking Dead’ seems fitting for TV5, since most of its programming now consists of TV shopping blocks, canned American shows and foreign movies. Still, don’t expect ‘The Walking Dead’ to air the same way it did on FOX Asia, as stringent MTRCB rules regarding violence and horror will come into play.

Hopefully ‘The Walking Dead’ will not be a one-timer on TV5 the same way sister show ‘Outcast’ did. If they can make it beyond week 1, that may help boost its confidence.

 

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

In 100 Words: FOX Philippines Finally Airs a Live WWE Pay-Per-View

For the first time since 2012’s Elimination Chamber, a WWE pay-per-view was aired live on Philippine cable TV.

FOX Philippines, rightsholders to WWE programs since 2012, aired the Extreme Rules pay-per-view live last Monday morning. This marked the first time that FOX PH has ever aired a live WWE pay-per-view since taking over the broadcast rights from Solar Entertainment’s Jack TV (2012) and later from ABS-CBN Sports+Action (2014).

Previously, all WWE pay-per-views on FOX PH were aired on a 13-hour delay, an aspect carried over from another previous rightsholder in ABS-CBN Sports.

This should be good news for wrestling fanatics, who have been clamoring for live WWE pay-per-views since Solar dropped WWE programs from Jack TV a few years ago. If FOX PH can continue its new-found approach starting with the next pay-per-view Payback, the better for fans to enjoy the action.

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action, entertainment, live events, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

WrestleMania XXX on FOX; Is Raw Next?

WrestleMania XXX will be seen on FOX Philippines this Monday.

The mystery of the WrestleMania XXX broadcast rights has finally been revealed. FOX Philippines has announced that the highly-anticipated WWE pay-per-view will be carried by the said network on April 7 at a delayed time of 9:50 p.m. FOX’s announcement came a few weeks after WWE programs on ABS-CBN Sports+Action ceased its broadcast following the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view.

While it was assumed that the announcement is the first step to FOX’s full acquisition of other WWE programs (e.g. Raw, NXT, Superstars), it remains to be seen whether or not they are really committed to air all WWE programs in a similar way that rival Jack TV did several years ago. After all, Jack TV used to air most, if not all WWE programs (including live pay-per-views) for several years.

FOX Philippines needs to realize that there are a lot of angry wrestling fans who were disgusted by ABS-CBN Sports’ decision to cease ties with WWE. Yes, they have WrestleMania XXX and future pay-per-views in their resume, so why not include Raw on the list? After all, it was considered the flagship program of the WWE with over 1,000 episodes in its 21-year history.

Bringing Raw (and other programs) to FOX should satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. Even though SmackDown (in its two-hour U.S. format) is a decently good program, the main storylines are typically developed and heightened on Raw, a three-hour program that involves all active WWE superstars. And by bringing the three hours of Raw to FOX Philippines (in contrast to the one-hour ‘international’ version on ABS-CBN Sports+Action), wrestling fans should be more than content to follow a wider variety of storylines as they happen.

In the meantime, good luck to FOX Philippines as they broadcast WrestleMania XXX this Monday. And for wrestling fans everywhere, there is still a glimmer of hope for Raw to be aired on the said network.

*As of this article, the only WWE programming seen on the FOX-owned network are the following: SmackDown, Main Event, Bottomline, Afterburn, and Vintage. Meanwhile, ABS-CBN Sports+Action (formerly Studio 23) had the rights to Raw, NXT, Superstars, and the pay-per-views prior to the pullout, and also aired the one-season run of Tough Enough.

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action, Philippines, Sports, television, United States

WWE Out of ABS-CBN Sports?

The Daniel Bryan vs. the Authority angle will not be seen on free TV’s ABS-CBN Sports + Action for now.

Looks like the ‘Road to WrestleMania’ ended way too soon for ABS-CBN Sports.

In an unexpected development, WWE programming was pulled out of the ABS-CBN Sports + Action channel at the beginning of March, and were replaced by either the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UEFA Champions League, Pinoy Pride and Top Rank Boxing, or the NBA. The pullout of WWE programs by ABS-CBN Sports comes in three years after Solar Entertainment’s Jack TV decided to cease airing all WWE programs.

As expected, some wrestling fans were angered by ABS-CBN’s decision to cancel its broadcast of the WWE. However, the reaction only paled in comparison to Solar’s pullout three years earlier, where an overwhelming majority of wrestling fans balked at the one-hour international format of Raw, the absence of SmackDown and Main Event (both currently airing on FOX Philippines), and the delayed broadcast of WWE pay-per-views on the Kapamilya’s UHF channel.

The absence of WWE programming on ABS-CBN Sports may have stemmed from the fact that the Vince McMahon-owned company recently established the WWE Network after the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view. As many wrestling fans know, the new network is expected to carry every WWE pay-per-view beginning with WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans. Because of that, ABS-CBN Sports may find it difficult to even broadcast the upcoming WrestleMania 30 in both SkyCable and Sports + Action, considering the already complicated situation.

Should ABS-CBN Sports officially close the door on the WWE, Fox needs to step up. While the channel already has SmackDown and Main Event along with other supplementary programs like Vintage, Afterburn and Bottomline, what Fox needs at this point are both Raw and the pay-per-views in order to satisfy the demands of loyal wrestling viewers. If that happens, perhaps a return to a two or three-hour format for Raw and free live pay-per-views is in order, provided that Fox airs WWE programs on the same week as the U.S.

The loss of WWE should not be a big deal for Kapamilya viewers. After all, there is the Ultimate Fighting Championship, another form of combat sports which is just as entertaining, but without the scripted excess that is featured in professional wrestling. However, it remains to be seen whether or not free TV will once again accept the WWE.

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cartoon, comedy, drama, entertainment, game show, Philippines, reality show, Sports, talk show, television

What Happened to Jack TV?

In my previous post I talked about the problems facing Solar Sports in recent years, and the need for a rebrand. But while Solar Sports is suffering from lack of content, fellow Solar network Jack TV is facing an identity crisis, something that needs to address as soon as possible.

Originally launched in 2005 as a block-timer to Solar USA, Jack TV achieved full-time network status the following year. At first, its programming ranged from sitcoms, animated comedies, wrestling programs and game shows to reality programs, gag shows and talk shows. However, in the last two years Jack TV began to reintegrate drama, suspense and action series inspired from its days as Solar USA, in anticipation of the launch of its sister network Jack City.

The resulting concoction left a bad taste in the mouths of some viewers. But perhaps the biggest damage to Jack TV’s reputation was when Solar let go of WWE programs in 2011, presumably due to high expenses. The loss of the WWE was devastating to Jack TV, as it provided wrestling fans with live pay-per-views along with full broadcasts of WWE Raw and WWE SmackDown.

Jack TV definitely needs to rebrand, period. They should start by dumping its animated comedies like The Simpsons and Family Guy, since Fox Asia currently air them. They should also get rid of sitcoms and place it on 2nd Avenue. And bring in more reality programs, such as The Biggest Loser. In short, better rename the channel or revert to the name Solar USA.

Jack TV, originally a male-dominated channel, now attracts females and high school youth. Having said that, a shift of audience also means a shift in programming, and Solar executives should begin the process of rebranding as soon as possible.

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Philippines, Sports, television

What Happened to Solar Sports?

In its heyday, Solar Sports aired several top-notch sports events familiar to Filipinos. Before Basketball TV and Balls came into the picture, Solar Sports was the major broadcaster of the NBA and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It also aired the WWE, major tennis tournaments, the La Liga and Bundesliga soccer matches, the NFL, and NASCAR racing. Now, what happened?

Looking at the entire repertoire of Solar Sports, it seems that they have eschewed airing the big events in favor of sports not familiar to Filipinos. While they still provide decently good sporting events like boxing, billiards and the PGA, ATP and WTA tours, Solar Sports now airs BWF badminton, FLW fishing, and Copa Libertadores soccer matches. Locally the network became the official coveror of Philippine Super Liga volleyball. And they also cover cockfighting and Jai Alai.

Having said that, Solar Sports has become a shell of its former self. While the loss of the NBA to BTV only gave basketball-crazy fans a favor, it is unacceptable to lose the UFC to ABS-CBN Sports, La Liga and Bundesliga to BeIN Sport, and the WWE to Fox Asia. And what were the replacements? Gambling-related sports, fishing, and badminton. This is not what Solar Sports used to air.

If Solar Sports can somehow bring its past glory back, they should start by acquiring more respectably familiar sports like college football and Major League Baseball. Cockfighting and Jai Alai have no place to this channel and should be left alone for a future gambling sports channel. And finally, Solar Sports should change its logo and readopt the ‘Sports Plus’ identity of several years ago.

What used to be ‘Our Sports Channel’ is now a distant memory. Solar Sports needs a change, and it should start soon.

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