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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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PBB: 737 Gold Cancelled; All of Me Replaces Flordeliza

Turns out there won’t be any congestion on Kapamilya Gold after all.

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737 Gold’ was cancelled following last Friday’s episode. The cancellation gave way to the premiere of ‘Doble Kara’, starring Julia Montes.

The afternoon edition of the ongoing ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ has been under hot water from the beginning, receiving an SPG warning from the MTRCB after the infamous ‘bromance’ issue between Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez. Though it was later removed, ABS-CBN eventually decided to cancel PBB: 737 Gold out of respect to younger viewers.

Thus, for the first time in the reality series’ history, only one edition of PBB will be seen on free TV on a daily basis. Past seasons of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ had an afternoon and evening (sometimes late night) edition on weekdays, and in the early years of the franchise, sister station Studio 23 even aired a supplementary broadcast of the series.

Meanwhile, ‘Flordeliza’ is down to its final week. The comeback series of Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin has been on the air for eight months now, but despite its surprisingly long run, it failed to dampen the success of afternoon’s top drama, GMA’s ‘The Half-Sisters’.

Now it’s up to another comebacking Kapamilya, JM de Guzman, to give ‘The Half-Sisters’ a much-needed challenge. After returning to the limelight with the movie ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’, JM returns to the small screen via ‘All of Me’.

In ‘All of Me’, JM and veteran actor Albert Martinez will share the role of Manuel, whose near-death experience led to his transformation back to his younger self. Older Manuel, a widowed doctor, settled with his new love interest Lena (Yen Santos), and after transforming into his younger self and traveling into the future, was faced with seeking revenge on Lena’s husband Dr. Henry Nieves (Arron Villaflor), or moving on to a new life.

The upcoming series will also star Angel Aquino, Ina Raymundo, Neri Naig, Ana Capri, Micah Munoz, Jordan Herrera, Sue Ann Ramirez, and Akira Morishita. Dondon Santos will be the director.

One can only hope that JM will rekindle the success that he had on ‘Angelito: Batang Ama’. It won’t be easy though, given that ‘The Half-Sisters’ has been on fire in the afternoon for months now.

Still, it’s worth a challenge, and an opportunity to revive his showbiz career further. Good luck.

‘All of Me’ premieres this Monday, August 31, after ‘It’s Showtime’ on Kapamilya Gold.

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PBB Livestream Returns As New Housemates Arrive

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737”s live stream on SkyCable and iWanTV makes its return, albeit in a limited run.

Subscribers of both SkyCable and iWanTV can now access the PBB live stream every Monday to Friday from 7:37 to 10:00 p.m. This was announced via the official Pinoy Big Brother Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Previously, ABS-CBN canceled the PBB live stream amid controversy surrounding the so-called ‘bromance’ between Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez. The incident eventually led to the MTRCB enforcing various sanctions on the reality series, some of which were eventually relaxed as the cast of teen housemates shrink.

The return of the PBB live stream service coincided with the arrival of 12 regular housemates inside the Big Brother house. There was a surprising twist involving one housemate, however.

For the first time ever, a housemate was allowed to bring in his wife and child to the Big Brother house, as Philip Lampart, the ‘Determined Dad ng Australia’, was given this provision by ‘Kuya’. The ensuing task given by ‘Kuya’ was to force the housemates to act as ‘babies’ in order to welcome Philip and his family.

In all, 14 people (not including ‘Kuya’ and the production team) are currently occupying the ‘Bahay ni Kuya’: the 12 housemates plus Philip’s wife and son. Here are the other 11 regular housemates:

  • Charlhone Petro (Ang Soldiers’ Boy ng Pampanga)
  • Krizia Lusuegro (Madiskarteng Inday ng Iloilo)
  • Margo Midwinter (Independent Sweetheart ng Manila)
  • Dawn Chang (Bombshell Baker ng Parañaque)
  • Miho Nishida (Sexy Mommy ng Japan)
  • James Linao (Worldwide Worker ng Surigao)
  • Jyo Yokohama (Mr. Kulit ng Japan)
  • Roger Lutero (Tour Guide Tatay ng Bacolod)
  • Jessica Marasigan (California Dreamgirl ng U.S.A.)
  • Mikee Agustin (Bungisngis Bebot ng Bulacan)
  • Richard Juan (Charming Chinito ng Parañaque)

The entry of the 12 regular housemates came after the announcement of the final four teen housemates. The teen ‘Big Four’ are:

  • Ylona Garcia (Daldal Darling ng Australia)
  • Franco Rodriguez (Totoy Smiley ng Albay)
  • Jimboy Martin (Barrio Rapper ng Nueva Vizcaya)
  • Bailey May (Global Gwapito ng U.K.)

The teen ‘Big Four’ officially left the Big Brother house last August 8 to prepare for the Teen Power: The Kabataang Pinoy Concert Party this August 14, but not before ‘Kuya’ gave them two additional tasks. These involve preparations for the concert, and the selection of which regular housemates they want to send to the Big Brother house first.

For more information on the ongoing ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’, tune in weekdays at 3:45 and 10:00 p.m., and weekends at 9:45 p.m. on ABS-CBN. As mentioned earlier, the PBB: 737 live stream service is available on weekdays from 7:37 to 10:00 p.m., exclusively on SkyCable channel 85 and iWanTV.

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MTRCB Lays Down the Law on PBB: 737

A very different ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ awaits its viewers.

This was after the MTRCB imposed some strict guidelines to the show following complaints that it offended viewer sensibilities. Among these complaints included the controversial ‘bromance’ between 12-year old Bailey May and 18-year old Kenzo Gutierrez.

In a four-page resolution that was signed by the MTRCB, they ordered the producers of PBB: 737 to:

  1. Immediately institute remedial and self-regulatory measures to ensure the protection, welfare and development of all participants, especially minors, as well as the viewing public, a sizable percentage of which is made up of minors
  2. Immediately cease and desist from requiring participants to engage in activities and tasks which may be deemed hazardous to their life and safety
  3. Enter into a strict and close collaborations with the Board, from July 10 until the end of the season
  4. Require all story editors to undergo a ‘Matalinong Panonood’ and audience sensitivity seminar on July 16, 23 and 30 at the MTRCB office
  5. Require ABS-CBN and SkyCable to place an advisory at the beginning of each episode of the three programs, stating that ‘the program may contain sensitive material’ and that ‘viewer discretion is advised’, as long as minor housemates remain present on the show
  6. Elevate the rating classification of PBB: 737 Gold (aired every weekday afternoon) to ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ (SPG), with descriptions of themes, language and sex, from July 10 to the end of the season, or as long as minor housemates remain present; same rule applies to PBB: 737 on Jeepney TV
  7. Limit its application for permit to exhibit to seven episodes per application in order to ensure the correct and proper implementation of the committed remedial and self-regulatory measures
  8. Strictly implement a comprehensive ‘closing-out’ discussion by a subject matter expert after the completion of every task or challenge for the proper understanding of the lesson
  9. Ensure all parallel broadcast of PBB: 737 in cable television and in other media, including social media, shall not be in contravention with the directives and objectives of this order

Even before the MTRCB ruling was made public, ABS-CBN has already shut down the SkyCable and iWanTV livestream of PBB: 737, citing the netizens’ irresponsibility towards the Bailey-Kenzo ‘bromance’ incident. The cancellation took effect a week prior to the meeting between the MTRCB and ABS-CBN executives.

This is not the first time that the MTRCB responded to an incident that took place inside the Big Brother house. Since the first season of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’, there have been similar obscene incidents that earned the ire of the MTRCB, the most recent of which was the nude painting task during last season’s ‘All In’.

That said, the producers of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ should be responsible for the way the housemates, especially those below legal age, are being treated. PBB is among the most-watched programs on Philippine TV today, and any further controversy on the show may hurt its strong viewership.

Hopefully this should serve as a lesson to all other Filipino reality shows, both current and future. After all, no one wants to be offended by something immoral.

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