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Has ‘Imbestigador’ Run Its Course?

Recently, ‘Imbestigador’ tried a new format that emphasizes mostly on dramatizations. However, it did little to change its fortunes.

GMA’s long-running public affairs program ‘Imbestigador’ is currently in its 14th year. However, in recent years, ‘Imbestigador’ has been overwhelmed by the popularity of ABS-CBN’s ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and as a result, changed its format to emphasize mostly on murder-related stories and dramatizations.

Which begs the question, ‘Has ‘Imbestigador’ Run Its Course?’

In the beginning, ‘Imbestigador’ was a weekly 30-minute late-night program that aired after GMA’s newscasts. Then it moved to Saturday nights with a one-hour format in hopes of attracting more viewers, before moving to its current Sunday timeslot. By all accounts, ‘Imbestigador”s placing on the Sunday slot seem unusual, considering its rival programs ‘Bitag’ and ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ air on Saturdays.

‘Imbestigador”s peak of popularity came during the mid-2000s. At a time when neither Twitter nor TNS Kantar existed, ‘Imbestigador’ was producing high ratings for the Kapuso network, even rivaling those of ABS-CBN’s other programs. ‘Imbestigador’ proved to be so popular that it led to the cancellation of the long-running ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan’ (which by then was no longer hosted by Noli de Castro), and the move of ‘XXX: Eksklusibong, Explosibong Expose’ to Monday nights.

However, thanks to ABS-CBN’s insertion of reality shows and the sudden popularity of ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, ‘Imbestigador”s ratings began to decline. Eventually, this forced the program to deviate away from its trademark reality documentation of various crimes to mostly dramatizations in the mold of rival program ‘SOCO’. The former were now being handled by another GMA public affairs program ‘Alisto’.

To be honest, ‘Imbestigador”s new format only proved that the show is no longer a viable asset to Sunday night programming. While still averaging around 16% in terms of ratings, it was not enough to put ‘Imbestigador’ back on the hump, as evidenced by the advent of social media and the continued popularity of ABS-CBN’s programs.

Perhaps a move back to Saturdays may help its cause. Or better yet, in the afternoon slot, against ABS-CBN’s ‘SOCO’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’.

Whatever the cause, it is clear that ‘Imbestigador’ had run its course. A change in format and a change in timeslot is what the show needed to breathe some new life, otherwise its days of hunting down criminals through the watchful eyes of Mike Enriquez are being numbered.

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MGB Halloween Specials

‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan”s Halloween specials were a cherished tradition for viewers during Halloween week. Sadly it’s been nearly a decade since the last MGB Halloween episode.

Before Saturday night television viewing was taken over by tearjerkers such as ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya‘ and ‘Magpakailanman‘, news and public affairs programs such as ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho‘, ‘Imbestigador‘ and ‘XXX: Eksklusibong, Explosibong Expose’ were keeping viewers informed during the weekend. But let’s go back to the 90s, and one classic program came to mind.

ABS-CBN‘s ‘Magandang Gabi, Bayan‘ became a standard of excellence for investigative journalism. The program’s title was a trademark of host Noli de Castro, who frequently begins and ends ‘TV Patrol‘ with this phrase, and likewise uses a variation of the phrase whenever he host his DZMM morning program ‘Kabayan, Kapangyarihan ng Mamamayan, Balita at Talakayan’. The program became closely identifiable with de Castro, and was famous for ‘Kabayan”s hard-hitting interviews with various guests, as well as a detailed study at current events and issues that shaped the nation at the time.

However, its most famous tradition was its Halloween specials. In each special, ‘Kabayan’ would discuss urban myths, encounters with the supernatural, horror stories, and even places that were deemed haunted by bad spirits. The MGB Halloween specials became a chilling affair for the viewer, especially when de Castro narrates in his normally baritone voice how each horror tale took place. The specials would continue even after de Castro ran for the Senate in 2001, but its final special aired in 2005, months before MGB was pulled off the air.

When de Castro returned to ABS-CBN after a nine-year run as both a senator and a vice president, he did not convince management to revive MGB. Instead he focused on both ‘TV Patrol’ and his radio program ‘Kabayan’, but in 2011, the traditional MGB Halloween specials returned as a one-off documentary. The special ‘Kababalaghan’ reminded viewers of how the MGB Halloween specials scared the life out of them, especially when de Castro’s baritone turns spookier with every word. The documentary trended on social media when it aired.

It is unknown when another one-off MGB Halloween special will be produced, but one thing is certain: Halloween won’t be the same without Magandang Gabi, Bayan’s Halloween specials.

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