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FTT Year 2017 in Review: The Hot or Not Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part III)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2018, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at some of the Hot or Not moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part III of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

HOT: Ang Probinsyano

Year II of ‘Ang Probinsyano’ was no different from Year I. Despite questions surrounding its quality for a series that has run for two years and counting, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ continued to dominate the primetime landscape, often reaching 40% or better some nights.

Even as the likes of Maja Salvador, Bela Padilla and Albert Martinez depart, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ soldiered on with new additions such as former GMA stars Aljur Abrenica and Louise delos Reyes. The series was also rewarded with yet another extension that will last until an undetermined date in 2018 (barring another extension).

NOT: Ang Probinsyano’s Opponents

Meanwhile, four different opponents from the Kapuso network tried to take down ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its lengthy run of excellence. Unfortunately, neither ‘Encantadia’, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’, ‘Mulawin vs. Ravena’ nor ‘Super Ma’am’ were able to take Coco Martin and company down.

None of the four teleseryes breached the 20% mark and worse, the disparity between ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and its opponent is around 20% or better. With such a large deficit GMA should start thinking of a new strategy this early or wait for ‘Ang Probinsyano’ to end in order to take advantage of this new opportunity (too bad there’s no end date yet).

HOT: 2016 Miss Universe

The 2016 Miss Universe was held in the Philippines last January 30 and was simulcast on ABS-CBN, TV5, GMA and Solar Entertainment channels. The collaboration marked just the second time that an event of national interest was aired in unison among the country’s broadcast giants; the last being the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather boxing fight two years ago.

France’s Iris Mittenaere was crowned the 2016 Miss Universe while the host’s representative Maxine Medina finished among the top 6. However, she was unable to complete an entire year’s reign as this year’s Miss Universe was held last November 26 with South Africa’s Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters winning the said pageant.

NOT: Pacquiao vs. Horn and the sport of boxing

The declining interest in Manny Pacquiao continued as he fought Jeff Horn in July. The end result was a unanimous decision victory for Horn, some bloodshot eyes from Pacquiao and lukewarm reception from boxing fans in the country.

It was a poor year overall for boxing on Philippine television. Despite the efforts of ALA Promotions to promote the sport via its Pinoy Pride series, the year saw the end of ABS-CBN Sports’ partnership with Top Rank Boxing (coinciding with Nonito Donaire ending ties with Bob Arum’s promotion) and the expected cancellation of ‘Blow by Blow’ on TV5.

HOT: Magandang Buhay

2017 proved to be a coming-out party of sorts for ‘Magandang Buhay’ as the show became a ratings hit each and every morning. The news is an encouraging one for ABS-CBN despite the fact that the show airs at 8:00 a.m., which is typically ‘dead’ time for viewership.

With the trio of Melai Cantiveros, Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada, plus some impressive selection of guests, it is no secret that this talk show has become the talk of the town. With all due respect to Kris Aquino, the trio of Melai, Jolina and Karla should now inherit the ‘queens of talk’ mantra considering ‘Magandang Buhay”s success.

NOT: GMA’s Animes and The Lolas’ Beautiful Show

The traditional morning powerhouse that is GMA’s Astig Authority suddenly became vulnerable with the rise of ‘Magandang Buhay’. Even though the network redubbed ‘Voltes V’ and ‘Daimos’ this year with a host of celebrities from their stable, it failed to prevent the inevitable.

One talk show that would have helped is ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’, hosted by Wally Bayola, Jose Manalo and Paolo Ballesteros in their alter-egos as Nidora, Tinidora and Tidora. However, the show’s status as a TAPE-produced show (TAPE programs are only allowed an 11:30-2:30 timeslot on GMA most afternoons) prevented it from seriously challenging ‘Magandang Buhay’.

It also didn’t help that ‘The Lolas’ Beautiful Show’ is losing to the morning drama ‘Ikaw Lang ang Iibigin’ on a regular basis. Perhaps GMA should loosen the reins a bit to give the lolas of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a chance to go up against the momshies of ‘Magandang Buhay’.

HOT: ABS-CBN Reality/Talent Shows

Reality and talent shows continue to give ABS-CBN plenty of reasons to celebrate. This year’s winners are:

Pinoy Big Brother Lucky 7 – Maymay Entrata

Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids – Awra Briguela

I Can Do That – Wacky Kiray

The Voice Teens Philippines – Jona Soquite

Currently on the network’s weekend primetime menu are ‘Little Big Shots’ and ‘I Can See Your Voice’, both of which continue to excel and trend among viewers. If 2018 is of any indication, then even more excitement awaits ABS-CBN as it introduces either new seasons of existing reality/talent shows or new programs.

NOT: All-Star Videoke

A poor man’s version of the popular ‘All-Star K’ was introduced to GMA last September. Unfortunately, ‘All-Star Videoke’ failed to live up to the standards of its more successful sibling.

GMA could have used this opportunity to bring back ‘Lip-Sync Battle Philippines’ or acquire ‘Killer Karaoke’. Instead, they rehashed an original Filipino concept that did not work out, and with all due respect to Betong Sumaya and Solenn Heussaff, they are no Allan K and Jaya in that regard.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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What Happened to ABS-CBN Sports’ Top Rank Boxing?

An eight-year relationship came to an end when Top Rank Boxing ceased to air on ABS-CBN’s S+A earlier this month. (Logo courtesy of Top Rank)

A long-time ally of ABS-CBN Sports has called it quits.

On March 5, ABS-CBN Sports quietly cancelled the long-running boxing show ‘Top Rank Boxing’ off the network’s S+A channel. The announcement came shortly before the promotion decided to cease ties with Nonito Donaire after an eight-year relationship.

It can be recalled that in late 2009, ABS-CBN Sports and Top Rank joined forces in a broadcast deal that would showcase the latter’s top fighters. This resulted in ‘Top Rank Boxing’, a program that soon became a staple on Channel 23’s two iterations (Studio 23, ABS-CBN Sports+Action/S+A).

Airing every Sunday afternoon, ‘Top Rank Boxing’ gave boxing fans a peek at the promotion’s current and future stars. The show was hosted by Anton Roxas and Atty. Ed Tolentino for a majority of its seven-year run.

While most of the fights on the show were previously recorded, there were some occasions where a fight card was shown on a delayed basis. Not only that, some editions of ‘Top Rank Boxing’ were aired on ABS-CBN Channel 2, particularly the fights involving Nonito Donaire.

Despite its premise of showing the best fighters, there was one top boxer with which ABS-CBN Sports has no rights to. Manny Pacquiao, considered to be Top Rank’s biggest asset, has broadcast ties with both Solar Sports and GMA Network, thus prohibiting ABS-CBN from showcasing the Pacman.

Solar and GMA’s deal with Pacquiao also prevented ABS-CBN from airing Nonito Donaire’s final fight as a Top Rank fighter on November 6, when he fought Jessie Magdaleno in a losing effort. Despite that, ABS-CBN did air a Pacquiao fight when it showcased the mega-bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015 alongside TV5, GMA and Solar Sports.

With the cancellation of ‘Top Rank Boxing’, ABS-CBN Sports’ focus on the sport will shift full-time to Michael Aldeguer’s ALA Promotions. The ‘Pinoy Pride’ series, which continues to take place on certain dates of the year, will remain on the ABS-CBN Sports’ roster of programs.

As for Nonito Donaire, good luck in finding a new promoter. One can only hope that his fights will continue to air on Channel 2 for a foreseeable future, regardless of which promotion he ends up.

So long, ‘Top Rank Boxing. The Kapamilya boxing fans will miss you.

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Is ABS-CBN Set to Join GMA and TV5’s Bandwagon?

A re-run of ‘The Heirs’ will air this Sunday morning on ABS-CBN.

In recent years, ABS-CBN has stayed away from airing re-runs of teleseryes and dubbing foreign films in the Filipino language. But when they aired ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino last week, it appears as if ABS-CBN has joined the bandwagon that was started by their rivals TV5 and GMA.

Soon after, ABS-CBN followed the lead of its arch-rival thanks to this announcement.

ABS-CBN decided to air a ‘Royal Rewind’ of ‘The Heirs’, the hit Koreanovela starring Lee Min Ho, beginning this Sunday. This was in response to GMA’s highly-rated re-run of ‘My Love from the Star’, which outrated the NBA Playoffs, Pinoy Pride and Nonito Donaire boxing matches, and Kapamilya Blockbusters on the same timeslot.

Curiously, neither program air on the same timeslot during weekdays. ‘The Heirs’ is matched up against the re-run of ‘Jewel in the Palace’, while ‘My Love from the Star’ opposes ‘Mirabella’.

The re-run of ‘The Heirs’ is basically a retaliation made by ABS-CBN. GMA, for their part, has capitalized on the former’s delayed broadcast of sporting events to gain some high ratings for ‘My Love from the Star’, unlike before when their Tagalized movies in the morning rate less than ABS-CBN’s. And it was only logical, since people with internet connection would know the results in real time.

But with the NBA season about to end, and with the next ‘Pinoy Pride’ still a few months away, ABS-CBN decided to retaliate by counterprogramming GMA’s Asianovela with one of their own, all for the sake of getting high ratings on the timeslot they failed to dominate of late. If this is one of those ‘bandwagon’ acts that ABS-CBN committed, so be it.

Going back to ABS-CBN’s airing of ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino, it is rare to have the network air a movie on Sunday nights. After all, 3/4 of ‘Sunday’s Best’ broadcasts is concentrated on concerts, live events and documentaries. But when they aired ‘Transporter 3’ in Filipino last week, it was a stab in the back, considering that the network has avoided the same route as TV5 and GMA’s ‘masa’-oriented English-language films.

For ABS-CBN, it is a matter of staying away from the rivals’ desperation tactics. Even though the network is now the undisputed No. 1 ratings-wise, viewers can only hope that the Kapamilya network will continue to stick to what works best, and that is airing unique programs that will appeal to all classes.

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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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Introducing ABS-CBN Sports + Action

ABS-CBN Sports + Action will make its on-air debut tomorrow, replacing Studio 23.

Channel 23 on the UHF band has a new name. It was announced during a press conference in Makati yesterday morning that the name of the said channel will be called ABS-CBN Sports + Action, and the programming content will feature mostly sports, with occasional sprinkling of news and action series in between.

The new network will officially debut tomorrow. And as a preview of things to come, Channel 23 is currently airing replays of sporting events that occurred in the past year, along with a delayed broadcast of the UEFA Champions League and UAAP men’s football.

ABS-CBN Sports + Action will air a wide variety of sporting events, ranging from the UAAP, Philippine Azkals, Pinoy Pride and Top Rank Boxing to the NBA, UEFA, UFC and the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup. In addition, they will also produce a 15-minute sports roundup called ‘The Score’, and a 30-minute discussion-based newscast called ‘News +’.

Carrying over from Studio 23 are action-based drama series such as ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ and ‘NCIS’, as well as the movies from Fernando Poe, Jr.’s film library and WWE programs. The network will also dabble into reality programming with ‘The Ultimate Fighter’.

With the unveiling of ABS-CBN Sports + Action, viewers can expect a lot of sports coverage from all corners. And it should also serve notice to other competitors who will try to emulate the new style of the said network.

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FTT Year 2013 in Review: ABS-CBN

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 ABS-CBN, who dominated television ratings all year.

The Positives

Everything went right for ABS-CBN. And it showed in its weekday offerings. Primetime Bida teleseryes dominated the Kantar ratings, led by the year’s top-rated series ‘Juan dela Cruz’. ‘TV Patrol’ remains the most preferred evening newscast, while ‘Showtime’ introduced the most talked-about ‘That’s My Tomboy’ and ‘Kalokalike’ segments that propelled them atop the noontime pyramid. And thanks to the highly-anticipated November wedding between Maya (Jodi Sta. Maria) and Richard ‘Ser Chief’ (Richard Yap), ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ continued to lord over the late morning slot.

The Kapamilya network continued to rack up ratings victories on weekends, aided by its reality competition shows ‘The Voice of the Philippines’, ‘Masterchef Pinoy Edition’, and ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’. Also helping their cause were the long-running anthology ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ and game shows such as ‘Bet on Your Baby’ and ‘Kapamilya Deal or No Deal‘. ‘Gandang Gabi Vice‘ and ‘ASAP’ remain the most talked-about shows on social media.

Even its sports offerings beat the competition. The Miami-San Antonio NBA Finals and the La Salle-UST UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals scored big in the ratings and in the hearts of netizens. The network also continued to showcase top-notch boxing matches such as the ‘Pinoy Pride’ series and fights featuring Nonito Donaire.

The Negatives

While they were able to enjoy high ratings on primetime, there were still some shows that ended up lasting less than half a year. Examples include ‘Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin‘, ‘Apoy sa Dagat‘ and ‘Muling Buksan ang Puso’, whose storylines required only at least four months of airing. Also getting the ax were the sitcom ‘Toda Max’, after lead star Robin Padilla reportedly left, and ‘The Buzz’, which was reformatted as ‘Buzz ng Bayan’. ABS-CBN’s programs were likewise not spared from MTRCB’s iron hands, as ‘ASAP’ was reprimanded in February for Anne Curtis’ sensual outfit and performance.

ABS-CBN personalities were also involved in various controversies. ‘Kris TV‘ was nearly cancelled when its host Kris Aquino announced her resignation after getting embroiled in a custody case with then-husband James Yap for their son Bimby. However, a month later, Aquino announced that she would only take a ‘leave of absence’ in June. As of now, ‘Kris TV’ continues to air in the morning slot.

And last November, Korina Sanchez criticized CNN’s Anderson Cooper regarding the latter’s report about the slow delivery of goods to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda). As a result of the negative reaction she received from netizens, Sanchez took a ‘leave of absence’ before returning to duty a month later.

Outlook

ABS-CBN capped off the year by showcasing the love team of Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla on ‘Got to Believe’, young child star Raikko Mateo on ‘Honesto’, and budding star Jessy Mendiola on ‘Maria Mercedes’. For 2014, they are expected to introduce another potential star in Julia Barretto on ‘Mirabella’. Going forward, ABS-CBN is poised for another banner year, and as long as their products continue to entice audiences, ABS-CBN will remain the country’s top network.

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