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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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‘Unreliable’ News TV Strikes Again

GMA’s coverage of Pope Francis in the Philippines only utilized its main station Channel 7, and little of its sister station GMA News TV Channel 11. (Title card courtesy of GMA Network)

Once again, GMA News TV is in the hot seat.

The recent visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines was one of the most highly anticipated in recent history, and a majority of free TV and cable stations in the country were there to extensively cover the event. And yet here is News TV, who, other than a few sporadic updates on the Pope’s visit, was a virtual no-show in the event of such high magnitude.

What they aired instead were their regular programs, that of reruns and old movies. This was in contrast to rival free TV sister stations AksyonTV and ABS-CBN Sports + Action, who managed to cover the event in full even though they were simulcast from their parent networks.

The lack of involvement on the part of News TV is inexcusable. Even though News TV and its parent GMA Network are four channels apart on the VHF band, there should have been a way to give News TV a heavier role, even if it means simulcasting from the parent network.

News TV’s simulcast of Channel 7’s coverage would have benefited viewers, especially those with signal problems on the parent network. It also would have helped enhance News TV’s own reputation, which has been ruined by their radical programming decisions.

Instead, the folks at GMA News decided to use the main Channel 7 in their coverage, leaving News TV useless for the duration of the coverage except for a few minutes of news updates.

So why claim the station as ‘News TV’ when they did not even become involved in this event? And why are they still airing movies and reruns from a previous incarnation? This doesn’t make sense at all.

In the end, News TV’s inability to make their presence felt in a big event like Pope Francis’ visit will continue to haunt them. Sooner or later, GMA executives will need to make a decision regarding News TV, otherwise it will remain in limbo for the foreseeable future.

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No More Sunday Mass for GMA, And It Sucks

Irrelevance on Sundays are becoming a norm for GMA, even in the early mornings.

On the first Sunday of 2015, the first two programs that GMA aired were ‘In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley’ and ‘Jesus The Healer’. What happened next shocked even the most religious of viewers.

Instead of the ‘Family TV Mass’ that is produced by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), GMA brought back ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’, another movie block of theirs. An hour later, ‘Family TV Mass’ returned to its old home, the ever-unreliable IBC-13.

GMA’s decision to remove ‘Family TV Mass’ came at a not-so opportune time. Pope Francis is scheduled to arrive in the Philippines this month, and dropping the ‘Family TV Mass’ is definitely not a good way to appease GMA’s Catholic viewers.

As a result, GMA now airs around four to six movie blocks on a weekend. Aside from ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’, their other movie blocks include ‘Kapuso Movie Night’ ‘Superhero Sunday’, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ (twice or thrice), and ‘Sunday Night Box Office’.

For GMA, it is back to their old ways. The lack of a Sunday TV Mass is once again apparent to the folks inside Timog Avenue, and they are clearly feeling the heat.

Airing ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’ at 6:00 a.m., much like the cartoons that GMA once aired against the TV mass on ABS-CBN and TV5, is an insult and a disrespect to the Christian religion. It’s one thing to air entertainment programs, but airing them this early on a Sunday is just a step too far.

And as far as GMA is concerned, they are becoming more desperate towards ratings than ever before, and it’s not because for a lack of trying.

With the removal of ‘Family TV Mass’, GMA is once again showing its unworthiness to the Catholic religion. And with Pope Francis’ visit looming, things are not looking good for GMA in a religious standpoint.

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