Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Tipid Mode: ABS-CBN’s Call of NBA Finals No Longer On-Site in Recent Years

Talk about cutting costs.

In case no one has paid attention yet, the Filipino-language commentary of the 2018 NBA Finals on ABS-CBN Channel 2 is currently held inside the network’s studios in Quezon City. No, not in Oakland, California or in Cleveland, Ohio.

Unless you’re TJ Manotoc who made the trip to the U.S. alone for the past five years (this year’s Finals will be his first since getting the call to join ABS-CBN’s North America Bureau), the commentators have stayed home for the most part. And there are reasons why they were no longer required to take the trip stateside to call the Finals.

First off, there are concerns surrounding budget. Considering the network’s long-term vision of digitalization, anything that involves plane tickets, hotel reservations, visas and working permits for at least a three-week trip may be too much of a burden for ABS-CBN.

It also did not help that the NBA returned to a 2-2-1-1-1 setup for the Finals starting in 2014. Going back and forth to different cities between Games 4-7 only adds to the cost.

Next, ABS-CBN is on a tight schedule. They made the NBA Finals available in both Channel 2 and S+A (and in different commentary languages) for this particular reason because the former has a strict schedule to follow, whereas the latter has greater flexibility with it.

In the case of overtime games like what happened in Game 1 last Friday, Channel 2 immediately ended its broadcast within minutes of the final buzzer in order to make way for ‘Sana Dalawa ang Puso’. This means that the local commentators would have no choice but to immediately bid farewell rather than dive deeper into the game.

And finally, ABS-CBN changed its commentary approach in the Finals in order to appeal to the masses. Which is why, whether traditional basketball viewers liked it or not, they hired Benjie Paras to join alongside Ronnie Magsanoc and Boom Gonzalez in order to describe the game in a simpler manner to fit the average Filipino’s needs.

Sending this trio stateside may be awkward to begin with considering their more liberal and oftentimes unorthodox style of commentary. But they were promoted to call the Finals for a reason: to make the NBA game easier for Filipino masses to understand.

With all due respect to the likes of Quinito Henson and Andy Jao (who were the first to actually call an NBA Finals direct from the U.S.), times are really changing. And ABS-CBN’s rather radical decision to stay home than call the Finals stateside may be their wisest decision yet considering their plans for the long-term.

People may not like this new approach but there is no other option. ABS-CBN is thinking about the future, and viewers must understand it.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

A Reaction to the Promotion of Sen. Tito Sotto to the Senate Presidency

Welcome to the ‘Tito Sen’ era.

Monday afternoon marked a changing of the guard at the Senate, as erstwhile Senate President Koko Pimentel relinquished his position in favor of Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III. The long-time senator/entertainer will now take on a more arduous task of leading the Senate for the next several years.

It also means that ‘Tito Sen’, as his co-hosts at ‘Eat Bulaga’ call him, will no longer join his fellow Dabarkads at the said noontime show for an indefinite time period. Given the many responsibilities of a Senate President, it was only fitting for Sotto to leave ‘Eat Bulaga’ since he would stay busy even during days without Senate sessions.

Sotto, nearing 70, has served a total of four terms as Senator. He had been elected to the Senate on four different occasions: 1992, 1998, 2010 and 2016.

The selection of Tito Sotto as Senate President earned mostly negative reactions from netizens. Most of them cite some of Sotto’s most controversial moments as both an entertainer and senator; namely the Pepsi Paloma rape scandal in the 1980s, the plagiarized RH Bill speech in 2012, and the ‘na-ano’ statement to Judy Taguiwalo in 2017.

But in the defense of some, Sotto has a track record that is more than enough to justify his ascendance atop the Senate. Aside from his four terms as Senator (this made him the longest-tenured current Senator by service time), he also served as Quezon City Vice Mayor from 1988-92, and was part of the Dangerous Drugs Board from 2008-09.

In addition, Sotto belongs to an influential family, some of whom also dabbled into politics. His grandfather, Vicente Yap Sotto, served at the Senate from 1946-50, his children Gian and Lala currently serve as Quezon City councilors, and nephew Vico (son of Vic Sotto and Coney Reyes) is currently a Pasig City councilor.

The negatives that come with Tito Sotto may be an overreaction to his recurring role as an entertainer. After all, politicians with showbiz backgrounds tend to carry greater scrutiny than those who come from other fields (see Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada).

However, in the case of Tito Sotto, these controversies were just minor bumps to an otherwise distinguished mark in public service. People may like it or not, but until another changing of the guard takes place, the Senate Presidency will belong to one Vicente Sotto III.

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entertainment, news, Philippines, television

In 100 Words: TV5 to Still Hold New Year’s Countdown Despite Financial Troubles

There is still some semblance of life within TV5.

Despite the obvious shortcomings that the network endured in the second half of this year, Chot Reyes and company are still planning to end the year with a bang. Thus TV5 decided to hold another New Year’s countdown at the Quezon Memorial Circle, hoping that a fresh start will reenergize the network’s fortunes.

The memorandum of understanding was signed earlier today, with no less than CEO Chot Reyes and Quezon City mayor Herbert Bautista on hand for the agreement. The title of the special will be ‘Game Tayo sa 2017!’.

Unfortunately, the special will not be as star-studded as years past. Still, TV5’s intent on starting the new year on a good note, with the aim towards a different programming style, is a clear sign that the network is moving forward.

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entertainment, Philippines, television, variety show

AlDub ‘Wedding’ Catapaults Eat Bulaga to Victory

The ‘wedding’ between Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards became a must-watch.

On Saturday, October 22, ‘Eat Bulaga’ presented a special edition of the newly-revived Kalyeserye segment. The emphasis of the three-hour episode was on the aforementioned ‘wedding’ between Maine and Alden’s characters, which was set inside Christ the King Church in Quezon City.

The ‘wedding’ featured numerous special guests, such as Ai-Ai delas Alas (in her Lola Babah character), Jake Ejercito, Mike Enriquez, Rodjun Cruz, Helen Gamboa and Irma Adlawan. As always, the ‘Eat Bulaga’ hosts played special roles in the event, which included a rare appearance of Vic Sotto’s Dodong character.

The seemingly realistic marriage between the two had been carefully prepared throughout the week, from the pre-nuptial shoots and bridal showers to the proposals for Maine’s wedding gown. The skits even went as far as preparing an invitation to the said ‘wedding’, and inviting Liz Uy and Jason Magbanua to play key roles.

The ‘wedding’ itself took over an hour to complete, a majority of which were spent without commercial interruption. Near the end of the segment, however, Lola Nidora (played by Wally Bayola) fainted in the midst of Alden and Maine’s exchange of I dos, prompting ‘Eat Bulaga’ to take a commercial break in order to add drama.

Despite the incident, Lola Nidora was able to regain consciousness, and the ‘wedding’ proper eventually pushed through without further incident. In the end, Maine and Alden left the episode as a ‘married’ couple.

The episode, which took place nearly a year after the successful Sa Tamang Panahon event, gave ‘Eat Bulaga’ a rare victory in Kantar’s national ratings, as it barely finished o.1% above ‘It’s Showtime”s figures.  More importantly, netizens took the hashtag #AlDubWedding to one of the top global trending spots on Twitter, with over five million tweets.

Considering that the show has been struggling to remain relevant in the months after Sa Tamang Panahon, this episode was in many ways a shot of adrenaline. Still, not even a rare victory can satisfy any AlDub fan, or whoever’s left of the once-highly popular fanbase, as they try to rekindle the tandem’s glory days.

At least there are still ‘Eat Bulaga’ loyalists who have supported the show even before Alden and Maine came aboard. As long as they’re here, ‘Eat Bulaga’ will still enjoy some moral victories, no matter how small it becomes.

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entertainment, Philippines, reality show, television

Pinoy Big Brother Needs Fill-In Hosts Amid Toni and Mariel Pregnancy Leave

Toni Gonzaga-Soriano and Mariel Rodriguez-Padilla are both pregnant.

Both are expected to take a maternity leave, and as a result, they have no choice but relinquish their hosting duties on ‘Pinoy Big Brother’: Lucky 7. That said, ABS-CBN must figure out a way to spread the hosting workload for the reality show while Toni and Mariel are tending to their soon-to-be offspring.

With the two out of the picture, only Robi Domingo and Bianca Gonzalez-Intal are left to shoulder the burden. So where will ABS-CBN go at this point?

They could consider Toni’s sister Alex Gonzaga to fill in for her. After all, she had hosting experience of her own, having hosted ‘ASAP’ on a regular basis, and more recently played the same role on season 2 of ‘The Voice Kids’.

They could also use Billy Crawford as well, whose prior hosting experience may be an asset. Or they may consider Anne Curtis, whose only hosting job at this point is on ‘It’s Showtime’.

Overall, ABS-CBN has a vast reservoir of talents who can also be capable host. But it will be up to them to decide on who will fill in for both Toni and Mariel.

Meanwhile, ‘Pinoy Big Brother’: Lucky 7 introduced a new set of teen housemates shortly after returning to Manila earlier this week. They are:

  • Maymay Entrata
  • Rita Gabiola
  • Kisses Delavin
  • Edward Barber
  • Aizan Perez
  • Vivoree Esclito
  • Marco Gallo
  • Christian Morones
  • Fenech Velloso
  • Yong Mujahil
  • Kristine Hammond
  • Heaven Peralejo

The 12 teen housemates join the ‘Lucky 2 Stars’ Jinri Park and Hashtags McCoy de Leon and Nikko Natividad inside the refurbished Big Brother house in Quezon City. Over time, however, some of the teen housemates will either be evicted or leave for personal reasons to make way for the regular ones, which will be announced soon.

‘Pinoy Big Brother’ season 7 currently airs weeknights after ‘Born for You’, Saturdays after ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, and Sundays after ‘Rated K’ on ABS-CBN. An afternoon edition also airs weekdays after ‘Tubig at Langis’, except for select regional areas.

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news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Coming Soon: ANC HD on SkyCable

The ever-innovative ABS-CBN News Channel will have its own HD channel coming soon. (Logo courtesy of ABS-CBN)

ABS-CBN is launching a third HD channel soon.

After giving the flagship Channel 2 and Sports+Action its own HD channel (available exclusively on SkyCable), the network finally decided that the time is right for the ABS-CBN News Channel to have an HD channel as well. This announcement took place yesterday in a press conference inside the ABS-CBN Broadcast Center in Quezon City.

According to Integrated News and Current Affairs head Ging Reyes, the impending launch of ANC HD should cement its position as the gold standard and primary source for Philippine news and analysis for the country’s business and political leaders. She then voiced her thoughts on ANC HD and the channel in general in the statement below.

This is what ANC has continuously strived to be: the best, most reliable, and prestigious English language, all-news channel in the Philippines. There is still a lot more in store for ANC, as we mark twenty years this coming May. Stay tuned for these exciting developments.

Indeed they still have a lot more in store, as two months from now the 2016 national elections will take place. And ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs will have all of it covered, from the campaign period to the day of the voting and eventually the final results.

With the impending launch of ANC HD, how will this affect the news programming of Channel 2 and the Regional Network Group? While ABS-CBN Channel 2 has its own HD channel, some of its news programming (e.g. ‘TV Patrol’) are still shot in standard definition, and as a result, they are still considered a work in progress.

That said, it may take awhile for the ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs to embrace the high definition platform full-time. For now, patience is of the virtue, and for a network that has pioneered HD broadcasting in the country, there is still time to make it all happen.

The assigned channel of ANC HD on SkyCable will be revealed soon. Stay tuned for further details.

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