news, Philippines, politics, public affairs, television

Revisiting GMA News TV and Its Epic Failures on SONA Day

This is already becoming a habit.

For GMA News TV, their perceived indifference in important news coverage is undeniable. This was none more apparent than on the day the President of the Philippines delivers his State of the Nation Address.

In almost every year since the network rebranded from QTV in 2011, the tendency for GMA News TV is that they don’t always get involved in the SONA in more ways than one. Whenever the fourth Monday of July comes, all the network does is to air regular programming as if nothing important happens.

For instance, President Rodrigo Duterte’s speech this year started at 5:17 p.m. In the meantime, GMA News TV aired ‘Quick Response Team’ in the midst of the SONA (see video below).

It is understandable that GMA management wants to focus more on Channel 7 when it comes to live coverage of the SONA. But what the management do not realize is the overall purpose of GMA News TV (and of GMA News for that matter), which in the years since its launch has been largely neglected due to extracurricular activities not related to news coverage.

Considering that its rivals from Mother Ignacia (ANC/DZMM TeleRadyo), Shaw Boulevard (CNN Philippines) and Reliance (One News) worked a more extensive analysis on the day of the SONA, it is disgraceful to see GMA News TV stand pat and do almost nothing. It is as if they never wanted to be a news channel in the first place.

Perhaps if GMA News TV becomes a cable channel instead of going to free TV like they do now, such issues would have been mitigated. Such an arrangement would have allowed the channel to go 24/7, use English as the main language and cater to upper class audiences.

Unfortunately, the station is stuck on VHF channel 11 and can only play second banana to channel 7, another VHF station. And to make matters worse, GMA doesn’t even own the former due to broadcast restrictions; ZOE continues to own the channel while GMA only leases airtime.

If they are really that disinterested to remain a news channel, they can just rebrand back to QTV or become GMA+, a secondary entertainment channel of the mother network. Or GMA can just break their lease on Channel 11 and allow ZOE to move Light back to its original channel.

In many ways, GMA News TV is an undependable channel for all things news. What GMA did to this channel is so unglorifying that their boasting as the ‘no. 1 news channel’ does not make sense at all.

And on this SONA day, this channel simply failed to deliver when it mattered most. Shame on them.

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Pusong Ligaw to End Disappointing Run Friday

One of ABS-CBN’s underachievers for 2017 will mercifully end their run this week.

This Friday, the 188-episode run* of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ will come to a conclusion. While the series has had a long run typical of more recent ABS-CBN drama series, it had a rather up-and-down performance in the ratings.

‘Pusong Ligaw’ premiered on April 24, 2017 as the replacement to ‘The Greatest Love’. But instead of airing the series on the latter’s vacated timeslot, ABS-CBN made the decision to air ‘Pusong Ligaw’ as the leadoff drama on Kapamilya Gold, demoting ‘The Better Half’ to the second slot.

Initially, ‘Pusong Ligaw’ performed particularly well, averaging around 17-18% in the ratings during its first few weeks. However, the series’ ratings declined to around 15% by June, and after that it fluctuated between 12 and 15% for the remainder of its run.

One glaring reason for the decline of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ is the emergence of ‘Impostora’, the GMA Afternoon Prime series that premiered last July 3. By August, the latter overtook the former as the second highest-rated afternoon drama in the country, and while ‘Pusong Ligaw’ has had occasional moments of brilliance, ‘Impostora’ essentially dominated the matchup the rest of the way.

It also didn’t help that viewers grew tired of the ‘kabitserye’ formula that ABS-CBN emphasized of late. Let’s face it, the formula is becoming too stale and predictable, and having witnessed a few other successful ABS-CBN dramas that utilized a similar plotline, it was clear that ‘Pusong Ligaw’ simply lacked the punch and ‘it’ factor of previous series.

Nevertheless, despite all these deficiencies and concerns regarding quality, 188 episodes was still quite an achievement for ‘Pusong Ligaw’. For an unproven cast that starred Beauty Gonzalez, Bianca King, Raymond Bagatsing, Joem Bascon, Diego Loyzaga and Sofia Andres, making it through a long series is definitely an experience for a lifetime.

The last five episodes of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ should be one to remember. Amid these disappointments and criticisms, ABS-CBN should remain proud of how this series turned out.

*One episode of ‘Pusong Ligaw’ was reaired due to technical problems, while another episode was preempted due to the State of the Nation Address.

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GMA News TV on a Rebound with Increased Live Coverage

Yesterday's final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

Yesterday’s final House hearing on the Bilibid drug trade was just one of several recent events that GMA News TV was able to air live, a surprise show of commitment to the oft-criticized network. (Screenshot courtesy of Dailymotion and GMA News TV)

The most highly criticized news network in the country is gaining some relevance of late.

GMA News TV saw its stock rise in recent months, as it covered the Senate hearings on extrajudicial killings and the House hearings on the New Bilibid Prisons drug trade. Although their coverage is not as extensive as that of, for example PTV-4 or ABS-CBN News Channel, it was good to see the network finally step up the right way.

In addition to the events at the House of Representatives and the Senate, GMA News TV also committed themselves to air every live address of President Rodrigo Duterte wherever he goes. Of course, as the president is always a priority for live coverage, there have been times that the Senate and House hearings were forced to give way for Duterte.

Such renewed commitment to live coverage was in sharp contrast to the News TV shown during the tenure of President Benigno Aquino III. During his presidency, GMA News TV seemed to be ignorant of his live appearances on a majority of occasions, and this earned the ire of many viewers who wanted a lot more from the said network.

Most House and Senate hearings during Aquino’s tenure were also ignored by News TV. And to make matters worse, the recent visit of Pope Francis and President Aquino’s State of the Nation Addresses were also shunned by News TV as if they were not important events.

That said, it was a surprise to see GMA News TV become all the more committed to show live coverage during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte. With recent events becoming more important than ever, News TV has no choice but to follow every movement as it happens, and this should regain the trust that they lost in the past few years.

Despite this increased devotion to live coverage, GMA News TV still has a lot of holes to address. What will they do with the Koreanovelas, movies, reruns of old news programs and home shopping blocks that have infiltrated their network?

These problems should be the responsibility of Nessa Valdellon, the channel’s head honcho. Let’s just hope that she will follow the footsteps of ABS-CBN News’ Ging Reyes and CNN Philippines’ Armie Jarin-Bennett, and not of News5’s Luchi Cruz-Valdes, in restoring some sense to GMA News TV.

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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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My Mother’s Secret Reprieved for Another Week

‘My Mother’s Secret’ will now end on August 7 with an additional four episodes ordered. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

‘My Mother’s Secret’ has lived to fight another week.

The series was supposed to end Friday, July 31. But with the State of the Nation Address extending beyond its allotted time of two hours, last Monday’s episode of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ was preempted and aired the next day.

Not wanting to end the series on the following Monday, GMA acted on the matter and added another week (or four more episodes) to ‘My Mother’s Secret’. Thus, the series finale will now air next Friday, August 7, and the six-pack Koreanovela plan of the Kapuso network will have to wait.

As noted in a prior article, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ had been a ratings failure for the network, fluctuating within the 10% mark in both AGB Nielsen’s NUTAM and Kantar Media. The series couldn’t beat ABS-CBN’s ‘Pasion de Amor’, whose sexy and lustful theme propelled it to success.

Despite the extension, ‘My Mother’s Secret’ will still fall short of the typical 80 episodes a teleserye takes these days. The series will end with 54 episodes produced, which is not respectable enough by teleserye standards.

With ‘My Mother’s Secret”s extension, its successor ‘Reply 1997’ will now air starting next Monday, August 10. It was supposed to begin this Monday, August 3, and was aimed at an August 4 premiere date if not for ‘My Mother’s Secret”s reluctant extension.

For the viewers of ‘My Mother’s Secret’, this is their last chance to see what fate awaits the actress-turned-reluctant mother (played by Gwen Zamora) and her daughter (played by Kim Rodriguez). The final week of the series should be an interesting one, albeit only for the few and the loyal.

The now-official finale week of ‘My Mother’s Secret’ airs this Monday to Friday at 5:50 p.m., right before ’24 Oras’.

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Koreanovela Overload Continues on GMA

Add a sixth Koreanovela to GMA’s weekday lineup.

In what seems like a new record in Philippine television history, GMA will air six Koreanovelas every weekday beginning this Tuesday, August 4. The latest addition is ‘Reply 1997’, a Koreanovela that reminisces on the good times of teenage life.

The story focuses on six high school buddies who reunite for a dinner after 15 years apart, two of whom would announce their marriage. Throughout the story, flashbacks of their teenage lives will resurface throughout the conversation, switching back and forth between their 18-year-old selves in 1997, and their present selves 15 years later.

‘Reply 1997’ stars Jung Eun-ji, Seo In-guk, Hoya, Shin So-yul, Eun Ji-won, and Lee Si-eon. The series was one of the most popular dramas in Korean television.

The entry of ‘Reply 1997’ continues a downward trend for GMA in terms of programming quality and creativity. As mentioned earlier, GMA will air six Koreanovelas starting this Tuesday, the list of which are as follows:

  1. The Master’s Sun (re-run; airing at 9:40 a.m., replacing Secret Garden)
  2. Two Mothers (airing at 10:10 a.m.)
  3. The King’s Doctor (airing at 10:50 a.m.)
  4. Birth of a Beauty (airing at 5:15 p.m.)
  5. Reply 1997 (airing at 5:50 p.m. starting this Tuesday)
  6. Pinocchio (airing at 9:55 p.m. on Mondays-Thursdays)

With six Koreanovelas at their disposal, it is clear that GMA’s creative nadir is now at its worst point. The inability to produce formidable local programming and their overreliance on importing other countries’ programs are taking its toll on the creative staff.

Worse, ‘Reply 1997’ will face a tough opponent in ABS-CBN’s ‘Pasion de Amor’. The local adaptation of the original Colombian telenovela has been on a ratings tear, and it left its soon-to-be-departing opponent ‘My Mother’s Secret’ in the dust.

The breaking point is now near for GMA. Six Koreanovelas on a weekday won’t help their cause.

Note: ‘My Mother’s Secret’ was scheduled to end tomorrow, July 31. But due to a preemption that was caused by the State of the Nation Address last Monday, the series is now scheduled to finish on Monday, August 3. ‘Reply 1997”s premiere will be moved to Tuesday, August 4.

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