entertainment, game show, Philippines, television, variety show

Is Willie’s Sunday show at 3:30 a good or a bad move?

Willie Revillame officially joins GMA, with an upcoming game show slated for a Sunday timeslot to premiere this April. More on this article.

Timow's Turf

Willie Revillame's return is at hand on free TV. Will his new show on GMA be the last hope for him or be the return to his wicked ways? Willie Revillame’s return is near at hand on free TV. Will his new show on GMA be the last hope for him or be the return to his wicked ways?

ALMOST FOUR MONTHS ago, the Turf published that the homecoming and eventual reinstatement of Willie Revillame on GMA would come into fruition after about two decades. However, the Philippine Daily Inquirer‘s Sunday lifestyle article published otherwise.

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1995 Flashback: APO Out, ASAP In

Some of the ‘ASAP’ logos that were used throughout the show’s run. (Logos courtesy of ABS-CBN)

1995 was a memorable year in Philippine television. As part of a year-long special, From the Tube will look back at a year full of historical debuts, unforgettable moments, and celebrated feats in the history of television in the country.

This week will mark the 20th anniversary of the longest-running Sunday afternoon variety show in the country.

‘All-Star Sunday Afternoon Party’, better known as ‘ASAP’, debuted on ABS-CBN on February 5, 1995. The show was created in the wake of predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila”s move to weekdays as ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’ following the move of TAPE, Inc.’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ to GMA.

‘ASAP’ did not follow the precedent of its predecessor ‘Sa Linggo nAPO Sila’, which in many ways was an extension of ‘Eat Bulaga’ up to this point. Instead, it was conceptualized as a ‘concert party’ on Sundays, which means that the performances of ABS-CBN’s contract artists would dominate the show.

For the first two years of its run, ‘ASAP’ competed against ‘GMA Supershow’, then the top-rated show on Sunday afternoons. But on February 2, 1997, ‘SOP’ replaced the latter, setting off a heated rivalry between the two shows that lasted 13 years, mostly resulting in ‘SOP’ winning the ratings battle.

In 2003, ‘ASAP’ was renamed ‘ASAP Mania’, in response to ‘SOP”s rebrand as ‘SOP Rules’. A year later, the two competing shows launched their own spinoffs in ‘ASAP Fanatic’ and ‘SOP Gigsters’, during the height of popularity between rival talent search shows ‘Star Circle Quest’ and ‘StarStruck’.

‘ASAP Mania’ then reverted back to ‘ASAP’ in 2005, and other than the minor name changes such as ‘ASAP Rocks’ and ‘ASAP (year/anniversary)’, the show retained the ‘ASAP’ name for the remainder of its run.

The rivalry between ‘ASAP’ and ‘SOP’ came to an end on February 28, 2010, when ‘SOP’ aired its final episode. By then, ‘ASAP’ had taken over the No. 1 spot, and it would stay there for good despite the best efforts of GMA to replace ‘SOP’ with ‘Party Pilipinas’ and ‘Sunday All-Stars’.

Today, ‘ASAP’ remains the benchmark to which all Sunday afternoon variety shows are measured. With a run of 20 years and counting, it easily surpasses former rival ‘GMA Supershow’ in that regard, and remains atop the ratings game thanks to their mix of high-energy performances and top-notch studio sets.

Now what happened to ”Sang Linggo nAPO Sila’? The reformatted weekday show only managed to air for another three years, after which it was replaced by ‘Magandang Tanghali, Bayan’. The APO Hiking Society, for whom the show was named after, then returned full-time to the music industry before disbanding in 2010.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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FTT Year 2014 in Review: GMA

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on the GMA Network, who endured yet another frustrating year.

Positives

In a year where anything could go wrong, only a few bright spots remained on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

GMA’s Afternoon Prime emerged as the network’s top performer on weekdays, with ‘Villa Quintana’ and its successor ‘The Half Sisters’ leading the way. Also enjoying impressive performances were ‘The Borrowed Wife’, ‘Yagit’, ‘Innamorata’ and ‘Ang Lihim ni Annasandra’.

Afternoon Prime’s predecessor ‘Eat Bulaga’ remained a force on noontime, gaining some notoriety for its ‘Suffer Sireyna’ segment. Fellow long-running programs ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’ also continued to impress viewers.

Perhaps the most welcome sight on the Kapuso network this year was the return of the Sunday TV Mass after a four-year absence. In response to criticisms that GMA was biased towards Catholics, they got the services of Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI) to broadcast the weekly mass every Sunday morning, thus appeasing their Catholic viewers for now.

And finally, GMA earned numerous awards in both local and international award-giving bodies. GMA News and Public Affairs, in particular, continued to garner praise for its excellent journalistic work by winning another Peabody Award, in addition to numerous New York Festival awards.

Negatives

If there is one network who deserves much of the blame for its failures, it is GMA. And 2014 was just another tough year for the No. 2 network.

GMA Telebabad continued to be an underwhelming performer for the Kapuso network. Virtually every teleserye GMA threw at its disposal failed to make an impact, including the four-week long historical drama series ‘Ilustrado’, who performed badly against its rivals from Mother Ignacia.

The 19-year old ‘Startalk’ also underperformed this year, with timeslot changes to blame for its poor performance. Neither a return to Sundays (vs. ‘Buzz ng Bayan’/’The Buzz’), nor a transfer back to Saturdays (vs. ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’) helped ‘Startalk”s performance this year.

An ongoing purge to GMA’s weekend programming proved to be not as tense as last year, although the slumping ‘Sunday All Stars’, a clear candidate for cancellation, moved to a later time to avoid ‘ASAP’. Three movie blocks on Sundays, along with ‘Asian Horror Stories’ on Saturdays, did not help GMA at all.

Being the king at answering ABS-CBN’s every move, GMA countered ‘Meteor Garden’ and other Kapamilya throwback Asianovelas by re-airing ‘Jewel in the Palace’, ‘Coffee Prince’ and others, none of which were successful. GMA also countered ABS-CBN by airing ‘Marian’, ‘Bet ng Bayan’ and ‘Don’t Lose the Money’ versus its rival’s programs, again to negative results.

Controversy also affected GMA in 2014. Both Aljur Abrenica and embattled GMA employees under the name ‘Talents Association of GMA’ filed lawsuits against the network for various complaints, while Sen. Bong Revilla’s arrest due to the PDAF scandal prompted the network to cancel ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to avoid any negative publicity.

Overall, it was an abysmal year for GMA, both in terms of ratings, financial performance, and standards of quality.

Outlook

Ramon Ang may have taken some of the shares, but GMA’s fortunes continue to revolve around their aging pair of owners in Felipe Gozon and Gilberto Duavit. So expect another difficult and trying year on the corner of EDSA and Timog Avenue.

‘Second Chances’, a long-overdue series, will kick off GMA’s slate of new programs this 2015, but it remains to be seen whether or not will there be second chances for the said network this year. One thing’s for sure: a wild ride continues for the men and women inside the GMA Network Center.

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Another Weekend Shuffle on GMA

Sen. Bong Revilla’s ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ is moving to the Sunday morning slot, one of several changes that GMA implemented on its weekend lineup.

GMA’s ‘Startalk’, the longest-running showbiz talk show, returns to the Saturday slot at 3:30 p.m. today. However, the move of ‘Startalk’ is just one of several lineup changes made to GMA’s weekend slate of programs.

Suspense series ‘Tales of Horror’ will air every Saturday and Sunday. The series is basically similar to another GMA program in ‘Asian Horror Stories’ (formerly ‘True Horror Stories’), in which horror flicks are featured. ‘Tales of Horror’ airs every Saturday after ‘Eat Bulaga’ and before ‘Startalk’, and every Sunday after ‘Asian Horror Stories’ and before ’24 Oras Weekend’.

Sitcom ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ will now air after ’24 Oras Weekend’, as the game show ‘Picture Picture’ moves to Sunday nights following the said newscast. An earlier timeslot for ‘Vampire’ means that the ABS-CBN sitcom ‘Home Sweetie Home’ will now face the Vic Sotto-starred sitcom every night, while ‘Picture Picture’ will be up against ‘Goin’ Bulilit’.

Movie block ‘GMA Blockbusters’ moves from Saturday afternoons to replace both ‘Picture Picture’ and ‘Reporters’ Notebook’. The movie block airs after ‘Vampire ang Daddy Ko’ and before ‘Magpakailanman’. Meanwhile, ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ was moved to Thursday afternoons in GMA’s ‘Afternoon Prime’ block, leaving ‘I-Witness’ as the sole Saturday night public affairs program.

And finally, the educational program ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ has found a new timeslot. The Bong Revilla-hosted program will now be seen on Sunday mornings, as part of a quartet of educational programs that include ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’, and ‘I-Bilib’.

Looking at GMA’s weekend programming lineup, there are some strong and weak points to consider. Moving ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’ to Sunday mornings will be a huge boost for the program, as it will now attract young and informative viewers. And with ‘Aha!’, ‘Born to Be Wild’ and ‘I-Bilib’ preceding it, viewership of ‘Kap’s’ will definitely help its cause.

Over at the nighttime slot, an additional hour of ‘Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho’, while not favorable to some, will benefit a portion of the viewers who are in need of more intelligent programming. ‘KMJS’, one of GMA’s stronger programs, is up against ABS-CBN’s ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Rated K’, and ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’.

Meanwhile, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ and ‘Tales of Horror’ are intended to by the network as ‘stopgap programs’, meaning they currently air on a short-term basis while a new program is in the works. In the case of Sunday’s edition of ‘Tales of Horror’, its possible replacement may be an upcoming dance program featuring Marian Rivera.

And then there is ‘Sunday All-Stars’, now relegated to 1:50 p.m. after the transfer of ‘Kap’s Amazing Stories’. Having reduced its airtime and crew, it is clear that ‘Sunday All-Stars’ is nowhere close to the level that ‘ASAP’ currently enjoys. And a later timeslot only makes the situation even worse.

In what has become a recurring theme in the last few years, GMA restructures its weekend lineup in hopes of gaining viewers’ interest. And again, will this new lineup pay off? Only time will tell.

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Sunday All Stars Revamp as Ratings Fall; PBB All-In Criticized

As ABS-CBN’s ‘ASAP’ continue to dominate Sunday afternoon viewership and social media impact, rival ‘Sunday All Stars’ of GMA Network decided to once again change its format. This was according to a news report from LionhearTV.

The newly-reformatted ‘Sunday All Stars’  now airs for only 90 minutes, while moving its airtime to 1:00 p.m. But what made the show so different these days was the absence of several of its mainstays, such as Jay-R, Frencheska Farr and Yassi Pressman. Jay-R, in particular, was disappointed about the reformat that he made his departure public via a tweet to one of his fans.

The report also stated that the show will now feature a mix of regular and semi-regular artists that would appear in every episode. In addition, the group competition will be axed in favor of individual battles between two artists, while the show’s judges will no longer sit to evaluate their performances.

Clearly, GMA has to be frustrated with ‘Sunday All Stars’. With a more stripped-down approach, and with its younger mainstays absent, ‘Sunday All Stars’ is becoming a program without any sense of direction. And that weak concoction won’t help reverse the show’s fortunes. A change is definitely needed for GMA to make their Sundays more relevant.

Meanwhile, the new season of ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ received the brunt of criticism from most netizens, leading to the hashtag #PBBScripted, which trended throughout Sunday and into Monday.

Most netizens took their frustrations at the program’s celebrity selections, claiming that they took away spots from ordinary folks who actually auditioned for the show. Netizens also claim that the new season of PBB only allows people with good looks and wealth to enter the hallowed Big Brother house, while others claim that celebrities will have a huge advantage over the ordinary housemates in the voting process.

Among the notable celebrities for the season were volleyball player Michele Gumabao, Phoemela Barranda’s daughter Nichole, teen actress Jane Oineza, Chariz Solomon’s twin brothers Bobby and Robert (aka Fourth and Fifth), and DLSU Green Archer Thomas Torres’ brother Axel. At the last minute, host Alex Gonzaga decided to join as a housemate rather than hosting the reality show.

Despite the criticisms, the opening night of ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ is expected to be a ratings hit, and with the presence of these celebrities, it should also be expected that more people will tune in to watch them deal with the tasks made by none other than ‘Big Brother’ himself. ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ will have an afternoon ‘Uber’ show on weekdays, and a regular evening show that would culminate with a live eviction show on most Sundays. In addition, PBB will have an online show on its website.

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Another Mayweather Blunder within GMA; UAAP Cheerdance

Another Floyd Mayweather fight, another blunder by the Kapuso network. For the past few days the GMA Network has been promoting the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fight on its television and radio commercials with much hype. Unfortunately, the airing of the bout wasn’t quite what boxing fans expected.

The Kapuso network decided to air the bout only after their Sunday variety show ‘Sunday All Stars’ (around 2:00 p.m.), airtime uncharacteristic for a boxing card aired in the Philippines. By tradition, 10 a.m. is usually the airtime reserved for boxing matches, whether major or minor cards; ABS-CBN’s ‘Pinoy Pride’ series is an example. However GMA did not want to sacrifice airtime, so they placed the ‘Kapuso Movie Festival‘ block instead, after which they proceeded to ‘Sunday All Stars’, which unlike its ABS-CBN counterpart ‘ASAP‘, usually airs on a taped basis. As far as the 2:00 p.m. airtime is concerned, GMA shunned away from airing undercards and focused on the main match instead.

Unlike before when GMA shared broadcast rights with Solar Sports for Mayweather bouts, the Mayweather-Alvarez fight will only be seen solely on the GMA Network; another good sign that the network is trying to establish its own sports division. I have written about GMA’s lack of a sports division in the past, especially considering that its counterparts in ABS-CBN and TV5 have been able to establish their own sports divisions by inking airtime contracts with various professional, collegiate and amateur leagues in the country. However, with the Mayweather-Alvarez fight, GMA is now looking to make a name for itself in terms of covering a variety of sports events, which may eventually lead to a new ‘GMA Sports’ division in the near future. Perhaps adding the PBA to its coverage may legitimize its claim as a sports broadcasting power.

Meanwhile, HD subscribers at SkyCable can avail of the live broadcast of the fight for free via SkyCable channel 195. Unfortunately, with a majority still without HD digiboxes, they can only depend on internet live-streaming for the comprehensive live coverage of the event; otherwise either tune in to GMA’s delayed broadcast or go through various social media outlets for the blow-by-blow coverage.

At around the same time as GMA’s delayed broadcast of the Mayweather-Alvarez fight is the much-anticipated UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The event, to be aired on Studio 23 and Balls 167 HD beginning at 1:30 p.m., will again feature cheering squads of the eight participating universities, led by defending champion UP Pep Squad. The hype surrounding the event has been so significant that every seat at the Mall of Asia Arena has been sold out, and they plan to sell a few standing room only tickets to waiting patrons.

As with every UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the assigned courtside reporters will be dressed in the pep squad attire of their respective universities. Prize money, gifts and awards will be given to the three podium finishers and to the most stunning female member of the pep squad (the Stunner award). Judges from various cheerleading organizations will be present to evaluate every move of each cheering squad, whose routines usually last ten minutes. And there will also be a Group Stunts Competition for select cheering squads, which will likewise merit prize money, gifts and awards for the podium finishers.

Expect the event to trend via social media, and with so much hype surrounding the Cheerdance Competition, the event will likewise be a highly-anticipated television spectacle.

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