news, Philippines, public affairs, television

In 100 Words: Setting Aside Rivalry for Charity

This past weekend, the three major broadcast networks in ABS-CBN, GMA and TV5, set aside their brewing network wars for charity. Through the use of a telethon, each network encouraged viewers to donate food, clothing, water and sums of money to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda).

During each telethon the networks sacrificed their own programming to give way to donations and pledges for the needy. While ABS-CBN and GMA aired their telethons in the afternoon, TV5 opted to open their telethon during ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’, and the following morning on ‘Good Morning Club‘, to avoid conflict with their scheduled programs. Nevertheless, each network was able to raise money and relief goods for charity, which is what the telethon is all about.

entertainment, music, Philippines, television, United States

When MTV Ruled the Philippines

MTV Philippines

Before MYX came along, there was MTV, a network focused only on music videos.

Before MYX became the ultimate destination for local and foreign music videos, Filipinos tuned in to MTV. Originally a block-timer with Studio 23 in the late 1990s, MTV spun off in 2001 and took over full-time on Channel 41 through the Nation Broadcasting Company. This forced ABS-CBN to make a channel of their own, which eventually became MYX. Soon after viewership on MTV Philippines grew, in large part to charismatic VJs such as KC Montero, Sarah Meier and Belinda Panelo.

MTV Philippines prospered thanks to its broadcast of major events such as the Video Music Awards, MTV Movie Awards, MTV Asia Awards, and the MTV Pilipinas Awards. But more than just music videos, MTV also provided both animated and live action programs produced by the US MTV. In addition, MTV Philippines also launched the VJ Hunt, where they search for potential talent for future shows. The popularity of MTV in the Philippines proved to be final nail in the coffin of Channel V Philippines, and the then-GMA owned network was cancelled midway through 2001.

Unfortunately, the popularity of YouTube and the widespread availability of MYX in the country would doom MTV Philippines, and in 2007 free TV broadcast of MTV Philippines was shut down by NBC. MTV Philippines continued to air on cable until 2010, when it was shut down for good in favor of MTV Southeast Asia. The closure of MTV in the Philippines coincided with the shift of MTV’s content in the US, where less music videos were aired in favor of more original programming, such as Jersey Shore.

Despite the demise of MTV, it remained influential to many Filipinos. MTV was the first full-time network in the country to air music videos on most hours, in order to promote an artist or band’s work. It also introduced Filipinos to the video jockey or VJ, and their exposure to television helped them land more lucrative hosting jobs elsewhere. MTV also provided directors an opportunity to learn their craft, and in doing so, helped them earn praise and adulation from viewers. Finally the content aired on MTV was essential in exposing the viewer to the realms of adult reality television, helping it stand out from others.

While MTV is gone, it will never be forgotten. MTV proved to be a standardbearer for all music channels. And if not for MTV, MYX would not have become a preeminent music video channel it is today.

entertainment, Philippines, radio, Sports, television

ABS-CBN’s 60th Anniversary Weekend

ABS-CBN kicks off its 60th anniversary of television broadcasts with the Grand Kapamilya Weekend from October 5-6.

On October 23, 1953, ABS-CBN launched the first television broadcast in the Philippines. In the sixty years since its first broadcast, the Kapamilya network grew into a national and global network, becoming the first network in the country to air in color, in high definition, and via satellite. On the weekend of October 5-6, ABS-CBN will hold a variety of events to commemorate the 60th anniversary of its television broadcasts.

The Grand Kapamilya Weekend will be held at the Quezon Memorial Circle, and noontime variety shows ‘Showtime’ and ‘ASAP‘ will hold live shows at the venue. In addition, a bazaar, a medical mission, a soup kitchen, an exhibition game between Star Magic and ABS-CBN Sports staff, a Star Cinema live screening, and a story-telling session will also be held at the venue. The nightly festivities will see a live concert sponsored by MOR 101.9, and a live Kapamilya KTV.

In addition, a pair of charitable eco-runs will also take place, with both the ‘One Run, One Philippines: Isang Bayan Para sa Kalikasan’ and the ‘Run for the Pasig River‘ aiming to raise money for environmental concerns. And finally the Kapamilya All-Star Games will be held at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on October 5 for basketball, and at the Marikina Sports Complex on October 6 for Volleyball.

For more on the schedules regarding the activities for the Grand Kapamilya Weekend, click on this link.

entertainment, Philippines, television

HD on Philippine Television

The widescreen HD version of the MTRCB Parental Guidance advisory. Note the letterboxes on the top and bottom of the screenshot.

High-definition television in the Philippines is a virtually novel concept. This new medium in television broadcast gives viewers a wider and clearer resolution that what standard-definition provides. A high-definition broadcast necessitates the use of flat-screen television sets, which are more spacious and less bulkier than a standard television set.

HDTV was given a test run in the United States and Europe in the 1990s, but it was not until the late 2000s when virtually all television broadcasts in the Atlantic started to air in HD. In the Philippines, ABS-CBN subsidiary SkyCable launched its HD service to its customers in 2009. That same year, the mother network began broadcasting UAAP‘s 72nd season in HD, marking the first high-definition television broadcast in the Philippines. In the years that followed, ABS-CBN began to shoot its teleseryes with HD cameras, beginning with 2011’s ‘Budoy‘.

This year, ABS-CBN’s popular kiligserye ‘Be Careful with My Heart‘ is just one of several Kapamilya drama series being shot with HD cameras. In addition, they are also shooting ‘Juan Dela Cruz‘, ‘Muling Buksan ang Puso’, ‘Dugong Buhay’, and ‘My Little Juan’ in HD. In June, TV5 began to shoot its teleseryes in HD, starting with ‘Misibis Bay’ followed by ‘Undercover’. However, at the moment GMA has yet to divulge any plan of broadcasting their teleseryes with the use of high definition cameras.

This is a welcome development in the history of Philippine television, however it may take several years before the Philippines makes its full transition to high definition television. This year was the first step, however.

comedy, Philippines, television

Mr. Assimo Vs. Dracula

Michael V has been known for successful portrayals of various characters in his programs. Regardless of the character being male or female, Michael V proved to be versatile in his craft. In ‘Bubble Gang‘, one of his most memorable characters today has been Mr. Assimo, a superbly irate person known for dealing with common sense, which he thought was too obvious.

While Mr. Assimo’s previous appearances saw him deal with normal people, last Friday’s sketch saw him deal with an equally evil character. In the video below you will see how Mr. Assimo was able to outwit Dracula, portrayed by Rocco Nacino.

Initially a one-minute sketch, Mr. Assimo’s popularity with loyal ‘Bubble Gang’ viewers enabled writers to extend Mr. Assimo’s sketch time to around five to seven minutes. Today, Mr. Assimo is one of Bubble Gang’s most recognizable characters.

entertainment, news, Philippines, public affairs, television

ABS-CBN’s Late Night Comedy Defies Tradition

ABS-CBN replaced its late-night current affairs programs with ‘Banana Nite’, a spin-off of the popular ‘Banana Split’. For some reason they were either tired of being serious or that lack of global accolades hurt the current affairs department.

For the past few months, ABS-CBN has been airing the weeknight stand-up comedy program ‘Banana Nite’, a spin-off of ‘Banana Split‘, after the late-night news program ‘Bandila‘. This was a marked departure from the late-night public affairs programs it used to air. If you were a news buff, you may remember recent programs ‘Patrol ng Pilipino‘, ‘Ako ang Simula‘, ‘Storyline’, XXX: Exklusibong, Explosibong Expose’, and ‘Krusada‘ airing on the timeslot after ‘Bandila’ before they were replaced by ‘Banana Nite’. For some reason, it is quite a gamble for the network to shift from serious late-night news programming to a more lighter tone.

When ‘Banana Nite’ debuted on the late-night slot, it went head-to-head against GMA’s public affairs programs such as ‘I-Witness’, ‘Born to be Wild’ and ‘Reporter’s Notebook‘, and TV5’s ‘Reaksyon’, and it continues to this day. However, its supposed counterparts GMA’s ‘The Tim Yap Show’ and TV5’s ‘Medyo Late Night with Jojo A.’ air only after the public affairs programs have finished airing. The decision to place a stand-up comedy program immediately after the late-night news raised my eyebrows a bit. Why? Because ABS-CBN’s news department gave their all in producing great current affairs programs to great reviews. These programs have been quite successful in my mind, and they should have stayed there.

However, the fact that the lack of accolades ABS-CBN’s news department have been receiving was partly to blame for the network axing its public affairs programs in favor of ‘Banana Nite’. GMA’s news department have been able to rake up both regional and global accolades for its strong, creative and informative reports, particularly on its ‘I-Witness’ program. While I have criticized GMA News TV for its inability to handle a full 24-hour slate of programming, among other reasons, they have nevertheless made that up with a high-quality and globally recognized brand of news reporting, something that ABS-CBN’s department need to work out if they want to capture a Peabody Award like GMA did. In addition, the network was getting tired of the serious tone that their programs have been airing after ‘Showtime’ that they decided to put a comedy show in the late night slot in order to give viewers some relief and amusement.

Good thing I don’t watch either ‘Banana Nite’ or ‘Banana Split’ for the fact that stand-up comedy needs to be served only on cable networks because of language and other offending factors (see Vice Ganda’s joke on Jessica Soho). And it’s good that GMA 7 is not producing one similar to ‘Banana Split’ because they already have ‘Bubble Gang’, a gag show that is longer, lighter and highly acclaimed than ‘Banana Split’ itself. In any event, ABS-CBN may have either started a new late-night programming approach or watered down its own news programming, something they can’t ill-afford to lose.