entertainment, news, Philippines, talk show, television

The Buzz Bids Farewell, For Now

‘The Buzz’ officially bade farewell last Sunday afternoon, after a run of nearly 16 years. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

An unexpected announcement awaited the viewers of ABS-CBN’s ‘The Buzz’.

On Sunday, April 5, host Boy Abunda announced that ‘The Buzz’ would go off the air and take a long and indefinite hiatus, citing changes in showbiz reporting, production staff and the viewing public. The cancellation ends the show’s initial 15-year run.

First airing on June 13, 1999, ‘The Buzz’ became one of the network’s top-rated and long-running shows. The show’s lineup of hosts would change over the years, but ‘The Buzz’ will always be identified with the duo of Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda.

‘The Buzz’ lengthy run is only rivaled by ‘Startalk’, now entering its 20th year. The two shows briefly faced off early last year, with ‘The Buzz’ (then called ‘Buzz ng Bayan’) prevailing in the ratings.

As ‘The Buzz’ takes a break of sorts, expect ABS-CBN to counterprogram against GMA’s upcoming game show ‘Wowowin’ and its succeeding program ‘InstaDad’. It is possible that ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’ will take over ‘The Buzz”s slot from April 12 onwards, but no confirmation is made at the moment.

It should also throw the network into a state of uncertainty. Even though ‘The Buzz”s hiatus was intended to be a temporary one, there also remains a possibility of a new talk show taking the place of ‘The Buzz’ instead.

Another likely scenario will be the tweaking of schedules on ABS-CBN’s weekend afternoon lineup. Declining ratings of ‘The Buzz’ in recent months may play a big role in convincing the network to change their programming approach on weekends.

Any of these possibilities may come into play, but for now, sacrifices will have to be made on the Kapamilya camp.

For nearly 16 years, ‘The Buzz’ stood tall for its credibility, balance and truthful showbiz reporting, one that gave the show high ratings and numerous awards. But with the show now taking a much-needed break, viewers can only wonder when and what time will it return.

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comedy, drama, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Overshadowed By Willie, InstaDad Finally Premieres on Easter Sunday

The new GMA Sunday drama ‘InstaDad’ premieres on April 5. (Photo credit: InstaDad Official Facebook)

The announcement of Willie Revillame’s return on GMA may have caught the cast of ‘InstaDad’ off-guard.

After all, the upcoming weekly drama was supposed to premiere last Sunday, if not for a breaking news announcement that shook the entire country. But with Willie returning to the limelight in a few weeks, GMA decided to make a revision to their plan.

As a result, the pilot episode of ‘InstaDad’ will now be seen this Easter Sunday. It may be long overdue, but for Kapuso fans, it would be worth the wait.

‘InstaDad’ stars Gabby Eigenmann as a popular chef and eligible bachelor. In the main plot, Kenneth (Eigenmann) opted to stay single after breaking up with his first love, but then learned that he had three daughters in Marikit (Gabbi Garcia), Mayumi (Ash Ortega) and Maaya (Jazz Ocampo).

The three daughters’ contrasting personalities will pose a huge challenge to Kenneth as he tries to raise all of them by himself. Along with their adjustment to a new set-up, they must also deal with a variety of issues regarding both teenage and family life.

Joining ‘InstaDad’ in supporting roles are Matet de Leon, Juancho Triviño and Prince Villanueva. The series will be directed by Neal del Rosario.

‘InstaDad’ marks the return of Sunday afternoon dramas on GMA. Their last such drama was ‘TeenGen’, which ended two years ago.

For a network whose programming on Sunday afternoons has been mostly mediocre (thank you ‘Kapuso Movie Festival’ and ‘GMA Blockbusters’), ‘InstaDad’ is one program badly need to wake up a rather sleepy block. Then again, with ABS-CBN’s and ‘The Buzz’ getting in the way, it remains to be seen if the viewers finally woke up to GMA’s senses.

Still, ‘InstaDad’ is a good first step for GMA to reestablish some order into their Sunday lineup. This is definitely a must for the Kapuso network, since they have been heavily criticized of late for their poor programming options, especially on Sundays.

And with ‘Wowowin’ coming up, who knows what will happen next.

‘InstaDad’ airs every Sunday at 4:30 p.m. starting April 5.

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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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FTT Year 2014 in Review: ABS-CBN

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 ABS-CBN, who continued to dominate television ratings this year.

The Positives

High ratings, top trending topics, and a slew of awards. Just another impressive year on Mother Ignacia.

Primetime Bida remained ABS-CBN’s strongest suit in its weekday arsenal, led by the block’s top-rated program of the year, ‘The Legal Wife’. Meanwhile, the Kapamilya network’s reality and talent shows continued to overwhelm the opposition, led by top-raters ‘The Voice Kids’, ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ and the second season of ‘The Voice of the Philippines’.

Long-running programs ‘TV Patrol’, ‘ASAP’, ‘The Buzz’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ remained at the top of their game, while ‘It’s Showtime’, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, and even the returning ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ became a force to be reckoned with.

ABS-CBN Sports also enjoyed an extremely successful year, starting with the launch of ABS-CBN Sports+Action in late January. High ratings during this year’s NBA Finals and the UAAP men’s basketball and women’s volleyball finals eventually led to the two leagues’ renewal of broadcast rights later this year.

The Kapamilya network’s award closet continued to grow, particularly in November’s Star Awards for Television, where ABS-CBN received a total of 34 awards. They also scored big in the Anak TV and Catholic Mass Media Awards, among other bodies.

The Negatives

Not all news is good, however. ABS-CBN also endured some missteps throughout the year, all of which made a significant impact on the network’s performance.

While Primetime Bida dominated primetime, they also had a fair share of busts. Julia Barretto’s acting debut as ‘Mirabella’ failed to impress, while the reboot of ‘Dyesebel’ and ‘Sana Bukas Pa ang Kahapon’ never lived up to expectations.

‘Be Careful with My Heart’ may have dominated the headlines in 2013, but it was a different story in 2014. The show’s ratings declined for much of the year, before rebounding on the show’s final episode on November 28.

The last two quarters of 2014 saw the decline in quality of Kapamilya Gold. The network’s last two afternoon soaps, ‘Galema: Anak ni Zuma’ and ‘Moon of Desire’, were replaced by a combination of Asianovela reruns, ‘Bet on Your Baby’, the ill-fated ‘Ana Manuela’, and ‘Kapamilya Blockbusters’, a sign that ABS-CBN is letting GMA dominate the afternoon slot.

Speaking of reruns, ABS-CBN brought back the highly successful ‘Meteor Garden’ to rave reviews. Later reruns of Asianovelas and even classic Japanese cartoons such as ‘Princess Sarah’ proved unsuccessful, however.

Controversy hounded ‘Pinoy Big Brother: All In’ from the moment the mostly celebrity cast was selected all the way to late-coming housemate Daniel Matsunaga’s victory. It also spelled doom for ‘It’s Showtime’ hosts Vhong Navarro (beaten by Cedric Lee’s group) and Billy Crawford (post-Star Magic Ball fiasco), thus continuing the infamous curse.

And finally, ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs had its own share of problems. February saw a questionable report on ‘Bandila’ regarding a ‘flesh-eating disease’ in Pangasinan, and then several months later, ‘TV Patrol’ anchor Korina Sanchez made an unnecessary remark about Typhoon Hagupit (Ruby), praying that the storm would swerve to Japan.

Outlook

Fortunately for the Kapamilya network, Marc Logan kept things light and loose when his show, ‘Mga Kwento ni Marc Logan’, premiered last August. But seriously, this was another successful year for ABS-CBN, even with the problems and controversies surrounding it.

Looking ahead, a reunion between Jolina Magdangal and Marvin Agustin looms in ‘Flordeliza’, even as ‘Pangako sa ‘Yo’ will have its own reboot with Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla. This and a lot more will come as the calendar turns to 2015.

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Philippines, Sports, television

Improving the UAAP Finals Setup on Channel 2

FEU and NU will meet in the UAAP men’s basketball finals starting this Saturday, with select games airing on ABS-CBN Channel 2. (Photo credit: Interaksyon.com)

The UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament is down to just two teams.

For the first time since Season 55 (1992), neither the De La Salle Green Archers nor the Ateneo Blue Eagles will be involved in the championship round. Instead it will feature the FEU Tamaraws and the National University Bulldogs, who disposed their respective opponents in Wednesday’s sudden-death semis matches.

The unlikely pairing between FEU and NU is not only ‘the best thing that ever happened in the UAAP’, according to FEU head coach Nash Racela, but it also makes for some compelling television as well. Both teams are aching to end a nine and 60-year title drought, respectively, and are also seeking redemption after they fell short in last year’s Final Four.

For the fifth consecutive season, select games of the UAAP men’s basketball finals will be aired live on ABS-CBN Channel 2. But despite the fact that they have aired the finals for five years, there were only three potential championship clinchers that aired on Channel 2; namely, 2011’s Ateneo-FEU Game 2, and Games 2 and 3 of last year’s La Salle-UST finals.

Let’s face it, in spite of the high ratings that ABS-CBN enjoyed with the UAAP, the one thing that is holding them back is its programming lineup. Since Channel 2 began broadcasting the UAAP men’s basketball finals, the only day that Channel 2 was able to broadcast is on Saturday afternoons, as timeslots on other days of the week were shut out in favor of teleseryes, and in the case of Sundays, ‘The Buzz’.

That said, ABS-CBN should have been figuring out this mess already. Perhaps they can use this setup: Game 1 on a weekday via ABS-CBN Sports+Action, and all potential clinchers on a Saturday via ABS-CBN Channel 2.

With this setup, more viewers will be interested in a possible must-win game rather than an appetizer of a series opener. But then again, this approach will depend on weather conditions that may postpone any game.

Nevertheless, this year’s finals between FEU and NU should be an interesting one, regardless of which ABS-CBN channel will air the game live. While the Finals won’t have the benefit of a popular star like Kiefer Ravena or Jeron Teng to fill viewers’ appetites, it should still give them plenty to cheer for two teams with contrasting yet proud UAAP legacies.

And with that, may the best team win. Good luck.

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Thanks to Ipaglaban Mo, Startalk and Wish Ko Lang Switch Timeslots

The success of the legal drama ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ on ABS-CBN has forced GMA to tweak anew their Saturday lineup, with ‘Wish Ko Lang’ and ‘Startalk’ switching timeslots. (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

GMA’s weekend programming instability continues.

Last Saturday, the Kapuso network decided to switch the timeslots of ‘Startalk’ and ‘Wish Ko Lang’. As a result, the former now airs at 3:45 p.m. while the latter follows suit.

There is a reason why GMA made another change on Saturday afternoons, and that is the ratings success of ‘Ipaglaban Mo’ on ABS-CBN. Since the legal drama returned to the small screen this past June, it has managed to dominate ‘Startalk’ in both the TNS Kantar and the AGB Nielsen ratings.

This marked ‘Startalk”s third timeslot change this year, compared to only two in their first 18 years. In January, ‘Startalk’ moved to Sunday afternoons in order to compete against ‘Buzz ng Bayan’, only to move back to Saturdays in May following the revival of ‘The Buzz’ and the reunion of Kris Aquino and Boy Abunda.

The latest change now sees ‘Startalk’ airing at a similar timeslot as its rival ‘The Buzz’, only at a different day and on a running time of 45 minutes to an hour. In addition, ‘Startalk’ will now face ‘Failon Ngayon’, another of ABS-CBN’s highly-rated programs.

For ‘Wish Ko Lang’, it marked their third timeslot change in their 12-year history. Typically a late-afternoon program on Saturdays, ‘Wish Ko Lang’ has once moved to early primetime, and now it airs in the mid-afternoon slot.

While ‘Wish Ko Lang’ was a dominant program early in its run, beating similar rivals on ABS-CBN such as ‘Willingly Yours’, ‘Simpleng Hiling’ and ‘Nagmamahal Kapamilya’, the introduction and subsequent success of ‘Failon Ngayon’ saw its viewership numbers gradually decline. Now GMA management can only hope that ‘Wish Ko Lang’ will fare much better against ‘Ipaglaban Mo’.

In all, it was another tweak to GMA’s rather feeble lineup of weekend programs. But it gets even more interesting come this weekend.

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