entertainment, Philippines, reality show, talent show, television

In 100 Words: Ogie Alcasid Officially a Kapamilya

Say hello to new ABS-CBN star Ogie Alcasid.

The multi-awarded singer-songwriter officially inked a contract with ABS-CBN yesterday. formally welcoming him on the Kapamilya camp. This is now his second stint with ABS-CBN after starting his entertainment career with the said network over two decades ago.

Ogie, who also carved a career as a comedian on shows like ABC-5’s ‘Tropang Trumpo’ and GMA’s ‘Bubble Gang’, is currently a judge on ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar Kids’ and ‘It’s Showtime”s Tawag ng Tanghalan. He also joins a rare list of couples who work on separate networks, as wife Regine Velasquez-Alcasid remains under contract with GMA.

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education, game show, Philippines, television

Throwback: Battle of the Brains in 1994

Before David Celdran toured the world in a suit on ANC’s ‘Executive Class’, he was a young and fresh-faced host of one of the longest-running quiz shows on Philippine television.

The 1990s will always be remembered for ‘Battle of the Brains’, a quiz show pitting public and private students from the elementary, high school, and college levels. The program was a fixture on RPN-9 every Saturday morning, and the now-defunct retail giant Uniwide Sales was its major sponsor.

The popularity and success of the program led to an equally successful parody called ‘Battle of the Brainless’. The skit was featured on ABC-5’s ‘Tropang Trumpo’, and was later revived on the renamed TV5 via the gag show ‘Tropa Mo Ko (Unli/Nice Di Ba)’.

Back in 1994, the college grand finals of ‘Battle of the Brains’ was held at the Philippine International Convention Center. The contestants were Giovanni Claveria of Don Bosco Technical School, Oliver Tungol of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and Alfonso Gonzales of the University of the Philippines-Los Banos.

The three-part series of videos, the entirety of which run for over 45 minutes, can be viewed below.

‘Battle of the Brains’ would survive into the new millennium, albeit with a new sponsor in AMA Computer College and a new network in PTV-4, before leaving the airwaves in 2001. Meanwhile, David Celdran became a news anchor on the ABS-CBN News Channel, and as mentioned earlier, he is currently the host of ‘Executive Class’.

Unfortunately, programming changes, changing demographics and budget concerns would take the steam out of this type of game show. The last of these programs, GMA’s ‘Digital LG Quiz’, bowed out in 2004.

Although Eat Bulaga attempted to revive this format with the elementary, high school and college editions of the popular ‘Pinoy Henyo’ game, they were essentially segments of the long-running noontime variety show, and not standalone programs like ‘Battle of the Brains’ and ‘Digital LG Quiz’.

No one knows when will this type of game show returns, considering the frequency of the big stations to air Tagalized movies and teleserye re-runs. But one thing is for sure: ‘Battle of the Brains’ was a great show, and will never be replaced.

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entertainment, game show, Philippines, television, United States

Killer Karaoke Goes Pinoy

‘Killer Karaoke: Pinoy Naman!’ makes its long-awaited debut on TV5 this November 16, and will be hosted by comedian Michael V.

On November 16, the Pinoy version of ‘Killer Karaoke‘ will finally make its debut. Hosted by Michael V, the game show will feature contestants singing a particular song while getting treated to a variety of challenges that may impede their performances.

‘Killer Karaoke’ debuted last September as part of the ‘Weekend Do It Better’ lineup of TV5. However, at the time of the debut, Michael V had yet to sign a non-exclusive deal, thus the American version hosted by Steve-O was aired instead. Nevertheless, Filipino viewers warmed up to the program by witnessing these contestants in a variety of creepy and shocking tasks while belting out songs in front of a live audience.

‘Killer Karaoke’ marks Michael V’s first project with the Kapatid network since ‘Tropang Trumpo‘ in the 1990s. The popular comedian is one of several talents doubling as both Kapatid and Kapuso hosts, following fellow ‘Eat Bulaga‘ hosts Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon. The local title of the program will be ‘Killer Karaoke: Pinoy Naman!’, and will be TV5’s third current game show franchise after ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’.

‘Killer Karaoke: Pinoy Naman!’ airs this Saturday at 9:00 p.m., on TV5’s ‘Weekend Do It Better’.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, Philippines, television

Tropa Moko Unli is Hot, and Bubble Gang is Not

After only two episodes ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ became a trending topic on Twitter, fueled by the revival of the ‘Battle of the Brainless’ skit.

They may have aired two episodes so far, but TV5’s newest gag show ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ is quickly becoming a hot trending topic in social media, not only in the Philippines, but also globally. So much so that it has the potential to put the long-running gag show ‘Bubble Gang‘ of GMA out of the airwaves, just like what that program did to the Kapatid network‘s original gag show ‘Tropang Trumpo‘.

It can be argued that Ogie Alcasid‘s decision to leave GMA and sign with TV5 was a blessing in disguise. After all, Alcasid spent 18 years as part of the ‘Bubble Gang’ cast after initially leaving ‘Tropang  Trumpo’ alongside buddy Michael V. However, Alcasid appears unsatisfied in playing the sidekick role, thus he moved over as a Kapatid talent and was tapped to be the ‘face’ and leader of the ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ gang. Alcasid was joined by fellow ‘Tropa’ Gelli de Belen, and by bringing in younger talent from the ‘Lokomoko‘ gag show, it unified both of TV5’s past and present gag shows into one, which became ‘Tropa Moko Unli’. And so far the union has been beneficial.

The strength of ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ lies on a carryover skit from the ‘Tropang Trumpo’ days. The decision to bring back the classic ‘Battle of the Brainless’ skit has been met with both critical and popular acclaim; the segment itself was also a social media hit. In addition, a parody of ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’, entitled ‘Lasa May Toyo’, also contributed to the show’s popularity. For tomorrow’s episode, Alcasid will play host to the ‘Show Show A All the Way’, a parody of ‘The Medyo Late Night Show’ starring Jojo Alejar.

While ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ is gaining momentum, ‘Bubble Gang’ is losing steam. GMA’s long-running gag show is suffering from the lack of interesting skits, the worst of the bunch happens to be Diego Llorico’s ‘Atlit’ segment which took out the more popular ‘Ba’t Ganun?’ skit. The retirement of ‘Boy Pick Up’ and other characters played by Ogie Alcasid also factored into the show’s loss of audience. While Michael V. tried to make things interesting with his ‘Tata Lino’ and ‘Mr. Assimo’ skits, it is apparent that ‘Bubble Gang’ is past its prime, and with its placement on the late night Friday slot opposite ABS-CBN and TV5’s newscasts, audiences seem more interested in watching the news than a gag show like ‘Bubble Gang’.

‘Bubble Gang’ needs to get out of its so-called ‘group of death’ if they want to extend the show’s proven longevity. A move to Saturday nights is a logical move; GMA can place the program in the more favorable 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. slot where the program once enjoyed its peak of popularity. And it should benefit the program, considering that ABS-CBN’s ‘Banana Split’ and the aforementioned ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ airs on Saturdays, thus giving ‘Bubble Gang’ some much-needed competition. The revival of the popular ‘Ba’t Ganun?’ and the creation of more interesting and relative characters is what the program desperately need.

With the popularity and social media trending that ‘Tropa Moko Unli’ has enjoyed so far, they may have the potential to oust ‘Bubble Gang’ as the most popular gag show in the Philippines. And they seem poised to do so, just as ‘Bubble Gang’ did with ‘Tropang Trumpo’ back in its heyday.

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comedy, entertainment, humor, news, Philippines, politics, television, United States

The Absence of Fake News on Philippine TV

In the United States, the two most popular fake news programs today are Comedy Central’sThe Daily Show with Jon Stewart‘ and ‘The Colbert Report‘. Both shows offer a humorous take on current news events that affect both the United States and the international scene, with ‘The Colbert Report’ emphasizing a commentary and pundit-based approach similar to ‘The O’Reilly Factor‘. The popularity and critical acclaim of the two programs make them one of the most iconic television shows in the US.

In the Philippines, fake news programs are a rarity, and only a few programs ended up gaining  high viewership figures. One of the earliest fake news programs is ‘Sic O’ Clock News’, aired on IBC-13 in the late 1980s. The program was hosted by Jaime Fabregas and Ces Quesada, with the late Rene Requiestas as one of the program’s most notable players. The program focused on issues that affected both the country and internationally at the time, and the way they delivered the news in a humorous and often riotous manner made it a television icon during the administration of Cory Aquino.

‘Sic O’ Clock News’ was directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya, who later presided in the filming of ‘Jose Rizal’ and ‘Muro-Ami’ in the late 1990s, both of which likewise earned praise and critical acclaim.

After the demise of ‘Sic O’ Clock News’, elements of fake news skits were seen in programs such as ‘Bubble Gang’, ‘Tropang Trumpo‘, ‘Ispup’, ‘Super Laff-In‘ and other gag shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was not until 2004 that the fake news program was revived, in the form of Studio 23’s ‘Wazzup Wazzup‘. Hosted by then-newly-contracted Kapamilya Toni Gonzaga, Vhong Navarro and Drew Arellano, the show aired for three years and featured mockups of news stories, rather than commentaries on current issues.

While ‘Wazzup Wazzup’ enjoyed decent audience figures, the show was eventually axed three years later, owing to the busy schedules of the main hosts. Nevertheless, the program served as a vehicle for Studio 23’s shift of viewership from the niche upper class to the youth and ‘masa’, an emphasis that I wrote in a previous article.

In 2011, GMA News TV launched ‘May Tamang Balita‘. Originally hosted by Ramon Bautista, Sheena Halili and Janna Dominguez, the show ran for two years before it was axed for unknown reasons. Like ‘Wazzup Wazzup’, ‘May Tamang Balita’ offered mockups of news stories, presented ’24 Oras’ style unlike the more freelance approach of ‘Wazzup Wazzup’. The most popular segment of the show would see Dominguez strip to her underwear in the middle of her mock weather report. The original iteration of ‘May Tamang Balita’ lasted for 60 minutes.

After the departures of Halili and Dominguez, Betong Sumaya, Maey Bautista, Boobay and Jinri Park would arrive and the show’s format would emphasis less on mock news reporting in favor of more celebrity-related reports. Their arrivals caused the show to cut air time to 30 minutes, but failing ratings and lack of originality would cause the program’s demise.

As of the moment, the fake news genre is absent on Philippine television. Perhaps it is the ongoing sensitive nature of the news that prevented the creation of full-time news parodies. Whatever the case, we may never see comedians deliver fake news to the viewers in the near future.

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entertainment, Philippines, television

New and Returning Shows on TV5

Changes are in the air once more for TV5, this time in hopes of attracting a younger audience.

As early as July TV5 has hinted of the changes in their programming lineup, in hopes of attracting a younger audience. With shrinking revenue threatening TV5’s long-term plans, it was revealed that the Kapatid network will cut back costs and focus on a younger viewership in an effort to gain revenue profits within three years. With that in mind, here are several new and returning programs that TV5 will unveil within the next few weeks.

As previously reported, Ogie Alcasid signed a new deal with TV5, not only as a Kapatid talent, but also as the head of the music business unit. Alcasid will headline two shows on TV5: ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’, and ‘Tropa Moko Unli’. On the former, Alcasid will join forces with Sharon Cuneta in the upcoming variety show, and on the latter he will be paired with old ‘Tropang Trumpo‘ castmate Gelli de Belen and young stars Vin Abrenica, Ritz Azul, Eula Caballero, Empoy, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Alwyn Uytingco, Edgar Allan Guzman, Valeen Montenegro,  and Tuesday Vargas. Cuneta will also star in her own teleserye ‘Madam Chairman’.

Alcasid’s former ‘Bubble Gang’ castmate Michael V will likewise have a new show on the Kapatid network. The current Kapuso mainstay will host the Filipino version of ‘Killer Karaoke’, a game show that test the contestant’s ability to sing while overcoming various obstacle courses. Other new programs expecting to debut soon include the showbiz talk show ‘Showbiz Police’ and the midnight musical/talk show ‘What’s Up Doods?’.

The ‘Pinoy Henyo’ duo on GMA’s ‘Eat Bulaga’ will also make their return to TV5. Joey de Leon will once again play host to a new version of ‘Wow Mali‘, titled ‘Wow Mali Pa Rin’. Like its prior incarnations, the returning show will again feature practical jokes, bloopers, and other forms of accidental comedy starring people from all walks of life. And Vic Sotto returns with a brand new season of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’, this time featuring new lifelines and game strategies that will bring new life to a long-running game show. And finally, the adventure show ‘Pinoy Explorer‘ returns for its second season, with host Aga Muhlach again travelling around the world in hopes of educating people regarding a variety of global cultures.

Meanwhile, it looks like TV5 has not found a replacement for ‘Face to Face’. Reruns of the program have been airing for nearly two months now and it seems that no effort was given to either tape new episodes or cancel altogether. I have written about the possible axing of ‘Face to Face’ before, but it appears that TV5 is not giving up on the said program. As it stands, there were still no reports at the moment regarding the status of ‘Face to Face’.

TV5’s September shakeup was just the beginning of the needed changes that the network will adopt for the next few months. Expect more news regarding the programming situation within the Kapatid network.

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