action, drama, entertainment, Philippines, television

Cignal Steps In for Incapable TV5

The lack of an entertainment division on TV5 has forced its affiliates to pick up the slack.

Satellite subscription service Cignal recently launched its entertainment division, with the intent towards distributing content to its online and satellite television platforms. The newly-launched Cignal Entertainment will kick things off with the mini-series ‘Tukhang’.

The two-episode pilot will air July 22 on Colours and Sari-Sari Channel. It will star James Blanco, Karel Marquez, Mon Confiado, Jake Macapagal, Janna Victoria, Butch Francisco, Yul Servo, Archi Adamos, Jerould Aceron and Zandra Summer.

Cignal Entertainment will also have a few other offerings in store for its subscribers. They are:

Born Beautiful – The sequel to the critically-acclaimed movie ‘Die Beautiful’, it will star Christian Bables as Barbs. The story will pick up from the time Trisha (Paolo Ballesteros) died.

The Orbiters – This original series will star Cedrick Juan, Malak So, Bob Jbeili and Victor Anastacio. It will be directed by Miko Livelo and Dominic Lim.

Sleepless – Another independent film that is being transformed into a television series, it will star Albie Casino, Mara Lopez, Trina Legaspi, Acey Aguilar, Shaira Mae and Martin Escudero. Directed by Prime Cruz.

Feels Like Forever – An original series that focuses on love and other things that can happen in 24 hours. It will be directed by Sigrid Andrea P. Bernardo and Ivan Payawal.

With the exception of ‘Tukhang’, all of Cignal Entertainment’s upcoming series will be produced by The IdeaFirst Company. The company’s president, Perci Intalan, is a former entertainment head at TV5.

The only way to go is up, and as TV5 focuses more on sports, news and imported entertainment shows, Cignal makes sure that the entertainment aspect within the MVP Group will not go down quietly. The division is still young, but with the help of independent producers such as IdeaFirst, all the hard work should be worth it.

Now let’s just hope that the new Cignal Entertainment will not fall from grace the same way TV5’s entertainment division did. This is a prime opportunity for Manny V. Pangilinan to bounce back, so make it count.

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Examining Chot Reyes’ Plans for TV5

The Chot Reyes era on TV5 is indeed underway.

Upon his ascension to the position of chief executive officer late last year, Chot vowed to make some sweeping changes to TV5. After all, 2016 was a poor year for the Kapatid network, one marked by the ill-fated VIVA partnership, loss of revenue and programming quality, and streamlining of operations.

This year, TV5 has a new set of programs coming up, one that will include the return of the beloved AniMEGA block. However, this is only a portion of a much-needed overhaul, one that will also include sister UHF station AksyonTV and FM radio station Radyo5 92.3 News FM.

More on AksyonTV and Radyo5 in an upcoming article. In the meantime, here is the master plan that Chot Reyes conceived for TV5 this 2017.

AniMEGA

AniMEGA has long been a staple of TV5’s programming, having been aired since the rebrand in 2008. Unfortunately, it has run on and off for the past several years, to the point that anime fans were increasingly fed up by TV5’s constant mishandling of the block.

Its return this year should give anime fans a new reason to watch, with series such as ‘Attack on Titan: Junior High’, ‘Kantai Collection’, ‘Myriad Colors Phantom World’, ‘Knights of Sidonia’ and ‘Uta no Prince-sama Maji 1000%’ airing on TV5 soon. Hopefully TV5 will no longer regret about reviving AniMEGA ever again.

Brillante Mendoza Presents

The dissolution of TV5’s entertainment department forced the network to rely on outside sources. One of them will be director Brillante Mendoza, who will produce several made-for-TV films and mini-series as part of the ‘Brillante Mendoza Presents’ umbrella.

These days, TV5’s entertainment fare is exclusive to digital media under the Digital5 banner (e.g. ‘Kontrabando’, ‘Forever Sucks’). The addition of Brillante Mendoza, however, made it clear that TV5 is not done collaborating on homegrown entertainment fare on TV.

Philippines’ Next Top Model

It had been nearly a decade since ‘Philippines’ Next Top Model’ aired on TV (via RPN-9). This year, TV5 will revive the said modeling reality show, though it remains to be seen if TV5’s version will be a second cycle or a rebooted first cycle.

TV5 is no stranger to the ‘Top Model’ series, having aired ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ a few years ago. However, PNTM’s status as either a TV5-produced show or a blocktimer remains to be seen, so stay tuned.

More Tagalized American Series

Finally, TV5 will air new American action series, which will obviously be dubbed in Filipino. Two of them, ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’, are expected to air during the first quarter of this year.

Of course, TV5 will still air other ongoing series such as ‘Smallville’, ‘Supernatural’ and ‘The Walking Dead’. But for 2017, the women of ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Quantico’ will be in charge.

TV5 is expected to unveil more game-changing programs in the months to come. But at this point, the pieces are now firmly in place, as TV5 vows to be a different station this 2017.

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FTT Year 2016 in Review: The 20 Stories That Define the Year in Media (Part II)

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2017, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 20 moments that define the Philippine media this year.

If you missed out on Part I of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

Here is Part II of the four-part series. These stories are arranged in no particular order.

The End of Kris TV

‘Kris TV’ had been an early morning staple for nearly five years. With Kris Aquino at the helm, ‘Kris TV’ became one of the most enduring talk shows of the decade, and despite all the criticisms and low ratings thrown at them, ABS-CBN kept the faith on both Kris and the show itself.

But on March 23, Kris Aquino made a stunning announcement that she will officially bid farewell due to her recent health issues. As it turned out, this was ‘Kris TV”s last original episode, with the show continuing to air reruns until April 15, before it was replaced by ‘Magandang Buhay’.

Since then, Kris appeared as a guest on rival GMA talk show ‘Yan ang Morning’, and was scheduled to interview President Rodrigo Duterte in November until the latter no-showed due to illness.

News5 Loses Men to Duterte

Speaking of President Duterte, his cabinet featured a select number of former News5 anchors and reporters. This included PCOO chief Martin Andanar, DOT spokesperson Cherie Mercado, and assistant secretary for media relations Mia Reyes.

With the departure of numerous on-air staff, News5 was forced to implement new measures such as solo anchors on select ‘Aksyon’ newscasts. Unfortunately, it did not mitigate the damage that News5 endured this year, so much so that its head Luchi Cruz-Valdes even contemplated on relinquishing her post in favor of a cabinet position, a rumor that was eventually quashed.

However, this was not the only problem that TV5 faced this year.

Dissolution of TV5’s Entertainment Department

Late last year, TV5 reached out to VIVA Entertainment head Vic del Rosario to reinvigorate its entertainment division. The end result of this collaboration included shows such as ‘Ang Panday’, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap’, ‘Born to Be a Star’ and ‘Tasya Fantasya’.

Unfortunately, none of VIVA’s shows clicked, with questionable scheduling and low ratings to blame for the issues. As a result, new TV5 head Chot Reyes had no choice but to start over, dissolving TV5’s entertainment division, and cutting ties with VIVA in September.

For now, TV5 airs TV shopping blocks, Tagalized canned programs and movies, News5 shows and the PBA, while waiting for Chot Reyes to renovate the station from within.

The Rebirth of CNN Philippines

Last year, CNN Philippines was heavily criticized for its revolving door of anchors, a penchant for airing HLN and CNN International shows, and a lack of commitment towards breaking news. Enter Armie Jarin-Bennett, a CNN International veteran who decided to give CNN Philippines an extreme makeover.

Within a year since her entry, CNN Philippines transformed itself into a force in the world of journalism almost overnight. New locally flavored shows were introduced, and newly-hired hosts and anchors such as Pinky Webb, Ruth Cabal, Andrei Felix and Anthony Pangilinan were brought in.

The end result is a positively-reviewed news organization which now strives to tell the story of the Filipino, as evidenced by the network’s highly-praised coverage of the vice presidential debates.

PTV-4’s Revitalization and IBC-13’s Sale, as Promised by President Duterte

Upon assuming office on June 30, President Rodrigo Duterte promised sweeping changes for the country. None was more evident than in the two networks that are owned by the government: PTV-4 and IBC-13.

President Duterte’s plan for PTV-4 is to become a public service network in the mold of the PBS in the U.S. and the BBC in the U.K. As for IBC-13, his objective is to sell the network to private investors for P10 billion, with the eye towards revitalizing its seemingly moribund programming.

While the proposals will take some time, one can only hope that the two networks will soon return to form as the country’s respective government and general entertainment station.

Part III of this four-part series is coming up this Thursday. Stay tuned.

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With Rainy Season Underway, TV5 Still Needs Improvement and Continuity

Tagalized American shows such as ‘Smallville’ will take over TV5’s weeknight programming for now, as they prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics coverage. (Publicity photo courtesy of TV5)

It’s back to zero for TV5.

As May turned into June, the Kapatid network management decided to make a lot of changes in their programming lineup. Unfortunately, those alterations turned a once-promising network into a troublesome one, full of questionable decisions that are not worthy of its status as a ‘Big Three’ network.

Just imagine this. Would anyone accept a network that airs TV shopping in the morning, cartoons and/or sporting events in the afternoon, and Tagalized American series or movies at night?

Obviously, no one. In essence, this is still TV5 a.k.a. the Kapatid Network, yet its programming is now similar to ABC 5 in its final few years.

The entry of Vic del Rosario’s VIVA group was supposed to rejuvenate TV5’s flagging entertainment group, but it didn’t happen. The first wave of programs came and went, with no replacements whatsoever.

VIVA’s problems were aplenty, such as the presence of the PBA and other sporting events, and TV5’s lack of reach in other areas. Clearly, there is still a lot of work to do, but for the moment, they are no longer involved in the programming.

So what did TV5 do? Click the link to the network’s official website, and one will be very surprised on what the schedules look like now.

But for those not in the mood, here are the lowlights:

  • EZ Shop and Shop Japan replaces Boomerang on TV5 block, with the latter now airing on weekday afternoons
  • Tagalized American series (e.g. ‘Arrow’, ‘Supernatural’) dominate weeknights
  • Tagalized foreign movies remain a constant presence, but on weekends, they now extend to primetime
  • ‘Outcast’, a American suspense series, replaces ‘MTV Top 20 Pilipinas’ and will be dubbed in Filipino
  • ‘Sports360’ is shelved for now

For many, these moves are not smart, but TV5’s intention is clear. With the 2016 Summer Olympics only two months away, there is little time for VIVA’s programming to make their presence felt, and thus, TV5 needs to air some temporary fill-ins while waiting for their Olympic coverage to begin.

Still, the lack of improvement and continuity remains a problem for TV5. It’s been six years since Manny V. Pangilinan took over, yet the story remains the same.

When will they finally learn? No one knows, but one thing’s for sure: expect the unexpected from TV5.

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FTT’s Opening Salvo for 2016

It will be a very busy 2016 for media networks in the Philippines.

This year is an election year, and this one will decide the fate of the presidency of the Philippines. ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA, along with several minor players, will be on hand to cover the five-month period of conviction and decision, leading to the national elections on May 9, and finally to the inauguration on June 30.

The question is, will CNN Philippines, GMA News TV and AksyonTV be busy enough for the grind of the elections? The three news networks have had a rough outing last year, with only ANC and DZMM TeleRadyo continuing to showcase their usual journalistic excellence, and unless they prove the critics wrong on election day, they will endure yet another showering of boos.

On the entertainment side, this is where GMA needs to make a statement (yet again). Even though ‘Eat Bulaga’ and AlDub grabbed the headlines during the second half of 2015, the rest of GMA’s programming, talents and staff still leave a lot to be desired, and if GMA were to be competitive and financially strong, they need more than just AlDub to survive.

Over at TV5, they are making a fresh start with a new ally. Viva Entertainment head Vic del Rosario is now leading the network’s entertainment unit, and he hopes to make an impact with new shows that could reenergize the Kapatid network’s stagnant and unpredictable programming.

As for ABS-CBN, there’s no need for a forecast. Barring any possibility of overconfidence and complacency, this should be another successful year for the Kapamilya network, with new shows featuring both established and rising stars on the menu.

Sports programming suffered a big blow when ABS-CBN-operated Balls signed off for good last year. That said, there will be big shoes to fill for the remaining sports networks in the country, particularly TV5’s Hyper and ABS-CBN Sports+Action, as they scramble for rights to some of the events that Balls covered.

FM’s 90.7 Love Radio remained dominant last year, as are DZMM and DZBB on the AM band. Closing in on the top radio stations will once again be a very tough act for the rest of the field this year, especially with the possibility of a rebrand and a change in personnel looming for those who couldn’t keep up.

And finally, as always, the endless questions of IBC-13’s planned privatization (or closure) will continue to surface this year. The question of when, who and how will once again permeate curious viewers, as the fate of the embattled station remains a mystery even with the change of administration.

This should be an interesting year ahead, and From the Tube will be there to cover every step of the way. Good luck.

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