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

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 and Part II of this series, click on the highlighted link for more information.

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

Pinoy Boyband Superstar Answers To the Top

Last year, GMA created its own reality talent show for up-and-coming Filipino boybands, ‘To the Top’. This year, ABS-CBN struck back by bringing the ‘La Banda’ franchise to the Philippines under the name ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’.

Unfortunately for GMA, the popularity of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’ far exceeded ‘To the Top’. The former constantly gained ratings of 30% or better while airing at a more convenient timeslot of 6:50 p.m., whereas the latter only mustered around 7-8% ratings while airing at a not-so attractive timeslot of 9:45-10:00 p.m.

Despite the success of ‘Pinoy Boyband Superstar’, it remains to be seen if BoybandPH can become a more popular boyband than Top One Project ever was. That said, the key to both boybands at this point is to outsell each other in order to win the hearts of fans.

Delamar Leaves RX 93.1’s The Morning Rush

‘The Morning Rush’ on Monster RX 93.1 is an institution in Philippine FM radio, having aired continuously for over two decades. So when Delamar Arias decided to leave both the show and the station on July 29, listeners, or ‘rushers’, were stunned.

After all, Delamar, along with long-time partner Chico Garcia and recent addition Gino Quillamor, were instrumental in the show’s success, with the ‘Top 10’ segment becoming the most popular segment. Her departure left a glaring hole on ‘The Morning Rush’, one they have struggled to fill since.

Delamar was not the only high-profile departure from the station. A few weeks later, Bea Fabregas left RX to focus on hosting FOX Sports Philippines’ ‘Fox Sports Minute’ and ‘The GOAT’, while Karen Bordador was arrested for alleged drug possession and was de facto removed from the station.

The Launch of PBA Rush, Plus UFC on TV5 and Olympic Coverage

If Solar Entertainment has NBA Premium TV, then TV5 has its own channel for the PBA in PBA Rush. Launched prior to the 2016 Governors’ Cup, PBA Rush is considered the Filipino version of NBA TV, featuring live and archived PBA games plus special programs dedicated to the league.

The timing of PBA Rush’s launch couldn’t have come at an important time, as that year’s Governors’ Cup saw Barangay Ginebra San Miguel end an eight-year title drought at the expense of the Meralco Bolts. Ginebra’s win would have concluded PBA’s run with TV5, but instead the partnership between the two was renewed in time for the ongoing Philippine Cup.

TV5 also made a high-profile acquisition when it purchased the broadcast rights to the UFC, promising it to air live on its HYPER channel. Unfortunately, TV5’s coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was a difficult one, as the network struggles to deal with its decline in programming quality.

Other Sports Stories on TV

ABS-CBN Sports replaced the UFC by focusing on local and regional mixed martial arts, namely the Alvin Aguilar-led URCC, and the Southeast Asia-based One Championship. They also brought in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) as part of its continued commitment to local and regional sports.

Solar Sports dabbled into collegiate basketball by airing the NAASCU, while IBC-13 and AksyonTV aired the UCBL and CESAFI tournaments respectively. However, the biggest draws remain the NCAA and the UAAP, where the San Beda Red Lions and the De La Salle Green Archers won their respective championships.

Finally, in women’s volleyball, ABS-CBN Sports acquired the rights to the Shakey’s V-League, beginning a contentious rivalry between the V-League and the TV5-aired Philippine SuperLiga.

Be My Lady Reigns, Ryzza Mae’s Run Ends

‘Be My Lady’, topbilled by real-life couple Erich Gonzales and Daniel Matsunaga,was the top draw at the pre-noontime slot for much of this year. Airing for 221 episodes from January 18 to November 25, the series earned ratings of nearly 20%, besting the competition in the process.

The aforementioned competition included a pair of shows starring Ryzza Mae Dizon: ‘Princess in the Palace’, and ‘Calle Siete’. But with Ryzza already entering the pre-teen stage of her life, it was clear that she was no longer the charmingly cute presence of years past.

In the end, TAPE decided to cease starring her on the pre-noontime slot beginning October 24, and gave the BAES (along with Taki Sato) of ‘Eat Bulaga’ a lead role in ‘TROPS’.

Part IV of this four-part series is coming up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Philippines, Sports, television

In 150 Words: ABS-CBN Hooks Up with URCC

The URCC joins forces with ABS-CBN Sports to broadcast and promote their events. From left: Dino Laurena (head of Integrated Sports, ABS-CBN), Alvin Aguilar (founder/owner, URCC), and March Ventosa (ABS-CBN Narrowcast head). (Photo credit: ABS-CBN)

The URCC is now on ABS-CBN Sports.

On Friday, April 1, a broadcast deal was reached between the Universal Reality Combat Championship and ABS-CBN, enabling the latter (through ABS-CBN Sports+Action in SD and HD) to air URCC events. The first URCC fight card on ABS-CBN Sports will be URCC 27: Rebellion on April 23.

The addition of the URCC to the ABS-CBN Sports family should aid in the former’s efforts to further promote their brand of mixed martial arts in the country. More importantly, it should help Kapamilya viewers move on from the loss of the UFC, which moved to Sports5 at the start of this year.

The URCC is founded and owned by Alvin Aguilar, and is considered the biggest MMA promotion in Southeast Asia.

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entertainment, Philippines, Sports, television

Sports360 Needs a Reformat

With the UFC essentially taking over late Sunday nights, TV5 needs to find a way to make ‘Sports360’ useful again. (Logo courtesy of TV5)

The past two months were not kind to TV5’s sports-oriented show ‘Sports360’.

Since the UFC became a property of Sports5 this year, ‘Sports360’ has been preempted regularly in favor of UFC events. With the show close to becoming an afterthought, its future was thrown into question.

As TV5’s sports-oriented talk show, it is the job of ‘Sports360’ to give Kapatid sports fans the latest updates on a variety of sporting events every week. But its constant preemptions made it difficult to stay in tune with the ever-changing sports landscape.

Look at the other sports talk shows in the country (e.g. ANC’s ‘Hardball’, ABS-CBN Sports+Action’s ‘The Score’, and CNN Philippines’ ‘Sports Desk’). While they are not here to provide some entertainment (as ‘Sports360’ usually does), at least they regularly provide updates in the world of sports to the avid fan.

This is a dilemma that the new Sports5 head Patricia Bermudez-Hizon must face. After all, they are the so-called ‘Olympic network’ (they will broadcast the 2016 Summer Olympics later this year), and if they want to live to that billing, they need to make ‘Sports360’ a constant presence on the network.

One thing they would like to see is the conversion of ‘Sports360’ into a daily sports talk show, with less focus on entertainment and more on analysis and news reporting. The current hosts may be experienced on-air talent for various Sports5 programming, but to keep the show running, they need to emulate either Mico Halili or TJ Manotoc to become useful.

Since TV5 is too loaded programming-wise, the best possible channel for ‘Sports360’ would be AksyonTV, whose sports-centric format makes it a perfect fit (signal issues notwithstanding). Another option would be HYPER, but this may not please SkyCable subscribers.

In any case, TV5 must address the fate of ‘Sports360’ as soon as possible. They don’t want to turn the show into a liability, so they need to act accordingly and turn the show into something more reliable to their viewers.

It’s up to TV5 to save ‘Sports360’. Good luck.

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Ang Panday Replays Everywhere

Richard Gutierrez’s small-screen comeback in ‘Ang Panday’ is given not one, but two replays in just its first week. (Photo credit: TV5)

Seems like TV5 is overhyping ‘Ang Panday’.

Already on its first week on air, TV5 decided to take it too far by airing not one, but two replays of ‘Ang Panday’, due to insistent public demand. In addition to the regular replays every Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 2:45 p.m., it also scheduled another slate of replays (consequentially preempting some programs), which were as follows:

  • Thursday, March 3 at 11:30 p.m. (preempted ‘Kaya’)
  • Saturday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m. (PBA plays one out-of-town game that day)
  • Saturday, March 5 at 10:30 p.m. (preempting ‘MTV Top 20 Pilipinas’)

Quite frankly, that’s a lot of replays. For a network that’s once again taking baby steps with their new partnership with VIVA, that’s not a good idea.

Starring Richard Gutierrez, Jasmine Curtis-Smith, Bangs Garcia and Sam Pinto, among others, ‘Ang Panday’ airs Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. on TV5.

Other Notes: TV5 made a few changes in its schedule, the most noteworthy of which is the addition of UFC-related programming on the network. For more on these changes, visit this website.

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TV5’s New Weekend Schedule

It will be a brand-new weekend slate on TV5 starting this week, highlighted by the premiere of ‘Born to Be a Star’. (Logo courtesy of TV5 and VIVA Entertainment)

New shows mean a new schedule for TV5 this weekend.

As previously announced, the first wave of shows under the co-production of TV5 and VIVA Entertainment will make their debut this month. Not only that, a few returnees will air new episodes as well.

The Saturday night lineup on TV5 will be as follows:

7:00 p.m. – Born to Be a Star

8:00 p.m. – Tasya Fantasya

9:00 p.m. – Wattpad Presents

10:30 p.m. – MTV Top 20 Pilipinas

On Sunday nights, the lineup looks like this:

7:00 p.m. – Born to Be a Star

8:00 p.m. – #ParangNormal Activity

9:00 p.m. – Barangay Utakan

10:00 p.m. – Sports 360/UFC on TV5

If there’s one thing in common about the schedules, it is that ‘Born to Be a Star’ will be aired on both Saturdays and Sundays, which is now typical of other reality talent shows in the country. It is likely that they will adopt the format of one performance and one results episode per weekend, with the auditions possibly the focus of the first episodes.

‘Born to Be a Star’ will take over the timeslots of both ‘LolaBasyang.com’ (Saturdays) and ‘Barangay Utakan’ (Sundays). The former, a co-production of TV5 and IdeaFirst Company, is currently on hiatus, while the latter, a News5 production, will now be moved to a new timeslot at 9:00 p.m.

Occupying the previous timeslot of ‘#ParangNormal Activity’ will be ‘Tasya Fantasya’, the upcoming fantasy series starring Shy Carlos and Mark Neumann. While the former initially announced that last Saturday’s episode was to be their finale, due to insistent public demand, new episodes of ‘#ParangNormal Activity’ will now be seen every Sunday at 8:00 p.m.

Aside from ‘Born to Be a Star’ and ‘Tasya Fantasya’, the TV5/VIVA consortium will also join forces in airing MTV Pinoy’s ‘Top 20 Pilipinas’ on Channel 5. This will mark the first time in nearly a decade that an MTV program will be aired on free TV.

MTV Pinoy’s ‘Top 20 Pilipinas’ will replace ‘History with Lourd’ and ‘Kaya’. While the former is expected to move to a new timeslot, the latter’s status remains unknown.

Meanwhile, ‘Wattpad Presents’ will have a new format with their move to Saturday nights. As part of the change, one story will be presented in a 90-minute made-for-TV movie.

And as for ‘Sports 360’, this week’s episode will be preempted anew in favor of TV5’s broadcast of UFC 196. Perhaps it’s about time for the said show to move to AksyonTV so as to prevent any further interruptions.

An interesting weekend awaits for both TV5 and VIVA. As for changes in the weekday slot, stay tuned.

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Philippines, Sports, television, United States

Balls Bids Farewell, Plus UFC Moves to Sports5

Balls will air for the final time on December 31, 2015, and most sporting content will be transferred to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action the following day. (Logo courtesy of Creative Programs, Inc./ABS-CBN)

Balls’ days are numbered.

SkyCable announced that Balls will cease to air after December 31, 2015, ending a seven-year run. The permanent sign-off of Balls will involve both its standard definition (channel 34) and high definition (channel 195) feeds.

 

Most sports programming on Balls will be moved to the free-to-air ABS-CBN Sports+Action starting next year. An HD counterpart of the latter network will also be launched.

Debuting on January 1, 2008, Balls became the home to some of the world’s top sporting events, ranging from UEFA and FIFA soccer competitions to FIVB tournaments. It also aired both the French Open and U.S. Open tennis, as well as European Tour and Asian Tour golf.

Balls made history on July 16, 2009 when it launched Balls HD, the first-ever Filipino HD television channel. The channel aired both the UAAP and NCAA tournaments, as well as a select few international tournaments.

But perhaps Balls’ biggest claim to fame was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The premier mixed martial arts organization began airing on Balls in 2009, and the latter was credited with popularizing the UFC in the Philippines.

Unfortunately, with Balls about to leave the airwaves, it is clear that ABS-CBN Sports has no intention of keeping the UFC rights. As a result, the broadcast rights of UFC will be moved to Sports5 starting next year.

Sports5’s plan is to air the UFC live on the Cignal-exclusive Hyper channel, with delayed broadcasts on TV5. However, it remains to be seen if fight fans will respond well to the change, considering that Hyper is still a work in progress and is not as well-known as its competitors.

That said, it’s up to Sports5 to reinforce Hyper with more well-known sporting events. The UFC may be a good way to start, but it’s not enough to put them on top just yet.

As for ABS-CBN Sports, the time to sort out the mess is now. With Balls going off the air, ABS-CBN Sports+Action has a bigger dilemma ahead of them.

 

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