news, Philippines, public affairs, radio, television

The Big Question: Is Atom Araullo Going Home to GMA?

The fallout surrounding Atom Araullo’s departure from ABS-CBN is still strong.

It has been a week since Atom bid farewell to ABS-CBN News in order to ‘explore new interests’. At the time, many thought that Atom will simply be a freelancer and make good on his promise of seeking different opportunities in the world of media.

However, within hours of the announcement, GMA teased everyone when Mike Enriquez, Arnold Clavio and Susan Enriquez made mention of Atom’s name in the DZBB radio program ‘Sino?’. The rumors continued when GMA made the announcement on television of a ‘big reveal’ on ’24 Oras’ this Thursday night, with viewers again speculating that the man on the video is Atom Araullo himself.

Atom Araullo’s career as a host and journalist is a remarkable one. His initial foray into television is on the Probe Productions program ‘5 and Up’, but unlike fellow hosts Chynna Ortaleza, Maxene Magalona and brothers Rayver and Rodjun Cruz, Atom chose to follow a career in journalism.

After a brief stint as a sports reporter on GMA’s ’24 Oras’, Atom moved to ABS-CBN in 2004 where his career really took off. While he was best known as one of the hosts of ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ and even had his own show in ‘Red Alert’, Atom’s best moment came in 2013 when he reported in Tacloban about Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) while braving the heavy rains and winds.

Earlier this year, Atom received his first acting role on ‘Citizen Jake’ while earning a bronze medal at the New York Festivals for his documentary ‘Warmer’. His final appearances on the ABS-CBN family of networks came last night in an episode of Lifestyle’s ‘The Crawl’.

If it is indeed true that Atom Araullo will move to GMA Network, the reaction could be a mixed one. ABS-CBN has had a ‘no-compete clause’ in their news personalities’ contracts which state that they should not move to another network until a year following their departure.

Then again, anything like a ‘no-compete clause’ is totally irrelevant at this point. Not only that, Atom’s departure from ABS-CBN is an amicable one, and as a free agent, he can choose his next destination anytime he wants.

Later tonight, the ‘big reveal’ will take place on GMA’s ’24 Oras’. But the question remains, is the man in the video indeed Atom Araullo? Find out in several hours’ time.

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news, Philippines, public affairs, television

Unang Hirit Extended, Responds to Umagang Kay Ganda

GMA extended ‘Unang Hirit’ for another 30 minutes in response to ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’, whose recent dominance in the early mornings became a cause of concern. (Logo courtesy of GMA Network)

The morning rivalry between ‘Unang Hirit’ and ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ gets a little more interesting.

Two weeks after ABS-CBN’s ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ received a 30-minute extension, GMA responded Monday by giving ‘Unang Hirit’ an additional 30 minutes of their own. This means that the two rival morning shows now air from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

The 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. slot is nothing new to ‘Unang Hirit’. In the show’s early years, GMA aired it on the exact same timeslot, only to cut it to 2 1/2 hours and shuffle between start times of 5:00 a.m., 5:15 a.m. and 5:30 a.m in later years.

Unfortunately, the extended run of ‘Unang Hirit’ proved to be a consequence to the Astig Authority block. By adding 30 minutes to ‘Unang Hirit, GMA managed to sacrifice 30 minutes of anime programming, and considering that their animes are currently their strongest suit, this will not suit well with their anime fans.

And neither are viewers of ‘Yan ang Morning’. GMA would have had an opportunity to move the low-rating ‘Yan ang Morning’ to an earlier timeslot (in the process cutting ‘Unang Hirit’ to only two hours and giving it a head-start over ‘Magandang Buhay’), but it is clear that GMA’s marquee morning program is in no mood to give way.

Looking at the ratings between ‘Unang Hirit’ and ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’, it is obvious that GMA would have been better off doing a little bit of cost-cutting for the former. In recent years, ‘Umagang Kay Ganda’ has had the upper-hand, winning by a small margin on most days.

Let’s face it, after nearly 17 years on the air, ‘Unang Hirit’ is clearly wearing down. Their core lineup of hosts are showing their age, and if there is any chance for the show to survive much longer, they need a lot of tweaks to fit in with a younger generation of viewers.

As far as GMA News is concerned, there is a lot more to do in order to resuscitate the declining ratings of ‘Unang Hirit’. And extending the show by another 30 minutes is not a good idea.

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