entertainment, Philippines, television

What If TV5’s Untold Stories Remained on the Air?

Had TV5’s ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air, it would have been a clear three-way ratings race between ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, ‘Magpakailanman’, and this program.

Every Saturday night we watch the story of a particular individual and their struggles to cope up with their lives on ABS-CBN’sMaalaala Mo Kaya‘ and GMA’sMagpakailanman‘. The two programs have been rivals for several years now and ratings leadership in the primetime slot have gone back and forth between them. However, there was one program that would have rivaled the success of MMK and ‘Magpakailanman’, had it continued to air.

Untold Stories Mula sa Face to Face‘, or ‘Untold Stories’ in short, once aired on TV5 every Saturday nights. The program’s premise is to retell a particular conflict that aired on the tabloid talk show ‘Face to Face’, with hidden details of the conflict revealed along the way. The show began to air in 2010, but was pulled midway in 2012, just as GMA was planning to revive ‘Magpakailanman’.

Just imagine a three-way rivalry between the three programs had ‘Untold Stories’ remained on the air. It would have given the television audience an option to choose between three aspects of drama anthology: the confrontational in ‘Untold Stories’, the inspiring in ‘Magpakailanman’, and the anecdotal in ‘MMK’. However, for the most part ‘Untold Stories’ suffered from several shortcomings, hence its short television run.

Audiences never liked the presentation style of ‘Untold Stories’ host Amy Perez, whose approach seems more relative to hosting a documentary or a public affairs program, in contrast to the apparent calm and slow-it-down style of Mel Tiangco and Charo Santos-Concio. ‘Untold Stories’ would have served its purpose if the host came from the news or executive department, namely News5 head Luchi Cruz-Valdes, and not a showbiz personality like Amy Perez.

The use of footage from ‘Face to Face’ likewise did not serve ‘Untold Stories’ well. Had TV5 decided to let the actors do the acting instead of splicing footage from ‘Face to Face’, it would have gained a sizable audience. In addition, the use of violence was more rampant on the program than on its rivals, making it harmful and unhealthy for younger children.

So what if TV5 never cancelled ‘Untold Stories’ and kept it on the air? Would the viewers remain interested on the violence and extensive confrontation scenes? Absolutely not. Would a three-way race on Saturday nights become a reality? I don’t think so. The way I see it, even if they were to continue running the program, it would fall way behind its competitors by a wide margin, because the high amount of violence in the program is just enough to turn away advertisers and audiences. For now TV5 shied away from creating drama anthologies to focus on gag shows, game shows and even talk and variety shows on weekends, an approach they dubbed ‘Weekend Do It Better’.

With the way TV5’s weekend lineup is performing, it is unclear whether the drama anthology will return to the Kapatid network. Perhaps in the near future, but not now in the midst of a philosophical shift. ‘Untold Stories’ may be history, but it will not be forgotten.