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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 PBA Rush, League’s Future with TV5 Appears Secure

Cignal’s newest channel, PBA Rush, was launched July 17, at a time when the league’s future with parent network TV5 is in doubt. (Logo courtesy of the Philippine Basketball Association, Cignal Digital TV)

Looks like loyal followers of the PBA will have nothing to worry about as far as television coverage is concerned.

Yesterday, the league and Cignal joined forces to launch a 24-hour channel called PBA Rush. Available exclusively on Cignal SD channel 52 and HD channel 129, the channel will feature live PBA games, as well as special league-centric programming and classic games.

Prior to the official unveiling of PBA Rush, the channel had been airing in test broadcast since early July. During that period, it aired replays of the season’s two previous tournaments (Philippine Cup, Commissioner’s Cup), as well as the FIBA Olympic qualifying tournament.

The decision to launch PBA Rush came at a not-so opportune time. The ongoing Governors’ Cup was to be the league’s last hurrah with TV5, and with the network enduring a lot of problems with its programming, it seems obvious that the PBA could be on its way out.

But where will the PBA go at this point? Here’s a look at how the other free TV channels stack up as far as the league is concerned (only VHF channels are listed here, as the PBA prefers to airs games on that platform only).

ABS-CBN – The Kapamilya network has expressed interest in airing the PBA games for a long time. However, what holds them back is their reluctance to air the games on primetime, the league’s long-standing decision to air games on VHF channels only, and the sports division’s loaded lineup.

PTV-4 – The PBA and the People’s Network are no stranger to each other, having been partners during the 1980s and the first half of the 1990s. But with the network undergoing a rebuilding phase under PCOO secretary and former TV5 personality Martin Andanar, it is unlikely that a reunion will take place in the foreseeable future.

GMA/GMA News TV – Sporting events and GMA have been few and far between since the network switched from a rainbow logo to a rainbow-colored heart logo. And with the Kapuso network already in a spending binge thanks to the return of ‘Encantadia’, it is unlikely that GMA will pursue the PBA (and any other sporting event for that matter) anytime soon.

RPN-9/CNN Philippines – Before RPN-9 became the home of CNN Philippines, it used to air PBA games in the 1970s and more recently in the late 2000s. However, since CNN has content rights to the local version of the channel, there is no way that a reunion with the PBA will happen as long as they’re here.

IBC-13 – The PBA and IBC has had three different stints under three different partners: Vintage/VIVA TV, PTV-4 and Sports5. But with the embattled network currently up for sale, any further return is not in the cards for now.

That said, it is a safe bet that the PBA and TV5 will renew their contract soon after the conclusion of the Governors’ Cup. Then again, any contract renewal may no longer be a possibility, since the launch of PBA Rush essentially extended PBA’s relationship with TV5 for the foreseeable amount of time.

Still, it remains to be seen if the launch of PBA Rush will pay dividends. But let’s just hope that the channel will not pose a threat to Manny V. Pangilinan’s pocket.

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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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VIVA-TV5 Partnership a Bust So Far

‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?’ will conclude tomorrow night, part of a series of problems that plague the VIVA-TV5 partnership in the initial months of the deal. (Photo credit: Philstar.com)

The VIVA-TV5 deal is off to a slow start.

The partnership which oversaw the premiere of three new series (‘Ang Panday’, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?’, ‘Tasya Fantasya’), a talent singing search show (‘Born to Be a Star’) and ‘MTV Top 20 Pilipinas’ has not paid dividends for the Kapatid network. In fact, ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?’ will conclude tomorrow night, with low ratings a key factor.

And if that’s not enough, VIVA had to deal with the PBA’s overwhelming presence for much of TV5’s primetime schedule, especially with the Commissioner’s Cup playoffs now well underway. Such a shame.

When VIVA announced their partnership with TV5 a few months ago, many hoped that the deal will revitalize the network’s moribund entertainment department. After all, VIVA had a great reputation for breeding successful talent and producing impactful programs and movies, which showed in prior partnerships with IBC-13, GMA and ABS-CBN.

Unfortunately for VIVA and TV5, that has not bore fruit. VIVA’s new programs made little impact in the ratings, and the supposed comeback of once-popular stars such as Richard Gutierrez and Claudine Barretto failed to deliver the desired results.

Even worse for VIVA is the fact that they are having a hard time scheduling their programs. Both ‘Ang Panday’ and ‘Bakit Manipis ang Ulap?’ aired during non-PBA game days, but as the playoffs got underway, VIVA had no choice but to move the two dramas to a later timeslot.

The same can also be said for ‘Born to Be a Star’. Originally airing every weekend, it now only airs every Sunday, thanks in large part to the timeslot changes for both ‘#ParangNormal Activity’ and ‘Sports360’.

With so many dilemmas to begin with, it seems like the glory days of VIVA Entertainment on television has long deserted them. Still, the partnership has a long way to go, but first, they need to consult with both Sports5 and News5 in order to solve whatever issues they have right now.

Consider this a bump on the road. Hopefully VIVA can work out these problems as soon as possible, so that their partnership will not go down in vain.

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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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