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

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

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

The Death of German Moreno

On January 8, the whole Filipino entertainment industry was stunned with the passing of German Moreno. The veteran host, actor and entertainer was best known for his distinguished work with up-and-coming stars on ‘That’s Entertainment’, as well as a near two-decade run hosting the Saturday late night show ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’.

The death of Kuya Germs also ended an era for late-night variety shows on Philippine television, as ‘Walang Tulugan’ signed off for good on February 13. Despite that, the legacy of Kuya Germs lives on with the Eastwood City Walk of Fame, which inducted new members late this year.

Other notable showbiz personalities who died this year include directors Wenn Deramas and Francis Pasion, actors Lilia Cuntapay, Joy Viado and Dick Israel, and singer Blakdyak.

Encantadia Returns

On July 18, GMA brought back the popular fantaserye ‘Encantadia’, featuring a rehashed storyline of the original 2005 series. The new iteration stars Glaiza de Castro, Gabbi Garcia, Sanya Lopez and Kylie Padilla, who play the roles of Pirena, Alena, Danaya and Amihan respectively.

Unfortunately, despite the hefty expenses that GMA spent for this version of ‘Encantadia’, the series failed to make an impact. In the national Kantar ratings, ‘Encantadia’ regularly fell by double digits to ‘Ang Probinsyano’, and the high expectations that came with it dissipated.

‘Encantadia’ is not the only primetime problem that GMA faced this year, however, as this next entry shows.

The Alyas Robin Hood-Arrow Controversy

When posters and teasers for ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ were first released, many felt the series was a ripoff of ‘Arrow’, with lead star Stephen Amell even going as far as sharing the clip with a ‘flushed-face’ emoji. However, creative consultant Suzette Doctolero made it clear that ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ and ‘Arrow’ were both based on the Robin Hood folklore.

Despite the controversial issues, ‘Alyas Robin Hood’ was given the go-signal by GMA to air starting September 19. While the series came out flying in its first few weeks, rival series ‘Magpahanggang Wakas’ soon pulled away, with some disgruntled viewers choosing to watch either the Tagalized ‘Arrow’ on TV5, or the English dub on Jack TV.

‘Alyas Robin Hood’ did have a highly publicized scene with the bikini showdown involving Sarri (Megan Young) and Venus (Andrea Torres), which should soften the blow of its controversial start.

The 25th Anniversary of Maalaala Mo Kaya

The first episode of ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ was aired on May 15, 1991. Twenty-five years later, the program continues to touch the lives of others thanks to a letter read by Charo Santos-Concio, and scenes that can make people shed tears with each episode.

This year, as part of its silver anniversary celebration, ABS-CBN launched a commemorative website for ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, a nationwide and worldwide tour, and an initiative for people to send in their life stories via a letter or a short-form video. As for the show’s ratings this year, it continues to thwart the challenges of its long-running rival, GMA’s ‘Magpakailanman’.

One can only hope that ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ will continue to air beyond this year, as its legacy and enduring success stands the test of time.

Ang Probinsyano and Doble Kara Celebrate Their First Anniversary

But perhaps the biggest headline of 2016 belongs to both Coco Martin and Julia Montes. Their respective shows, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’, reached the one-year milestone within a month of each other.

Both ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ continue to lead the way in their respective timeslots. The former is currently the most-watched primetime show in the country, while the latter is the most-watched post-noontime show.

How much longer will they stay on the air remains to be seen, but as they proceed into 2017, expect ‘Ang Probinsyano’ and ‘Doble Kara’ to remain a dominant force in the primetime and afternoon slots respectively.

Honorable Mentions

  1. ‘The World Tonight’ celebrates its 50th year.
  2. Power Duo wins ‘Pilipinas Got Talent’ season 5.
  3. Joshua Oliveros wins ‘The Voice Kids’ season 3.
  4. ‘Naku Boss Ko’ mini-series and PiliPinas Debates leading up to the 2016 Philippine Presidential Elections.
  5. ANC and DZMM’s respective 20th and 30th anniversaries.

It was indeed an eventful 2016 in the world of Philippine media. Expect bigger things to come this 2017 as From the Tube continues to document the latest events in television and radio in the Philippines.

Until then, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Is Gandang Gabi Vice the New Walang Tulugan?

The baton of late-night entertainment appears to have passed from German Moreno to Vice Ganda, as ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ now tries to live up to the standard set by ‘Walang Tulugan’. (Photo credit: Gandang Gabi Vice official Facebook)

The death of German Moreno and the cancellation of the long-running ‘Walang Tulugan’ left a big void.

A fixture of GMA and late night television in general for nearly two decades, ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ was an institution unlike any other. It was a variety show starring some of Kuya Germs’ old and young proteges, and a talk show where they converse about anything and everything under the moon.

When its leader moved on to the afterlife last January, ‘Walang Tulugan’ soon followed suit. Many thought that late night entertainment on Philippine television was gone for good.

Not so fast. Just ask Vice Ganda, the host of ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’.

Airing since May 2011, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ shares the same template as ‘Walang Tulugan’. It was mostly a talk show, but at times it has dabbled into the variety show format, thanks to the comedic segments that Vice Ganda introduces to his guests.

And since the demise of ‘Walang Tulugan’, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ is now considered the standard-bearer among late-night entertainment programs in the country. With that in mind, is ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ really the new ‘Walang Tulugan’?

Let’s face it, Vice Ganda is an equally compelling entertainer. He is a comedian by profession, but he can also show his emotion whenever possible.

Of course, unlike Kuya Germs, Vice doesn’t have the credentials to be a mentor to future stars. Still, his talent as a performer made him an icon, though some would complain about his unpredictable and at times insulting jokes.

As for ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’, star power is usually the norm, unlike in ‘Walang Tulugan’. Some of ABS-CBN’s most popular and occasionally controversial talents have made appearances on the show, and on some episodes, politicians, athletes and even artists from other networks (usually for promoting Star Cinema films) were invited as well.

But what made ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ more of a late-night show now is because of preceding programs that push the show’s airtime a lot later. Thanks in large part to talent and reality shows that air on weekends, ‘Gandang Gabi Vice”s start time now hinges between 10:45 p.m. and 11:20 p.m., more or less in ‘Walang Tulugan’ territory.

That said, there is a reason why ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ is the new ‘Walang Tulugan’. The fact that it airs this late every Sunday gives viewers another way to stay up late, though watching the show may be consequential to their productivity.

ABS-CBN can only hope that the success of ‘Gandang Gabi Vice’ can lead to a longer lifespan. If Vice Ganda can last 20 years with this show, Kapamilya fans and management should feel proud.

Farewell, Walang Tulugan

‘Walang Tulugan’ aired its final episode last Saturday, over a month after the show’s creator German Moreno (third from left) passed away. (Photo credit: German Moreno Official Facebook)

The curtain finally fell on ‘Walang Tulugan’.

On Saturday, February 13, ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ aired its final episode. The variety show’s finale had already been anticipated, as its creator and host, German Moreno (a.k.a. Kuya Germs), passed away over a month ago.

‘Walang Tulugan’ first aired on February 8, 1997 as ‘Master Showman Presents’. The show was created as a way to maintain Kuya Germs’ presence on television, after his previous program ‘GMA Supershow’ was cancelled earlier that year in favor of ‘SOP’.

Eight years later, the show was renamed ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’. The popularity of the catchphrase ‘Walang Tulugan’ (a term coined by Kuya Germs during the show’s early years) led to its rebrand, and whenever viewers tuned in, they would always identify ‘Walang Tulugan’ as the show that never sleeps.

During its 19-year run, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was affected by GMA’s numerous lineup changes on Saturdays. In some episodes, the show begins at 11:15 or 11:30, but others usually start in the wee hours of Sunday morning, due to the unnecessary presence of a late-night movie block.

Aside from Kuya Germs, ‘Walang Tulugan’ also featured an ensemble of co-hosts that were either ‘That’s Entertainment’ alumni or young up-and-coming proteges of the Master Showman. In the show’s final episodes, Kuya Germs’ nephew John Nite and close friend Nora Aunor shared lead hosting duties.

The death of Kuya Germs on January 8 led to a special live tribute episode of ‘Walang Tulugan’ the following night. Although Nora Aunor stated that she wanted to continue the show, GMA realized that ‘Walang Tulugan’ would never be the same without its creator and pillar.

Thus, they decided to pull the plug on one of the longest-running programs on Philippine television. And last Saturday, ‘Walang Tulugan’ officially bowed out, with the show’s hosts performing for the last time and bidding farewell to their loyal viewers.

For Philippine television, ‘Walang Tulugan’ was a big loss, and an irreplaceable icon for night owls everywhere. But while its run had ended, its legacy will live on, along with the creator who started it all, Kuya Germs.

Indeed, ‘Walang Tulugan’ will still not sleep, even if it has moved on to the great beyond.

The Trouble With Last Saturday’s TV Programming

Last Saturday on television was memorable for both the right and wrong reasons. There was a PBA doubleheader, a double-overtime NBA thriller, a boxing event, and a dance contest featuring elementary school students. It also witnessed a pair of programming changes, and a slew of programs that ran way behind schedule.

On this article, the focus of attention will be on the programming problems that plagued the ‘Big 3’ networks last Saturday. Here is how I looked at the programming that took place last March 22, and how they need to be rectified.

ABS-CBN

The Oklahoma City-Toronto NBA game lasted until the second overtime, and as a result ‘It’s Showtime’ began later than usual, at around 12:45-1:00 p.m. The highlight of the variety show was the grand finals of the ‘Stars on 45’ talent contest, where Haydee Manosca emerged the winner. ‘It’s Showtime’ lasted until 4:00 p.m., affecting other programs’ start times for the remainder of ABS-CBN’s operating day.

Perhaps the Kapamilya network’s Saturday schedule would have served better if ‘It’s Showtime’ airs from 12:30-3:30, making it a three-hour program similar to the Saturday edition of its competitor ‘Eat Bulaga’. In addition, the airing of ‘Saturday Specials: Shake, Rattle and Roll’ is unnecessary, and should be removed in favor of making ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ and ‘Failon Ngayon’ into a pair of hour-long programs.

GMA

‘Eat Bulaga’ took place at Resorts World Manila, where the grand finals of ‘Junior Pinoy Henyo”s cheerdancing competition was held. However, it was the broadcast of another movie on the ‘GMA Blockbusters’ block following ‘Laban ng Lahi’, and the transfer of ‘Reporters’ Notebook’ which affected its programming for the remainder of the day. Poor German Moreno and his ‘Walang Tulugan’ variety show.

To keep Kuya Germs and his loyal viewers happy and awake, ‘GMA Blockbusters’ should be restricted to just one movie or event rather than the unnecessary two. That way, the succeeding programs can be aired at a more comfortable timeslot.

TV5

Gone are the AksyonTV simulcasts of the PBA, and as a result, TV5 was compelled to air every PBA game for the rest of the season. The first Saturday doubleheader aired on the network was not without any complications, however. ‘Aksyon Weekend’ was slotted in between the doubleheader, much to the dismay of the league owners, while the programs that followed the PBA aired later than usual, with the live broadcast of ‘SpinNation’ taking place at a rather unfavorable time of 11:20 p.m.

The only Saturday program that was affected by the change was ‘Juan Direction, which now air on Sunday nights. It would have been better, however, if ‘Kaya’ was included in the move, since that particular program became expendable with the increase of PBA airtime. In addition, ‘Aksyon Weekend’ should be aired after the PBA games are finished.

March 22, 2014 should be remembered as one of the most infamous dates in Philippine television. The programming last Saturday proved to be excruciating and frustrating for the viewers, mostly due to some programs that aired way beyond their usual start times. Unless the executives make some more favorable changes in their respective networks’ programming, things will only get worse from here.

GMA Reshuffles ‘Night Shift’ Lineup

Sandra Aguinaldo, Jay Taruc, Howie Severino and Kara David of I-Witness will now be seen at a more convenient 10:15 slot every Saturday night.

GMA’s ‘Night Shift’ block of public affairs programs will have a new look next week, with two programs from News TV 11 moving to Channel 7 while bumping two other programs to the weekends.

‘I-Witness’, the critically acclaimed and highly awarded documentary series, moves to Saturday nights after ‘Celebrity Bluff’ effective February 8. The timeslot change came amid requests from many loyal viewers who asked to air the program at an earlier time. ‘I-Witness’ will now compete against TV5’s new public affairs program ‘Kaya’ and ABS-CBN gag show ‘Banana Split: Extra Scoop’. Despite the change, the unnecessary program ‘Kapuso Movie Night’ will continue to air at a later timeslot, putting viewers of ‘Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman’ at a clear disadvantage.

Replacing the series on Monday nights is former News TV documentary program ‘Front Row’, which will now adopt a formula similar to the ABS-CBN documentary series ‘Storyline’: no voice-over narrations and no hosts, only subject interviews. The change in formula is intended to make the program more distinct and movie-like, and to distinguish it from ‘I-Witness’.

Another News TV refugee coming to Channel 7 is ‘Powerhouse’, which will now air on Wednesday nights. The program, hosted by Kara David, features interviews with various influential figures, showcasing both their public and personal lives inside the comfort of their homes. The series was one of the so-called ‘News TV originals’, and has been on the air since News TV debuted in 2011.

With ‘Powerhouse’ moving to Wednesdays, ‘Born to Be Wild’ will now occupy the Sunday morning slot after ‘AHA!’. The nature documentary show takes over the timeslot of its spin-off ‘Born Impact’, in essence merging the two shows together. ‘Born to Be Wild’s new timeslot will be a big help to schoolchildren, enabling them to learn and discover the hidden facts about nature at a more convenient time. The show will be up against ABS-CBN’s ‘Matanglawin’.

Moving ‘I-Witness’ and ‘Born to Be Wild’ will be a big help to GMA in their weekend programming. However, moving ‘Front Row’ and ‘Powerhouse’ from News TV to Channel 7 will be more of a detriment than a benefit. By moving to Channel 7, both shows essentially become reruns when aired on News TV. And with the latter suffering from disorganization and lack of identity, it only justified the departure of both ‘Front Row’ and ‘Powerhouse’.

Still, it remains to be seen whether or not the reshuffling of GMA’s public affairs programs will pay off. Right now GMA will continue to tinker with its programs in hopes of finding the right mix.

GMA’s Weekend Nightmares Continue

I have been saying this over and over again: GMA’s weekend programming lineup is the most uncertain of them all. In a prior article, I wrote about how GMA failed to outdraw ABS-CBN on Sundays with shows such as Party Pilipinas, TeenGen, Showbiz Central and HOT TV, all of which were cancelled due to declining viewership figures, and I have also written about how cluttered their programming schedules are on weekends. And now GMA is trying shake things up again in hopes of reversing their weekend fortunes.

GMA’s main slate of Saturday programs are fully loaded from Eat Bulaga to Walang Tulugan with the Master Showman. So why did they add another public service program to the mix? As announced in the teaser below, the upcoming public service program will be entitled ‘Bingit’, which is basically a program featuring stories of survival and inspiration. The said program’s timeslot remains uncertain, though I think the program will be placed either near Wish Ko Lang, or Tunay na Buhay. The problem with the addition of this program is that it will bump other GMA programs in its stead, so the only way they can fix that is to remove the all-martial arts block ‘Kapuso Movie Night’ off the lineup in order to accompany the new program. Worse, Alisto failed in its Saturday timeslot, so what more will ‘Bingit’ bring against either ‘SOCO: Scene of the Crime Operatives’ or ‘Failon Ngayon’?

As previously mentioned, GMA’s Sunday lineup is a total wreck, so much so that they have four movie blocks aired on Sundays (Kapuso Movie Festival, Kapuso Blockbusters, Sunday Night Box Office). The Kapuso Blockbusters segment basically filled the programming vacated by TeenGen and HOT TV. However, the network finally decided to fill in the blanks and replace one of the Kapuso Blockbusters with a Sunday suspense series called ‘Dormitoryo’, which is basically their answer to ABS-CBN’s teen-oriented comedy program ‘Luv U‘. Ok, so they’re trying to revive ‘Oka Tokat’ on a Sunday, but is this the right move? Not so, unless they gain a needed fanbase.

Once again GMA is pulling out all the stops in hopes of improving their viewership on weekends. Unfortunately, with the continuous addition of what I think are mediocre products, GMA’s fortunes regarding their ratings will only get worse.

Meanwhile, the list of other upcoming programs by the Kapuso network can be viewed below.