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FTT Year 2014 in Review: TV5

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2015, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article will focus on TV5, who made the transition from a mainstream to an alternative station this year.

The Positives

2014 was a year of change for TV5. And some changes were for the better.

A heavily-criticized coverage of the previous PBA season led to several tweaks in TV5’s current schedule. Initially made to benefit the NCAA, the FIBA World Cup, the Youth Olympics and the Asian Games, this was then implemented for the PBA, which was welcomed by fans after expressing their disgust with last season’s coverage.

The year also saw TV5 broadcast other major sporting events, such as the Super Bowl, the U.S. NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and the Winter Olympics. Furthermore, they aired the games of the ‘Batang Gilas’ in the 2014 FIBA Under-17 World Championship, keeping in step with the moves made by ABS-CBN Sports.

TV5 viewers also witnessed the premieres of highly-praised weekly series ‘JasMine’ and ‘Trenderas’, as well as a new game show in ‘Quiet Please! Bawal ang Maingay’. TV5 also collaborated with both E! and Wattpad to broadcast ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’ and ‘Wattpad Presents’, respectively, to good reviews.

And finally, News5 garnered some awards from various bodies, particularly in the programs ‘T3: Enforced’, ‘History with Lourd’, ‘Yaman ng Bayan’ and ‘Bigtime’. ‘It Takes Gutz to Be a Gutierrez’, ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘Celebrity Dance Battle’ were also honored.

The Negatives

The transformation of TV5 was not without some obstacles, however.

When TV5 revealed its programming lineup for 2014, one of the upcoming programs mentioned was a Philippine adaptation of ‘Pretty Little Liars’. Unfortunately for the network, the project never materialized, even as they denied rumors that it was ‘shelved’.

Not all of TV5’s programs under Noel Lorenzana’s new initiative paid off. The programs that were cancelled in his first full year in charge include the likes of ‘SpinNation’, ‘What’s Up, Doods’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’, ‘Killer Karaoke Pinoy Naman’, ‘Face the People’ and ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’.

TV5’s sports coverage was also not spared. Early this year, the Kapatid network introduced ‘Moneyball: Dribol op da Pipol’ to its PBA and NCAA coverage, much to the dismay of the more informative and knowledgeable viewers; eventually TV5 relented by moving ‘Sports5 Center’ to the livestream format (as ‘Sports 360’).

AksyonTV, TV5’s sister network, was severely crippled by News5’s programming changes, particularly after the cancellation of its original programs and newscasts ‘Andar ng mga Balita’ and ‘Balitang 60’. As a result, the network became overly dependent on TV5’s programming, which is not a good sign for a news/sports channel like AksyonTV.

The sex scandal involving News5 anchor and Rescue5 leader Paolo Bediones in September also demoralized the network. While he left ‘Aksyon Tonite’ in the midst of the controversy (he was later replaced by Ed Lingao), he did return to host ‘Demolition Job’ and Rescue5 short videos once the impact of his scandal dissipated.

But perhaps the biggest news coming out of TV5’s camp was the departure of Sharon Cuneta. A P1 billion signee of the network a few years ago, Sharon joined TV5 with high expectations, but shows such as ‘Sharon: Kasama Mo Kapatid’, ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ and ‘Madam Chairman’ failed to deliver.

And finally, there is the annual issue of TV5’s overreliance on Tagalized foreign movies, as well as reruns of local programs.

Outlook

TV5 has already unveiled a list of new and returning programs for 2015, which will be discussed in detail very soon.

It was not a bad year for TV5, even with all the changes that took place. With a new year looming, Lorenzana and company now hope to build on these gains even further, though changes are still to be made as the year progresses.

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TV5’s ‘Weekend Do It Better’ Revisited

‘Wow Mali’, now under the ‘Lakas ng Tama’ tagline, is one of three ‘Weekend Do It Better’ programs on TV5 that are still on the air today. (Title card courtesy of TV5)

It’s been over a year since TV5 decided to change the network’s programming approach.

Under the leadership of president Noel Lorenzana, the Kapatid network overhauled its programming lineup in a way that it would favor a younger and a more active audience. These initiatives resulted in the ‘Weekend Do It Better’, ‘Everyday All the Way’ and ‘KBO: Karunungan, Balita at Opinyon’ blocks.

The first of these blocks debuted in September of last year. The first block, ‘Weekend Do It Better’, initially consisted of the following programs:

  1. ‘Showbiz Police’
  2. ‘Tropa Mo Ko Unli’
  3. ‘Killer Karaoke: Pinoy Naman’
  4. ‘What’s Up Doods?’
  5. ‘Pinoy Explorer’
  6. ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’
  7. ‘Wow Mali Pa Rin’
  8. ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’

Of the eight, only ‘Tropa Mo Ko Unli’ (now ‘Tropa Mo Ko Nice Di Ba’), ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ and ‘Wow Mali Pa Rin’ (now ‘Wow Mali Lakas ng Tama’) remain on the air. The three shows were the only ‘Weekend Do It Better’ stalwarts to survive TV5’s most recent transformation, that of the ‘Happy Ka Dito’ era, and their success and viewer loyalty were a testament to that.

On the other hand, ‘What’s Up Doods?’ and ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ were cancelled just before the end of last year due to low viewership numbers. Then in the first half of this year, ‘Showbiz Police’, ‘Pinoy Explorer’ and ‘Killer Karaoke: Pinoy Naman’ were also cancelled, with the first two having moved to new timeslots in the middle of their run.

The ‘Weekend Do It Better’ title would be deemphasized by February 2014, but in the minds of the Kapatid network, it was only the beginning of further experimentation and constant rebuilding. New programs would be unveiled within the next few months, with the hope of making TV5’s weekend lineup even more formidable.

Today, the experiment continues, but for TV5, ‘Weekend Do It Better’ marked the start of bigger and brighter things for the still-No. 3 network, one that would carry them for the next few years.

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Face the People, Let’s Ask Pilipinas Return

Ogie Alcasid replaces Aga Muhlach as host of ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’. (Photo credit: Ogie Alcasid’s Instagram account)

TV5’s two standout programs are back, with new hosts eager to make a mark.

It was announced that ‘Face the People’ and ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’ will return for another season this Monday. The former will now air at 10:15 a.m., followed by the latter.

In addition, both programs will receive new hosts. Edu Manzano will now join Gelli de Belen and Tintin Bersola-Babao as the third host on ‘Face the People’, while Ogie Alcasid will replace Aga Muhlach for ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’.

Edu was last seen regularly as host of ‘What’s Up, Doods’, which ceased production in December 2013, while Ogie will return to weekday programming three weeks after his tawaserye ‘Confessions of a Torpe’ ended on June 20.

Both programs were once aired as part of the now-defunct ‘Everyday All the Way’ afternoon to evening block. ‘Let’s Ask Pilipinas’ was last seen on March 28, before it was replaced by ‘Beki Boxer’, while ‘Face the People’ aired its last episode on June 6, before it gave way to a re-run of ‘Star Confessions’.

Their transfer to the morning slot is intended towards the accommodation of upcoming sports events on the Kapatid network. TV5 is slated to air the Gilas Pilipinas matches in the FIBA Asia Cup, the FIBA World Cup, and the Asian Games, along with the Nanjing Youth Olympic Games.

The return of both programs is just one of several programming changes that TV5 will implement this month. More on the other changes in future articles.

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Coming Soon: Confessions of a Torpe, Plus Other TV5 Updates

Both Ogie Alcasid and Alice Dixson will be part of ‘Confessions of a Torpe’, slated to launch this March 3.

Last October, TV5 decided to distinguish themselves from its competitors by airing a more light-hearted primetime comedy and drama series ‘Madam Chairman’. This March, the Kapatid network is set to introduce a similarly-themed series as a worthy follow-up.

Enter ‘Confessions of a Torpe’, a series topbilled by Ogie Alcasid, Bayani Agbayani, Gelli de Belen, Wendell Ramos, Plita Corrales, Alice Dixson, Jojo Alejar, Albie Casino, and Mark Neumann. This will be Alcasid’s first weeknight primetime series as a Kapatid; his intended first series ‘The Gift’ was shelved for the time being. Alcasid, de Belen and Ramos are also part of the gag show ‘Tropa Mo Ko Unli’, while Neumann and Dixson recently starred in the Studio5 original ‘Lady Next Door’. ‘Confessions of a Torpe’ debuts this March 3.

The departure of ‘What’s Up Doods?’ enabled News5 to fill the 10:30 slot with a pair of documentaries. First aired was ‘Kaya’, hosted by News5 executives Patrick Paez and Luchi Cruz-Valdes. The two-parter, aired last February 8 and 15, tackled issues such as stem cell treatment and the impending worldwide disaster that may affect the Earth. Tonight, another documentary called ‘Yaman ng Bayan’ will focus on the country’s natural resources and the responsibility that comes through it. The documentary will be hosted by Interaksyon.com editor-in-chief Roby Alampay.

And on the ‘Karunungan, Balita at Opinyon’ block, ‘Bigtime’ will take over the slot vacated by ‘Dayo’. Aired every Thursday before ‘Pilipinas News’ and hosted by Twink Macaraig, ‘Bigtime’ will focus on various individuals as they share their hard work and triumph, as well as secrets to their success.

Meanwhile, starting February 24, ‘Aksyon’ and ‘Pilipinas News’ will now be broadcast inside a newly-built virtual studio at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong. In addition, the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics will be aired Monday midnight on TV5 and its affiliates. And finally, the U.S. NCAA March Madness is coming to TV5 this March, with further details coming in future articles.

It has been said that the only way TV5 can be relevant today is when they introduce alternatives to already established norms in television viewership. So far, it has paid off despite committing several missteps. And with more alternative programs coming in the succeeding weeks, expect TV5 to expand its effort in bringing a different kind of programming to more knowledgeable viewers.

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The Inconsistency of MTRCB’s SPG Rating

The ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ rating was implemented by the MTRCB on February 9, 2012. However, its usage remains inconsistent.

In the last few episodes, GMA gag show ‘Bubble Gang’ carried the blue PG (Parental Guidance) rating instead of the red SPG rating. Despite the downgrade of its rating, the show continued to feature some instances of serious themes and profanity that are deemed too inappropriate for younger audiences. With that in mind, why is the SPG rating remains underutilized by the MTRCB?

The ‘Strong Parental Guidance’ (‘Striktong Patnubay at Gabay’ in Filipino) rating was first used on February 9, 2012. SPG is implemented to programs which contain the following: strong themes, profane languages, violence, sex, horror and drugs, and as a result, they are forced to air the 30-second SPG advisory twice unlike those rated G (General Patronage) or PG. Initially used on a per-episode basis, SPG’s usage became widely known in programs such as ‘Temptation of Wife’ and ‘My Husband’s Lover’, where its tackling of extremely serious issues led to its full implementation of SPG.

However, its usage remains spotty at best. For example, fellow gag shows ‘Banana Split’ and ‘Tropa Mo Ko Unli’ are currently rated SPG by the MTRCB, while ‘Bubble Gang’ has seen its rating downgraded to PG despite the fact that it continues to tackle serious themes. SPG is also utilized in some episodes of both ‘Magpakailanman’ and ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’, both of which are predominantly PG-rated. And the now-defunct talk show ‘What’s Up Doods?’ initially carried an SPG rating before it was later downgraded to PG when it started to air reruns.

SPG remains the most underutilized classification rating in Philippine television because of two factors:

1. Only a few programs are willing to push the envelope towards more sensitive topics that may be unsuitable for children

2. Teleseryes have a tendency to feature episodes with more violent scenes, followed by more light-hearted events, and vice versa

If the MTRCB can start using the SPG rating on a per-program basis, then it will benefit both producers and viewers alike in creating new ideas for various programs. The SPG rating is created in order to give producers much-needed input towards creating series with more serious issues, in the process informing the family about the consequences of airing such scenes. Without it, then how will such scenes affect the future of younger individuals?

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PBA Quarterfinals Scheduling Quirks

Today will mark the start of the PBA Philippine Cup playoff rounds. As is the case the past two seasons, the playoff games will be played on a daily basis up until the Semifinals. However, there are some scheduling quirks which may baffle some viewers.

Tuesday’s doubleheader will have Petron vs. Barako Bull, and Talk N’ Text vs. San Mig Super Coffee. However, the former will not be shown live on TV as AksyonTV is slated to air weekly United Football League doubleheaders. Instead it will shown on a delayed basis over at TV5 after ‘Reaksyon’. The latter will also not be seen on AksyonTV, but will have a live broadcast on TV5.

For Wednesday’s doubleheader featuring Rain or Shine vs. Globalport, and Barangay Ginebra vs. Alaska, the first game will be a live broadcast on AksyonTV and a delayed broadcast on TV5, while the second game will be aired live on both networks. However, there will be no games on Thursday as TV5 is scheduled to air the pilot episode of the weekly drama series ‘Obsession’.

Friday’s doubleheader featuring the four teams that played on Tuesday will follow the same broadcast pattern as Wednesday’s doubleheader. But should both Wednesday doubleheader brackets extend to a do-or-die match, the first game will be shown live on both AksyonTV and TV5, while the second game will be seen only on AksyonTV. Now here’s the dilemma: TV5 does not air the second game on Saturdays, but because ‘What’s Up Doods?’ is presumably cancelled, they may move both ‘SPINNation’ and ‘Pilipinas News Weekend’ to that timeslot to allow the second PBA quarterfinals game to air.

Finally, the Sunday games will have Game 3 of either one or two series that played on Friday, and will be seen on TV5 and AksyonTV. In short, Sports5 is following virtually the same broadcast script that have been followed since the start of the eliminations.

With that, good luck to all the teams in the playoffs, and good luck to all the viewers trying to watch a PBA game on TV.

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