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Tanghalan ng Kampeon: GMA’s Answer to Tawag ng Tanghalan

A brewing rivalry continues to emerge between ‘It’s Showtime’ and ‘Wowowin’.

After the latter show copied the former in going past its normal allotted time, ‘Wowowin’ now takes a shot on ‘It’s Showtime”s popular singing competition ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’. Their response is a singing competition of their own, one that is just as familiar to audiences as ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’.

From Star Bytes by Butch Francisco (The Philippine Star, 2003):

Tanghalan ng Kampeon — Conceived and born on RPN 9 as Ang Bagong Kampeon, this amateur singing contest moved to GMA7 when its creator, Wilma Galvante, also transferred in 1988 to Channel 7 where she is now one of the station’s top bosses. Tanghalan had great production values and was also eagerly awaited by its followers because of the great rapport between the two hosts, Pilita Corrales and the late Bert Marcelo.

Consider it sealed. In a similar deal ABS-CBN undertook for ‘Tawag ng Tanghalan’ on ‘It’s Showtime’, GMA revived ‘Tanghalan ng Kampeon’ as a segment of ‘Wowowin’.

The premise of ‘Tanghalan ng Kampeon’ is simple. Any individual aged 16 to 40 years old with a knack to hit the right notes are welcome to audition in this competition, with the winner receiving a GMA recording contract, house and lot, and P2 million in cash.

With GMA short on talented singers in the wake of Regine Velasquez’s highly-publicized move to ABS-CBN, it only made sense for the network to revive a long-forgotten singing competition to shore up their talent pool. But to go as far as to take a page out of ‘It’s Showtime”s book, that’s too much to ask for.

Perhaps GMA should acknowledge ‘Wowowin”s brewing rivalry with ‘It’s Showtime’. Never mind that the two shows air in different timeslots, their perceived similarities appear perfect to pit against one another.

The start date of ‘Tanghalan ng Kampeon’ on ‘Wowowin’ is yet to be determined. But for fans of this show, the wait can’t come soon enough.

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FTT Year 2015 in Review: Television’s Worst

Another year is about to end. But before the calendar flips to 2016, here is a look back at the year that was in television and radio. This article looks back at the 10 worst moments in Philippine television this year.

GMA Scraps Sunday TV Mass

On January 4, GMA decided to cease its broadcast of the Family TV Mass organized by the Society of Divine Word – Mission Communications Foundation, Inc. (SVD-MCFI), replacing it with the movie block ‘Kapuso Sine Klasika’. The Sunday Mass of SVD-MCFI returned to its old home in IBC-13 a week later.

Poor ratings of the Sunday Mass was among the reasons behind the cancellation. Despite the claims of many that GMA is promoting apathy and not favoring the Catholic religion, they still managed to cover (albeit not as dedicated as other stations) the visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines, as well as produce a religiously-themed teleserye ‘Pari ‘Koy’ starring Dingdong Dantes.

Gone Too Soon for KISPinoy and Misterless Misis

‘KISPinoy’ and ‘Misterless Misis’ aired for only three episodes each during the third quarter of 2015. The former was axed in late July, while the latter received a postponement (or possibly a cancellation) notice the following month.

Both events paved the way for VIVA to take over TV5’s entertainment department, with Vic del Rosario replacing Wilma Galvante.

PBB, It’s Showtime Summoned by MTRCB

‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’ and ‘It’s Showtime’ were each summoned by the MTRCB for offending viewer sensibilities. The former was for the so-called ‘bromance’ involving teen housemates Bailey May and Kenzo Gutierrez, while the latter was for the alleged ‘pimping’ of ‘Pastillas Girl’ Angelica Yap in the ‘Nasaan Ka Mr. Pastillas’ skit.

Both shows eventually complied by imposing self-regulatory measures, among other rulings. MTRCB also summoned GMA’s ‘The Rich Man’s Daughter’ for strong language inappropriate to viewers.

GMA’s Finances Put Into Question

Despite an increase in revenue, GMA’s financial capabilities were on the hot seat anew this year. The increased revenue was done at the expense of the network’s ‘streamlining’ efforts which featured, among others, the closure of regional networks and programs, and the termination of long-time employees.

Felipe Gozon’s reluctance to sell a part of the network’s shares was also a major issue. Talks between him and Ramon Ang collapsed in August (with the latter later accusing Gozon of estafa), and a few months later, Gozon rejected offers from Chavit Singson and Manny Pacquiao to purchase a part of the network.

Pope Francis, SONA and APEC Coverage Issues

Not all news networks were able to cover the three biggest news events of the year. GMA News TV received major heat for their lack of coverage in both the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines and the State of the Nation Address, while AksyonTV was criticized for their non-coverage of the APEC Summit.

The two embattled news networks deserved a lot of blame this year. Speaking of AksyonTV,…

AksyonTV’s Identity Crisis Continues

Admit it or not, AksyonTV really needs a makeover. No longer the 24/7 all-Filipino free TV news channel of years past, the network is now increasingly littered with sports coverage, ranging from major leagues like the PSL to more low-scale ones like the PCBL.

Perhaps the time is now for the network to bring back the AKTV name it once used as a blocktimer on IBC-13. After all, AksyonTV’s glory days are behind them.

StarStruck’s Disaster

The return of ‘StarStruck’ proved to be a glorified failure, as ratings and a questionable timeslot doomed the reality show’s sixth season. It was also long overdue, and it would have made a big difference for the network had it been placed opposite ‘Pinoy Big Brother: 737’.

That said, there may never be another season of ‘StarStruck’ after this. So much for hype gone wrong.

Goodbye Showbiz Talk Shows As We Know It

Easter Sunday of this year marked the final episode of the 16-year-old ‘The Buzz’. Seven months later, ‘Startalk’ took a bow as well after 20 years on air.

A change in viewer’s taste was a key reason behind the demise of both shows. Although ‘CelebriTV’ replaced ‘Startalk’, and ABS-CBN planned to revive ‘The Buzz’ in the future, it won’t be easy adapting to a new audience.

CNN Philippines Not Living Up to Expectations

Launched last March 15, CNN Philippines was supposed to be a local version of its parent network. However, a lot of issues surfaced from the beginning.

Whether it’s due to the revolving door of anchors and reporters, an overemphasis on Nancy Grace or the lack of round-the-clock news coverage, it is clear that CNN Philippines is still a work in progress. That said, Nine Media will need to make a lot of changes to ensure that this venture between them and CNN won’t end quickly.

NBA on ABS-CBN Demoted to the Studio

Since February, NBA coverage on ABS-CBN and ABS-CBN Sports+Action has been purely local, handled in-studio by Boom Gonzalez, TJ Manotoc, Ronnie Magsanoc and Benjie Paras. But to the surprise of many, only Manotoc traveled to the United States to cover the NBA Finals, and ABS-CBN opted to call the games in-studio rather than on location.

Delayed broadcast of the NBA games were a primary reason behind ABS-CBN’s questionable decision. Still, with digitization looming, and the migration to HD underway, it seems like this is a more logical solution for the network to save costs.

In tomorrow’s year-end special, From the Tube will look back at the 10 best moments in Philippine television this 2015.

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TV5’s First New Shows of 2014

TV5’s ‘Obsession’ follows the same blueprint used in ‘Positive’, this time tackling the issue of cosmetic surgery.

Next week on ‘Everyday All the Way’, TV5 will unveil a new weekly drama series in ‘Obsession’. Like ‘Positive’, ‘Obsession’ will tackle issues concerning the health of the human body. This time, the series divulges into the world of cosmetic surgery, where the main character obsessed with her former lover assumes a new post-surgical identity. The series will be headlined by Bianca King, Neri Naig, Marvin Agustin and Martin Escudero, and will replace ‘For Love or Money’ at the 8:00 p.m. slot.

Cycle 2 of ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ will also be seen on TV5. The Asian adaptation of ‘America’s Next Top Model’ will have a pair of Filipinos in Jodilly Pendra and Katarina Rodriguez compete against 14 other aspiring models in hopes of becoming the next top model. The series airs starting tonight replacing ‘Positive’ at 9:00 p.m.

In addition, TV5 has also unveiled a mix of new and returning programs that will be seen over the next few months. Returnees include ‘Talentadong Pinoy’ (albeit without original host Ryan Agoncillo), ‘The Amazing Race Philippines’, and ‘The Million Peso Money Drop’. Upcoming titles will include ‘For All the Boys’, ‘My Pirated Family’, ‘Minamahal’, ‘The Baker King’, ‘My Fair Lady’, ‘Pretty Little Liars’, ‘Jasmine’, ‘One Boy’, ‘Beki Boxer’, ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ and ‘Celebrity Dance Battle’. Details of the new shows should arrive once the teasers are revealed.

And even as TV5 unveiled new programs, some existing ones had to go. Both ‘What’s Up Doods?’ and ‘The Mega and the Songwriter’ were presumably cancelled by management for ‘not living up to expectations’. And there is also the uncharacteristically early sign-offs on nights without PBA games, after AksyonTV original programs like ‘Cocktales’, ‘Crime Klasik’, ‘Wasak’ and ‘Chef vs. Mom’ were cancelled. Simply put, the management handled by Noel Lorenzana and Wilma Galvante have a long way to go before stabilizing the network’s programming.

Nevertheless, both ‘Asia’s Next Top Model’ and ‘Obsession’ should give TV5 something to look forward to this year. They may still be in the experimental stage, but with the way viewers have responded, it appears that this experiment is headed in the right direction.

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The Need for Freelance Actors

Upon the expiry of his exclusive GMA contract, Richard Gutierrez has announced he would go freelancing, hence work for any network or production outfit. To be honest, American television networks do not ink their established stars to exclusive contracts, thus allowing them freedom to work from network to network, production company to production company. Regal Films of Lily Monteverde has little or no restrictions on casting actors and actresses; every Regal production has featured a combination of Kapuso, Kapamilya and Kapatid stars in recent years. Which brings me to the topic of freelancing in television and film.

For the past 20 years, there are two main breeding grounds for future showbiz personalities: GMA’s Artist Center, and ABS-CBN’s Star Magic. Under the stewardship of Wilma Galvante and Johnny Manahan respectively, both networks scout potential talents, and then train them for either hosting or acting roles. These future talents would be introduced gradually in bit roles, and then with further training, give them more prominent roles on a television series or film.  In recent years, reality series such as ‘Starstruck’ and ‘Pinoy Big Brother‘ provided training ground for contestants to hone their dramatic skills on camera. Since the acquisition of TV5 by Manny Pangilinan, they formed their own Talent Center, in an attempt to become competitive with the two main networks.

However, the establishment of the three artist centers proved to be a hindrance to the Filipino broadcast industry, because of the signing of exclusive network contracts. Which means that an actress like Marian Rivera cannot work for either a Star Cinema-produced film or an ABS-CBN television series, and an actor like Piolo Pascual cannot join the cast for either a GMA television series or a GMA Films production. Same goes to the Kapatid personalities of the TV5 Talent Center, they cannot work for another network other than their home network. The only way Kapamilya, Kapatid and Kapuso artists would be cast together is through a Regal Films production, which is not covered by both network’s exclusivity.

I seriously think that it is best for the three major networks to have their artists cross over to the other, and vice versa. Richard Gutierrez is a prime example of that. By giving the artists leeway for appearing on a television series or film, it would help them find ways for utilizing some underused talents, tinker with new on-screen combinations, and make casting easier. This should also benefit real-life couples such as Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo, who may cross over to networks other than their own.

Even with Gutierrez’s announcement, the freelance actor will remain a rarity on either television or film, unless all three networks give their artists a chance to cross over to the other.

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