2019 is about to end. But before the calendar flips to the sweet 2020, let’s look back at what happened in Philippine television in 2011 and 2015. In this part, we’ll look back at the rollercoaster moments of ABS-CBN during those 2 years.
Despite having dominated Philippine television, it was a challenging year for them as far as financial performance was concerned. Gabby Lopez said, based on their Annual Report, that production costs were increased and advertising revenues were sharply declined. The main factor behind their leadership was how they understood the preferences and tastes of each Filipino audience.
DOMINANCE. Primetime Bida totally became television’s primetime powerhouse, with ABS-CBN producing innovative programs that celebrated the human spirit. ‘100 Days to Heaven‘ was another inspirational drama that served as Coney Reyes’ first lead role. They produced their first-ever advocacy-themed drama, ‘Budoy‘ which starred Gerald Anderson portraying the average mentally-challenged man. ‘My Binondo Girl‘ starred the then-newly formed loveteam, Kim Chiu and Xian Lim, or ‘KimXi’ for short. It showcased the everyday lives of the Filipinos with Chinese heritage.
‘Minsan Lang Kita Iibigin‘ was among the pre-‘Ang Probinsyano’ Coco Martin-starrers that made a huge impact, revolving around the lives of military. They also created their first Christmas special, ‘Ikaw ay Pag-Ibig‘ which gathered their then-child superstars, who are nowadays all grown up. Their local remakes of foreign dramas were well-received, with ‘Green Rose’, ‘Nasaan Ka, Elisa?’ and ‘Maria la del Barrio’ captivating the viewers’ hearts.
This year, they produced Pinoy editions of ‘The Biggest Loser‘ and ‘Junior MasterChef‘, both hosted by superstar icons Sharon Cuneta and Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo. The former was Cuneta’s last project before transferring to TV5, while the latter showcased Santos’ hosting craft, while at the same time, offering her a break from doing soaps.
Pilipinas Got Talent earned the top spot for the most searched reality talent television show in the country. Judges Ai-Ai delas Alas, Kris Aquino and Freddie Garcia scoured Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to find the best Filipino act worthy of national and international acclaim. The final say however, still lied in the hands of the texting public.
Having aired back-to-back seasons, singers have been bagging the much coveted title of PGT grand winner. Season 2 to Season 3 winners Marcelito Pomoy and Maasinhon have all received unprecedented support from their townmates in Cavite and Leyte respectively. Maasinhon Trio’s triumph may have been plagued with controversy but its 22.59% voting figure versus its closest rival Khalil Ramos’s 18.64% gives the singing group its license to fame.
They also went the original route with ‘I Dare You‘, a joint production of the Entertainment and News department, with Melai Cantiveros, Jericho Rosales and Iya Villania as the hosts. They created new talk shows, namely: ‘Kris TV‘ and ‘Gandang Gabi Vice‘. The former was Kris Aquino’s last talk show on ABS-CBN which had a successful run, while the latter, hosted by Vice Ganda, continues to air every late Sunday night, continuing too provide humor for its fellow viewers, along with more superstar guests.–
In terms of comedy, they produced ‘TODA MAX’ with Robin Padilla and Angel Locsin as stars, and the premise was about a man coping with the tragic loss of his wife. Regarding their other dramas, MMK, the longest-running drama anthology, celebrated its 2nd decade on air, by featuring highlights of its best episodes through the years. ‘Growing Up’ on Sunday afternoons became the launchpad for Kathryn Bernardo and Daniel Padilla as a loveteam.
‘The Bottomline with Boy Abunda’ won as Best Talk Show in the Asian Television Awards. For their variety shows, ‘ASAP’ and ‘Showtime’ continued their dominance. Backed by “power” celebrities Anne Curtis and Vice Ganda, ‘Showtime’ remained a staple afternoon program among viewers.
Whereas, ‘Happy Yipee Yehey’ suffered ratings-wise, a sign that its weekday noontime slot continued to slump. Despite the poor ratings, the noontime show had its own share of controversies. John Prats’ relationship with former beauty queen Bianca Manalo was a hot issue this year. Former HYY host Mariel Rodriguez’s alleged feud with John Estrada and Toni Gonzaga plus Matteo Gudicelli’s “Star Magic brawl” with Coco Martin were also considered big showbiz issues.
The Sexbomb Dancers headed by their manager Joy Cancio jumped from their home network GMA to ABS-CBN. The surprise switch however didn’t include some of the group’s pillars like Rochelle Pangilinan-Solinap who decided to go separate ways and stay with GMA.
BEYOND ENTERTAINMENT. The news division launched the ‘Bayan Mo I-Patrol Mo’ campaign to give audiences the information they need and the power to participate. They provided updates on certain calamities, such as the Japan tsunami and the typhoon Sendong. ANC celebrated 15 years, maintaining its foothold as the source of news for the upper-to-middle class audience. In the sports department, they returned to broadcasting the NBA games after a long time. They continued to be the home of the UAAP, and at the same time, Studio 23 continued to appeal to the masses, while airing the biggest sports events, airing hit shows from abroad, and taking advantage of the world’s biggest events.
Talent Newsmakers of 2011
Their new child discovery this year was Mutya Orquia, whose debut project was the mermaid-themed ‘Mutya’. ‘100 Days to Heaven’ launched the acting career of Louise Abuel.
AJ Perez died in a vehicular mishap in April while they lost Aga Muhlach, Lorna Tolentino and Tintin Babao to the then-TV5. Paulo Avelino signed up with ABS-CBN in August after a few years in GMA. Piolo Pascual and KC Concepcion also ended their relationship, the former was being accused of the latter’s departure from Star Magic and her transfer to VIVA to join her mother. Nevertheless, she renewed her ties with ABS-CBN at the end of that year. They also promoted YouTube sensation Maria Aragon, by offering her an album and singing their Yuletide song.
But their most important contribution was that Star Magic created their own music video featuring their talents to celebrate their 19 years, with Yeng Constantino singing their agency anthem.
Coleen Garcia started her professional career that year, after being discovered in an ice tea ad. Her journey in showbiz began with Good Vibes as the leading lady of Sam Concepcion. She also joined ‘Showtime’, but first she was a judge before being promoted to co-host.
ABS-CBN continued to reign Philippine TV this year. Primetime Bida for 2015 is mostly significant for the two love teams for social media. KathNiel’s “Pangako Sa ‘Yo” (since May 25) and James Reid and Nadine Lustre’s “On The Wings of Love” (since August 10) hyped up the national Twitter trending list during weekdays. After Coco Martin’s portrayal as a commando of PNP Special Action Force that was part of the Fallen 44 tribute on MMK, he bagged the lead role in the TV drama adaptation of the 1997 action film, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. You’re My Home was launched in the last quarter to take advantage of its rival’s weak offerings.
Teleseryes made their return to Kapamilya Gold on January 19, as ‘Flordeliza’ and ‘Nasaan Ka Nang Kailangan Kita’ premiered on the afternoon block. This was followed by four other series: ‘Doble Kara’, ‘All of Me’, ‘Walang Iwanan’ and ‘And I Love You So’. The former, in particular, ran for 1 year, making it among their successful afternoon soaps. Since then, the battle between Kapamilya Gold and Afternoon Prime dramas became a tight one, both in ratings and momentum. However, it didn’t stop ‘The Half-Sisters’ from achieving the one-year milestone in June.
Following up the success of ‘Be Careful with My Heart’ was a difficult task, but Janella Salvador and Jana Agoncillo proved that they were able to thrive with this challenge. Janella’s ‘Oh My G’ and Jana’s ‘Ningning’ flourished as one the country’s top-rated programs on weekdays, despite a stiff competitor in GMA’s ‘The Ryzza Mae Show’.
In terms of reality and game shows, Your Face Sounds Familiar, a new reality show franchise, where celebrities impersonates music icons, became a hit for viewers during weekend prime time, not once but twice. Hosted by Billy Crawford, its first season had Melai Cantiveros-Francisco as its grand winner. Ironically, she, along with her co-hosts on ‘Magandang Buhay’ (which would premiere a year later), Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada, were also contenders. The second season was a minor success, with Denise Laurel emerging as the winner, her co-contenders include KZ Tandingan, Sam Concepcion and Myrtle Sarrosa, yet Melai served as Billy’s co-host.
Kapamilya Deal or No Deal returned this year, now they air on weekdays, same as its first era, still with Luis Manzano as host. Pinoy Big Brother commemorated its 10th anniversary this year with a new hybrid edition, ‘PBB 737’. Celebrity Playtime marked a return for localized game shows, with Luis as host. Its format was similar to Hollywood Game Night. Dance Kids was a localized search for the next young dance royalties.
Weekend anthologies MMK and Wansapanataym continued to rule their slot, so does the sitcom Home Sweetie Home. They also created online-exclusive shows, such as Team Gonzaga, Must Date the Playboy, Melason Forever, etc.
Beyond entertainment, after five years of trial and error, the ABS-CBN TVPlus, nicknamed as the “Mahiwagang Black Box,” is released commercially to selected markets since February 11, with new sub-channels such as Yey! and Cine Mo and existing ones from cable such as Knowledge Channel and DZMM Teleradyo. Nine months later, the high-definition feed of the mainstream channel, ABS CBN HD, is released in selected cable operators on October 3.
ABS-CBN Sports+Action went full capacity on June 20, and from that day, NCAA aired on its new home. The decision of covering the oldest (but not popular) collegiate athletic association would not simply make their Sports Division very busy year-round but astonish their technological advancement to sportscasting. ABS-CBN Sports also signed a fresh five-year deal with the UAAP, following another successful season. The network now plans to extend its coverage to other UAAP tournaments, in addition to full coverage of men’s basketball and women’s volleyball.
Its news division, in particular, was praised for covering the biggest events of the year, especially the last SONA of Benigno Aquino III was the highest-rated coverage among all networks. As the Philippines hosted APEC 2015, cable news channel ANC decided to reinstate Cathy Yang as the business news anchor. On October 26, ANC freshened up their identity.
On the negative side, ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime had a tough year after the loveteam of Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza on ‘Eat Bulaga’‘s Kalyeserye made a huge impact. They attempted to counter it with Twerking Girls but it drew fire by a solid Kapamilya netizen. After the controversial celebrity competition, they replaced it with “Nasaan Ka, Mr. Pastillas” featuring Angelica “Pastillas Girl” Yap. However, netizens are unamused by the content as it acts as the antithesis of the norms of traditional Filipino courtship exemplified by its rival. Not only that, the girl herself was also the butt of the joke with one of her old videos posted containing dirty language spreading online with degrading reactions in return. The segment was also compared to an American reality dating show, “The Bachelorette” and called it ‘Bugawserye’. Such complaints drew Gabriela Partylist’s attention to call MTRCB and to summon the show’s creators.
Also, with AlDub’s then-exponential success, it stripped their endorsers from the last Kapamilya talents (such as McDonalds’ chicken meals from Toni Gonzaga and Nino Muhlach, Hapee toothpaste from Angel Locsin and Rejoice shampoo from Kim Chiu). Because of that phenomenon, according to an insider, some advertisers decided not to renew their contract with ABS-CBN. Hence, the network issued a memo to advertisers that they have a right not to air any commercials that is associated with the rival’s programs, indirectly or directly. Hence, their intentional acts of not airing it, reducing it, splitting Maine Mendoza and Alden Richards apart or omitting Maine whatever possible. Kapamilya fans, belonging to the AlDub nation, sees it as a form of bitterness (jealousy) and endorsement protectionism, calling both as unfair, as KathNiel and JaDine’s commercials on GMA were aired in full.
Easter Sunday this year marked the new life but for Boy Abunda, it marked the death of his showbiz show, The Buzz. Though they would be come back soon, the return is remote from being materialized, thanks to social media. However, the show was posthumously awarded as the Best Showbiz Oriented Talk Show on the 29th PMPC Star Awards.
During ‘PBB 737’‘s early run, when the teens entered the Bahay ni Kuya, the show drew fire over bromance and the action of one housemate, Ryan James Bacalla. Because of this, the 24/7 live cable streaming was pulled out until the teens’ part ended after seven weeks of stay.
‘ASAP’ reached 20 this year but the longevity of the institution paid the decline of its domestic base as viewers at home are fed up with repetitive dance movements and its lack of innovation. When GMA decided to scrap the cowardice Sunday All Stars in favor of the comedic Sunday PinaSaya, they try to compete with the comedic opening but the main host, Martin Nievera, was disappointed with the setup by a tweet. SPS won the ratings game in August and ASAP decided to shorten their airtime to two hours in November and again, Nievera remained in denial. Nevertheless, they continued to promote star power in some of their episodes.
In February, as far as sports coverage was concerned, 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.
Talent Newsmakers of 2015
Five Kapamilya singers (Lyca Gairanod, Angeline Quinto, Jed Madela, Darren Espanto & Erik Santos) performed in different venues of the itinerary of Pope Francis’ five-day visit. The Voice Kids Season 1 champion, Lyca Gairanod, performed “Tell the World of His Love” before the main program of Encounter with Families at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. Quinto, Madela and Espanto performed during the Encounter with the Youth at the University of Santo Tomas and Erik Santos sang the Responsorial Psalm at the Concluding Mass at Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park.
ABS-CBN also promoted child talent this year, with new discoveries like Marco Masa of Nathaniel, Elha Mae Nympha and Esang de Torres of The Voice Kids 2, as well as Xymon Ezekiel Pineda (Onyok) of Ang Probinsyano. ‘It’s Showtime’‘s MiniMe 2 discovered the likes of Chun Sa Jung, Xia Vigor, Enzo Pelojero and Heart Ramos. Sophia Reola started her professional career that year by joining Goin’ Bulilit.
On the other hand, ‘Nasaan ka, Mrs, Pastillas’ launched Angelica Yap. Bailey May and Ylona Garcia (BaiLona) and Tommy Esguerra and Miho Nishida (ToMiho) were their ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ winners this year.
As far as transferees were concerned, those who transferred from GMA were Sarah Lahbati and Elmo Magalona. Those who transferred from the then-TV5 were Wendell Ramos and Vin Abrenica. Sharon Cuneta also came home after 3 years at TV5.
Then-outgoing Presidential sister and veteran Kapamilya, Kris Aquino narrowly escaped stroke after filming “Etiquette for Mistresses.” Because of the traumatic health effect, she decided to leave “Aquino and Abunda Tonight” and decided to remain only on her talk show, Kris TV in order to achieve a “healthy work and life balance.” Despite her departure from TV Patrol and DZMM for her news delivery, Korina Sanchez still hosts Rated K every Sunday night. The said program and the presenter won the Best Magazine Show and Host respectively on the Star Awards.
Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo, took a break from work and got pregnant with her third child. ‘Your Face Sounds Familiar’ season 1 launched the friendship of ‘Magandang Buhay’ hosts Melai Cantiveros-Francisco, Jolina Magdangal and Karla Estrada. ‘The Voice’ and ‘Pinoy Big Brother’ host Toni Gonzaga got married to her longtime boyfriend, Director Paul Soriano. ‘ASAP’ regular Yeng Constantino also got married that year, to her boyfriend Yan Asuncion.
Conclusion and Outlook for the Following Years
Despite the challenges, ABS-CBN continued to be the undisputed television leader in each household. In 2011, their noontime woes would end once they reformatted Showtime into a full-fledged noontime show as they are now. They would also air the localized version of ‘The X Factor’, and begin to celebrate its 60th founding anniversary.
In 2015, It’s Showtime would rebound the following year once they revived Tawag ng Tanghalan, while at the same time, having its hands full for the coverage of the 2016 Presidential elections. The entertainment division would promote the elections with MMK featuring life stories of some senatorial candidates. They also ended the year gracefully with an above 41% audience share nationwide, according to what Kantar Media has gathered.
Stay tuned for Part 2, where I will tackle about T5N (The 5 Network) in 2011 and 2015.