Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Repost From Ed Sicam of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

Some notable 2010 developments in TV

By Ed Sicam, For Yahoo! Southeast Asia Tuesday December 28, 2010 10:11 pm PST

As the year 2010 comes to a close, I am listing some attention-getting developments that made this year a memorable one for viewers.

Willie Revillame. The most controversial figure on TV this year was Willie Revillame who faces several lawsuits from ABS-CBN for breach of contract by performing on TV 5. He’s the male version of Kris Aquino who attracts both fanatical loyalists and equally fanatical detractors. I first noticed Willie in the 1980s when he was just an aspiring drummer in a jazz joint called Birdland. Before I knew it, he was performing as a sidekick of the lead stars in movies then later started co-hosting a noontime show with the APO Hiking Society on ABS-CBN. He would eventually become the main host of “Magandang Tanghali Bayan” where he was twice suspended by the network on the urging of MTRCB for vulgar remarks and ungentlemanly behavior during the show. He was given another chance by ABS-CBN in 2003 to host “Wowowee.” This is where he gained a lot of following oftentimes outrating “Eat Bulaga,” the perennial noontime leader.

Willie was suspended again for his arrogance in threatening to resign if his network did not fire talent manager and entertainment writer Jobert Sucaldito for criticizing his program on Radyo Patrol. He was also widely lambasted for uttering supposedly unsavory remarks when an inset of Cory Aquino’s funeral was placed on his show. This time ABS-CBN came down hard on Willie and grounded him for several months. Willie did not take this lying down and instead moved over to TV5. The Kapamilya network has tried unsuccessfully to block the airing of his show but Willie’s lawyers have been doing a great job keeping him on the air.

ABS-CBN only has itself to blame. They gave Willie too many chances in the past because he was attracting high ratings and lots of advertisers. Now, Willie has become a headache that refuses to go away.

(Before I submitted this report, I logged on to TV5’s website and found no trace of Willie’s photo or his program “Willing Willie.” Was this just a case of the website being updated or is something else going on? Hmmm.)

A stronger TV5. The once-unheralded network is proving to be a worthy challenger to the erstwhile market leaders, ABS-CBN and GMA. With new owner Manny Pangilinan’s awesome financial backing, TV5 has upgraded its technical facilities and attracted stars from the other networks with tempting offers to jump ship. So far, aside from Willie Revillame and Vic Sotto, the talents they’ve landed are not that spectacular.

One of its earliest recruits was Paolo Bediones who left GMA-7.Though I admire his hosting ability, he doesn’t have the same clout as, say Mike Enriquez or Mel Tiangco. Dolphy no longer commands a wide audience so he has become more of a symbol. Maricel Soriano is not the glittering Diamond Star that she was before. Cristy Fermin cannot hold a candle to Boy Abunda. If it’s true that Aga Muhlach has signed up with them, I would consider him a big catch. Are more big names coming? I’m sure the two other networks are now conducting loyalty checks among their big contract stars and offering them financial inducements.

The proliferation of talent contests. This year saw the networks airing talent shows of every size, shape and color. One of the early birds in this genre was TV5’s “Talentadong Pinoy” hosted by Ryan Agoncillo. It actually started airing in 2008 but made its greatest impact in 2010 when it became TV5’s highest rating program. The format of the show, patterned after “America’s Got Talent,” where singers, dancers, acrobats, comics, musicians, etc. competed in a free-for-all format , was also a segment in the noontime show, “Eat Bulaga” where Ryan is a co-host. It was called “Kahit Sino Pwede” which was eventually phased out to give way to other games like “Pinoy Henyo’ and “Sa Pula, Sa Puti.”

ABS-CBN soon responded with “Showtime” which made Vice Ganda a household name. Proof of his popularity was the huge crowd that attended his concert at the Big Dome. GMA-7 offered “Diz Iz It” but decided to axe it after several months due to poor ratings.. Later, the Kapamilya network would also introduce “Pilipinas Got Talent,” based on the popular US show hosted by, among others, Regis Philbin and Jerry Springer. In contrast, Sharon Cuneta’s “Star Power” on the same network would focus on female singers while TV5’s “Star Factor” with theater veteran Audie Gemora conducted a search for, well, stars.

With so many talent shows, do the three networks have enough room to accommodate the winners in their program line-up?

Vic Sotto’s continued reign as the “Comedy King” both on TV and in the movies. I mean no offense to Dolphy who has amassed an enviable record in Philippine show business unequalled by his contemporaries. I am a big fan. Although Dolphy is still visible in his TV5 sitcom “Pidol’s Wonderland,” it is obvious that he is no longer in top form. Nor can he be considered as the reignin Comedy King. That title now belongs to Vic. Even Dolphy’s movie “Father Jejemon” fared poorly at the Metro Manila filmfest while Vic and Bong Revilla’s “Si Agimat at Si Enteng Kabisote” is still the top grosser. Vic also has several shows on GMA 7 and TV5. He reminds me of a younger Dolphy who often played the underdog in his movies but emerged victorious in the end. Long live the past and present Comedy Kings.

Reposted From Ed Sicam of Yahoo! Southeast Asia

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