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Friday, August 31, 2007

Noontime Show Wars

Filipinos are identified with the shows they view. ABS-CBN beat GMA network in going international and both vie for ratings among global Pinoys.

ABS-CBN's Wowowee has a wider if not deeper acceptance and following among overseas viewers. The show concept, if there ever has one, has tapped on Filipinos overseas who want to reach out to less fortunate (if the word ever applies to the majority of Filipinos) noontime show audience. Thus, the give-aways to live audience (am not sure they have for home viewers as I rarely watch tv) and game contestants.

The rift between Eat Bulaga and other noontime television shows over ABS-CBN, as I viewed before, was corporate in nature. As we may be aware of, from RPN 9, Eat Bulaga transferred to ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN then was pulled up the rating games on the top of the heap with a little help from Eat Bulaga. And when you're on top o the heap, what the top wants, top gets.

Okay, in another angle, I see it this way: It could be that some bigwigs over ABS-CBN saw the heap Eat Bulaga was gathering, and say to themselves, "Hmmm, interesting." So, the concept for "Sanglinggo nAPO Sila" was born, while contracts have to be renewed. Eat Bulaga was kicked out, enter APO.

But Eat Bulaga, like it or not, is already an institution among viewers, if not the "masa". It has grown on our sense of humour like a natural joke. And APO Hiking Society is not a joke but a music trio, much unlike the Tito/Vic & Joey group. So, APO was replaced with that show "Magandang Tanghali Bayan" where Willie Revillame and Janice de Belen's ex made names. But more so with Willie.

Willie. I met Willie personally in his low period: after his rumoured annulment with Princess Punzalan (heiress of Lovingly Yours Helen---Vela). Willie tries hard to be funny, I immediately sensed in our first phone conversation. And, he sounded to me like he felt he's got an oozzing sex appeal (in other peoples' terms, the "m" word). I was a profile and press release writer back then for musicians and television personalities. In short, Willie struck me as far from smart, intelligent and sensitive artist. Previously, all I knew, he was a talented drummer. Period.

I have never known a show over ABS-CBN exists at noon until I heard some kids singing "Wawawi sinong di mawiwili!" and saw the show while hubby was channel surfing. He was giving away P500 bucks (about US$10) per recycled and original joke shared by the studio audience). Then, there were kids' contests. And then, the hosts started thanking overseas donors. Donors. This is a highly technical term as against "sponsors". And it's all about taxes and legalities, but I won't indulge on that as I lack accountancy knowledge.

And then the tragedy. About 70 killed at Ultra before a grand show of Wowowee materialized. The whole nation was outraged. I myself have done several rock gigs and met a lot of impositions and warnings about punks. But the worst cases I ever got were a lost leather belt and a gate entry pocketing I still get embarassed when I remember it. The tragedy was the first in Philippine history and yet, ABS-CBN as well as the people of Wowowee got away with it, just like that. Brushing dusts off the biggies' boots. To the tune of "this boots are made for walkin..." Nancy Sinatra baby!

And now, here we are... while the whole nation is being led to think NOBODY's cheating during elections, Wowowee pictured in again. This time, it's about too many freakin' numbers in one box that is supposed to represent only one number. Watch.

Willie's point and response is quite pseudo-dramatic, as Joey de Leon pointed out. Well, yes, pseudo. Crocodile tears. And simply out of the topic. There's a conspiracy going on and Willie is seem to point that he was simply a "host" or a "talent" and...

Okay, over at ABS-CBN, I still am not sure if they already have regular or permanent employees. The thing is, it has remained contractual and floating, non-at-all status for most of their talents, workers, and segment producers for several years (recall the cases and issues about Magandang Gabi, Bayan)... Way back when I had a stint at ABS-CBN, the set-up was that, it was a "family" affair. Not in capitalist way. I am not sure if the set-up has changed. But many of those I had a chance to talk with in hushed voices informed me about the "system" which was quite medieval.

Anyway, it could be that Willie's tackless move on the circular box containing several numbers when it was supposed to be just one number is another "corporate" issue and Willie is just the frontman. So much like the Ultra tragedy... It's just that some has got to pay, or get hanged. And a goat will do.

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