[This post is dedicated to Edison Bandilla and John Rodrigo Diaz Valdez.]
THE BROADCAST YEAR in the United States begins in September where their commercial networks (e.g. ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and The CW) begin their new programs or new seasons of existing shows.
After the Second World War, sales of television sets burgeoned in America and with that boom, television executives decided to make a standardized schedule throughout the contiguous Union (at that time, Alaska and Hawaii were not yet states until 1959). Thus, the fall schedule is established.
Until 2007-2008 season, there were two parts of their TV season: the fall season and the mid-season replacement. The fall season is where most favorite shows aired but in case of hiatus, shortened number of episodes, early finish of time slot or even low viewership, a mid-season replacement takes place, usually during the second half (January to May). There were no new shows or new episodes during the summer as viewership is low due to psychological reasoning: Americans spend their summer heading to camps and beaches and finding summer jobs to make ends meet.
However, following the said season, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) decided to make the TV season year-round and the rest of the networks followed suit.
Before the new season commences, the programming lineup is disclosed to the public on May of the preceding broadcast year.
In the Philippines, currently, there is no fixed prime time schedule and the Big Three (ABS-CBN, TV5 and GMA) places new teleseryes and sports coverage wherever they wish in consent with related entities.
But what if the Big 3 emulated the model of American prime time scheduling?
We would split the broadcast year into three parts according to our climate based on Metro Manila, beginning with:
- Habagat season: mid-June to mid-October
- Amihan season: mid-October to mid-February
- Summer season: mid-February to mid-June
The Pros and the Cons
- Advanced placement for advertisers. Advertising producers have an ample time to produce their seasonal commercial. With advanced placement before the beginning of the season, the networks received the unearned yet received bloodline of business until it is realized when that part of the season begins.
- More utilization time for production staff. Producers, including set designers, will have ample time to develop new shows or extension of existing ones for set improvement and preventive repairs.
- Break for Holy Week. The Christmas season is almost fixed because the dates of celebration is fixed while the day moves one or twice, year after year. Holy Week is a movable week based on the lunisolar calendar. Since the Filipino culture of Holy Week is seriously taken, television networks followed by subduing its programming hours.
- Placement, popularity, cost and timing of teleseryes. Teleseryes are typically aired every weekdays and not on a day of the week is mainly because of the viewers having short-term memory in knowing what happened before. Popularity comes for a reason, if the show is successful due to timeliness and excellent viewership, extension is rewarded or it will be the boot. If GMA’s 2013 apocalyptic teleserye Genesis would have followed the fixing of schedule, following what happened in Visayas in real-life (e.g. earthquake in Bohol and Typhoon Yolanda), the show ended with a ruined reputation leaving a big gap until the next part of the season.
- Culture shock and criticism of “colonial mentality.” Viewers would see the broadcast calendar shift as a lack of natural flow of programming. Some critics believed that the said change would lead to “colonial mentality” for blatant plagiarism the former colony’s structure.
What else are the pros and cons on fixing the prime time TV schedule in the Philippines? Let the Turf know your ideas in the comments below.
Happy weekend and stay safe!