#ZG16: The Turf’s 16 Philippine TV Memories of 2016


ANOTHER YEAR will come to a wrap — two days to be exact but 2016 was not sweet as it meant to be but it tasted too sour and too bitter — be it in the aspect of entertainment, sports and local & global politics.

And the Turf understands about it but before we say “good riddance” or any uttering to release such frustrations from this annus horribilis, let’s all recall the top 16 moments that transpired over television in the Philippines.

Hold on to your judgments because it’s a hell of a bumpy ride.

The Top 16

#16. IBC’s not fine but ATC’s not dead


Early in the year, the previous Aquino administration finally set the price of privatizating IBC 13 but the timing wasn’t right because of the cacophony of the presidential election campaign. The current Duterte administration decided to continue the plan and increase the bidding price as such proceeds will go towards rehabilitation of PTV 4. However, the process remains so slow than what was promised.

Last September, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is planning to auction some properties of the network in Capitol Hills Drive to settle the unquantifiable tax delinquency. However, a month after the delinquency announcement, Asian Television Content Corporation was risen from the dead through a new amateur college basketball league called Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL).

#15. Kris pulls the plug


Whenever viewers saw Kris Aquino, the word “annoyance” came into their minds. Until this year when her ABS-CBN morning show, KrisTV, pulled the plug after 5 years on the air on March 23 due to personal health issues and six months later, officially ended the relation with the network after 22 years. It’s replacement, Magandang Buhay, was a sigh of relief where specifically, NBA fans finally can watch the Finals live and not tape-delayed.

After the “Krexit” from Mother Ignacia, she joined APT Entertainment. She would’ve been a star of a series which but her influence was obstructed to give way for That’s My Baes to engage more in spotlight and in star-building in Trops (since October 24) with Takako “Taki” Saito.

Last November 11, she was in Davao City for a one-time special as part of Go Negosyo but was not able to meet President Rodrigo Duterte.

#14. Alyas Robbing Who?


During the promotion of Alyas Robin Hood, starring Dingdong Dantes, criticism arose from netizens as they were copying the elements from The CW’s Arrow. Caught attention from the American show’s Canadian lead star Stephen Amell with a blushed emoji, the show’s teaser photo was not official but fan-made from LionHearTV, a gossip blog that downplayed the Kapuso network. This flaw initiated the #PitchAShowToGMA trend over social media.

Despite the criticism, the network continued to premiere on September 19. However, during the airing, netizens aren’t amused with the props, especially on a cheap water gun and its obvious post-production for the effect of a flamethrower.

TV5 did made a response to air the original yet dubbed The CW show on the following month but it failed to chart to the masa-induced knockoff.

#13. The boycott bandwagon bungle


As a continuation of their fanaticism since last year, the “One with EVM” faction of Iglesia ni Cristo continued to march on. After the alleged “one-sided” coverage on the surrender of their former minister Lowell Menorca, a certain Israel Nono Ponce paved the outrage fad to demean ABS-CBN to social media. Unlike the consistent boycott of GMA Network in their rival Ang Dating Daan, no official statement and blessing was given by the Church Administration. However, open-minded members observed some of them watching Ang Probinsyano or any entertainment program from Mother Ignacia in any platform as long as they despise the news. However, this “boycott” did no substantial effect to the ratings.

In their “rightful” home on Net 25, the sole sitcom Hapi ang Buhay where it impliedly targets the situation in 36 Tandang Sora Street — the scene of the Church’s detractors — was nominated in the PMPC Star Awards but lost.

#12. Homesickness in cable


Beginning August 1, ABS-CBN Regional Channel (ARC) served the homesick probinsyanos in the Metro. The current lineup is a mix of TV Patrols, current affairs and magazine shows from regions across the archipelago. It’s a work-in-progress but totally worth it.

#11. Encantadia hype


Attempting to emulate the success of their rival’s Pangako Sa ‘Yo remake in 2015, GMA resuscitated the 2005 fantaserye, Encantadia, as a requel. Promotion and expectation were so high for loyal fans after 11 years of waiting but critics pointed out two things:

  • the finances to sustain the show were rechanneled by sacrificing trailers (including plugs) of other teleseryes, and
  • the assets of production where they claim they cover in glorious 16:9 HD but the pan-and-scan output was still a stagnant 4:3 SD.

Since its launch on July 18, the results are mixed in the ratings report, depending on which firm one relies.

#10. Serious Filipino newscast for serious-thinking Filipinos


Through the years, newscasts in Filipino usually give a bad light for both condescending and constructive intellects due to integration of sensationalism and exclusivism. Aside from State of the Nation with Jessica Soho on GMA News TV, CNN Philippines decided to jump in after restraining themselves on April 4 with Balitaan, anchored by Pinky Webb.

Back then as Solar News Channel and 9TV, they avoided such use of the tongue but this newscast marked the return of dignity of such news delivery since the pre-Martial Law era.

#9. A1 Ko Na Lang


Last June 2, GMA aired a weekly sitcom every Thursday night to give some company with the lone 21-year-old Bubble Gang. A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo was a sexy sitcom topbilled by Cannes Best Actress, Jaclyn Jose and Gardo Versoza as Digna and Rolly Molina, the talent managers of A1 Talent Agency.

Such decision reduced the overreliance of Koreanovelas and thought to be the revival of the old KiliTV block of 2000s but sadly, it pulled the plug on November 24.

#8. KalyeSerye goes independent


The start of 2016 marked the difficult period for KalyeSerye in Eat Bulaga as its rival revived a talent program for a segment regained the slot. The notion was clear for some that AlDub was “so 2015” when but for fans, it wasn’t. On March, Paolo Ballesteros (Lola Tidora) was not present though on the Holy Week presentation, s/he’s part of “Kaputol ng Buhay.”

During April, Alden and Maine were the lead of their first flick and made a shooting the following month in Italy. When they arrived home, their first film was finally entitled “Imagine You and Me” and premiered on July 13 (3 days before their first anniversary).

The first book ended on September 3 after 59 weeks but Paolo officially came back on Monday.

After the six-week hiatus on October 15, KS re-opened with a new book where it sets 5 years later after the first. It was not until Friday, the day before of their “wedding,” when KalyeSerye get its own segment from Juan For All, All For Juan. On that red-letter day, Eat Bulaga won by 0.1 point over It’s Showtime’s 7th anniversary. The second book ended again last December 17 with the christening of twins.

#7. Brand change, same mix


Six channels owned by three networks this year have changed their names and/or branding identity but the programming mix remain the same:

  • On July 18, UNTV 37 changed the subtitle from Life to News and Rescue.
  • ABS-CBN’s Sports and Action (identified as Sports + Action) was rebranded as S+A on National Heroes’ Day, August 29, and
  • On October 16, four (4) Solar Entertainment channels: Basketball TV (BTV), ETC and 2nd Avenue tweaked their respective logos and Solar Sports got a new spanking sporty monogram.

#6. CNN PH’s independent programming policy


Media Newser assessed that CNN Philippines in 2015 was hardly impressive to start. But this year, this channel stood on their own feet as five local programs premiered this year include:

  • Sports Desk’s daytime edition (since July 26), currently hosted by Andrei Felix
  • Aside from Drive, James Deakin finally has a daily motoring show, The Service Road (since September 19),
  • Pinky Webb’s finding The Source (since September 26) of the news,
  • Anthony Pangilinan, who left Aksyon TV’s Magbago Tayo, observed the proceedings at The Boardroom (since April 4), and
  • Flavors enticed the culinary aspects (since July 31).

#5. Demise of pre-adulthood programming


On its main free-to-air channel, ABS-CBN blew the Taps to its own programming suitable for young audiences this year.

Last January, Luv U (topbilled by Goin’ Bulilit graduates) bowed out after almost four years of airing every Sunday afternoon.

Five months later, Team Animazing laid to rest. Kuroko’s Basketball Season 3 was due to air on June 20 but the sense of urgency in breaking the tie in the NBA Finals series between Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers postponed it. Afterwards, the back-to-back weekday morning programming block’s extension of 30 minutes and Kapamilya Blockbusters thereafter shelved indefinitely, effectively ending the said programming for the said channel.

It’s easy to believe that such move was because of being ahead in the digital television transition and industry. Such lineup are moved to its cable channel, Hero and its digital subchannel counterpart Yey!. Thus, they are encouraged to buy from their TVplus or pay a monthly fee to Sky Cable to satiate their viewing taste.

#4. TV5’s annus horribilis


2016 was not perceptively favorable to TV5 in most aspects: management, personnel programming and slant.

Chronologically, it all began when they dissolved their local entertainment division and outsourced the management to VIVA through their honcho, Vic del Rosario. It didn’t turn out to last a quarter of a year and they decided to replace the lost opportunity to foreign programming from MTV. HAPPinas Happy Hour, the sole local entertainment program during the year pulled the plug and Ogie Alcasid turned off its lights before moving to ABS-CBN. On non-PBA days, TV5 currently  has the chance to air other American shows such as The Walking Dead, Nikita (from ETC), Scandal (from Studio 23) and Arrow (a retribution to No. 14) but dubbed.

Speaking of PBA, TV5 persistently remain notorious with being a yes-man to sportscasting commitments. When they earned the official license to carry the Rio Olympics and the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament, they open too much time after the PBA Commissioner’s Cup for that tournament and the major multi-sporting event. However, as From the Tube pointed out, both free channels have so much vacant space but due to priority of slack, other clashing minor sporting events — if not with PBA Governor’s Cup within — and Tagalized movies. FTT remarked that they are supposed to be for highlights and replay of our Filipino contingents in their different fields. Though on Sports5 official YouTube channel, their livestream is acceptable.

Last October, reinstated Gilas coach Chot Reyes took charge as the big cheese of the network replacing Noel Lorenzana.

Entertainment and sports aside, News5 were not sacred cows on this criticism. The human resource over the division was depleted; when Duterte got elected, Martin Andanar was the first anchor to leave as the Presidential Communications Office (PCO) Secretary, Cherie Mercado followed suit as the spokesperson of the Department of Transportation, then came Ina Zara, Jun Loyola and Mia Reyes. Dino Apolonio, the head of production engineering, became the General Manager of People’s Television Network Inc. However, their head Luchi Cruz-Valdes stayed; her Excellence in Broadcasting Award from PMPC was deserved particularly on moderating the second PiliPinas Debates last March.

On the radio (92.3 News FM), Gladys Lana-Lucas was under hot seat for not covering the House and Senate hearings regarding the War on Drugs and extrajudicial killings (EJKs) from September-December unlike their Big Two counterparts on AM band.

That being said, the Turf saw the increasing notion of being pro-Duterte — no thanks to Tulfo — and would join in alignment with their established state networks: PTV and IBC. Though not all the recognizable talents are in favor of him, three mainstays who are critical of the President were given a big spit from its terminally-ill supporters (call them, apologists/fanatics/trolls): Aksyon Tonite’s anchor Ed Lingao, Lourd de Veyra and Atty. Mel Sta. Maria.

#3. Oldest talent show for a newest twist


Tawag ng Tanghalan (TNT) was the oldest stand-alone talent search in the Philippines. Since the beginning of the year, we witnessed the rebirth, this time as a segment of It’s Showtime, to regain their glory from the segments containing lack of wholesomeness last 2015 as they defeat the five-and-a-half months old Kalyeserye.

#2. Year of the Grim Reaper


Grim Reaper indeed had a productive year by taking away celebrity artists, sports icons, politicians around the world. That also includes the Philippines.

2016 was the year where the rate of demise of famous icons spiked out of proportion and the Philippines is no exception. The year began on GMA when they lost their loyalist, star-builder German “Kuya Germs” Moreno. ABS-CBN followed suit with two directors, Wenn Deramas & Francis Pasion. PTV lost one of their beloved correspondents, Noel Perfecto. CNN Philippines bade farewell to the head honcho former Ambassador Antonio Cabangon-Chua. IBC 13 lost their station manager in Davao, Reynaldo Torres, but the most famous celebrity once associated with the network was Joy Viado of Lunch Break (2000-02).

#1. Gobyernobela

The passing year was a year where networks and their news channels partake in the crazy adventures of national politics. Coined from a renowned film director Jose Javier Reyes, Gobyernobela was split into two books.

The first book spanned from the campaign period until the inauguration. The three major networks and CNN Philippines participated over the COMELEC-sanctioned PiliPinas Debates series, the first in 24 years. We also harnessed the last-minute smear campaign especially against Duterte by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, who is vying for the vice-presidency; though the latter failed to stop the then-Mayor, his effort overtook Gringo Honasan in the official VP tally — from being dead last. On the Election Day (May 9) coverage, everything did well for the round-the-clock marathon, except for Media ng Bayan for signing off on the dawn of May 10, when the unofficial tally in the VP race saw the overtaking due to the ongoing data transmission from Visayas, making then-Congresswoman Leni Robredo on top against Sen. Bongbong Marcos. At the end of the first book, though private media entities weren’t initially allowed to cover the new President, their separate inauguration ceremony remained peaceful and cooperative.


The main cast of Gobyernobela, a real-life and live political teleserye that is definitely mentioned on social media but never recorded on any ratings report.

On the second book, on the other hand, came the most complicated plot, mostly devoted to President Duterte’s War on Drugs and tolerance of extrajudicial killings. Aside from Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa that lift to his celebrity-like status on the small screen, personalities in the Congressional (both House and Senate) hearings during the “ber” months became newsmakers such as Edgar Matobato, Jaybee Sebastian, Kerwin Espinosa and Ronnie Dayan pitching in their intrigues as their heads and fingers pointed against Senator (then Secretary of Justice) Leila De Lima. Because of the developments, CNN Philippines did the coverage pretty well, PTV didn’t waste their idle airtime as the President’s engagements are on the PM, NET 25 became productive from their slack schedule and GMA News TV regained their purpose but as mentioned earlier in No. 3, Aksyon TV has gone less to none where, if not for sports coverage, News5’s reruns, committed News FM programs and worse, home shopping, took over the spot.

Individual assessment

Throughout 2016, the following networks have done:

  • Big 3
    • ABS-CBN remained stable despite the controversial political slant and the end of few programming genres (see #5). That aside, two ethical issues arose but easily ignored, all for the sake of profiteering and quality mediocrity:
    • GMA’s revenue from political ads may be beneficial for Encantandia’s revival. However, they made myopic decision-making when it comes to investment in migration to digital television and its public relations; the sunk cost will hurt their reputation in the long run. GMA News TV redeemed themselves lately on their identity.
    • TV5 doesn’t need any further elaboration as the findings are adversely mentioned earlier in No. 4.
  • Small-players in VHF band
    • Based on this ranking (No. 10, 6 & 1) and the trend, CNN Philippines was a better news channel than ever before.
    • PTV’s financial standing and performance were still inherited from the previous administration but this year, the legislative branch was finally emphasized (see No. 1), the judicial interview was also carried as much as they continually focus on the executive.
    • IBC doesn’t need any further elaboration on why they’re still kulelat despite the plans (See No. 16).
  • UHF
    • Aside from what they did on No. 7 on Channel 37, UNTV launched their first digital subchannel in partnership with Anak TV, Kids’ Nation(al) Channel (KNC) — with its initial named after their sole locally-produced children’s show — as an alternative for children to learn.
    • From the observation at No. 13, Net25 does not need any further explanation.
    • This year, SMNI 39 intensified the support of Duterte during the presidential campaign and more so during his 6-month-old presidency in their news division.
    • DBS 35 made much test broadcast since July but no clear timetable to formally relaunch has been set.

So, 2017, ano na?

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Photo Credits:

  • Stand-Alone photos
    • Universities and Colleges Basketball League (UCBL): Maverick the Agency
    • Kris Aquino: The Philippine Star
    • Alyas Robin Hood: Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP)
    • Iglesia ni Cristo: Inquirer
    • Encantadia: CNN Philippines
    • ABS-CBN Regional Channel: MySky.com.ph
    • Pinky Webb: Fashion Pulis
    • A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo Cast: GMA Network
    • AlDub Wedding: Rappler
    • Luv U teens: ABSCBNpr.com
    • Tawag ng Tanghalan: ABS-CBN
    • Grim Reaper cartoon:Beartoons.com
  • Collage
    • Media Newser, Manila Bulletin, Inquirer, PhilStar, PEP, Solar Entertainment, ABS-CBN, UNTV, Wikimedia Commons

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