Why Are Our Late Night Talk Shows Afraid to Take A Dig on Our Politics?

[AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is written in anticipation of U.S. President Donald Trump meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte from tomorrow until Tuesday (November 12-14). This is also a comprehensive response to Joshua Jimenez’s Banat entry last July 21. Due to expected vitriol, readership discretion is SERIOUSLY ADVISED.]


From tomorrow until Tuesday, US President Donald Trump will meet President Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines after APEC Vietnam 2017.


LAST APRIL, the news and opinion site Vox tackled about comedians, particularly in late night shows, becoming “rock stars” for chiding incumbent U.S. President Donald Trump’s unpredictable predicaments and praised them for outsmarting free-to-air and cable news reporters for their low tolerance of bull.

For the internationally conscious rising Filipinos, one can admire the shade throwing of John Oliver, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Fallon and Seth Meyers with less effort via YouTube — if they cannot afford monthly cable or any video-on-demand subscriptions. Some wished it could happen here with the similar-minded leadership and similar-minded hyperpartisan divisiveness but many asked why it barely or never happens in reality.

In America, the jurisdiction of concerned agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is clearly defined and unattached, thus, independently attached from any branch of government. Hence, it’s not easy for Trump to just revoke the license of NBC after getting butthurt over a late night show and demanding “equal time” in his mere personal tweet.

Our counterpart, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) is under the Department of Information Communications and Technology (DICT) – which the term “independent agencies” is legally nonexistent here – but the functions are similar to those in the U.S.

However, the primary answer to the question on where our similarities end and a difference begin would be — as few libertarians would say — our near-absolute historically shaping government/State intervention that leads us to cowardice and unconditional submission.

This is why our talk shows decided to interview most, if not all, showbiz celebrities and non-politician newsmakers and taking digs is diminished as a segment just like the reinstated Word of the Lourd on then-balanced TV5 as its offshoot standalone program, Kontrabando didn’t last.

Imagine if ABS-CBN’s Gandang Gabi Vice was like HBO’s Last Week Tonight, President Duterte would get even more insane to spew more threats of non-renewal of the network’s franchise without end; even though, he did not know he was, ironically and ungratefully, the guest of that show back in 2015 just before his candidacy. (This can also apply to Trump’s ungratefulness to NBC during The Apprentice.)


Banat mentioned diminishing audience interest after the initial huge following but notice that the demographic trends are assertively changing and rising (from our millennial generation onwards) – choice seems to be their consensual plea over networks’ profit.

Another question that might be asked if there is enough supply of comedians that takes any dig. To be honest, we do have enough supply – slightly oversupplied — but we don’t see all of them on TV taking such a magnitude of verbal slay.

We don’t hear Allan K talk on that specific topic in Eat Bulaga because of his fear of the admin ally Senator Tito Sotto; Boobay could but can’t due to her regular commitment as a bluffer on Celebrity Bluff (which is not a talk show) while Ethel Booba – the Charot Queen – is barely seen on TV but she’s actively slaying up on Twitter.

Sadly, the last resort of roast throwing would possibly be on comedy sketch programs.

In the past, we do have political spoofing, ironically, in a government-owned network with The Sic O Clock News but not much externally and internally nowadays. Last year, GMA’s Sunday PinaSaya made a spoof of Duterte (portrayed by Jose Manalo) meeting with Trump (portrayed by Mike “Pekto” Nacua).

However, its rival, Banana Sundae, was not able to duplicate it.

Why is it easy for Americans to do them?

Simply, Americans are natural risk-takers; we are not.

While their presidential administrations come and go, their shows still go on despite different presenters once the new season — not necessarily coterminous with their term — kicks in; ours tend to cut short due to their butthurt reactions and spewing threats of the ax before their term ends.

Don’t get it wrong, our comedians can be great talk show hosts to chide as Vice Ganda would but its internal conservative mindset and the eternal network war culture hinders them to take bigger possibilities (i.e. diversity of programming for the networks and diversity of the comedian’s portfolio).

That being said, let’s not give the prospectively returning Medyo Late Night Show with Jojo A. any ideas on his new home on PTV this month as unconditional compliance is still king over defiance. Not to mention, his show might be disrupted in favor of their true star.

Playing it safe is the riskiest choice we can ever make.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

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Photo courtesy of ABS-CBN


#PHTVzg2015: TV5

Another year has come and gone, but before we enter the sweet 2016, the Turf looks back on the rollercoaster moments of TV5.

AniMEGA comeback (January 24). Die-hard anime fans who are keyboard warriors have answered their pleas over the Anime’s “El Niño” of 2014 on that day; it initially aired in the weekend morning.

Different platform, one common trouble. Two programs on News5 aired on different platforms of the network for the year. The first is the digital series, Kontrabando, a news satire and free-to-air weekly game show series, Barangay Utakan. However, one of the common presenters of the said new shows, Ramon Bautista, was under fire for hypocrisy (i.e. criticizing the presidential candidate then but later endorsing him on a music video.)

AksyonTV’s changing format (May onwards). Since May, Aksyon TV decided to allocate their airtime to Shop Japan. This surprise strategy remained with the introduction of Pilipinas Commercial Basketball League (PCBL) and Filsports Basketball Assocation (from PTV). That said made Channel 41 unreliable to cover the APEC Summit last November.

Remade but not originally aired (May 18 and September 14). TV5 made the remakes of two K-Drama’s “The Baker King” and “My Fair Lady” from those respective premiere dates. However, the network did not air their dubbed, original Koreanovelas as the former belonged to GMA and the latter to ABS-CBN.

Old friendship on a new joint (June 14). Two months prior to that date, Janno Gibbs finally took a bow from GMA 7 for three decades in order to join his old friend, Ogie Alcasid. On that day, Happy Truck ng Bayan acts a response to ASAP 20 and Sunday All Stars. However, it is not aired live but recorded the day before, giving the certain and obvious factor of the truck travel and the coverage constraint.

Hi-5, Philippines! (June 15). The 1999 Australian children’s show approved the first full franchise in Southeast Asia and got a go signal to air, beginning on that day. It currently airs every day: twice per weekday and once each weekend.

What a Wet, Wonderful Weekend! Throughout the rainy season, TV5 made shows with diverse genres ranging to kid-friendly with a techie twist (LolaBasyang.com) to comedic horror (ParangNormal Activity) (both on Saturdays). Not to forget, Kano Luvs Pinay, on Sundays, made into the small screens.

Hallyu heartbreak… not once but twice (August 1). KIS Pinoy broke the hearts of K-Pop fans for the second time under a new venture on TV5. The first venture under PTV last year was not fully materialized due to misunderstanding with the network and obvious programming priority. Originally aired on Saturday night and hosted by Richard Gutierrez, the said talent show aired only three episodes from July 11-25 until YU&IQ International, the producer of the program, on that day over Facebook, decided to cease production due to financial difficulties.

Give it to me, I’m worth it! (October 5). Bloomberg finally ink the deal with TV5 for a local franchise on March 25. On that day, Bloomberg TV Philippines was launched as the first business news channel round-the-clock but the second global network to set a localized channel. This channel gave amazing insights on the APEC Summit, while dismaying the network’s other channels.

New entertainment head (October 14). VIVA Entertainment’s CEO, Vic Del Rosario replaced Wilma Galvante as the chief strategist for entertainment.

Reviving the blow (December 13). After 15 years off the air from IBC under Vintage Enterprises, on that day, Blow by Blow is currently hosted by Manny Pacquiao, one of its featured homegrown boxers. However, objections were raised over his hosting but the answer is clear that this presentation will not breach his exclusive contract on GMA.

Talents recognized

New talents

  • Lee O’Brian (Kano Luvs Pinay)
  • Aira Binas, Alex Reyes, Rissey Reyes, Gerard Pagunsan, Fred Lo (Hi-5 Philippines)


Janno Gibbs from GMA


Atty. Rod Nepomuceno from 9TV

Outlook for 2016

This New Year will be very hectic for TV5 on both news and sports division. On News5, their division’s “Bilang Pilipino” has disseminated through programs such as “Politics for Beginners” and reviving B.A.Y.A.W. (starring Jun “Bayaw” Sabayton) election fillers on its plugs.

On Sports5, they have the official broadcast rights to cover the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Following the Gilas Pilipinas’ qualification after losing to China in the finals on FIBA Asia Championship in the latter’s city of Changsha, the bidding and hosting of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament for men’s basketball will be committed to air live.

Specifically on January, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) will begin to cover under the new broadcast rights on this network that will aid their dormant sports channel, Hyper.

With the new entertainment strategist, their responsibility center would be easy to deliver but it would be rather be difficult to materialize.