Switching Channels
  • Apparently, Queen Latifah and her co-producer David Broome (of "The Biggest Loser") think there is.

    Their new show, "The Next," joins a seemingly overloaded field that includes  "American Idol," "The Voice," "America's Got Talent," "X Factor" and "Duets."

    On its premiere night on Monday on ETC (Channel 14 on Sky and 9 on terrestrial TV) two episodes were aired. Locally, the new show goes up against GMA's "Protégé," ABS-CBN's "X Factor" and TV 5's "Artista Academy."

    What sets "The Next" apart?

    How it's different

    First, the show concentrates on talents who already have a following in their respective cities. The premiere episode took place at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida where four outstanding artists chosen by the producers competed for a slot in the semifinal round. The second hour was devoted to the competition at the Hippodrome in Baltimore, Maryland.

    Second, mentors Gloria Estefan, Joe Jonas, John Rich and Nelly do not vote, unlike other talent competitions. Their only

    Read More »from Is there room for another talent search contest?
  • I have been a fan of David Letterman since he hosted a 12:30 a.m. daily talk show on NBC in the 1980s. I got hooked on his quirky sense of humor and absurd stunts: watermelons and other objects being dropped from the top of a five-storey building or a dozen or more people dressed in different costumes entering a store and not buying anything.

    He not only had the usual run of celebrity guests, authors and politicians on his show, he also pioneered segments like "Stupid Pet Tricks" and later, "Stupid Human Tricks." He also has a daily Top Ten list, a roll call of absurdities that began as a parody of the sexiest celebrities list the media cranks out regularly.

    Recently, he featured "Top Ten Rejected Lionel Richie Song Lyrics" (Number 5: "Stuck on you / I bet you wish you weren't drunk / When you went and got that tattoo / Yes it's truly lame / That you misspelled your name"). He also had U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama deliver "Top Ten Fun Facts about Gardening" (Number 7: "In his

    Read More »from Top 10 memorable moments on ‘Late Show’
  • After auditions that attracted more than 12,000 wannabes at the Araneta Coliseum, that huge number has been reduced to 16 prospective stars who will be trained in singing, dancing and acting at TV5's "Artista Academy."

    The Best Actor and Best Actress of the Academy will share P20 million in prizes, the biggest prize ever in the history of talent search contests.

    Last Saturday, I watched the 16 contestants or scholars, as they are called, in what the Kapatid network billed as their first live exam.

    The first thing I noticed was that six members of the group were half-Filipinos. Alberto Bruno and Jon Orlando are both Fil-Italians. Akihiro Blanco is Fil-Japanese. Mark Neumann is Fil-Croatian while Stephanie Rowe has a Brit for a dad.  Malak So Shdifat's father is Palestinian.

    I was reminded of the Bb .Pilipinas beauty pageant where several contestants came from abroad.

    Is this an indication that we are lacking in homegrown talents? Maybe TV5 should have widened the search to include the

    Read More »from Only a few standouts in first live exam of ‘Artista Academy’
  • REVIEW: The 2012 London Olympic closing ceremony

    Photo by Getty

    Watching the closing ceremonies of the London Olympics between 4 a.m. and 8 a.m., I wish I could have been at the stadium in person because my 23-inch TV set could not contain the spectacle unfolding before my eyes. It's true that TV viewers held an advantage over the live audience in that we were able to watch close-ups of different elements of the ceremony. However, there's still nothing like taking in the whole spectacle in person.

    Compared to the opening rites directed by Danny Boyle, this one was less historical and more like a gigantic concert-cum-circus and fireworks display. Billed as "A Symphony of British Music," the extravaganza was a not-too-subtle reminder that the Brits occupy a special place in pop music. George Michael, The Who, Pet Shop Boys, Annie Lennox, Queen, Monty Python's Eric Idle, Ray Davies, Muse, One Direction, and the Spice Girls, who reformed just for the ceremony to sing "Wannabe" and "Spice Up Your Life."

    Why, they even resurrected John Lennon and

    Read More »from REVIEW: The 2012 London Olympic closing ceremony
  • As torrential rains caused massive flooding in 80% of Metro Manila and large areas of nearby provinces, TV networks scrambled to air reports from affected areas throughout the day and much of the night.

    TV Patrol's Noli de Castro anchored portions of the news from Marikina while Mel Tiangco of "24 Oras" did the news from Roxas District in Quezon City. For once, crime stories, politics and show biz intrigue did not dominate the newscasts.

    Footage of the flooding illustrated just how bad the situation was. A landslide buried three houses and killed eight people who were trapped inside one of the structures. Four survivors were rushed to the hospital.

    North and South Luzon Expressway were closed to traffic as the roads remained impassable.

    Reporters waist-deep in floodwater

    Thanks to network reporting, we saw the flooded ground floor of the UST hospital where the emergency room is located. Networks also aired the appeal of staff who  needed food and water later in the day because the

    Read More »from How the networks covered the floods of August
  • Luis Manzano (NPPA Images)You don't need a college degree to win big on ABS-CBN's "Deal or No Deal" (Saturdays, 6 p.m.) hosted by Luis Manzano. Take the case of 30-year-old Charles Adam Genato who took up Management of Financial Institution at the prestigious De La Salle University. With his educational background, he went home with a measly five pesos rather than the bigger amounts ranging from P100,000 to P2 million.

    A college dropout or even an elementary school student can win P2 million because "DOND" does not require brain power. The winner is determined by chance just like in the lotto, although the odds of hitting the jackpot in the lottery are much higher.(Coincidentally, the host used to be known as Lucky Manzano.)

    Contestants choose a briefcase based on how lucky they think the number is. Some choose their birthday, others opt for the age of their loved ones and still others go for the date they landed their first job. (Nobody has ever picked the number 13 in the episodes that I watched.)

    In Genato's

    Read More »from What Luis Manzano can learn from his dad
  • TV5's "Think big" seems to be the motto of "Artista Academy," TV5's new talent search program where P20 million in prizes awaits the final two winners.

    There are no specifications, however, on how much will be in cash and how much will be in kind.  Will talent fees for future productions be part of the package? In the initial episode last Monday, host Marvin Agustin mentioned that the winners will come out in a new teleserye.

    The format is not unique. ABS-CBN's "Pinoy Dream Academy," which spawned Yeng Constantino, had mentors like Ryan Cayabyab, Jim Paredes and Malou de Guzman.

    The TV 5 version has musical director Louie Ocampo, choreographer Georcelle Dapat Sy of G Force and TV-movie director Joel Lamangan.

    Sob stories galore

    The preliminary screening, where more than 10,000 aspirants reportedly showed up at the Araneta Coliseum , was conducted by Regal producer Roselle Monteverde, talent manager Gelo Jamias, TV 5 Talent Center head Mac Alejandre and Asian Academy of Television Arts

    Read More »from ‘Artista Academy’ off to a so-so start
  • The Olympics happens only once every four years so I wanted to watch the opening ceremony which was scheduled at 9 p.m. Friday, July 27 (London time). That meant getting up at 4 a.m. last Saturday because the Philippines is ahead by seven hours. But I didn’t regret it.

    Although the pageant was not as spectacular and as extravagant as the Beijing Olympics version in 2008, there were enough visual delights to keep me awake. (Online reports say Brits spent £27 million compared to £67 million spent in Beijing.) The understated production opener was staged by Danny Boyle who directed the Oscar’s Best Picture for 2009, “Slumdog Millionaire.” It was no surprise, therefore, that there were many film elements in the show.

    For instance, the London Symphony Orchestra played the theme from another Oscar winner for Best Picture from the U.K., “Chariots of Fire.” And when clip from the movie was then shown, the familiar one with the track stars running on the beach, with one big difference, Rowan

    Read More »from Let the 2012 London Olympics begin!
  • That's what a network does when it feels it cannot go head to head against its competitors with the same program format.

    ABS-CBN and GMA both offer variety shows, "ASAP" and "Party Pilipinas," on their noontime slots on Sundays. These shows claim a vast majority of the audience during the lunchtime hour so TV5 has come up with a game show in hopes that viewers who are tired of song and dance formats will shift to the Kapatid network.

    The result is "Game 'n Go," with main hosts Joey de Leon and Edu Manzano and co-hosts Shalani Soledad-Romulo, Arnell Ignacio and Gelli de Belen. Shalani was sick last Sunday so Monica Santamaria subbed for her. The show started out on the wrong foot when Joey and Edu cracked jokes about the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado. What saved the opening segment were the Caucasian dancing girls who looked like they came from Las Vegas.

    As far as the as the games were concerned, I found some of them entertaining and the others lacking in excitement.

    Interesting

    Read More »from Will counter-programming work for TV 5?
  • Philippine President Benigno 'Noynoy' Aquino delivers his third state-of-the-nation-address (SONA) before the 15th Congress at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, northeast of Manila, on 23 July 2012. (Voltaire Domingo/NPPA Images)I have a strong feeling that the coverage of this year's State of the Nation Address (SONA) did not get high ratings even if we combine the number of viewers of ANC, DZMM Teleradyo, GMA News Channel and Aksyon TV. Television is primarily a medium of entertainment and the SONA is not as entertaining as afternoon soaps and local movies.

    At any rate, here are my observations of this year's coverage of President Noynoy Aquino's third SONA:

    The preferred attire. Almost all of the males in attendance at the Batasan Pambansa wore a barong. Former President Fidel V. Ramos came in a gray outfit while party list representative Teddy Casiño had the words "Presyo ibaba" printed on his barong.   The only exceptions were most members of the diplomatic corps and surprisingly, former House Speaker Jose De Venecia, who came in a dark suit.

    By air or by land? GMA News spent some time reporting on the whereabouts of the President and whether he was taking the helicopter or traveling by land. I think

    Read More »from Notes on the 2012 SONA coverage

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