By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan
4. DAYTIME GOLD
During the past decade, locally-produced teleseryes vanished from the late morning lineup. Late examples were the GMA 7 series “Kirara”. The airtime between the morning cartoons and the lunchtime shows often went to animé, old movies and foreign soaps.
In 2004, ABS-CBN tried out game show “Game KNB?” on the slot, and in 2009, talent show “Showtime”. TV5 shook viewers in 2010 with its confrontational talk show “Face To Face”.
Then in 2012, ABS-CBN folded up “Happy Yipee Yehey,” its attempt against noontime champ “Eat Bulaga” after Willie Revillame left the show “Wowowee”. “Showtime” was moved and reformatted into a lunchtime variety show, leaving its old timeslot open.
With Korean soap “Two Wives” as a pre-program, ABS-CBN premiered “Be Careful With My Heart,” a light-hearted romantic comedy starring actress Jodi Sta. Maria and older newbie actor Richard Yap.
It was a gamble that paid off into 2012’s biggest hit.
Straight away, “Be Careful” topped the daytime ratings on its first week, with shares rivaling that of “Eat Bulaga” and even a number of primetime shows.
The storyline is not entirely original. “Be Careful” is a breezier “Wanted: Perfect Mother”. And romantic comedies are sure hits in the local cinema, but not yet on TV.
The untried casting of artists and a plot revolving on the secret feelings between the lead characters, boosted the show’s appeal. More so, the bright and cheery mood of the series was apt for the timeslot.
“Be Careful” was also a boost for ABS-CBN, which had long been looking for a lead in the daytime block dominated by GMA 7 and even TV5. And the thrust did not come from the traditional afternoon lineup.
GMA 7 tried countering the soap with a replay of its teen primetime series “One True Love”, and later with “Cielo de Angelina”, a short-lived teledrama produced for the slot. Finally the slot was left to cooking show “Chef Boy Logro: Kusina Master”.
Later, ABS-CBN inserted the reality franchise “Master Chef” to successful ratings, and followed it up with the game show “Minute to Win It” in the former timeslot of “Be Careful”. Another romantic comedy series, “Kahit Konting Pagtingin,” is set to follow “Be Careful” to the afternoon block.
Meanwhile, the show that opened ABS-CBN’s daytime to numerous possibilities enters 2013 as ABS-CBN’s lunch-time offering and as a testing ground for other love teams.
3. MATURE THEMES ON PRIMETIME
In February 2012, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board or MTRCB rolled out the SPG rating as a final addition to its moves to standardize the introduction of television shows.
Short for “Strict Parental Guidance” or “Striktong Patnubay at Gabay” in Tagalog, the SPG rating alerts viewers to elements in the shows not suitable for children and may warrant the supervision of elders. The rating includes pointers of, namely, themes, language, violence, sex, horror and drugs.
MTRCB officials consider SPG a more realistic approach to TV ratings, since not all programs with the formerly all-encompassing “Parental Guidance” have the same gravity of material.
The rating can vary per episode. This means show generally rated PG could air episodes with stronger scenes, but only those in the bounds of MTRCB approval.
SPG would have been used for teleseryes like the suspense thriller “Nasaan Ka Elisa?”, which ended a month before the new rating system began airing. The networks usually avoided younger viewers by placing mature shows at the end of the nightly block.
With the SPG rating, the nightly lineups saw primetime shows with markedly-strong installments. Often the sensitive scenes were deemed crucial: a brutal killing that set off a family war saga in “Dahil sa Pag-ibig”, or intimate sequences in “My Beloved”.
Other 2012 soaps were not short in covering mature plotlines—usually relationships.
“Lorenzo’s Time” dealt with the complicated relationship between the protagonist, whose body has remained a boy, and his childhood sweetheart who has grown up. The stars of “Pahiram ng Sandali” struggle with “May-December” romances. And the local adaptation of Korean soap “Temptation of Wife” explores extra-marital affairs.
Nevertheless, the SPG rating has not stopped viewers from watching.
For instance, an episode of “Walang Hanggan” controversially highlighted a scene where the female lead character Katerina was forced by her husband Nathan to have sex with him. The episode, which carried an SPG warning for themes, violence, and sexual content, won the most viewers that night, and did not deter “Walang Hanggan” from its run as 2012’s highest-rated show in all viewing markets.
The MTRCB touts SPG as an attention-getter for viewers, especially parents, to be vigilant over the viewing habits of minors. But the new rating raises concerns that TV networks might merely try to push the limit of what they could air instead of also being sensitive to younger viewers.
The introduction of SPG has not fundamentally changed the makeup of primetime though. Soaps targeting children or teens and starring actors of the same age bracket still air before and after the primetime newscasts, where wider audiences still watch.
The lineup has also gone all-local. Korean soaps have left the block, some for the afternoons, others to the late-night slots.
Only TV5 kept up counter-programming with game show “Wiltime Big Time” and the reality franchise “The Amazing Race Philippines”. But the channel closed 2013 by culling “Wiltime” from primetime to prop up its own teleseryes in the most-watched hours.
*The top 2012 TV trends on Part 3.
(Do you agree with this list or have your own idea of 2012’s top TV trends? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments section.)
Related 2012 Yearenders online:
• This blog’s Most-visited posts for 2012
• ABS-CBNnews.com’s Top stories for 2012
• CMFR’s “The year that was in the news media”
• New players in the media landscape
• The big news in TV news for 2012, according to MediaNewser Philippines.