August 13, 2008

Aiming to be no. 2

Alternative fare for TV5

By Marinel Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 22:56:00 08/12/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Newly refurbished Channel TV5’s initial broadcast on Saturday night had none of the telenovelas and noontime variety shows commonly seen on ABS-CBN and GMA 7.

“It’s the risk we decided to take. We wanted to give people an alternative to the current fare,” said TV5 CEO Christopher Sy during the network’s launch last Thursday in Greenhills, San Juan. “If we would come up with shows with just the same format, wala rin kaming pinagkaiba. ”

Sy added that the network will first concentrate on strengthening its prime time block, which is from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (Click here for the rest.)

Channel 5? Buhay pa ba 'yan?!?!

Geez, the last time I watched Channel 5 (then called ABC 5), it was a program on short features/docus on the Guimaras oil spill. Even then, management did a bang-up job of showing these films, with one filmmaker even crying "Censorship!".

On the other hand, my friend always watches ABC 5 because she doesn't have ANC on her cable TV (ay pobrecita, her condo only has Global Destiny kasi), and she only watches newscasts in English. Sushal! (to quote Chuvaness).

I dunno lang ha, pero as I read through the program list of TV5, there was nothing in there that excited me. Another teen show? another reality TV show (can anything be better than Celebrity Apprentice? Survivor? Amzing Race?)? and more dancing (Lucy Torres, di ka pa ba napapagod?)!

(Growing up, I watched excellent English-language TV shows like Charlie's Angels. Notice my Farrah Fawcett twang when I speak? hahaha! Photo from the web)

If I were to program the shows of TV5, I would get all the excellent canned TV programs in the States. There's a great demand for them on cable TV, and if I recall correctly, Channel 7 made its mark in the '70s exactly because of offering an all-English lineup of canned TV shows from the States. Growing up we had Charlie's Angels, Donnie and Marie Show, Dynasty, Knot's Landing (I didn't like Dallas much), and my Pop had his Combat...brrraaap!

If TV5 offers shows like these, not only will the network entertain us, it will also educate people to learn to speak better English. When ABS-CBN started programming in Filipino, well, there went the neighborhood. Sadly, I listen to kids now and they can't even speak one line in straight English. While we did speak English at home, and in school, my language skills were definitely honed as well watching TV programs in English. (Kaya nga me American twang ako ala Farrah Fawcett pag nag-i-ingles e...char!)

Government made such a mistake in pushing for bilingual education (WTF is Hekasi?!?!), Generation Y lost its ear for English. Now that they all want to be call center agents, they have to pay to learn to speak the language. Anovayan?!?! People who claim to be nationalistic say teachers should teach all school subjects in Filipino. Ngek! I speak English and that doesn't make me less of a Filipino than the next guy who speaks straight Filipino!

So I wish the kids these days will have a TV network they can turn to to watch Sesame Street and fun cartoons in English, while we adults will have excellent English-language (not necessarily American) shows like Weeds, Burn Notice, House, Brothers and Sisters, Lipstick Jungle, Entourage, the David Letterman Show, Conan O'Brien, etc. Make these great shows, even those showing on cable TV, available to the masses, and propagate the use of English!

Is it expensive to bring in canned TV shows? Of course! But I predict an influx of massive advertising if TV5 starts offering them. Leave the dancing2 and the crying2/screaming2 TV programs to the experts. Listen up, Tonyboy, if you haven't learned this yet from your years as a businessman, go for the niche market!

'Yun lang pow.

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