In response to my previous article "Filipino Telenovela Culture, A Lazy Lifestyle?" I decided to write some of the factors why television programming in the Philippines is so "degenerating" that watching is like torture to my senses. Based on years of watching and examining the trends in the way people watch television, I have listed some of the possible reasons why television programming suck. This is in no way discouraging people not to watch television but rather its a wake up call for the industry to do something creative and meaningful so that Filipinos will be watching quality shows instead of watching no-holds-barred variety/acting/singing/dancing shows mixed with foreign but locally-dubbed telenovelas.
Gone are the days of creative broadcasting.
(1) Almost 50% of the daily television programming are dominated by local and foreign telenovelas. From 9am to 10pm, with some intermittent news programs, Filipinos are hooked to telenovelas. Ever since Marimar became a household name, we never ran out of telenovelas whether it may be original foreign show that was dubbed into Tagalog or it maybe the local counterpart of the same show. Sometimes, the television channels fighting for rating supremacy have telenovelas as their top rated shows instead of locally-produced original shows. Of the telenovelas shown in television, about 33% are either Korean, Japanese or Mexican in origin. While its local counterparts are the local syndication of the original foreign shows like the case of Zorro, Marimar, etc. Sometimes they have re-runs of the same shows.
This trend is the biggest problem in television programming because of the fact that producers and directors are now dependent on ready-made potential rating boosting programs instead of producing quality programs. Nevertheless, these shows are the money earners because of the fact that foreign-dubbed shows cost less because producers only pay for the syndication fee and voice talents' salaries. The local version of the foreign shows also cost less because of the fact that telenovelas here are produced in less than three months and so the need for ready-made script and storyline is already there.
The most popular television channels has the most number of telenovelas in their lineup.
(2) Too much reality television. Lets face it, there are too many reality programs in Philippine television. In reality, reality television is scripted and basically these shows serve as the launchpad for superstardom to some people who are not really "gifted." Most of these contestants have joined the cruel world of showbiz even if they know for the fact that being in this industry, their lives are in constant scrutiny.
By the way, we tend to copy award-winning foreign reality shows like Survivor, American Idol and Big Brother.
Other forms of reality shows are singing contests, dancing competition, acting shows and the combination of the three. You can see young people singing, dancing and acting their hearts out to become a star. Some of them don't know how to sing, dance or act but remarkably some of them become stars just because they look good or maybe doing things that the people running the show would like.
Because of this, many of these so-called stars just come and go. Because when you are "sikat" you have lots of shows but when you flunk then so are you. Take note of the reality stars who became famous and have done well in showbiz but are suddenly out of the limelight nowadays. Maybe they should try the adult film industry for a change.
(3) Too much game shows. We Filipinos want to be rich and famous at the same time, what a way to start by joining game shows. These game shows dominate the noon time programming and you can see desperate people line up in television studios just to get a crack for some cold cash. People are so desperate that they seem to keep coming back for more. Imagine the number of people killed in the Stampede at the Wowowee show? How many of them waited for hours, braving the heat and congestion just to join some stupid game show?
People, especially the poor, see the hosts like Willie Revillame as their savior when the fact is that they are just paid entertainers. They may give wads of cash but at the expense of your dignity as they make fun of you and made you do some humilating acts in front of national television. Do you want this guy to tell you to dance or sing like a stupid person while everyone in the audience laugh their hearts out? Its just a game but then again are you game?
They also present sexy and scantily clad women as fresh meat, amidst the howls and jeers of the audience, which reminds me of the Roman games of the last millenium.
(4) The only way to a man's heart is to his stomach. Ever wonder why there are lots of cooking shows lately? Its because of the fact that culinary arts is becoming one of the most popular courses people are starting to take up. There are more people wearing white uniforms nowadays...not only nurses but chefs. Take a look at QTV, there are lots of cooking shows that will melt your hearts out. I don't have against cooking shows but saturating the TV screens with food makes me crazy.
(5) Tabloid television news programming. You have to see how some news presenter don't make their research well. They tend to ask the wrong questions like personal ones. They put words into their interviewee's mouth. The news highlights is not organized because as you can see the news are presented in this order -- headliners, political news, crime news, showbiz, political news, some sports news, showbiz, weather. Everytime "Chika Minute" is flashed on the screen, my head is swelling. Why is showbiz news included when most of the topics presented are highly-speculative in nature? Besides they have all-showbiz programs on Sundays, why do they have these inserts after each presentation of socially-relevant news.
News are always recycled and are always presented in a different way when the fact is that there is only one social issue. A Pacquiao victory would take one week to be reported and even the mundane facts are reported. Crime news in Manila usually makes the headline first, thats why I have a very bad impression of the city -- I still believe Manila is a gangland because of the bad publicity and the crimes presented on TV. Some of the TV presenters are dumb and don't know what their doing when interviewing people. The case of Manny Pacquiao wanting to enter the politics is handled in a manner a showbiz reporter ask questions instead of a credible journalist that doesn't take sides.
The news presented in the early morning talk show is the same news presented in the early primetime news and the late night news. Nothing more, nothing less.
(6) Showbiz galore. I hate Philippine showbiz and I have never been shy of saying that. They always talk about love teams and "tupo-tupo" (matchmaking) actors and actresses. About 75% of all showbiz news are related to breakups, hooking ups and LQ's. No wonder, the tabloids never ran out of publicity juice. Even the whole Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili brohaha is part of the bigger scheme of publicity baiting expedition. They have the whole Sunday talking their stupid issues, for God's sake please don't include showbiz gossips on real news.
I guess thats the reason why I watch Youtube more that watching TV because the Philippines is still stuck in this cycle of never ending circus. What do you think about television nowadays?