Saturday, October 23, 2010
A big day on Philippine television. No, not just the premiere of Willie Revillame’s Willing Willie, but the signaling that yes, there are more than two networks in the Philippines.
It has been a long time since ABS-CBN and GMA began monopolizing Philippine television. And while other networks have tried, maybe half-heartedly, to challenge the new norm, only now has a legitimate contender arrived.
TV5 Isn’t Just Messing Around Anymore
TV5 (formerly ABC-5) has had small successes despite their limited reach compared to the other two networks including Philippine Idol and the long running Wow Mali!, but it was the network’s rebranding and relaunch that began turning heads.
The Ryan Agoncillo-hosted talent show Talentadong Pinoy not only did well, it began topping ABS-CBN and GMA programs. And quite easily too. The success of the show quickly prompted the other networks to develop similar talent competitions. The show brought fresh eyes to the network and the rest of the line-up benefited greatly.
Now with today’s premiere of Willing Willie and Monday’s premiere of My Driver Sweet Lover, TV5 is officially a very real player in Philippine entertainment.
Willing Willie is the type of show that one would normally see at noontime. Instead, TV5 makes the big move and schedules the show from 6:30-8:30pm on weekdays. That is a very jarring and risky move. But also very smart.
TV5 is not afraid to challenge the norm set out by the other two networks. And just like how their risks have paid off with developing the now #1 Saturday primetime line-up, these are the moves they need to make. Counterprogramming is commonplace in the United States, now a Philippine TV network has the balls to finally counterprogram.
Willing Willie is set to go up against the evening news and the first melodramas of the other networks. Now that’s definitely an alternative. TV5 has their own evening news, Aksyon at 6pm, so the news-loving public now won’t have to tune in to the other two network’s evening news broadcasts. From news to variety-game show at dinner. Again, very smart programming decision.
Today marks TV5’s true arrival. Not ABC5 or the Associated Broadcasting Company. TV5. In a landscape of tired, same old offerings, TV5 is ready to offer something new and different.
It Is What It Is and It Does It Well
Willing Willie is essentially a fresher, yet very familiar version of Wowowee, the international phenomenon that was abruptly yanked off the air thanks to the usual Philippine showbiz drama.
Willie Revillame, the controversial but popular host, returns to television with Willing Willie on TV5. The new variety game show, so far, feels very familiar.
Does it feel like Wowowee? Well, yes. Yes it does.
But then again, Wowowee wasn’t the problem.
Wowowee was a noontime game show that millions in the Philippines and around the world watched to relax and have fun, but also hope for a chance to win prizes that even for a little, can help. The show was a sincere look into the everyday Filipino. Not the people living in air conditioned condos or with high speed internet access, but the masses.
Willing Willie will obviously continue that. Revillame himself said as much.
And it wasn’t hard to see it. The opening dance numbers, the first game… it all felt like Wowowee. The latter two games, Family Apir! and Spin-a-Wil, were fresher and more fun. Revillame promised the return of a Willie of Fortune type segment on Monday, arguably the segment that really made Wowowee what it was. Listening to the stories of the people, five days a week, was what caught the hearts and minds of everyone that regularly watched the show.
Overall, Willing Willie will do what it has set out to do. Entertain people while offering chances to win prizes. Certainly not a new concept, but certainly a fresher aura. The arrival and return of Willing Willie and Willie Revillame will be great news for many and incense others. But it is hard to deny, no matter what class or status of life you are in, that a show like Willing Willie and a guy like Willie Revillame connects to the masses like no other.
It’s not perfect, but it is what it is. And it is that a show can be simple, yet loads of fun.
That taking a few hours out of the day to sit down with the family and be entertained means a lot.