Mornings could use a little more excitement on Philippine television.
After Unang Hirit on GMA, for instance, the viewers are stuck with a bunch of cartoons.
No, the network didn’t exactly put those animated features there as a treat to the children of this nation. Those cartoons are there to torpedo ABS-CBN’s Magandang Buhay, a very successful show that took over Kris TV of Kris Aquino in 2016.
Putting cartoons against a rival show had always been a tried-and-tested formula on television. Children are a united lot. But poor innocent them - the wicked world of television uses them to kill the enemy.
After the cartoons, GMA airs Mars, a lifestyle show that used to be in the early evening slot of the network’s news channel.
When it was still in its original home, the show was hosted by Camille Prats and Suzie Entrata Abrera. Although they seem like a mismatch visually, the two hit it off beautifully.
During its early days on the air, Mars’ every segment was interesting. But the time came when it ran out of fuel.
The show’s lackluster performance began when the network started filling up the Mars’ guest lineup with its new contract players – starlets known only among their respective families and Facebook friends.
Almost daily, it was also the duty of Mars’ talent coordinator to put a screaming mimi as part of the panel of guests. No, that wasn’t in support of the LGBT community.
Network people believe that gays are a fun lot – so throw them in there to create riot. TV shows do not invite homosexual men for their dignity. A program like Mars put gays there to entertain – like clowns in a circus.
But for all the crap that Mars offered when it was in GMA’s news channel, it surprisingly had a captive market. My guess is that viewers got tired of news programs and those long commercial breaks. With nothing else to watch on free TV, they shifted to Mars. And to be fair, there was indeed a time when it was an exciting show.
With its success in the network’s news station, GMA decided to put it as a morning show in the main channel and now calls it Mars Pa More. Suzie Abrera was taken out and in her place came Iya Villania. Camille Prats was retained, except that she is on maternity leave. Her job is temporarily being filled in by Starstruck alumna Chariz Solomon.
Villania is doing a swell job and is hosting Mars Pa More like she was part of the show from its inception. On the part of Solomon, she provides humor and there is never a dull moment with her in the program. I wish they’d retain her even after Camille returns.
Of course, I am eager for Camille’s return (I felt sad though that Suzie was booted out – that must have hurt her bad). Camille is very charming and will always be an asset to any show.
The truth is, Camille seems to bring good luck to any program – just like Sunshine Dizon. For some unexplained reason, these two women make any show rate. Make them guest in a talk show and they manage to bring in the ratings.
Mars Pa More will surely want Camille back – for luck. Even now that she is officially on maternity break, they interview her from time to time. I can just imagine how the ratings shoot up during her segments.
Mars is actually lucky to have very good hosts – they are the show’s only saving grace. A talented bunch, they could offer more but are actually grasping at straws because of the show’s very poor content. The format had really gone stale.
The production staff should have made changes when it moved to GMA’s main channel – but it didn’t. And so, the program still has celebrity guests sharing recipes and making crappy crafts. Oh, yes, they kept the useless exercise segment toward the end.
To my horror, they also kept the blind item portion. This segment may be entertaining, but there is something very wrong with it: The hosts and the guests whisper among each other the identity of the person involved in the blind item. Heavens, doesn’t anyone in production know that it’s rude to whisper?
Now that they do it on national television, the signal being sent, especially to young viewers, is that whispering is an acceptable behavior in polite society.
Mga mars, where are your manners?
• • •
Coming in about an hour earlier than Mars Pa More is Magandang Buhay on ABS-CBN. This morning show came as a pleasant surprise to viewers. No one thought it could duplicate the success of Kris TV – but it did. At that point, I guess viewers were willing to welcome anything and anyone – for as long as they were rid of Darla.
The show is hosted by Karla Estrada, Jolina Magdangal and Melai Cantiveros. I am quite surprised that Jolina allowed herself to play second banana to Karla Estrada when she is the most accomplished among them all.
That Jolina decided not to play diva is actually one key to the beautiful chemistry of the three hosts. In the beginning, most viewers felt uncomfortable watching Magandang Buhay with Karla installed there as queen. And it didn’t help that she relished the part.
Today, Karla must have gotten tired of her royal duties in the show, she already allows Jolina and Melai to have their share of the spotlight – without the two women worrying about getting beheaded at the end of the program.
As a matter of fact, she even allows Melai to make fun of her and her weight. Of course, she also fires back at Melai and chops the former Pinoy Big Brother winner to pieces at every opportunity she gets. But you know that all that is just for fun. They are now the most delightful trio – after Charlie’s Angels, that is. And make that Charlie’s Angels Batch 1.
Since the time it went on air, Magandang Buhay has featured some of television’s most memorable interviews. Among the truly noteworthy were those on-air conversations with Sharon Cuneta and Maricel Soriano. Throw into the list the fun-filled Mara Clara reunion of Judy Ann Santos and Gladys Reyes.
The only time the show gets boring is when it is used as a promo vehicle for some of ABS-CBN’s incoming shows. During promo season, viewers are well-advised to tune in elsewhere – or just turn off the TV and save on electricity.
That it is used by the network as a promo tool, the show suffers and it becomes a hit-and-miss affair. Just recently, Joshua Garcia and Janella Salvador were made to promote Killer Bride in Magandang Buhay – and it was such a ho-hum episode.
Mercifully, the program more than made up for it by later inviting in a separate episode Sunshine Cruz, Nadia Montenegro and Wilma Doesnt to talk about how they counsel their respective kids when it comes to affairs of the heart. It proved to be a very enlightening discussion.
If I were to assess the state of morning shows on local television, I have this to say: Mornings are made beautiful by Magandang Buhay, but marred by the abysmal quality of Mars Pa More.
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