"iSYU KARON" off to a good start
PEN POINT - Ryan Mark () - November 6, 2010 - 12:00am

It was last July when GMA-7 Cebu Program Manager Zanie Alueta told me they were coming up with a new News and Public Affairs show that would have a "Reporters Notebook"-meets-"Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" format. It was originally planned as a daily show that will begin airing on the third week of September just in time for the Cebu Press Freedom Week. Fast forward to Oct. 30, and "iSYU KARON" came into being.

But contrary to the original plan, the new local program airs every Saturday only, at 7-8am, which is very understandable because going by last Saturday's very impressive pilot episode, it will be very impossible to put it out on a daily basis. Each episode obviously needs enough time and careful planning. Also, the production group behind "iSYU KARON" is the same set of creative people behind "Buena Mano Balita" on weekdays.

Anyhow, in a press launch and advance screening held at the very beautiful Crimson Resort in Lapu-Lapu City last Oct. 29, I could not help but be impressed. As we watched each segment unfold, I felt proud that it was made in Cebu by Cebuanos for Cebuanos and Bisdaks. After years of waiting, hoping, and imagining that our local TV would have a sort of investigative yet entertaining show, it's finally here. Thank you GMA-7 for treating us to an informative, educational, and entertaining show! Congratulations!

To station manager Ann Marie Tan, I don't need to see and I don't care what the ratings were for the pilot episode. For I know, it was a very successful start. The topics presented were obviously well-researched and done with a lot of passion. And I was surprised to know that we have a thriving "Casket Furniture Art" in Carcar City. Nevertheless, I will never sit nor lie on those sofas and beds made out of old coffins. I am not scared, but the mere thought that I'm on top of an old coffin makes me uncomfortable. Creepy. (Ha, ha, ha!)

The feature on "Balay ni Noni," a very old house along Echaves that was built in 1930, was very interesting. I applaud the members of the Cebu Paranormal Society for such a thrilling revelation that a restless soul of a woman who committed suicide joined the group during the taping. But the favorite of entertainment writer/editor Maria Niza and yours truly is still the feature on unclaimed bodies in "Morgue." It was heartbreaking and informative.

It was just the pilot episode. The real game begins in the succeeding episodes-how to sustain what you have presented. I agree with Maria Niza's comment that the pilot episode is difficult to match. It was simply awesome! Lou-anne Mae Rondina is a good choice as host because she looks so credible on screen and her voice and delivery is very persuasive!

But Zanie, your plugging for the second episode (airing today) on "Balitang Bisdak" last Thursday used the word "mahuyang" to describe gays who joined the motocross for the first time, and for me, it was wrong and offensive. Just say "bayot." That's more acceptable. "Mahuyang" connotes weakness, softness, which could not be true at all now because there are gays who are stronger than real men, literally and figuratively.

Interestingly, "iSYU KARON" directly collides with ABS-CBN Cebu's public service program "Halad Sa Kapamilya," which scored another achievement recently-a special citation from the Manila Archdiocese's Catholic Mass Media Awards (CMMA). Such citation is very timely and significant since the program is celebrating its first anniversary. So the "Isyu Karon," I would say, is which show will gain support of Bisdak viewers more-a public service show or this new fusion of investigative and light features? But isn't it wonderful that we now have really good local shows to choose from for our early Saturday viewing fare?


Speaking of colliding shows, the primetime TV landscape will see one astonishing battle for supremacy between national newscast programs starting Monday, Nov. 8, as two of the country's veteran broadcast journalists will return to ABS-CBN's "TV Patrol". Of course, you know I'm referring to Korina Sanchez and former vice president Noli de Castro. What we do not know yet is whether the duo will be able to topple the firm hold of "24 Oras" anchored by Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez, as far as Mega Manila Ratings are concerned.

Oh yes, GMA-7 had a really hard climb in recent years before it was finally able to take the lead in primetime newscast, a spot that was held by "TV Patrol" for the longest time. The battle continues to evolve. And the pressure is great for Sanchez and De Castro to prove that they still have that pull and power to turn things around. Yet, "24 Oras" is not only its competition, there's TV5's "Aksyon," manned by Paolo Bediones and Cheryl Cosim. It's a three-cornered fight, after all.

But the biggest challenge here really is for De Castro and Sanchez to prove that they can deliver the news free of political bias and color. Reading the official statement of ABS-CBN last Wednesday that confirmed their return made me smile. It seemed that the management will bank on De Castro's previous government experience as senator and second highest official in the country. ABS-CBN said: "De Castro returns with a wider knowledge of the workings of government after his stint as vice president of the Philippines," part of the statement reads.

What the management has failed to realize is that this "wider knowledge" could leave the viewing public in doubt as to how objective De Castro can get considering he once was part of the government and those who are in power now used to be allies and foes. But my smile turned into laughter as soon as I caught the TV plug for "24 Oras". GMA-7 cleverly promoted their primetime news anchors, while subtly making a dig at Sanchez and De Castro's political associations. It said something to this effect: "Ang pinagkakatiwalaan. Walang bahid politika. Malinis ang pangalan..Mel Tiangco at Mike Enriquez magbabalita 24 Oras".

Sanchez and de Castro's political background or association is truly a liability more than an asset. But veterans as they are in the broadcast industry, I'm sure they will be able to get away with it and give a good fight.

Stay tuned. (Email: banatentertainment @hotmail.com)

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