Of the different important issues the past few weeks, the election of Pope Francis as the new supreme pontiff, the Sabah standoff, Elections on May, the on-going campaign period, the issue on STFAP and Kristel’s suicide, and other more relevant issues such as poverty, corruption and violence, topping the headlines last Mar 20 and 21, both in mainstream media and the social media, was the Kris-James spat and the Heart-Chiz love story (or quarrel, whichever you prefer).
A brief background on the stories behind these headlines, the Kris-James spat started on the temporary protection order issued by the Makati Court denying Yap his visitation rights after a ” sexual assault” on the youngest Aquino sister. More on this video. Meanwhile, the Heart-Chiz vs. the Ongpauco parents issue started on accusations of the parents that Escudero is disrespecting them and their daughter, among other issues and accusations.
While we may consider them top showbiz headlines, it was rather disappointing that the network’s newscasts (particularly TV Patrol and 24 Oras) devoted so much airtime (28 minutes in TV Patrol? Really?) for the sit-down interview with the Aquino sisters. Meanwhile, every now and then, the Heart and Chiz story pops out in news programs (in between crime reports and national issues) when I believe that they qualify as showbiz reports (considering the reporters covering the stories are showbiz reporters) but rather, they are qualified as banner stories and national headlines. The point of showbiz-oriented talk shows such as The Buzz and Startalk was for this purpose: to grant “exclusive” and not-so-exclusive interviews on celebrities and showbiz personalities (if you consider Escudero one, well I leave that to you.) regarding their mundane lives. The purpose of newscasts such as 24 Oras and TV Patrol is to dish out news and information on the different issues and problems in our country. Yes, they may feature showbiz news, but not to the point that 2 very credible news anchors (Ted Failon and Jessica Soho) will grant interviews on such issues. That is why we have the Boy Abunda’s of the entertainment industry for them to facilitate such interviews.
My point is, as they say, “Lahat ng sobra, nakakasama.” I don’t want to speculate the reason why networks allow such interviews on their flagship news programs, but deny it or no, we all know why they do so: The Ratings Game. A little bit of trivia, do you know that TV Patrol still holds the record of having the highest rating newscast? It was when TV Patrol anchor Korina Sanchez conducted an exclusive live interview with Aquino regarding the her break-up with Joey Marquez. The September 24, 2003 broadcast, which featured Aquino’s interview, ate up most of the newscast’s airtime (like what will happen AGAIN after 10 years), making it extend beyond its 6:00pm–7:00pm timeslot. According to AGB, the broadcast, the longest in its history back then, garnered a rating of 47.2% in Mega Manila. (source: TV Patrol Wikipedia page) Maybe the management of TV Patrol wants to catch up with 24 Oras in the ratings game that they resorted to such move, maybe not. But with the rise of social media, and its continuous involvement in the lives of the Filipino people, the more important issues that the people want to talk about rather than showbiz discussions, and with the people being more involved and intelligent, I doubt that conducting such kind of interviews will garner additional ratings. The audience will talk about it yes, but after a day or two, they will move on. So newscasts please, just stick to what you do best: reporting and exposing the issues, anomalies and other relevant stories of the day.