CHANNEL 7 LAUNCHED GOLDEN SHOW, 50 YEARS OF BROADCASTING
Quezon City, Aug. 25, 2001 - (STAR by Butch Francisco) Last Thursday night, Channel 7 launched its coffee table book, GMA Gold: 50 Years of Broadcast History at the Studio 3 of the new GMA Network building along EDSA in Quezon City. GMA executives, employees and talents, advertisers and other guests went out of their way to grace the affair in spite of the horrible weather that saw classes in all levels suspended on that day. Guest of honor was Vice President Teofisto Guingona.
To mark this important event, I decided to trace – starting the other day – the programing trends of Channel 7 from the mid-’60s up to the present. Below is the concluding portion of this two-part piece on the history of GMA-7.
After the EDSA revolution in 1986, a lot of changes happened within the local television industry. The name of the government station, the Maharlika Broadcasting System or MBS-4, was changed to People’s Television or PTV-4. RPN-9 and IBC-13 were both sequestered by the new administration.
Only GMA-7 remained untouched –until some of its executives who were with the pre-martial law ABS-CBN were lured back into Channel 2 when this Lopez-owned station reopened middle of 1986.
Newly-married Martin Nievera and Pops Fernandez also abandoned Penthouse Live on Channel 7 and moved to ABS-CBN where they were given a new show called Twogether. (Twogether was a short-lived program though. After its cancellation, Martin returned to GMA-7 to host Martin After Dark – only go back again to Channel 2 in 1993.)
Channel 7, however, regained back Helen Vela who brought her drama/counseling show, Lovingly Yours, Helen, to BBC-2 in 1983 after she was promised a better deal in the Benedicto-controlled station – along with a newscasting job. When BBC-2 closed shop after EDSA, Helen returned to Channel 7 where she got her old Sunday afternoon slot –plus an additional job as newscaster for the station.
Also dislocated with the closure of BBC-2 was Vilma Santos’ variety program Vilma in Person or VIP. Vilma in Person – in spite of the fact that it was given the VIP treatment by the Benedicto management – never did well in the ratings game when it was with the old Channel 2. But when it moved to Channel 7 – where it was called Vilma, the show immediately shot up in the ratings chart.
Vilma! had grand productions week after week and was a consistent winner in the various awards races in the field of television. It went off the air in 1995 only because Vilma got pregnant with Ryan Christian and needed to have a complete rest.
Another well-produced show that was put up by GMA-7 after the EDSA revolution was Lunch Date. This program’s original hosts were Orly Mercado, Rico J. Puno, Chiqui Hollman-Yulo and Toni Rose Gayda. The two gentleman, however, later bowed out of the show and were replaced by Randy Santiago and Keno. To everyone’s surprise, Randy became an overnight sensation and was even given his own Sunday evening variety program called Shades. Unfortunately, Shades didn’t do very well in the ratings game. It was taken off the air less than a year after its premiere episode.
GMA-7 (and the whole industry as well) also mourned the death of Elvira Manahan several months after the EDSA revolt. She was brutally murdered in her Forbes Park home in October 1986. When she died, her Two For the Road co-host, Nestor Torre, had been on leave for several months. He was in China doing an acting part in Eddie Romero’s Hari sa Hari. With Elvira gone and Nestor away, Channel 7 was left with no other option but to cancel this late Monday night talk show.
For young audiences, GMA-7 put up with the help of German Moreno the daily afternoon variety series, That’s Entertainment. This program produced a lot of talents who are still doing very well in the business – as dramatic stars, singers and even newscasters.
Channel 7 didn’t actually just concentrate on strengthening its lineup of entertainment programs around this period. In 1987, it welcomed into its fold Cheche Lazaro’s The Probe Team, a documentary program that didn’t do well in ABS-CBN, but is now still going strong after 14 years on GMA-7.
Other significant public affairs and public service programs that were put up by the station starting in the ’90s were Firing Line, I-Witness, Debate, Imbestigador, Brigada Siete and Emergency. Of course, Kapwa Ko Mahal Ko is still around almost 30 years after it was launched by GMA-7.
From the late ’80s up to the ’90s – and even up to the present – Channel 7 began winning various awards here and across the globe.
Along a covered pathway that connects the various buildings of the GMA complex in EDSA is a long shelf that houses just some of the trophies won by station in the various award-giving bodies. These trophies may now be gathering dust (in spite of the protective glass), but each one of these stands as a testimony to the great service provided by GMA-7 through all these years to the Filipino viewing public.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
2001 by PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS
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