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Bring back edgy political satire on TV

By Nestor Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 21:41:00 05/18/2011

Filed Under: Television, Entertainment (general)

OUR RECENT column on televiewers? collective power to bring back good TV shows like ?Ryan, Ryan, Musikahan? has elicited especially strong feedback, obviously from viewers who miss seeing quality programs on the tube.

For instance, a fan of ?Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata? wants to see a new version of that spicy, edgy political satire on the TV screen again. Ditto for ?Sic O?clock News? and other satirical programs that once debunked the many shamelessly shady and hypocritical characters who thrive and fester on the local political scene. The big question is, do today?s TV people have the courage and wit to pull it off again?

Other viewers focus their druthers on the local TV news scene, which, they sadly note, is a far cry from the more focused newscast of past decades. So they express the desire to see our TV channels bringing back the seminal and noteworthy newscasts of old, like the news programs anchored by the late Jose Mari Velez and the late Louie Beltran.

Again, however, the key question is, will those ?braver? and ?more focused? shows, be allowed to telecast again? And, among our current crop of news reporters and anchors, who has it in them to match the high level set by their acclaimed predecessors? More to the point, will they be allowed to?

Many newscasts today are more of the infotainment sort, a weird and unwieldy combination of facts and show biz drama, involving loud music, stingers, sound effects, sometimes reenactments of events, plus a whole lot of production promo items unsuccessfully masquerading as news.

Why had the newscast scene gotten so distended, polluted and otherwise compromised? TV people blame this on us viewers, and what they perceive to be what we want, given our ostensibly shorter attention span and preference for soft news as opposed to the serious and therefore boring hard stuff.

We?re in trouble

Are they right in their cynical appreciation of how our expectations have sunk? If so, we?re all in trouble, and it?s time for more enlightened and discerning viewers to prove to the TV trade that reforms urgently need to be made to restore news to its previous significance.

Other viewers recall that, in the field of music, there used to be many popular programs hosted by excellent and lovely performers like Pilita Corrales, Carmen Soriano and Nora Aunor. Surely, they observe, today?s divas, like Zsazsa Padilla and Kuh Ledesma, are no slackers, either, so why can?t they sustain that honorable tradition?

Or if age is a problem, especially in a field focused on young viewers, it?s time to discover new musical stars, and give them their own musical showcase on the tube, beyond what the weekend noontime smorgasbord shows are doing.

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