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TV blocktimer: I don’t believe in network wars

Danny Vibas



CATRIONA Gray is among the hosts of TV5’s new noontime s h o w , ‘ S u n d a y Noontime Live.’ PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF IG/CATRIONA_GRAY

There are now three musical-variety shows on free TV to perk up viewers’ Sunday afternoon: ABS-CBN’s “ASAP Mo ’To,” now airing as a blocktimer on A2Z, formerly ZOE 11; GMA 7’s “All Out Sunday”; and TV5’s “Sunday Noontime Live,” a Brightlight Productions blocktimer hosted by former Kapamilya talents led by Piolo Pascual and Catriona Gray.

Most likely for angling purposes of showbiz scribes, the ABS-CBN flagbearers who appear regularly on SLN are written about as having deserted the Kapamilya network in favor of Kapatid Network TV5.

The truth is, it is not with TV5 that they signed up with, but with Brightlight which has the fine luck of gaining primetime blocks on the MVP Group-owned network.

Brightlight boss Albee Benitez made it clear in a recent video conference that the talents he signed up are not on exclusive contract with the company. They are free to appear in other networks for as long as there are no conflicts with their shows on TV5.

“I don’t believe in network wars. I don’t like network wars,” said Benitez.

What three musical variety shows on free TV means is that upcoming singers may be invited to perform in any of the shows.

New singer
Yes, there are new singers who have decided that the pandemic era is as good a time to launch their respective careers. One of them is Christi Fider, a young woman who gave up a well-paying job in a jewelry company. The University of Santo Tomas History graduate (Batch 2019) is now a recording talent of ABS-CBN’s Star Music label.

Christi’s single, “Teka, Teka, Teka,” was written by perennial Himig Handog contest winner Joven Tan (who is also a filmmaker). It’s a lightweight song for someone like Christi, who recorded an album of anthemic, inspirational and religious songs when she was just 11 years old.

All tracks in the album are also Joven Tan compositions. Being a niche product, the album sold well in its target market.

But even “Teka, Teka, Teka” seems destined to be a hit because of its optimism amid the pandemic.

Said Christi: “Even before the official release of the single, some people already used it for TikTok. It’s Showtime’s Hashtag Boys member Zeus Collins made his own TikTok version. Of course, I was surprised when he used it because he is known for dancing. I didn’t imagine that ‘Teka, Teka’ can be a dance tune, too. I was surprised when Zeus even choreographed a dance for it.”

There are now other Tik Tok renditions of “Teka, Teka, Teka” about making a boyfriend wait until the pandemic is gone so he can have a kiss and a hug. He has to be content with waves and winks from his girlfriend.

Christi says she can also sing Broadway songs, as well as the hits of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, so she doesn’t mind being hyped now by some showbiz scribes as the “Bubble Gum Pop Princess.”

Meanwhile, she hopes to be invited to perform soon in any of the three Sunday musical-variety TV shows. “Teka, Teka, Teka” is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube and Deezer.


Christi Fider is one of those singers who made use of the pandemic as a time to launch a career. She hopes to be invited to perform soon on ABS-CBN’s ‘ASAP Mo ’To,’ GMA 7’s ‘All Out Sunday’ and TV5’s ‘Sunday Noontime Live.’

Touchy matter
It looks like ABS-CBN and evangelist Bro. Eddie Villanueva have to quietly prepare to handle possible legal moves by some quarters to nullify their A2Z partnership.

Some people have found provisions of the broadcast franchise law that disallow a licensed network to air blocktime programs of another network like ABS-CBN which recently lost its congressional franchise. For details on this touchy matter, please see the commentary, “Congress should investigate ABS-CBN A2Z TV deal with ZOE” on the 21 October issue of this paper.