The Return Of Channel 2: Who Headlined ALLTV’s Launching Day?

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Signing on for the first in more than two years, Channel 2 may not feel and look the same again, albeit being graced by some familiar faces previously affiliated with ABS-CBN.

You can tell AMBS’s effort to take advantage of Channel 2’s old branding amid ALLTV’s ‘new network’ campaign; for one, the presence of old Kapamilya stars in its roster of exclusive talents. Of course, there is probably no bigger testament to mimic the ‘Kapamilya’ branding than the dramas produced and previously aired on ABS-CBN, on ALLTV’s very same frequency. Now reduced to being a content provider, ABS-CBN semmed to try and create a potent new revenue-generation stream via content licensing and broadcast syndication.

Signing on for the first as ALLTV on September 13, channel 2’s return is definitely both nostalgic and depressing, although not at the same time for most people. Analog TV viewers surely got surprised upon finding out Channel 2 shows moving pictures again after more than two years. That must have imparted a nostalgic feeling for some, although it is hard to imagine some loyal Kapamilya viewers got as excited as most, especially when many of them wished for the longest time, ABS-CBN would eventually reclaim its old frequencies.

The excitement was on a different level for ALLTV’s opening although its owner, Manny Villar, and prime talent Willie Revillame, must have expected a far more explosive reception from the public. While the more than 10,000 concurrent viewers on Facebook may be enough proof that a lot waited for the channel’s online premiere, that figure is nevertheless much lower than ABS-CBN’s average viewership. It is also difficult to expect a high TV viewership for the new channel, as its coverage is just comparable to Zoe Broadcasting Network’s A2Z, which is limited to Metro Manila and adjacent towns and cities.

ALLTV started its maiden broadcast at 9:30 AM, albeit on a standby mode (colored bars). Official broadcast commenced at exactly 12:00 high noon, with Willie Revillame and Toni Gonzaga leading the opening show. There was a festive mood right from the first minute Channel 2 came to life, with an explosive sing-and-dance number headlined by controversial stars Ella Cruz, DJ Loonyo, and Donalyn Bartolome. Nik Makino, the singe of the hit single ‘Moon’, also performed.

The opening show went live from the helipad of Willie Revillame’s Will Tower. Revillame had some big words for his viewers, promising the very same things he made his past variety shows popular for.

“Simula na po ng oras ng ligaya, oras ng saya, pagbibigay ng kasiyahan at pag-asa sa bawat Pilipino. Ito po ang network ng bawat Pilipino…Ito po ay talaga namang pinag-isipan namin ng mabuti, pinag-aralan namin kung ano ang dapat gawin. Hindi tayo ang bida, walang ibang bida dito…ang bida dito ay kayo. Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao — lalo na ang mga kababayan natin saan mang sulok ng mundo.

“(Now is the time that happiness and joy start, by giving our fellow Filipinos hope and satisfaction. This is the network for all Filipinos. We devoted enough time to think about this, and what we should do. There is no other star here, but are all of you. in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao — especially our Overseas Filipino Workers)” he said in his opening statement.

Gonzaga echoed that statement of Revillame by underscoring ALLTV’s role of providing hope and inspiration for viewers, an act she and the Wowowin host pulled off together, when they both served as main presenters of the realitys show Pinoy Big Brother in 2005.

“Sobrang saya ko rin na muling makasama si Kuya Will (I am so happy to finally work again with Kuya Will)” she shared as they reminisced the time they worked in a same project.

“Hindi lang serbisyo na pamimigay ng pera, ng kasiyahan, kabuhayan showcase, pamimigay ng inspirasyon, pag-asa, at masayang bukas para sa lahat ng nanonood ngayong tanghali.

“(We are not just going to give money, happiness, and livelihood, we are also going to give inspiration, hope, and a happy future for everybody watching this afternoon),” she added.

Describing the launch as Channel 2’s being reborn again, the two hosts welcomed other guest celebrities of the show, including Ruffa Gutierrez, Mariel Rodriguez, and Ciara Sotto. Sotto and Rodriguez, were notably introduced as among the Network’s new contract stars before its soft launch. Julia Barretto also graced the launch to promote her upcoming film,Expensive Candy, which she stars alongside Kapamilya actor Carlo Aquino. Interestingly, Barretto is also one of the lead stars of Ngayon at Kailanman, which is now part of ALLTV’s programming. It airs at 3:30 PM, Mondays through Sundays.

“Sisiguraduhin namin na papasayahin namin kayo mula umaga, tanghali, hapon, hanggang gabi. Lahat ng hinahanap ninyo, nandito na sa ating bagong tahanan”.

“(We promise to make you happy from morning, noon, afternoon, ‘til night time. Everything you are looking for is here now, in your new home),” she said. 

Ironically, though, the new TV channel is yet to fill its entire programming with variety of shows and never-before-aired programs. Most of the shows ALLTV is set to air are those most viewers have seen on other TV networks. Wowowin and Instajam, for example, previously aired on GMA Network. Doble Kara, another Kapamilya series, occupies the channel’s afternoon block alongside Ngayon at Kailanman.

Also present during the launch is former ABS-CBN broadcaster Anthony Taberna. He signed up with the Network last week, albeit keeping his radio stint on DZRH. “Kung ano yung kanilang objective para magsimula ng ganitong klase na venture, pipilitin natin makapagambag doon (Whatever the objective that this venture is trying to meet, I am more than willing to extend the best help I can give)” he promised.

More senior and up-and-coming stars graced the Network’s soft launch as the hours went by. Randy Santiago topbilled the show from 2;30 PM onwards, while performances from Kris Lawrence, Janine Teñoso, Luke Mejares, This Band, among others, kept the adrenaline high.

Toni Gonzaga’s widely talked-about first-and-exclusive interview with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., commenced at around 4:30 PM. The interview also featured the President touring Gonzaga and the viewers around the Malacañang Palace. It also notably marked the President’s 65th birthday celebration.

Part of ALLTV’s primetime line up is its simulcast of CNN Philippines’ flagship newscast, News Night, at 6:00 PM. By 7:00 PM, Wowowin officially returned to free TV after months of just streaming online. Revillame got joined by Ciara Sotto, Ella Cruz, and among others in hosting the variety program, which airs until 8:30 PM. The Koreanovela, The River Where the Moon Rises, starts airing after Wowowin on September 17.

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