Thursday, November 26, 2009

Too much soap on TV

I haven't been watching much local television in the past few years, thanks to the rigours of graduate school. But now, I have more time on my hands when I get home, and I have restarted watching the news (ending my newspaper subscription helped a lot in making me dependent on news on television)... late night, that is, because I'm still at work at 6 PM.

I miss the days when late night meant getting news at 10 PM and television stations signing off promptly at midnight. Those were the days of "The World Tonight" with Angelo Castro, Jr., if I'm not mistaken. Currently, late night news programs are aired close to midnight!! There are just too many soaps and drama series in between the 6 PM (are the news programs still aired at 6 PM?) and the late night news, I think. Add a daily dose of gossip which is even longer than current events shows, into the merry mix... and late night news is naturally pushed back to almost very early morning. What can be expected of the current event documentaries that are shown AFTER the news? They're thrown into the next day's program schedule!

A stark contrast to the objectives of these news networks: they want people to be more proactive and aware about what happens around them (i.e., the upcoming elections in May 2010). In fact, there are real-time audience participation activities in news broadcasts (mainly by SMS responses to surveys). However, if news and documentaries are shown in the wee hours of the morning because of the flurry of soaps and telenovelas during prime time, aren't these television stations failing in what they have set out to do? Many of the people they target might be sleeping by the time the news and the documentaries kick off! Especially if they are gunning for the working class, college students, and housewives.

What to do? I suggest that late night news be brought back to the 10 PM slot, with the documentaries airing right after.