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  Inquirer Interactive logo

SWITCHING CHANNELS
GMA to spend P40 M
on millennium show
By Edmund L. Sicam

THE MILLENNIUM Day Broadcast will cost GMA-7 P40 million to produce, according to Wilma Galvante, the network's vice president for production. The 25-hour live TV broadcast will start at 6 p.m. on Dec. 31, 1999 and will feature live feeds from 55 countries around the world as they welcome the new millennium. GMA will preempt all scheduled programs, except news breaks, to make way for the mammoth telecast.

As each country nears the start of the millennium, we will be able to watch how the rest of the world will welcome the year 2000. Each country will beam its video to an assigned hub (in the case of the Philippines, Australia) which will transmit the signal to the BBC studios in London. BBC will then broadcast the country's telecast to the entire world. All this without noticeable time delays.

The first New Year transmission will come from the Kiribati Island in Fiji followed by the Chatham Islands in New Zealand. Initially, there was a controversy over where the new millennium would be celebrated first. Fiji won in the end.

The local festivities will be held at the corner of Ayala and Makati aves., where a big circular stage will be constructed. Here, the organizers are planning a colorful laser and fireworks show. At 10 p.m., local viewers will be able to watch a 2 ½-hour star-studded variety show featuring the country's leading lights in music, dance, film, fashion and theater.

At 10:30 p.m., GMA-7 will show a six-minute MTV-style presentation of the country's many festivals that will be beamed to participating countries. The MTV will be shot at Fort Santiago in November. All feeds will be pre-taped to ensure smooth program flow. Al Quinn is directing.

The next live feed will be at 11:53 p.m., when Regine Velasquez performs the millennium song composed by Danny Tan with lyrics by Agnes Caballa. She will sing from the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel. This, too, will be taped along with the last two minutes leading to the year 2000, when some 2,000 kids will reprise the Tan composition. The climax of the show is the countdown to the new millennium, which will try to replicate the way it's done at Times Square in New York City.

Here's a list of some of the international networks participating in the broadcast: ABC (United States), WGBH Boston (USA), BBC (United Kingdom), TV Asahi (Japan), CCTC (China), NOS (Netherlands), RTL (Germany), TV Globo (Brazil), TV 3 (New Zealand), TFI (France), ABC (Australia), CBC (Canada), SABC (South Africa).

How did GMA-7 get the rights to this telecast? Wilma says the network received a letter as early as 1997 inviting GMA-7 to join the consortium of countries involved in the project. She says there was no bidding involved. What probably happened was that all the networks got the same invitation but GMA was the first to respond.

Wilma says she immediately endorsed the proposal to her bosses since she understood the significance of the once-in-a-lifetime project. With less than four months to the millennium day broadcast, the excitement is building up. Wilma is confident that the program will go on without any major hitches. She says the project head, Avril MacRory, handled the coverage of the burial of Princess Diana for BBC.

Will GMA make money from this big-budgeted undertaking? It's too early to tell, says Wilma, since the network started making presentations to the ad agencies only recently. However, she stresses that GMA is fully committed to the successful completion of the project.

Paging MTRCB

Reader A. San Agustin of Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City writes: "My officemates and I are, you might say, liberal-minded adults. But there's a limit. Yesterday (Aug. 31), over lunch at the office, we were watching this Tagalog movie over Cable 22 (Pinoy Blockbuster Channel). The scene being shown was of a young starlet dancing before a group of men in a skimpy bathing suit, and repeatedly showing and exposing her left breast.

"This, on primetime television at 12:30 p.m. when many children are watching."

'Ghost Fighter' fans

Fans of the TV series "Ghost Fighter" from Pampanga have written in to appeal to GMA-7 to bring back the show. The appeal comes from Krist, Bernadette, Marlene, Jelsie, Jovy, May, and Jerry and the rest of the students of San Isidro High School, Sta. Ana., Pampanga. Here's their letter:

"We are avid viewers of "Ghost Fighter" and we're really addicted to it. Now that the series has ended, we feel so sad because we can no longer see Eugene, Dennis, Vincent and Alfred. So please bring back "Ghost Fighter" on our TV screens. We're still dying to see it, even if you air replays.

"Kahit every Saturday na lang siya, okay lang basta mapanood namin ulit. Please naman, maawa na kayo sa amin, talagang love na love lang namin ang series. Sana po ay pagbigyan ninyo ang kahilingan namin, lalo na ngayong personal na kaming nagre-request sa inyo. Sana naman huwag ninyo kaming biguin dahil alam naman naming magagawa 'nyo kung talagang naiintindihan nyo ang damdamin ng mga viewers ninyo."

Spelling woes

A parent, Virginia Sarenas of Parañaque City, called me up recently to ask how she can help her child who is just learning how to spell. It seems her child, who is an avid TV viewer, is confused at the many misspelled program titles that are shown on TV. She mentioned the following shows: "Kaybol," "Best Frends," "Kool Ka Lang," "Bilibkaba," "Ispup," "Back to Iskul Bukol." "Wansapanataym," "Toksho with Mr. Shooli."

We realize that most of these shows are comedies and that the Filipinized spelling is meant to add to the show's "pagka-kwela." However, it has a different effect on children who are just beginning to learn the English language. Maybe, our TV writers can be more creative with titles and educate our young listeners in the process. Up

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