GMA NEWS TV has launched a series of programs meant to help people navigate “the new normal,” which include discussions of relevant issues, life hacks, and financial advice.
“When the pandemic started, we all had to figure out ways to adapt… because we’re all experiencing this pandemic together, we wanted to address these needs not just for ourselves but for our viewers,” Nessa Valdellon, GMA Network first vice-president for public affairs and GMA News TV channel head, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail on July 27.
GMA News TV is the news channel of GMA Network.
The program lineup, called “New Normal: The Survival Guide,” was an idea that producer Mark Anthony Norella pitched to Ms. Valdellon. She thought that the idea needed to be on air. The result is five programs airing every weeknight beginning July 20.
“We felt that a daily strip under the theme of ‘New Normal: The Survival Guide’ would have more impact on our viewers because we would be addressing everyone’s concerns at this time,” Ms. Valdellon said.
In Newsmakers, economist and professor Winnie Monsod tackles “the most controversial issues” via online video conference. It’s similar to her Wag Kang Pasaway program but this one is held via video conferencing and the show also shows a more lighthearted side to Ms. Monsod, like her dancing to trendy songs on social media platform TikTok. The show airs every Monday.
In Bright Side, Kara David shares uplifting stories that “aim to inspire and provide [viewers] more reasons to look at the brighter side of life,” according to a release. The show airs every Tuesday.
Financial literacy is at the core of Susan Enriquez’s Pera Paraan as it “offers practical tips on handling household finances, earning additional income, and succeeding in a work-from-home environment,” while featuring small businesses which found success even with a pandemic. The show airs every Wednesday.
In Home Work, hosts Tonipet Gaba and Rovilson Fernandez give viewers life hacks and tips on how to survive quarantine life. The show airs on Thursdays.
And finally, Drew Arellano shows viewers how he is handling being a parent to three young kids in a pandemic on Family Time. It will also feature other families dealing with the restrictions and quarantine. The show airs on Fridays.
The shows air every weeknight after primetime news show 24 Oras at 8:30 p.m. and run for 45 minutes. The shows are planned to air until the end of October, but Ms. Valdellon said that “if they see the need to keep airing until the end of the year, we will.”
SHOOTING IN A PANDEMIC
When quarantine was introduced in mid-March, many TV shows had to halt their productions because of health and safety risks. This meant that networks would eventually run out of new programs to air. Such was the case for GMA News TV which had to show reruns of its documentary and magazine shows for weeks.
But with lockdown restrictions easing, the network found value in producing shows remotely: the shows in the “New Normal” block are shot inside the hosts’ homes and are monitored by producers via videoconferencing — except for Bright Side and Newsmakers where Ms. David is seen going around the metro looking for stories, and Ms. Monsod who is sent a producer to her home for the technical set-up.
Shows produced remotely may be indicative of how productions beyond the pandemic will be shot, Ms. Valdellon said after they realized “that it’s entirely possible to produce a program remotely.” This despite production and post-production being a challenge as they are using cloud-based storage for editing which is affected by spotty internet connections.
“The pandemic has definitely made TV producers even more creative… We never imagined directing programs remotely prior to this, now it’s a given. We did not have entire programs edited by editors at home prior to this, now it’s the norm,” she said, before adding that they also made “health and safety a major priority.”
The shows of “New Normal: The Survival Guide” air at 8:30 p.m. on weekdays after 24 Oras. — Zsarlene B. Chua