ABC 5 acknowledged the loss of the Philippine Idol franchise to GMA-7.
In a statement sent by ABC 5 senior vice-president for corporate affairs Teresa Daffon to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal), she conceded that it was hard to agree to the terms being set by Fremantle during its contract negotiations.
"We wanted Philippine Idol on our own terms, or not at all. Fremantle has apparently found what they think is a better deal," she said in her statement.
Last September 3, PEP reported about the transfer of the franchise to GMA-7.
Daffon admitted that discussions for the second season slowed down when ABC 5 Chairman Tonyboy Cojuangco was receiving medical treatment in the U.S.
She pointed out that the Kapuso network was in a better position to make a better offer. GMA-7 has another Fremantle show, Celebrity Duets, currently being aired.
She was happy and upset at the same time that ABC 5 was doing something right. She pointed that in a June 2006 statement, GMA-7 had announced, ‘We don't need to buy a foreign franchise and get other people's ideas.'"
Daffon pointed out that ABC 5 introduced one of the first franchise formats. "We're just being true to what has been our role in the TV industry from the start. To break new ground. To set new trends. To be the innovator."
The ABC 5 executive believes that Freemantle made a business decision. Freemantle has targeted Asia for its expansion and that the Philippines has become a lucrative place for their franchises.
"ABS-CBN has Endemol, so GMA has to have its counterpart. And who else but Fremantle and the jewel in the crown—the Idol Franchise," she said in her statement.
Philippine Idol was launched by ABC 5 in June last year. Auditions were held at SM Malls and in various locations nationwide.
The reality showon ABC 5 was not without controversy. It began live airing in September 2006 with 24 semi-finalists that would be trimmed down to 12 finalists. But, the judge's bets in the semi-final rounds did not make it. Gian Magdangal and Mau Marcelo had to go through a wild-card phase to enter the final 12 weeks.
The show had a good following but suffered in the ratings game and in advertisement placement. There were people texting in their votes but advertisers were few and wary to place spots on the show.
It is not known if the Idol version of GMA-7 will recognize Mau Marcelo as the first Philippine Idol. It has been rumored though that runner-up Jan Nieto has already signed up with the Kapuso network. Second runner-up Gian Magdangal was already seen on SOP a week after Philippine Idol concluded.
Ryan Agoncillo served as the host of the singing tilt. Judges were Francis Magalona, Pilita Coralles, and Ryan Cayabyab. ABC 5 also broadcast American Idol on free TV.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT. Here is the full statement issued by ABC 5 regarding the transfer of Philippine Idol to the Kapuso Network.
"We wanted Philippine Idol on our own terms, or not at all. Fremantle has apparently found what they think is a better deal.
"We were only willing to buy Idol, and not any other programs packaged with it, or other Fremantle formats. Also, we told Fremantle that based on our learnings from season one, we wanted some modifications, like in the audition process, production and interactivity. We thought Fremantle had agreed to these.
"Talks with Fremantle may have slowed down when Mr. Cojuangco was taken ill and had to go back and forth to the U.S. for medical treatment. That must have been the time another party came in. We're glad, though, that Mr. Cojuangco is fine now.
"GMA was in a position to make a better offer. It's a giant. We're just Jack trying to climb the beanstalk. Also, where we wanted only American Idol and Philippine Idol, GMA agreed to pick up a number of other formats aside from Celebrity Duets which must have been the foot in the door to Fremantle.
"We grant that it was a business decision on the part of Fremantle. The Philippines has become a lucrative market for format franchising since Pearson/Fremantle targetted Asia for its expansion drive late nineties and early 2000. It is to be expected that suppliers will go for the better deal.
"Note that ABC 5 was one of the first, if not the first to buy formats. We're just being true to what has been our role in the TV industry from the start. To break new ground. To set new trends. To be the innovator. From Tropang Trumpo to Philippine Idol.
"We must be doing something right because GMA which until recently had strongly said NO TO FRANCHISES, turned around and went after Philippine Idol. In a statement issued in June, 2006, apparently with reference to Pinoy Big Brother and Philippine Idol, GMA said among others: 'We don't need to buy a foreign franchise and get other people's ideas.'
"So now there's a new battle front for the two giants: franchises. ABS-CBN has Endemol, so GMA has to have its counterpart. And who else but Fremantle and the jewel in the crown—IDOL.
"If it's true GMA plans to obliterate Philippine Idol I, too [feel] bad for Mau who has huge talent. But ABC 5 will always have the distinction of having FIRST brought American Idol and Philippine Idol to the Philippines, of having mounted a highly successful, world class production which was roundly praised even by Fremantle. For covetous local TV it became the MUST HAVE SHOW.
"So we lost Philippine Idol. Excuse us while we look for new ground to break for local television."
Terra J. Daffon
Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs