The witty amalgamation in its name might just be one of the many intriguing things about it.
Meet A2Z — the recently rebranded ZOE Broadcasting Network/ Channel 11 following its partnership with formerly displaced ABS-CBN/ Channel 2. It finally launched on Saturday lunchtime, through ABS-CBN's 11-year-old noontime program It's Showtime.
The free TV channel is now ABS-CBN's home after the Kapamilya network outrageously received a franchise denial last May.
It's Showtime marked the network's free TV return with its hosts turning thankful and emotional in some parts. This, as Channel 11 founder and evangelist Eddie Villanueva tuned in at home. (Villanueva's daughter Heidy Landrito even caught her dad watching and supportive the comeback!)
New, old shows return
Showtime was among the many Kapamilya shows marking the new partnership.
Sunday concert show ASAP Natin To, first aired in 1995,is also set to air tomorrow on the channel.
A2Z also kicked off a marathon telecast of its teleseryes: FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, Ang Sa Iyo ay Akin, and Walang Hanggang Paalam. The shows return to regular programming come Monday.
A2Z will soon also air its mix of old and new entertainment shows: Paano Kita Mapapasalamatan, Iba ‘Yan, Magandang Buhay, I Can See Your Voice, and Maalaala Mo Kaya.
It has already aired movies and educational shows since October 8.
Before the merge
How wide is A2Z's range exactly? While it's not as far-reaching as Channel 2, a frequency that founders Eugenio Lopez, Sr., and son Geny Lopez have kept even after the Martial Law era, it's a spark of hope for the then-leading network that also boasted the biggest lineup of in-house talents.
A2Z is available on free TV via analog broadcast in Metro Manila and nearby provinces Cavite, Laguna, Quezon, Rizal, Bataan, Batangas, Pampanga, and Bulacan. It will also be on cable and satellite TV like the Lopezes-owned Sky Cable.
ABS-CBN's return to free TV came five months after its home frequency Channel 2 stopped its broadcast operations last May. The network's franchise had just expired then only for the House of Representatives to deny its franchise renewal in July.
ABS-CBN has since aired its shows via cable (Kapamilya Channel) and via free streaming (Kapamilya Online Live). It has also strengthened its digital properties including its accounts with third party platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
ZOE, meanwhile, is owned by the Jesus Is Lord Church movement. It launched in 1992 with former presidential candidate Villanueva as founder.
In 2005, GMA 7's subsidiary Citynet Network Marketing and Productions, Inc. took over Channel 11 via blocktime agreement as the network helped upgrade its facilities.
In November that year, Channel 11 officially relaunched as female lifestyle channel QTV. It rebranded to a full-on news and current affairs channel (GMA News TV) in 2011, before the contract termination in 2019.
Banner image from Vice Ganda's Instagram (@praybeytbenjamin)