Two ‘Bet on Your Baby’ versions compared
Last month, we caught the US version of “Bet on Your Baby” on the Lifestyle channel, so we can now compare the Filipino take on the format weekends on ABS-CBN with the original.
Some initial notes: It’s instructive to observe that the two versions may basically hew to the same production parameters, but they differ significantly on point of implementation, due to cultural variations.
Melissa Peterman is less personal and “entertaining” in her approach compared to the ABS-CBN program’s host, Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo. They both underscore the key objective for the toddlers’ parents to know how their kids will behave in a number of different situations, but Judy Ann is chummier and more kwela in her hosting style.
If the US show’s compare were to lay it on as thickly personal and “diverting” as Judy Ann, she might be accused of behaving more like a performer than a host! But, local viewers accept Judy Ann’s “chumminess” because that’s how local program hosts behavealways trying to get on contestants’ good side and giving viewers a “fun” experience, from beginning to end!
The fact that the US show’s host isn’t a big star is another key difference, because she doesn’t have “image” issues to considerunlike Judy Ann, who was tapped to host the program because she was popular and a young mother in real life.
Thus, the US show’s host has greater freedom and can concentrate on putting contestants through their paces as professionally as possible.
True enough, the American contestants spend less time getting on viewers’ good side with little personal asides and maneuvers, and simply focus on getting their kids to execute their given tasks as expediently as possible.
Contrastingly, the parents on the ABS-CBN show are more personal and consciously “diverting” in the ways that they relate to Judy Ann and the show’s viewers.
A recent US telecast provided a good opportunity to see this “cultural” difference in approach at work, because one of the dads featured was Fil-Am, and yet he had been completely “acculturated” to the American behavioral mode, so he was as “unentertaining” and focused as the US show’s other dads.
On the other hand, his all-Pinoy counterparts in the local version of “Bet on Your Baby” behaved differently from him, proving that variations in implementation are merited, because viewers’ expectations vary from one TV culture to another.
Another significant difference is the fact that the US show doesn’t refer to the money up for grabs as outright winnings, but as something that will “go to the kid’s college fund.”
Perhaps this relative coyness is in deference to cultural inhibitions regarding children’s being made to work for money, while in the Philippines it’s one of the show biz industry’s realities, so we call a spade a spadeand get away with it!