television industry

[ANALYSIS] A new era of noontime TV: GMA-7 takes in ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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[ANALYSIS] A new era of noontime TV: GMA-7 takes in ABS-CBN’s ‘It’s Showtime’

Images from EB X and GMA Network X/Graphic by Alejandro Edoria/Rappler

Unlike the blocktime deal with TAPE's for 'Eat Bulaga!' and 'Tahanang Pinakamasaya' before, GMA is co-producing 'It's Showtime' with ABS-CBN

MANILA, Philippines – GMA Network Incorporated and ABS-CBN Corporation marked a new partnership on Saturday, April 6, with the airing of the noon show It’s Showtime on the former’s flagship free TV Channel 7.

“Welcome to the new era of noontime television,” GMA posted on X (formerly Twitter) on Monday, as it trumpeted the pilot episode’s 9.6% ratings, twice more than TV5’s Eat Bulaga! 

At the same time, the new start formalizes the end to a nearly three-decades-long partnership between GMA and long-time Eat Bulaga! producer, Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE), led by former Zamboanga del Norte Congressman Romeo Jalosjos Sr

TAPE had a blocktime agreement with GMA until end of December 2024, but gave it up after an unsuccessful project with Tahanang Pinakamasaya, headlined by former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno and actor Paolo Contis. 

After all is said and done, TAPE’s dispute with showbiz veterans and Eat Bulaga! hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) over how to run the Philippines’ longest running noon show will be remembered as a classic case of corporate succession gone wrong. 

For 42 years, Eat Bulaga! was run by Antonio “Tony” P. Tuviera, who owns 25% of TAPE, with Jalosjos Sr. and his children owning the rest. Tuviera produced the show with talents TVJ. All was well until Jalosjos decided to retire Tuviera as president and CEO in March 2023, and appointed his son, Romeo “Jon” Jalosjos Jr. as his replacement. He had also named his son Seth Fredrick “Bullet” Jalosjos as TAPE chief finance officer (CFO), and daughter Soraya Jalosjos as executive vice president for production. 

His children are around two to three decades younger than Tuviera and TVJ, with differences in values and mindsets. 

Since the Jalosjos children had been out of the picture for four decades, TVJ resented the easing out of Tuviera and the way the second-generation Jalosjos children ran the company, based on exclusive interviews the children granted to entertainment website in June 2023 after TVJ left TAPE on May 31, 2023.

Proposals by the Jalosjos family to change some of the hosts and production staff, and reintroduce a segment on kasambahays (household helpers) were criticized by TVJ. One of the controversial proposals was salary deduction in order to cut costs. Other issues were thrown into the dispute, including alleged unpaid talent fees and possible financial mismanagement. 

Bottomline, however, it’s a management textbook case of failed corporate succession. 

The Jalosjos children meant well. They saw the need to make some changes, given that Eat Bulaga!’s main competitor, ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime, had younger lead hosts (Vice Ganda, 48, is at least 20 years younger than TVJ) and were much more powerful on social media. They also saw the need to professionalize the way the company was being run, such as improving human resources and financial management. 

Based on the latest available financial statement of TAPE obtained by Rappler, the company still managed to make money in 2022. It had a net profit of P90.4 million that year, but this was much less than the P213 million in net profit in 2021, a pandemic year.

But the Jalosjos children were brought in to manage the company too late in the game, leading to resentment from the older officers, content creators, and production staff, who had gotten used to working with the former president and CEO Tuviera. Had they been brought in earlier by their father, they may have been able to earn the respect they needed to run the company. Respect and trust aren’t earned easily; these need time and a lot of interactions at work. Companies often resort to team building sessions to build camaraderie and team spirit.

Were the children of the owner qualified to run the company? It’s a difficult issue in management of family-owned companies, but making them go up the ladder based on merit is better than suddenly giving them key positions and making them call the shots.

When TVJ left TAPE on May 31, the Jalosjos children’s shortcomings became obvious. Their Tahanang Pinakamasaya hosts were no match to the Vice Ganda-led It’s Showtime, and the TVJ-led E.A.T. on TV5 in terms of the overall goal of delivering laughter to the audience.

A decision to fight for the Eat Bulaga! trademark, an invention of Joey de Leon, cost TAPE loss of goodwill among viewers, as TVJ repeatedly pointed out that it was their creation and made it appear that TAPE was stealing what was rightfully theirs. A decision by an Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines adjudicator on the use of Eat Bulaga! for merchandising in favor of TVJ all the more made TAPE unpopular among netizens. 

A nail in TAPE’s coffin as producer was the withdrawal of support from companies that had been supporting Eat Bulaga! for a long time, such as retail giant Puregold. A major advertiser of Eat Bulaga! for years, Filipino billionaires Lucio and Susan Co abandoned the show and committed to TVJ on TV5 after TVJ left TAPE.

Thus, on March 8, 2024, TAPE waved the white flag on Tahanang Pinakamasaya after just nine months, ending 44 years of producing a noon show, 28 years on GMA’s number one channel.

All is not lost on the Jalosjos family, however. They can still produce another show, but perhaps in another channel. And they still have their political clout in Dipolog City, southern Philippines, where Bullet Jalosjos serves as city mayor. The family also has its Dakak Park and Beach Resort in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte, with its 750-meter beach cove catering to local and foreign tourists.

Good content gets wider distribution

On the part of ABS-CBN, the new era symbolizes how its world has shifted since it lost its lucrative broadcast business in May 2020. It’s no longer the favorite whipping boy of a sitting president.

After the Duterte administration took away its main distribution networks – free TV Channel 2, DZMM 630 TeleRadyo, its digital terrestrial television (digital Channel 23 and sub-channels), its digital satellite SkyDirect on Sky Cable – its popular content could only be seen on digital media. 

But since digital revenues are much lower than broadcast earnings, it had to rebuild its broadcast distribution system so that the mass market can watch its popular shows and get advertisers to support them again.

First came televangelist Eddie Villanueva’s Zoe Network’s A2Z, which took in its prime time teleseryes, It’s Showtime, and other content starting October 2020. This was followed a few months later, March 2021, by a content sharing deal with Manny V. Pangilinan’s TV5.

Next came a joint venture on between ABS-CBN and House Speaker Martin Romualdez, which essentially resurrected DZMM on radio via DWPM TeleRadyo Serbisyo in June 2023, and symbolically shielded the Lopez company from some key political enemies.

When Pangilinan’s TV5 decided to take in TVJ for the noon slot staring July 1 last year, ABS-CBN turned to its erstwhile enemy GMA and found a new home for It’s Showtime on Good TV or GTV, the Kapuso network’s second main channel.

Then-GMA CEO Felipe Gozon declared it the end of the country’s “TV war.” And when TAPE gave up on Tahanang Pinakamasaya on March 8, GMA fully opened its doors to ABS-CBN‘s It’s Showtime on Channel 7. Unlike TAPE’s blocktime deal with GMA, it’s a co-production agreement with ABS-CBN, allowing the Kapuso network to engage in other creative endeavors to promote its talents and shows while giving Kapamilyas extensive reach.

“It’s a great move by ABS-CBN to get distribution for its content,” a former ABS-CBN officer told Rappler. “With It’s Showtime on GMA-7, it gets a nationwide audience. A good show and a good network is the perfect solution.” 

The show of support from the companies that advertised on It’s Showtime for its pilot episode on GMA-7 bodes well for the formerly beleaguered Lopez-led ABS-CBN. McDonald’s Philippines’ support for Vice Ganda, for instance, was obvious in the pilot episode with the fast-food company of McDonald’s Philippines founder George Yang and billionaire Andrew Tan’s Alliance Global placing multiple spots last Saturday.

There’s a stronger Kapuso-Kapamilya partnership for the noon slot, and there’s also a Kapamilya-Kapatid partnership in the prime time evening slot. 

ABS-CBN is not out of the woods yet financially, but indeed a “new era” has dawned on the Philippine television industry. –


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Isagani de Castro Jr.

Before he joined Rappler as senior desk editor, Isagani de Castro Jr. was longest-serving editor in chief of ABS-CBN News online. He had reported for the investigative magazine Newsbreak, Asahi Shimbun Manila, and Business Day. He has written chapters for books on politics, international relations, and civil society.