television industry

It’s Showtime vs EAT vs Eat Bulaga: New Philippine noon show war begins

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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It’s Showtime vs EAT vs Eat Bulaga: New Philippine noon show war begins
(UPDATED) Keywords and hashtags related to TVJ's move to TV5 and It's Showtime on GMA's GTV dominate Philippine trends on Twitter as a new noontime war begins on Saturday, July 1

MANILA, Philippines – A new noon show war in Philippine television began on Saturday, July 1, as the country’s leading media and entertainment companies battled for viewership, ratings, and advertising revenues. 

After a month’s absence on free television, showbiz veterans Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ), creators of the 43-year-old show, Eat Bulaga!, returned to their new channel, TV5, owned by tycoon and sports patron, Manny V. Pangilinan, also known as MVP. 

TVJ and the other hosts of Eat Bulaga! left the show’s longtime producer, Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE), on May 31 after a bitter falling out with TAPE’s owner, the Jalosjos family, on how to run the variety show. TAPE is also the show’s blocktimer on the Philippines’ number one broadcasting company, GMA Network Incorporated, which operates two free tv channels, GMA7 and GTV. TAPE’s noon show, Eat Bulaga!, is aired on GMA7. TVJ and TAPE have a pending trademark dispute over the name, Eat Bulaga!, which was created by De Leon.

TV5 anchors Gretchen Ho and Karen Kaladkaren, with TV5 sportscaster Mikey Reyes, led the grand welcome as the “Legit Dabarkads (Legitimate Friends)” entered the compound in SUVs. 

Viewing parties for the show’s TV5 launch were held in various parts of the country. MVP, who owns the Philippines’ telco giant, PLDT Incorporated, made a virtual appearance during the three-and-a-half hour show.

A number of relatives of Tito Sotto, including his wife, Helen Gamboa, and children joined the live audience in TV5’s small studio. Sotto, now 74, is a four-term senator and former Senate president who lost in the 2022 vice presidential race to Davao Mayor Sara Duterte.

Relatives of comedian Vic Sotto, including his son, Vico Sotto, and partner, Pauleen Luna, were also in the studio. Vico is the funny man’s son with actress Coney Reyes. Vico is a budding reformist politician who defeated an established political clan in Pasig City in the 2019 and 2022 local elections

TVJ chose EAT as the title of their show on the Kapatid channel. During the launch, the Dabarkads said the letters stood for various phrases such as “Everyday Always Together,” “Eto Ang Tunay” (This is the Real thing), “Eto Ang Tadhana” (This is Destiny), “Everyday Ang Tawanan” (Laugh Everyday), “Eto Ang True” (This is the True one), “Everybody All Together,” “Eto ang Tahanan” (This is Home), “Eto Ang Tagay” (The shot of an alcoholic drink), “Eto Ang Tears” (These are Tears).

Megastar Sharon Cuneta, an ABS-CBN talent who was once recruited to join TV5, sang “Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok ko” (Even when my hair turns gray) during the show. She said she felt bad over what happened between TVJ and TAPE, adding the trio didn’t deserve it. TAPE had proposed pay cuts, and wanted changes in the show that would attract the younger generation. Tito Sotto and Joey de Leon are both in their seventies.

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The trio also thanked the show’s loyal advertisers and sponsors, including pharmaceutical giant United Laboratories (Unilab), supermarket chain Puregold, money remittance firm Palawan Express, and appliance firm Hanabishi, among others.

Kapamilya, Kapuso unite

Not to be outdone, It’s Showtime, produced by the Philippines’ former leading media and entertainment company, ABS-CBN Corporation, held a grand launch of the show’s transfer from Pangilinan’s TV5 to GTV, a station of its former chief rival, GMA.

Since Pangilinan chose to take in TVJ in his channel, he opted not to renew ABS-CBN’s blocktime deal for It’s Showtime on TV5, which ended on June 30, Friday.  

ABS-CBN and GMA then signed a blocktime agreement on airing It’s Showtime on GTV, with GMA CEO Felipe Gozon calling the deal, plus three other transactions between the two, an end to their TV war. 

ABS-CBN used to be the Philippines’ number one broadcasting company until the Duterte administration and the House of Representatives killed its franchise renewal in 2020. The company then began bleeding financially and has turned to content partnerships with other companies, such as It’s Showtime’s transfer to GTV, in order to survive. 

ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak joins It’s Showtime’s live audience in GMA on July 1, 2023.. Screengrab

Comedian Vice Ganda, the unofficial leader of It’s Showtime, led a dance number outside GMA’s headquarters in Quezon City before joining the show in the studio. No less than ABS-CBN’s president and CEO, Carlo Lopez Katigbak, was in attendance in the studio with the live audience. 

Kapuso stars Barbie Forteza, Gabbi Garcia, and Sanya Lopez joined the opening dance number with Kapamilya stars Belle Mariano and Alexa Ilacad.

Now Kapuso talents Pokwang and actor Rayver Cruz were united with their former Kapamilya colleagues.  

Kapuso and Kapamilya Unite. Indeed, the biggest plot twist,” said GTV’s Twitter account. “Madlang Kapuso at Kapamilya, tuloy lang ang saya (the fun continues).”

Eat Bulaga! is the Philippines’ longest running noon show. It will celebrate its 44th year next month, July. It’s Showtime, on the other hand, will be 14 years old this year.

Eat Bulaga! is the first Philippines show that’s been franchised internationally, first in Indonesia and then in Myanmar, while It’s Showtime is ABS-CBN’s first franchised show, also in Indonesia.

Keywords and hashtags related to TVJ’s move to TV5 and “It’s Showtime” on GMA’s GTV such as #GnaGsaShowtime and #LegitDabarkads dominate Philippine trends on Twitter as a new noontime war begins on Saturday, July 1.

Meantime, the noise and attention about It’s Showtime’s transfer to GTV and the launch of EAT on TV5 overwhelmed TAPE’s Eat Bulaga!’s regular show on Saturday on GMA-7.

Nonetheless, the show’s principal hosts, actor Paolo Contis and former Manila Mayor Isko Moreno, welcomed the It’s Showtime family to the network.

I wewelcome ko na rin ang isa pa na nagbibigay saya, It’s Showtime. Welcome dahil ngayon, kapitbahay na namin kayo. Masaya kami na matatawag na namin kayong Kapuso,” said Contis on their show.

(I will welcome another show that gives happiness, It’s Showtime. Welcome because now, you’re already our neighbor. We’re happy that we can now call you Kapuso.) 

“Congratulations!” said Moreno, a defeated presidential candidate in the 2022 elections. –

Kapuso-Kapamilya vs Kapatid vs TAPE: The new war of noontime shows

Kapuso-Kapamilya vs Kapatid vs TAPE: The new war of noontime shows

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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.