television industry

Tito, Vic and Joey formally sign contract with TV5; new noon show starts July 1

Isagani de Castro Jr.

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Tito, Vic and Joey formally sign contract with TV5; new noon show starts July 1

Showbiz trio Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon sign a contract with MediaQuest Holdings Inc. led by its chairman, Manny V. Pangilinan on June 20, 2023 in the TV5 headquarters in Mandaluyong City. TV5/Handout

Showbiz icons Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon are keeping their fans guessing on the title of their show on the Kapatid network amid a trademark dispute with TAPE

MANILA, Philippines – Showbiz trio Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon (TVJ) formally signed a contract with Manny V. Pangilinan’s MediaQuest Holdings Incorporated (MediaQuest) on Tuesday, June 20, with their new noon show on TV5 set to air on July 1, Saturday.

In a joint press conference with network executives, TVJ kept their fans guessing on the show’s title amid a pending trademark dispute between them and the Jalosjos family’s Television and Production Exponents Incorporated (TAPE).

Paano sa July 1? Ang usapan namin, isusurprise namin kayo sa July 1 (What will it be on July 1? Our agreement is, we will surprise you on July 1),” said Tito Sotto, former Senate president who lost in the 2022 vice-presidential race.  

Vic Sotto said he would insist on using Eat Bulaga! given that it was created by De Leon. The elder Sotto said they were still working legally on the copyright, and that “history and the law” would back them up.

Pangilinan, chairman of MediaQuest, said they signed an “investment agreement” with TVJ, and that the company was looking forward to a “very productive and long partnership” with the trio.

He called the addition of the Dabarkads (Eat Bulaga! mainstays) a “significant addition” to TV5’s portfolio of talents and entertainment offerings.

Tito Sotto, chairman of TVJ Productions Incorporated, said the trio will now be “more engaged in managing” their new company and its shows. Their former partner, Antonio P. Tuviera, who still owns 25% of TAPE, used to run Eat Bulaga! prior to his retirement from TAPE early this year.

Guido Zaballero, president of TV5, said the transfer of TVJ and the Dabarkads from TAPE would increase the network’s viewership. He added that viewers were already looking forward to watching the Dabarkads’ return to free tv after being absent for a month.

“We welcome you to our family and we promise you that you’ll love it here,” said Jane Basas, president and CEO of MediaQuest.

Pangilinan said last week that it had committed to TVJ the noontime slot, which means ABS-CBN’s It’s Showtime would be bumped off when their blocktime agreement with the Lopez-led company ends at the end of this month, June 30, Friday.

On Tuesday, ABS-CBN said it declined TV5’s offer to show It’s Showtime at 4:30 pm in a delayed telecast, and announced that the Vice Ganda-led variety show would air on GMA Network Incorporated’s free tv channel, GTV (formerly GMA News TV), starting July 1. GTV or Good Television is the sister channel of GMA-7 on free tv.

Basas downplayed the loss of It’s Showtime on TV5, saying the Kapatid network is still the biggest distributor of Kapamilya shows. TV5’s prime-time block airs ABS-CBN’s teleseryes such as FPJ’s Batang Quiapo, The Iron Heart, and Dirty Linen.

Hindi kami nagkulang sa pagtulong sa ABS (We were not short on helping ABS-CBN),” Pangilinan added. “We are an inclusive group.”

TVJ and the Dabarkads left TAPE on May 31 following a bitter dispute with the Jalosjos family on how to handle the Philippines’ longest noontime show. TAPE has a blocktime agreement with GMA for the 12 pm to 2:30 pm slot until end of 2024.

After talking with several networks, TVJ chose Pangilinan’s MediaQuest where they will produce shows for its various media assets such as TV5 and Cignal TV, the country’s leading Direct-To-Home satellite service.

TV5 is powering up its transmission signals in a bid to expand its audience reach to 18.5 million people in 4.5 million Philippine households by August this year. The Kapuso network GMA is now the undisputed broadcast leader after ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal bid was rejected by the House of Representatives in 2020. 

TV5 is on a third major attempt to put the network profitable after 10 years on free tv. In its early years, it recruited Kapamilya talents led by Sharon Cuneta and Derek Ramsay offering news, entertainment and sports shows. Under former TV5 president, Chot Reyes, TV5 experimented with news and sports programming, but the strategy was a big flop.

In a recent press briefing, Pangilinan said TV5’s losses have been “declining” as former rival ABS-CBN shows started airing on his channel.

When asked about the possibility of TV5 breaking even soon, he replied, “There’s always a miracle.” –

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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.