Eat Bulaga! is a noontime variety show in the Philippines produced by TAPE, Inc. and aired on GMA Network. The show broadcasts from the APT Studios in Cainta, Rizal. Eat Bulaga! is aired on weekdays at 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm and Saturdays at 11:30 am to 2:30 pm. The show is also broadcast worldwide through GMA Pinoy TV and via livestreaming on the show's official YouTube channel.
The show celebrated its 41st year on Philippine television on July 30, 2020, holding the record of being the longest-running noontime variety program in the history of Philippine television.
The RPN years (1979–1989)Edit
Production Specialists, Inc., a company owned by Romy Jalosjos, brought the idea of creating a noontime show for Radio Philippines Network (RPN). Antonio Tuviera, who was working for the company, thought that the comic troika of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, better known as TVJ (who had gained fame through GMA Network's Discorama and as pinch-hitters for Student Canteen, but subsequently left both), would be the perfect hosts for the new program. At a meeting at the InterContinental Manila parking lot (now closed), Tuviera made the offer to them; they accepted.
Joey coined the title of the show: Eat represents lunchtime while Bulaga (which means "to surprise") represents their plan to fill the show with big surprises. The title is also a play on two children's games: Eat is the transliteration of It from the game tag while Bulaga! refers to Peekaboo!. Because of this, the slogan "Hangga't May Bata, May Eat Bulaga!" ("While There Are Children, There will be Eat Bulaga!") was coined, also by de Leon.
Eat...Bulaga! premiered on July 30, 1979 with its first-ever live episode at 11:30 am from RPN Live Studio 1 in Broadcast City. TVJ, along with Chiqui Hollman and Ritchie d' Horsie as the original hosts. Debraliz Valasote also joined the show several weeks after the show's first airing. During its first few months on the air, the show was in danger of cancellation. Not only did it face competition against the longest-running noontime show at that time, Student Canteen, it also lacked advertisers, despite having their advertising rates reduced to ₱750. In addition, TVJ did not receive their salaries for six months. To keep the show afloat, they decided to entertain movie trailers, such as from Regal Entertainment, which paid less than standard commercials.
Eat...Bulaga! slowly gained top-rating status in 1980 after the introduction of the segment Mr. Macho. Production Specialists soon handed production to Tuviera's TAPE, Inc. In 1981, Chiqui Hollman left Eat Bulaga! and joined the rival noontime show Student Canteen. On May 18, 1982, Eat Bulaga! became the latest addition to RPN-9's domestic satellite-simulcast programs via an Eat Bulaga! TV special beamed live nationwide from the Folk Arts Theater. During the same TV special, the iconic Eat Bulaga! theme song was launched; and Coney Reyes, co-host of the rival noontime show Student Canteen who was then-subsequently removed from the show, transferred and joined Eat Bulaga! as the show's newest addition. During EB's domestic satellite launch, Helen Vela, another co-host of Student Canteen (who already left Student Canteen during that time), watched that certain Eat Bulaga! episode as part of the audience to support her friend Coney; Helen Vela eventually became EB's pinch-hitter, and she also hosted the show's Kilometrico Quiz Date segment. While EB was starting to beat Student Canteen in the ratings game in 1980, both EB's nationwide broadcast through domestic satellite, and Coney Reyes and Helen Vela's transfer to EB in May 1982 cemented EB's status as the number one noontime show, totally overtaking Student Canteen completely. Despite EB already gaining success, it still struggled financially, that it made Debraliz Valasote to leave the show in mid-1982 due to her getting unpaid of her salary. It took several years before EB became financially-stable.
The show's iconic theme song that begins with the famous phrase "Mula Aparri hanggang Jolo" was introduced in May 18, 1982. The lyrics of the song were written by Vincent Dy Buncio and Pancho Oppus, while the melody was composed by Vic Sotto and musical arrangement by Homer Flores. This famous theme song was revised many times and was used to different opening billboards of the show.
An interview with Joey de Leon revealed that he, Tito and Vic never signed any contract with Eat...Bulaga! when they were offered to become hosts of the show. Vic Sotto confessed that he accepted the offer and would immediately stop once he had enough money to buy a personal vehicle. Joey de Leon also admitted that the show was only supposed to be a short-term employment. However, Eat...Bulaga! defeated Student Canteen in the ratings after two years and TVJ decided to stay with the show. Up to this day, no contracts bind Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon to the show or to TAPE, Inc. Friendship and their loyalty to the show are the only factors that keep them together.
During the People Power Revolution and the events that unfolded soon after, Eat Bulaga! went off-the-air from February 27, 1986 to March 1, 1986; the transmitter of its then-home network RPN had been shut down by rebels, and it resumed airing again on March 3, 1986. Despite the sequestration of RPN-9 by the government of Corazon Aquino in 1986, Eat Bulaga! continued to air, while most of the network's shows either transferred or cancelled. Student Canteen bowed out from its airing on June 7, 1986, and was replaced with the GMA Network-produced noontime show Lunch Date on June 9, 1986. The popularity of Randy Santiago on Lunch Date in 1987 made EB to lose in the ratings game for the first time since 1982. The Eat Bulaga! producers thought of including the Little Miss Philippines 1987 runner-up Aiza Seguerra in the show; Aiza eventually joined the show, and the ratings tilted in-favor of Eat Bulaga! once again. The show left Broadcast City on December 2, 1987, and transferred to the nearby Celebrity Sports Plaza on December 3, 1987. The network was also beset by periodical change of management, leading to Antonio Tuviera's decision to conduct negotiations with then-fledgling network ABS-CBN to eventually transfer the show.
The ABS-CBN years (1989–1995)Edit
Since the network's re-opening in 1986, ABS-CBN tried its luck on the noontime slot by producing several noontime shows such as Kalatog Pinggan (a noontime show produced by BBC 2 on 1985, pre-dating ABS-CBN's re-launch; ABS-CBN retained the said noontime show from its programming after the network's re-opening in 1986), Kalatog Pa Rin in 1988, and Afternoon Delight in the same year, but to no avail as all 3 still got beaten by both RPN's and GMA Network's noontime shows in the ratings. When TAPE, Inc. started negotiating with ABS-CBN to transfer its four produced-shows, the network saw it as an opportunity to strengthen its programming since the network is struggling to catch up with the other television networks in the ratings game.
In the year 1989, Eat...Bulaga! moved to ABS-CBN (under a co-production agreement) with other TAPE-produced shows Agila, Coney Reyes on Camera and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko! due to problems brought about by the sequestration of RPN. Prior to the transfer, from January 1989 to February 1989, ABS-CBN made a TV plug featuring four dots, which represented the four TAPE-produced shows. On February 18, 1989, the show premiered on its new home of the said network, which was staged at the Araneta Coliseum, with a TV special entitled Eat... Bulaga!: Moving On. After its transfer to ABS-CBN, the show started airing from ABS-CBN Studio 1 (now Dolphy Theatre) at the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center. During the show's special occasions, they were also allowed to use the network's Studio 2 as a special venue. The show's 10th anniversary presentation was held on September 23, 1989 at the Araneta Coliseum. Since the show's transfer to ABS-CBN, the network registered an all-time-high figures in viewership ratings at that time.
Coney Reyes left the noontime show in 1991. She was replaced by former Athlete Christine Jacob. Also in 1991, Ruby Rodriguez (who was a regular in the Bulagaan segment during that time) and Rio Diaz also became the show's regular co-hosts. In 1992, Tito Sotto started appearing only on weekends after topping the senatorial elections that May.
By the latter part of 1994, ABS-CBN was already a growing network, to the point that the network can already produce its own television programs and don't need to depend on blocktimer programs anymore. The staff at TAPE, Inc. thought that the network will give Eat...Bulaga! and other TAPE-produced shows an exception. However, ABS-CBN instead attempted to buy the airing rights of Eat...Bulaga! from TAPE, Inc. In response, Antonio Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar rejected the deal, leading ABS-CBN to decide not to renew its contract with TAPE, Inc. and remove Eat...Bulaga! and its sister shows Valiente and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko from its roster (with the exception of Coney Reyes on Camera, which was already produced by Coney Reyes' own production company, CAN Television and Production, during that time). The network then reformatted its Sunday show Sa Linggo nAPO Sila into a week-long show, 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila as EB's replacement.
The GMA years (1995-present) Edit
First decade on GMA and silver anniversary (1995–2004)Edit
Prior to the show's entry to GMA Network, Eat... Bulaga! main hosts Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon made an unofficial homecoming to GMA Network in 1994, when they started appearing in separate network-produced shows. Tito replaced the late Louie Beltran as the main host of GMA's investigative news magazine program Brigada Siete while Vic and Joey headlined GMA's Monday night gag show Mixed NUTS, which Vic's company M-Zet Productions also line produced the show. The network also let Antonio Tuviera direct both shows. That same year, Eat... Bulaga! moved out from ABS-CBN Studio 1, and it returned to the Celebrity Sports Plaza on the fourth quarter of 1994, as part of the preparation for its eventual transfer to GMA Network.
News of EB's transfer from ABS-CBN to GMA Network was already spreading publicly through rumors, gossips, blind items, and showbiz news leaks. During SST's New Year episode on December 31, 1994, the announcement of EB's move to GMA was officially made by main hosts Randy Santiago and Dennis Padilla (SST was then reformatted into a pre-noontime programming to EB after the latter's move to GMA Network, replacing SST in the noontime slot).
Tito, Vic and Joey's homecoming to GMA Network became official in 1995, when the network picked Eat... Bulaga! to become its flagship noontime show. A special contract signing between TAPE, Inc. and GMA officials was held at the Makati Shangri-La on January 19, 1995 with most of the hosts present. Previously, GMA tried to produce its own noontime show with Lunch Date (replacement of Student Canteen shortly after the 1986 People Power Revolution) and SST: Salo-Salo Together, with moderate success. The show made its premiere telecast on its new home on January 28, 1995, again at the Araneta Coliseum, with a TV special entitled Eat... Bulaga!: The Moving!. Before the network transfer, month-long promotions (from December 1994 to January 1995) were made by coming up with the catchy advertisements, 9–2=7, Totoo ang Sie7e ("Nine minus two equals seven, Seven is really true"), alluding to the show's home networks from Channel 9 (RPN) to Channel 2 (ABS-CBN) to Channel 7 (GMA Network).
After EB's transfer to GMA Network, the show temporarily broadcast from the Celebrity Sports Plaza, from January 30, 1995 to September 15, 1995. The show then transferred at Eastside Studios, Broadway Centrum on September 16, 1995, via a TV special dubbed Eat Bulaga!: The East Side Story. New hosts also arrived, such as Toni Rose Gayda, Allan K, Samantha "Gracia" Lopez, Francis Magalona, and Anjo Yllana. In between 1995–1998, several celebrities were hired to join the show as guest co-hosts.
In 1999, Eat...Bulaga! became the first to give away millions on Philippine television. When Magandang Tanghali Bayan, then the noontime show of ABS-CBN, introduced "Pera o Bayong" to its audience, it became an instant hit, causing MTB to top the ratings of Eat...Bulaga for two years. This forced the Eat...Bulaga! management to give the first millions, through its segments "Meron o Wala" in the mid-1999 and then "Laban o Bawi" in the late 2000 to get the audience interest back.
Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 25th year on television on November 19, 2004 at the Expo Pilipino amphitheater in Clark Air Base, Angeles, Pampanga, making it the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines. The television special was attended by an estimated at more than 60,000 spectators and enjoyed the highest daytime TV rating in the Philippines. It won the Best Entertainment (One-Off/Annual) Special at the Asian Television Award in Singapore on December 1, 2005. The event was hailed as the most successful on Philippine television, narrowly matched only by the 1st Starstruck Final Judgement. The presentation, titled Eat Bulaga Silver Special, was broadcast on November 27 and November 29, 2004. By this time, Eat Bulaga! had modified its title, dropping the three dots.
Second decade on GMA, 30th anniversary (2005–2014)Edit
In 2005, Eat Bulaga! was aired for the first time worldwide through GMA Network's international channel, GMA Pinoy TV.
In 2006, the SexBomb Girls left the show due to a dispute with its producers. The show, in turn, opened auditions for new in-house dancers, under the name 'EB Babes', as a reality competition. The group officially debuted on August of that year. In March 2007, the SexBomb Girls returned as regular cast members.
On March 6, 2009, Francis Magalona, one of the show's long-time co-hosts, succumbed to leukemia. The following day, the show produced a tribute episode in which the whole cast performed his songs dedicated to his memory. During the tribute, it was revealed that Magalona coined the word 'Dabarkads', a popular name to the Eat Bulaga family. Magalona is also known for shouting "Seamless Na!" to initiate from Eat Bulaga's Saturday edition to Philippine showbiz talk show Startalk. After his death, the Eat Bulaga! and Startalk hosts continued with the seamless tradition until it was stopped in the later part of the year by her Dabarkads in later 2009.
In 2009, Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 30th anniversary, dubbed as Tatlong Dekads ng Dabarkads (Three Decades of the Dabarkads). The show focused on honoring and helping remarkable people, including 30 poor, hard-working students and other everyday heroes as a gesture of paying back to the public who supported them.
In February 2011, the SexBomb Girls along with the group's choreographer Joy Cancio left once more, this time for ABS-CBN's Happy Yipee Yehey!.
On October 6, 2011, Eat Bulaga! launched its coffee table book called Ang Unang Tatlong Dekada (The First Three Decades). It was written by veteran columnist and TV host Butch Francisco and designed by Joey de Leon's son Jako de Leon. Alongside the book, Eat Bulaga! gave away 3000 limited edition CDs of the 2004 Silver Special Anniversary celebration. Additionally, GMA News and Public Affairs produced a documentary titled Kuwentong Dabarkads hosted by Dingdong Dantes.
On August 18, 2012, Eat Bulaga! aired a special episode celebrating its 33rd anniversary without commercial breaks, the first time in its history. A soundtrack, Dabarkads D' Album: A Party for everyJUAN, featuring songs popularized by the Eat Bulaga! cast, as well as the theme tunes used by the show, was released in July 2013, On October 6, 2012, Eat Bulaga! returned to its usual 11:30am timeslot which is only allotted every Saturdays coinciding the launch of Pinoy Henyo High (2012-2013), The program aired its first live episode on July 30, 1979 on the aforementioned time.
On July 16, 2012, Indonesia's SCTV Network aired the show's first international franchise, Eat Bulaga! Indonesia (later The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia). The network, which had considered securing the rights for a local version for the past five years, started formal negotiations with TAPE Inc. in April 2012, with approval given in June that same year. SCTV Network's Eat Bulaga! Indonesia ended on April 3, 2014 due to poor ratings caused by the sudden departure of their main head host in 2014. However, the show eventually returned to the airwaves on November 17, 2014 on its new home network, antv, with the new title, The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia until its final episode in 2016.
Due to public demand, Eat Bulaga! revived its traditional Lenten season drama specials during the 2014 Holy Week after an eight-year lull. Unlike its previous productions, the heartwarming stories produced annually are either original stories or inspired by true-to-life stories of former contestants of the popular segment, "Juan for All, All for Juan." Either one or two episodes are shown each day from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday. In addition to the return of the drama specials in 2014, Eat Bulaga! began to hold an annual awards ceremony called "Dabarkads Awards" to recognize excellence in stories and performances for the year's Lenten presentation.
Third decade on GMA, AlDub phenomenon, and transfer to APT Studios (2015–present)Edit
Voyager Innovations, Inc. (owned by PLDT), a Philippines-based technology company, released the official mobile app of the show on January 23, 2015. Eat Bulaga! is the first noontime show to launch their own mobile application that would allow their fans to stay connected with the hosts. The app also contains exclusive videos from the show's thirty-five years on television as well as a mobile version of one of its most memorable game segments, Pinoy Henyo.
The popularity of Eat Bulaga! was greatly increased in July 2015 following the accidental formation of a new love team between co-hosts Alden Richards and Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza, and the eventual development of Kalyeserye, a parody soap opera built around the couple. The new loveteam, popularly known as AlDub, tripled the show's normal AGB Nielsen Mega Manila and nationwide television ratings, and #AlDub became the top daily trending topic on Twitter in the Philippines and even worldwide. The milestone moments of the phenomenal loveteam helped the show garner some of its all-time high ratings. Its August 8, 2015 episode, which was supposed to feature the first meeting of Richards and Mendoza in real life but didn't occur because Mendoza unexpectedly fainted during the episode and had to be taken to the hospital, registered a Mega Manila rating that is above 30%, a television rating that has not been achieved by Eat Bulaga! since its 2004 Silver Anniversary Special.
Its August 12, 2015 episode, which showcased a Cinderella-like story and the near-meeting of Richards and Mendoza, posted a rating of 36.1%, which was an extraordinary accomplishment for a weekday episode. Its September 5 episode, the day when Richards and Mendoza finally saw each other for the first time, registered a rating of 39.5%. Its September 19 and September 26 episodes, the first and second dates of AlDub, garnered ratings of 41.3% and 45.7%, respectively, which are the highest-rated episodes of 2015. These episodes were also the first times that Eat Bulaga! tapped the 40 percent mark. Due to the AlDub phenomenon, Eat Bulaga! holds 10 out of 10 highest-rated episodes in 2015.
On October 24, 2015, Eat Bulaga! held a benefit concert at the Philippine Arena to thank the fans of AlDub and to raise funds for building libraries in certain schools across the Philippines and for the victims of Typhoon Lando. The most awaited event for the loveteam also marked a major turning point of the Kalyeserye story; the couple were able to see and interact with each other without any hindrance from Lola Nidora (Wally Bayola's character in Kalyeserye ) The special show dubbed as "Sa Tamang Panahon" (At the Right Time) attracted an estimated 55,000 people, becoming the largest indoor audience ever of Eat Bulaga!. Ticket sales for premium seats were sold-out three hours after Lola Nidora announced the concert on October 17, 2015. The rest of the tickets were sold-out after three days. After 24 hours, #ALDubEBTamangPanahon, the official hashtag for the event, reached 41 million tweets, becoming the third most tweeted topic for the TV category worldwide in 2015 and the most used hashtag within 24 hours on Twitter. According to AGB Nielsen, the live airing of the event was able to garner a 50.8% Mega Manila household rating, becoming the most watched show in 2015. For the first time in the show's history, Eat Bulaga! was able to breach the 50% mark.
Kalyeserye went on hiatus on September 3, 2016 and returned on October 15 after a month-break. Once again, the segment ended on December 17, 2016, having a total of 400 episodes.
On February 2016, Eat Bulaga! renewed again its blocktime deal with GMA Network. Unlike past contract signings which were formal and coverage was limited to GMA's news programs, the signing ceremonies saw greater coverage via GMA's social media accounts. Cast members Jose Manalo, Paolo Ballesteros and Wally Bayola were in character dressed up as the Kalyeserye Lolas. The said event became the trending topic across all social media sites.
On July 7, 2018, Eat Bulaga! launched EB Version 4.0, where in the show began its kick-off celebration for their 40th anniversary on July 30, 2019. Also, Eat Bulaga! premiered its horror-comedy telemovie Pamana on July 28 as a commemoration to the variety show's 40th anniversary.
On December 8, 2018, Eat Bulaga! transferred to their new state-of-the-art studio, the APT Studios, located in Cainta, Rizal, ending its 23-year tenure at the Broadway Centrum, months before the 40th anniversary celebration of the longest-running variety show by July the following year.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic that declared the whole Philippines under State Of Public Health Emergency, The management of Eat Bulaga! decided to ban the admission of studio audience effective March 9 as a precautionary measure. Starting March 16, 2020, live production was suspended, and the show's past episodes, including its iconic and special presentations, were re-aired until June 6, 2020. Live programming resumed on June 8, 2020.