December 8, 2023

The television program “Eat Bulaga” is the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines. It has been airing on primetime television for 44 years now, making it a byword when it comes to entertainment. Its wholesome image makes it the most viable pastime for housewives and people who frolic in their homes doing nothing during the mid-day. It had become a part of each and every Filipino’s daytime.
The program was conceptualized by the trio of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon, popularly known as Tito, Vic, and Joey or TVJ for short.
They hosted the show all these years and have amused and made the nation, from Aparri to Jolo, laughed with their jokes and antics. The three have formulated a group called dabarkads, who are equally entertaining and fun to watch. The show spawned child superstars like Aiza, Goyong, Tolits, to name a few who have aged with the program. Indeed “Eat Bulaga!” is synonymous and akin to Tito, Vic and Joey. The mere mention of “Eat Bulaga!” conjures images of the trio.
Alas, of late, the era of TVJ was cut short. Tito, Vic and Joey and their dabarkads were nowhere to be seen in the reformatted “Eat Bulaga!” A new show opened and in it were new emcees and new segments. The original cast of the “Eat Bulaga!” was junked in favor of new ones. The loyal followers of Tito, Vic and Joey are, therefore, asking: “What happened? Where are Tito, Vic and Joey, are they coming back?”
Apparently, there was a management dispute between TVJ and the company promoting the show. Whether it is the compensation of the talents or not is yet unclear. However, the promotional outfit deemed it best to move on and get the show on the road with or without TVJ. It was a case of “the show must go on.”
The decision to oust TVJ in lieu of other talents had due consequences which will be seriously felt by both viewers and the television network. All members of the original cast allied with TVJ resigned en masse leaving the program empty. The rating of the show will obviously dip. TVJ, for all their faults and fallacies, have become household names and are considered by the loyal followers of “Eat Bulaga!” who watch them every day and welcome them into the confines of their houses, even if only through television, to be members of their external family.
Without a doubt, Tito, Vic and Joey are incomparable as hosts. They have survived and waded through all the challenges that were posed against them, in the past. They outlived all other hosts and outdone all other noontime programs. Surely, they won’t take their ouster sitting down. Tito Sotto is very vocal that suits may be filed in due time.
TVJ are contesting the continued use of the phrase “Eat Bulaga!” by the incoming hosts. TVJ assert that “Eat Bulaga!” is their idea and is patented under their names. Even without a patent, Filipinos are aware that “Eat Bulaga!” is a TVJ term. For more than 40 years it was and still is associated with Tito, Vic and Joey.
Given that they will be establishing their own program in another channel, it is only fitting that “Eat Bulaga!” must follow them wherever they go. It is their identity and seeing other people use it is like seeing a Chinese warship sailing the Philippine seas.
At any rate, the promotional outfit that ousted TVJ is already airing “Eat Bulaga!” with new hosts. This is disturbing, to say the least. People who were used to watching the show with TVJ are mad and frustrated. Why was a settlement not reached? Of all things that must be sacrificed, why were the scalps of TVJ the first to go?
Whatever controversy the noontime show has produced is a matter that can only be resolved legally. For the meantime, we have to do without TVJ in our favorite entertainment and hope that they will spring a comeback sooner or later.