How ABS-CBN Brought About the Resurgence of Eat Bulaga

Since TAPE, Inc., the production house behind Eat Bulaga took the show from its home on ABS-CBN to a new one on GMA, Channel 2 had struggled to find their own noontime staple. That was, until they found Wowowee.

ABS-CBN had its first legitimate contender to Eat Bulaga‘s noontime throne with Wowowee. But what do they do with it? They kill it.

Wowowee was topping Eat Bulaga in many ways. International popularity. National popularity. Ratings. Awareness. Press, good and bad. Corporate sponsors. Even government and tourism relationships. And more importantly, the ability to grab the hearts of the people.

Eat Bulaga‘s throne was now being shared and slowly taken away by this new upstart… until ABS-CBN themselves put a stop to it.

After Wowowee was murdered on live television, the people looked for something to fill their lunchtimes with. And it certainly wasn’t going to be anything ABS-CBN put as a replacement to the murdered new king.

Where to turn, but to Eat Bulaga. It may not have been knocked out of the fight completely, but it wasn’t landing all its punches either. With the noontime slot now free of their strongest competition ever, it was their opportunity to regain their throne. And they grabbed that opportunity and didn’t let go.

One of the big criticisms of Eat Bulaga had been its lack of fun and energy, especially in comparison to the livelier atmosphere of Wowowee. Eat Bulaga seemed stuck in the past, a past where the old-time, more formal variety shows were king.

But their “Juan for All, All for Juan” segment changed all of that.

The “Juan for All, All for Juan” segment is now the centerpiece of the show. And in turn has given the show a big boost of energy they so desperately needed. It was a segment born as a way to one-up Wowowee‘s own planned barangay visits (which were undoubtedly held up by the corporate heads at ABS-CBN).

As “Juan for All” quickly established itself and Willie Revillame unceremoniously dethroned, Wowowee‘s “Cash Mo Tour” finally launched but ended up being a poor, unexciting attempt at “being with the masses” and lasted the final couple of weeks before the show was killed off permanently.

More than a year later, ratings are up almost double from during the Wowowee era. Numbers doubling and tripling its current direct competitors. Not only did ABS-CBN’s chess moves hand Eat Bulaga a clear road to victory, it nearly collapsed its entire daytime line-up, of which, they still have not recovered in the post-Wowowee era of the network.

The Wowowee-less line-up of ABS-CBN has only strengthened their competitors’ (plural) own daytime line-ups and they too have grabbed the opportunity.

ABS-CBN has already had two attempts at recreating that magic they stumbled upon with Wowowee, but they’re far from it. It’s actually more interesting to turn to TV5.

With TV5 proving to be a worthy challenger to the two behemoths, Willie Revillame and his Wowowee 3.0 in the form of the network’s Wil Time Big Time could challenge Eat Bulaga‘s reign once again. But until then, Eat Bulaga is proving it’s still got plenty of fight left in it.

There’s no denying Eat Bulaga has and will probably remain a formidable force as a lunchtime habit for many Filipinos. And while they may have been floundering for a few years, a resurgence was never out of the question. It’s just ABS-CBN unwittingly sped up the timeline and that resurgence is now.

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