So 2-3 months after the Philippine Noontime Tumult reached fever pitch, things seemed to have settled. Ratings show a pretty neck-to-neck battle between the three shows: TV5’s E.A.T, TAPE Inc and GMA Network’s Eat Bulaga and multi-channel It’s Showtime. E.A.T has seemingly solidified its spot atop the heap, with Eat Bulaga scoring random wins, but mostly switching back and forth with It’s Showtime for that runner-up position.
And that seems to be where Philippine noontime seems to have settled from now on.
One thing is clear, there seems to be a ceiling for viewership on noontime television. The cumulative number of viewers watching the three noontime shows now is about equal to when the choice was only between two options. So it doesn’t look like many new viewers suddenly started watching a noontime program after the Tumult. And that’s not a big surprise.
Since July 1, my family has actually watched both E.A.T and Eat Bulaga. We have no skin in the game and enjoy watching both shows whenever we need something on the TV. Whatever legal issues they have, they can deal with themselves.
But how are the shows doing content-wise? What seems to be working and what not?
Let’s start with E.A.T which is essentially (pre-resignation) Eat Bulaga-lite. Team TVJ has basically tried to replicate their time on Eat Bulaga by taking the segments they deemed most popular from their former show and repurposed them on E.A.T with tweaks to somehow separate itself from any association to the former show. Plus, pulling out the same familiar jokes and routines they’ve used for years.
It’s a formula that has worked well enough for them. So why make any major changes to it? It’s a “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” kind of situation.
But that’s also where E.A.T might stumble. It just overall feels like a lesser version of their time on Eat Bulaga. And it’s not because of lack of resources at TV5. Because the format tweaks to their previous segments Pinoy Henyo (now “Gimme 5”), Bawal Judgmental (now “Babala!’) and Juan 4 All (now “Sugod Bahay Mga Kapatid”) really have nothing to do with having lesser resources at their new network and more to do with actively trying to distance itself from their now-former show.
Unfortunately, the tweaks have caused both “Gimme 5” and “Babala! Wag Kayong Ganun!” to feel like poor, less fun copycats. Which is weird considering Team TVJ asserts they were the ones who came up with the original “Pinoy Henyo” and “Bawal Judgmental” segments in the first place.
The not-Pinoy Henyo game has become unnecessarily complicated. And even with the TikTok filter gimmick of “Ellen from Hollywood” providing tepid jokes, it still makes you miss the simplicity of Pinoy Henyo. (More on Eat Bulaga‘s own attempt at replicating the segment later.) There is of course nothing wrong with trying to freshen up tired segments. But the tweaks they’ve made to this one make the segment feel long and slow. When the very concept of Pinoy Henyo is to be as fast and you can be.
Meanwhile, the previously interesting discussions and fun surprises of “Bawal Judgmental” are almost non-existent on “Babala!” I don’t know if it’s the uninteresting topics they choose to feature. But the current segment lacks the same spontaneous and engaging discussions they used to have on the original segment.
And I think that’s what is missing from E.A.T; it’s spontaneity. There are times when the show feels a bit stiff
For other segments they’ve featured so far, “Vortas 5” was the most amusing when the new show first started. But interestingly lost its novelty quite quickly. And as evidenced by the show ending the segment early as well.
“Sing E.A.T” is a typical singing contest and easy to stage, no matter what show it may be.
One of E.A.T‘s most successful decisions so far has to be signing up YouTuber and social media personality Tugue Zombie to become a regular host. He is the kind of refreshing, new personality that has helped give E.A.T a needed burst of energy.
Tugue Zombie has had no problem fitting in, especially with Jose and Wally in the barangay visits. And him being able to keep up with the veteran comedians is already a big accomplishment for him. Of course, in addition to him being his own style of humor to the show as well.
But “Sugod Bahay Mga Kapatid” is still the show’s strongest segment. And any barangay visit will always be the highlight for the show. There’s something just something about talking to everyday Filipinos that will always be interesting and exciting.
And that brings us to Eat Bulaga. The *New* Eat Bulaga that is.
Their first few weeks were admittedly mixed, at best. Not as horrible as some fans of TVJ were trying to make it seem on social media. But they certainly weren’t reinventing the wheel either.
Since then, the new Eat Bulaga seems to have found the right mix of hosts and a good variety of segments that offer both a familiarity to longtime fans of the show, as well as new offerings that may appeal to audiences that weren’t big fans of the former hosts or format of GMA’s default noontime program.
Eat Bulaga‘s biggest move in this new era has definitely been signing up Isko “Yorme” Moreno to be one of its main hosts. And his arrival really helped jumpstart Eat Bulaga and set it down the path to where it is today. That is, a noontime show that is finding a more youthful identity while still focusing on the family and parents and grandparents that are typical daytime viewers.
Like I mentioned in my other posts about the Philippine Noontime Tumult, all noontime shows will basically feature the same things. That includes segments, games and even lame jokes. What each show can do, however, is to take those familiar aspects and try to offer something new.
Eat Bulaga has done that with many segments. But perhaps most successfully with what is arguably their strongest portion of the show, “G sa Gedli”.
Again, just speaking with regular, everyday Filipinos will always be interesting. It’s the same for Willie Revillame on all his shows. It’s the same with the original Juan 4 All segment. And it’s the same with now G sa Gedli.
Eat Bulaga has found some magic with the tandem of Isko Moreno and Buboy Villar. They play off each other very well. And maybe even more importantly, they relate very well to the everyday Filipinos they meet on the street.
And they really do meet them on the streets. Them randomly surprising people on the street offers a great feeling of spontaneity, which I touched on earlier. And also their focus on hardworking Filipinos, such as street vendors or sari-sari store owners makes the segment feel humble and relatable. Something that will definitely resonate with the average Filipino noontime viewer.
Chariz Solomon, another excellent casting choice for the show, has also been wonderful in the couple of times she joined the G sa Gedli crew. Her effortless comedic skills very much come into play both in the barangays and also in-studio. And her kindhearted relatability, again, helps give G sa Gedli a warm feeling.
Chariz is just one of the many hosts Eat Bulaga has brought on to usher in this new era. At first, it really did seem like a random collection of GMA talents. And the chemistry definitely needed time to be forged between them. But after three months, it feels like the show has found a good mix of people that have now developed that needed chemistry.
Paolo Contis and Betong Sumaya have been two of GMA’s top choices for hosting and comedy, seemingly grooming them for such a job as noontime show host by giving them online hosting gigs during the network’s online content push. Both Bubble Gang veterans as well, the two certainly have experience leading variety shows.
Paolo Contis has certainly drawn some mixed reactions for his impassioned monologues about the show and the struggles it and the hosts have faced since the Tumult. But he has done quite a good job of steering the ship, especially as the face of the show so far. He takes the lead without hogging the spotlight. And that’s a very important part of making the show feel welcoming rather than being some kind of star vehicle for someone.
Then there’s the youthful mix of talents. From Eat Bulaga vets Dasuri Choi and Kimpoy Feliciano to established artists like Winwyn Marquez, Chariz Solomon and Buboy Villar to Kapuso talents looking for that big break like the Legaspi Twins, Yasser Marta, Arra San Agustin and Kokoy de Santos to fresh faces like Alexa Miro and Michael Sager. And even someone of Glaiza de Castro’s stature as well. All coming together and again, offering up a refreshing change of pace for a noontime show.
Originally seemingly a random ragtag group of individuals, now a cohesive group of people that appear fully dedicated to seeing the show forward. Not just as a placeholder, but in continuing the show for a long time into the future.
And the fact that the hosts are all Kapuso artists and the show choosing to stop using “Dabarkads” in favor of “Kapuso” in addressing the audience has helped Eat Bulaga, for the first time in a long time, feel like an actual part of GMA Network.
In these three months, Eat Bulaga has offered both familiar and unique segments. The parlor and birthday games of “Ikaw Ang Pinaka” are an easy way to get the studio audience involved. Their recently concluded pa-pogihan contest “Hey Mr. Rider” was alright. The show has since ditched its telephone-inspired game and a Wowowin-ish Name That Tune segment. The return of “Little Miss Philippines” banks on the always amusing interactions with little children. Their comedy skits will always be hit or miss. And their newest segment “May Pa-Key Ako Sa Yo” is a good Saturday-worthy big prize game.
But one ingenious new aspect to Eat Bulaga is the “QRQR” or “Quick Response Quick Reward” portion. For one, it gets people to actually watch the show on TV in order to scan the QR code needed to register. And two, the actual registration platform and computer draw program they’ve developed is really quite advanced in comparison to anything the other noontime shows (plus Wowowin) have come up with. None of this commenting on Facebook posts or a production intern randomly choosing a winner. It’s all in the computer program they’ve developed and it’s really also one of the show’s big successes as well.
Both E.A.T and Eat Bulaga are doing fine. Both have different objectives. But both are meeting those goals, three months post-Tumult.
E.A.T relies on the loyalty and familiarity of what people have enjoyed and watched for 40+ years. And that’s perfectly fine. Though with a clean slate at TV5, it’s still nice to hope that they can at least try and find new and exciting ideas. Especially now without having to be boxed in by the “Eat Bulaga” brand.
(Stopping the shade snide remarks about their ongoing legal battle can also help everyone to just move on and enjoy the shows.)
As for the new Eat Bulaga, for a casual viewer like myself, the calls for changing the name seem to be in the past. Most people have moved on, at least, from my observation. And you’re going to watch the show or not. Regardless of what it’s called now.
The new (old?) team at Eat Bulaga has managed to find a good mix of hosts and a good balance of segments that allow it to be refreshing, while still familiar. And that really is enough.
Philippine noontime is not the daypart that will attract a huge new audience. Loyal Team TVJ fans have followed them to TV5. Meanwhile, Kapuso viewers who were not fans of TVJ have tuned in to the new Eat Bulaga for the first time in a long time. And then there’s It’s Showtime elsewhere for everyone else too.
Having three options at noontime is a good thing. So why the need to keep bringing one or more of them down. It’s really simple. You can watch what you want to watch. And ignore what you don’t. And in that case, the Philippine Noontime Tumult is subsiding. Unless the players decide to kick the hornet’s nest sometime in the future.