Commentary: Eat Bulaga – It’s Time to Move On

When it comes to two simple words, it’s time for everyone to move on. Those words are “Eat” and “Bulaga”.

After the initial IPO decision this week and regardless of any appeals that may come in the future, it’s time for TAPE Inc to move on from the Eat Bulaga brand. Not out of “respect” for any mere human being, but for their own benefit. And, maybe more importantly, for everyone’s sanity.

With all the baggage that comes with the title (and that is baggage from before and after the group resignation of the show’s former hosts and some crew and staff), it is in TAPE Inc’s best interest to just give it up and start fresh.

Perhaps it’s a bit of pride. Maybe a bit of bitterness. Or it could even be a fear of what might happen to their show after tossing the title over to the current tenants of TV5’s noontime slot. But whichever it is, there are only positives to be attained by TAPE Inc’s production once they eventually do.

At this point, it is a losing proposition for them to continue the fight. Especially when Team TVJ has successfully lobbied in the court of public opinion to get the people tuned in to the drama to be on their side.

Not to mention whatever power and influence TVJ may have on the relevant government bodies that certainly no one involved at TAPE Inc may have. Especially when the court of public opinion will more than likely influence whatever potential decision will be had in the future.

TAPE Inc can swallow their pride and toss the title over to the studios in Mandaluyong. And they can do so with confidence that their own noontime show, whatever its new title would be, can stand on its own without the Eat Bulaga brand attached to it.

Every noontime show will look almost exactly the same, except for the actual faces on camera every day. Each show, whether it’s Eat Bulaga or It’s Showtime or Wowowin or TiktoClock or It’s Your Lucky Day or yes, E.A.T, all have pretty much different variations of the same ideas.

TAPE Inc’s new Eat Bulaga has been almost like a trial-and-error situation since the former hosts quit the program. That includes giving different segments a try and ditching ones that don’t work. And giving different personalities a go on-air and not inviting back the ones that just didn’t fit.

Six months after TAPE Inc started down a new path for the show, they seem to have found the perfect mix of hosts who, against a lot of adversity, have somehow forged the right chemistry with each other. As long as you don’t have your bias glasses on, the new hosts show that good chemistry every day both on and off screen. And the fresh faces offer something different from the usual and very familiar faces most of us are used to seeing in a noontime variety show setting.

If you’re being honest with yourself, the show is basically the same thing as its timeslot competitors.

But if anything, hanging on to the Eat Bulaga brand is holding the TAPE Inc production back. The title may actually be propping up a ceiling to their potential audience. You might be surprised to know that not every person in the Philippines is even aware of the Eat Bulaga brouhaha, let alone the ins and outs of the issues regarding the brand. Unless you’re someone tuned in to the television industry, an existing fan of Eat Bulaga and/or TVJ or someone perpetually online and on social media, you might not even know noontime television has experienced a tumult in the last couple of months.

So maybe people who were not fans of Eat Bulaga in the first place are hesitant to watch the new production, thinking it’s just the same as the old version of the show that they would never ever willingly watch. Then there’s the people who, out of principle, refuse to support the new Eat Bulaga in any way out of loyalty to TVJ. Though they would consider giving the TAPE Inc production a shot if it was simply called something else.

Then there’s the sanctimonious outrage that stems from TAPE Inc continuing to use the title. It has resulted in outrageous vitriol being hurled by fans, more from one side than the other, towards hosts and, even worse, just simple home viewers as well. No matter how one tries to avoid all that nonsense, the toxicity seeps through the cracks all over the internets.

The vitriolic words thrown around, especially toward innocent bystanders simply watching a television show, is so misplaced and unwarranted. And so outrageously toxic, even by the low standards of Philippine entertainment.

So it really is just time to move on and get it over with.

So my unsolicited advice to TAPE Inc? You definitely do not need the Eat Bulaga brand to produce a show people will watch. In 2023, it’s been proven that the audience will watch a show, not because of its title. But because of many other reasons, including the hosts and the content. When I tweeted this out a couple of days ago, some people assumed it was a dig at TAPE Inc. But actually, it was a statement applicable to every show.

People are watching TAPE Inc’s Eat Bulaga on GMA not because of its title. But more likely because they like Isko “Yorme” Moreno or his main segment “G sa Gedli” with Buboy Villar. Or maybe they’re fans of any one of the many hosts. Or they are amused by seeing the random party games. Or they enjoy scanning those QR codes every day.

And people watch E.A.T on TV5 because they’re fans of TVJ or Maine Mendoza or Jose and Wally or the other hosts. Maybe they’re longtime, loyal fans of the original Eat Bulaga team. Or they like seeing cute boys every day. Or like guessing along with their own party games.

It doesn’t matter what either show is called, people will watch because they like the shows. Simple as that. Having the title and brand switch over will not cause some major tectonic shift in noontime viewing habits. That shake-up already happened in June and July of this year. And since then, the noontime landscape has already settled. Even to the point of Eat Bulaga and E.A.T essentially attracting the same-sized audiences.

So the effects of TAPE Inc tossing the brand over to Team TVJ will be nothing but positive for everyone involved.

For Team TVJ, they get the title and brand they say they created, but never cared enough to secure their legal ownership of it until this year.

For TAPE Inc, they get the heavy weight off their shoulders. That includes the unnecessary ire of some viewers as well as the heavy baggage the title and brand already hold. They’ve been able to establish a new program. And have done well doing so. But it is bogged down by its burdensome title. And there’s a simple solution for that. As we’ve outlined here.

And maybe more importantly, for everyone, getting people to shut up about the issue and drama once and for all. Stamping out the vitriolic nonsense and sanctimonious overtures. And finally allowing everyone to move on and get back to the simple idea of letting people watch and enjoy what they want to without being attacked or judged. Simply because of two simple words.

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