Jul 14, 2007

`Eat Bulaga': 28 years and counting

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WATCHING it is like a lunch time ritual, passed on from one generation to the next.

Pinoys have made it a part of their daily lives for 28 years now, making it Philippine TV’s longest-running noontime show - and longest-running local program.

It is a Pinoy way of life, a chunk of pop culture, an institution in showbiz; and it has moved from one station to another without losing its audience.

What is Eat Bulaga’s secret?

“The loyalty and relationship of the Eat Bulaga family,” reveals Malou Fagar, executive vice president of Tony Tuviera’s Television and Production Exponents, Inc. (TAPE), producer of the top-rating program.

The bond among this noontime treat’s hosts and staff is indeed rare. They’ve survived a rocky start — from delayed salary payments to serious thoughts of axing the show back in 1980.

But tough times only made them love their program even more.

Twenty-eight years and some juicy counter-offers later, Tito, Vic, and Joey (TVJ), plus some key on/off-cam talents, remain fiercely loyal to Eat Bulaga.

Aside from being “married” to the program — working non-stop year-round, six days a week — the whole gang share problems, hang out and have lunch together, and yes, pray together, just like a real family.

Of course, an obvious forte of Pinoy’s favorite lunchtime companion is TVJ’s unmatched hosting talent, coupled by an admirable attitude.

Fagar says of the trio: “Fame never got to their heads. They are open to change and they welcome newcomers — singers, dancers, actor-wannabes, whoever you are, you have a place in the show.”

True enough, the program paved the way for discoveries like Aiza Seguerra, Sex Bomb girls, Jericho Rosales and many others.

Almost all showbiz bigwigs have also graced the show at least once, either as guests or co-hosts (Sharon Cuneta, Kris Aquino, Coney Reyes, Donita Rose, Lani Mercado and Mikee Cojuangco were among Eat Bulaga’s former hosts).

“But Eat Bulaga’s greatest achievement is its twin tasks of bringing cheers to and helping people,” says Fagar.

Aside from bringing isang libo’t isang tuwa, Tape’s noontime offering has touched countless lives by granting wishes (Send in your Dreams), tapping one’s potential (Mr. Pogi, Little Ms. Philippines, Palengke Queen, Macho Men, Maid in the Philippines and other talent searches), and helping fulfill dreams by giving away cash and special prizes like cars, a showcase, and trips abroad (Taktak Mo O Tatakbo?, Dabarkads On the Spot).

It gave away as much as P2 million in the past (Lottong Bahay).

Of the 18 lunchtime entries that tried to beat it, 16 are now defunct, most of which didn’t even last for half a decade. Eat Bulaga has been thriving in the people’s hearts for so long now it might as well be immortalized in Philippine history books.
People's Tonight

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