The longest-running noontime variety show of the Philippines, Eat Bulaga, on Wednesday announced its departure from TV production company Tape Inc — which means its thousands of viewers across the country will no longer be able to catch it on their screens, at least for now.
Filipinos around the world, including the UAE, have been able to watch the show via online platforms like Facebook and YouTube. With the show going off air, online streaming is expected to stop, too.
“This is most likely the hardest decision we have ever made since 1979. We won’t be able to pour our hearts out, but all we want is to be able to work in peace,” one of the shows mainstay hosts, Vic Sotto, said in their closing spiel.
Eat Bulaga has been part of Filipino households’ “tanghalian” (lunchtime) since July 30, 1979 — becoming a show that countless kids grew up with.
The show has recently been embroiled in controversy over unpaid salaries. The production company Tape Inc allegedly owed the iconic hosts Sotto and Joey de Leon around P40 million in talent fees. This figure has not been verified, but Sotto told reporters a couple of days ago that salaries have been settled. “Thanks to the issue going public, I got paid. I wasn’t expecting it, but thank you,” he told reporters in an ambush interview.
Speculations are now going around regarding what would be the next move for the noontime show. Previous reports said it could be moving to a different TV channel. Would it be rebranded? The public is yet to know.
What is certain, for now, is that the show will no longer be airing like it had for the past 43 years. And to those who grew up watching the show — including those who moved to the UAE — the move was heartbreaking.
Che Martizano, a Filipina expat in Dubai, said: “I will miss the Dabarkads (the term used to refer to hosts and the show’s audience) for sure. Since I moved here to the UAE, I have been watching it live online, on Facebook and YouTube.”
“As an Eat Bulaga kid, this deeply hurts,” one netizen wrote in the comments section of a post about the announcement.
“I can’t stop crying,” another said.
Other Filipinos, however, are confident that the show will be back in one form or another, especially now that streaming services are booming in the country.
- Dubai: Filipino celebrities flying to UAE for Independence Day festivities next month; entry is free
- UAE: Filipinos told not to present fake airline tickets to skip OEC online appointment