The Butcher | No one is making Tito, Vic & Joey leave Eat Bulaga!

But Tito, Vic, and Joey think it’s about time they spent lunchtime elsewhere, here’s wishing them all the best. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if they waited at least till next year when Eat Bulaga! marks its 45th?

Photo: @eatbulaga1979 on Instagram

But Tito, Vic, and Joey think it’s about time they spent lunchtime elsewhere, here’s wishing them all the best. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if they waited at least till next year when Eat Bulaga! marks its 45th?

Since news broke out two weeks ago about the Jalosjos family taking over the reins of Eat Bulaga!, netizens, bloggers and even established writers from print media had expressed various sentiments regarding the long-running noontime program. Unfortunately, a lot of what comes out on the internet and even in traditional media are mostly misguided opinions.     

For instance, there are some netizens who are suggesting that the best solution to the current row in the noontime show is for the Jalosjos family to get out of TAPE, which produces Eat Bulaga!. The Jalosjos family members have all the right to stay in the company because THEY OWN IT.    

Prior to the establishment of TAPE, which is short for Television and Production Exponents, Eat Bulaga! was being produced under Production Specialists, Inc,, which was also doing PBA and other special events like beauty pageants. In 1981, when Eat Bulaga! was already two years old, Production Specialists was dissolved. TAPE was set up in its place on July 7 of that same year.     

But even if the name of the company was changed, Romeo Jalosjos was still the owner. Antonio P. Tuviera, who is widely believed to own Eat Bulaga!, remained an employee of Mr. Jalosjos. Mr. Tuviera had a lot of powers though and should be credited for the longevity of Eat Bulaga!

The time has come, however, for the children of Romeo Jalosjos to take over the operations of TAPE. Mr. Tuviera, for one, had long retired from TAPE, but was still allowed to make major decisions regarding Eat Bulaga! It should also be noted that he had already long formed his own company, APT Productions.     

These days, the children of Jalosjos are already the ones in-charge of the company. Former Congressman Romeo “Jon-jon” Jalosjos now stands as the official head of TAPE. Jalosjos daughter Soraya is currently the company’s senior vice president and COO. Dapitan Mayor Bullet Jalosjos is TAPE’s head of finance.           

Mr. Tuviera, of course, is welcome to remain in TAPE – by virtue of his being part-owner. It should be understood, however, that whatever monetary investment he has in TAPE amounts only to a very small fraction. He didn’t even shell out cash for those shares, in fact. Whatever percentage he owns in TAPE was only given to him by Mr. Jalosjos, who – to this day – acknowledges Mr. Tuviera’s large contribution to the success of Eat Bulaga!    

If Mr. Tuviera decides to stay, he will continue to get his shares from whatever income TAPE generates. His powers, however, will be clipped.     

It is now Mr. Romeo Jalosjos who has the last say. Whatever he says goes as the legitimate owner of TAPE.     

Initial reports about the Eat Bulaga! takeover claimed that Mr. Jalosjos was kicking out the noontime show’s headliners Tito and Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, the trio better known in the last four decades as Tito, Vic & Joey – or TVJ. There is no truth to that.     

As of this writing, NO ONE IS MAKING TITO, VIC & JOEY LEAVE EAT BULAGA!  If they think it is best for them to throw in the towel and quit the show – THAT IS THEIR DECISION TO MAKE.     

But here’s hoping they opt to stay. If I were in their shoes, I will remain in Eat Bulaga! – maybe if only for sentimental reasons.    

Blood, sweat and tears. Those were the investments they poured into Eat Bulaga!     

The public most likely was unaware or probably doesn’t remember that Eat Bulaga! was not an overnight sensation. Eat Bulaga!’s pilot episode was aired on July 30, 1979.     

The show looked pathetic compared to rival Student Canteen. While Student Canteen rated 57.6%, Eat Bulaga! scored a mere 5.2%.     

Since its ratings were dismal, advertisers stayed away from Eat Bulaga. In those days, the exchange rate was only P7 to $1. The standard advertising rate for noontime shows back then was therefore only P2,000 per 30-seconder. The lunch hour was not considered prime time in those days.     

But while Student Canteen was able to command the P2,000 per commercial spot, as dictated by the advertising industry, Eat Bulaga was forced to accommodate advertisements at a bargain-basement price of P750. Payment came after a month, two months or even three. There were cases when some fly-by-night sponsors didn’t pay at all!     

In some instances, commercials were paid on pay-before-broadcast terms – or PBB. But the rates for this kind of arrangement were much lower at P500.  

The only reason Eat Bulaga! survived during its first two years was due to the fact that Mr. Jalosjos was also producing PBA for television. PBA was at its all-time peak in those days. It could very well have subsidized Eat Bulaga. But then, that’s not how business is done. Eat Bulaga had to have its own revenues.     

As a cash-strapped television program, its first concern was how to pay for airtime. Eat Bulaga! was then airing on RPN-9 as a block-timer. How many times did Mr. Tuviera plead with network officials to please, please, please air Eat Bulaga! even if it was unable to pay for airtime?     

The second problem faced by the financially-challenged show was how to pay its people. Of course, the production staff had to be prioritized since these were ordinary working people. But instead of regular salaries, they got by on cash advances. The only time, the company was able to gather enough cash to pay for half a month’s salary, the messenger who had the payroll even carelessly left the money in the cab.    

As for the hosts, they were not paid at all. This went on for almost three years. The original Eat Bulaga! lady co-host, Chiqui Hollmann, had her breaking point. On the day of her birthday in September 1981, more than two years of not getting paid, she decided to leave the show. A female sidekick, the comedienne Debraliz Valasote, also resigned the following year.     

But Tito, Vic & Joey decided to hang on. Of course, it helped that they also had other showbiz gigs. For one, they were the main stars of the top-rating Iskul Bukol that paid each of them P800 weekly.   

The truth is, they were not even supposed to be the stars of Iskul Bukol. The first choice was the APO, except that Jim Paredes, Buboy Garrovillo and the late Danny Javier wanted P2,000 each per episode and the Iskul Bukol producer could not afford that.     

But thank heavens for Iskul Bukol, Tito, Vic & Joey managed to get by financially. And then they also did movies on the side. But in these films, they were not given huge talent fees because they only played secondary roles back then since they weren’t yet the big stars they are today.     

The trio, however, decided to stick to Eat Bulaga! Never mind if it was a huge sacrifice to report to a noontime show six days a week – without pay!     

Tito, Vic & Joey, should really consider all the sacrifices they made in the past now that they have to make a huge decision regarding their Eat Bulaga! tenure. If they stay, surely, they have to make adjustments because there will be changes and they have to live by those.     

But if they think it’s about time they spent lunchtime elsewhere, here’s wishing them all the best. Wouldn’t it be nice, however, if they waited at least till next year when Eat Bulaga! marks its 45th?



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