The show will celebrate its 36th year on Philippine television on July 30, 2015, holding the record of being the longest-running noontime variety program on air in the history of Philippine television.
Its first overseas franchise is Eat Bulaga! Indonesia, which premiered on Indonesia's SCTV network on July 16, 2012.Eat Bulaga! became the first Philippine show, variety show in particular, to be franchised by another country.
The hosts form the letters T and Y to thank the viewers for making them number one in the ratings.
Production Specialists, Inc., a company owned by Romy Jalosjos, brought the idea of creating a noontime show for Radio Philippines Network (RPN). Antonio Tuviera, who was the working for the company, thought that the comic troika of Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto and Joey de Leon, better known as TVJ (who had gained fame through GMA Network's Discorama and as pinch-hitters for Student Canteen, but subsequently left both), would be the perfect hosts for the new program. At a meeting at the InterContinental Manila parking lot, Tuviera made the offer to them; they accepted.
De Leon coined the title of the show: Eat represents lunchtime while Bulaga (which means "to surprise") represents their plan to fill the show with big surprises. The title is also a play on two children's games: Eat is the transliteration of It from the game Tag while Bulaga refers to Peek-a-boo!. Because of this, the slogan "Hangga't May Bata, May Eat Bulaga!" ("While There Are Children, There will be Eat Bulaga!") was coined, also by de Leon. Vic Sotto, on the other hand, composed the theme song.
Eat...Bulaga! premiered on July 30, 1979. TVJ, along with Chiqui Hollman and Richie Reyes (a.k.a. Richie d' Horsie) were the original hosts. During its first few months on the air, the show was in danger of cancellation. Not only did it face competition against the longest-running noontime show at that time, Student Canteen, it also lacked advertisers. In addition, TVJ did not receive their salaries for six months.
Eat...Bulaga! slowly gained top-rating status in 1980 after the introduction of the segment "Mr. Macho." Production Specialists soon handed production to Tuviera's TAPE, Inc. In May 1982, the domestic satellite was launched, allowing Eat...Bulaga! and other RPN programs to be aired nationwide. During the same time, Coney Reyes joined the show while Hollman moved to Student Canteen. In 1987, Aiza Seguerra joined the show after finishing as a runner-up in the "Little Miss Philippines" segment.
In the 2004 episode of Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho, the episodes of Eat...Bulaga! from 1979 to 1982 had been lost, the first full surviving episode was in August 7, 1982, the third year anniversary of the show, however a clip from 1981 (the second year anniversary) are available on YouTube.
An interview with Joey de Leon revealed that Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon never signed any contract with Eat...Bulaga! when they were offered to become hosts of the show. Vic Sotto confessed that he accepted the offer and would immediately stop once he had enough money to buy a personal vehicle. Joey de Leon also admitted that the show was only supposed to be a short-term employment. However, Eat...Bulaga! defeated Student Canteen in the ratings after 2 years and TVJ decided to stay with the show. Up to this day, no contracts bind Tito Sotto, Vic Sotto, and Joey de Leon to the show or to TAPE, Inc. Friendship and their loyalty to the show are the only factors that keep them together.
First decade on GMA and silver anniversary (1995–2004)
By the 1990s, ABS-CBN wanted to buy the airing rights of Eat...Bulaga! from TAPE Inc. However, Tuviera and Malou Choa-Fagar rejected the deal, leading ABS-CBN had to decided not to renew its contract with TAPE, Inc. and remove Eat...Bulaga! and its sister shows Valiente and Okay Ka, Fairy Ko from its roster (with the exception of Coney Reyes on Camera) and to reformat its Sunday show Sa Linggo nAPO Sila into a week-long show, 'Sang Linggo nAPO Sila.
Eat...Bulaga! moved to GMA, whose efforts to dethrone it with Lunch Date (replacement of Student Canteen shortly after the 1986 People Power Revolution) and Salo-Salo Together (SST) had failed. The show made its premiere telecast on its new home on January 28, 1995, again at the Araneta Coliseum. Before this, month-long promotions (from December 1994 to January 1995) were made by coming up with the catchy advertisements, 9-2=7, Totoo ang Sie7e ("Nine minus two equals seven, Seven is really true"), alluding to the show's move from Channel 9 (RPN) to Channel 2 (ABS-CBN) to Channel 7 (GMA). It was also a homecoming for TVJ, who previously hosted Discorama and pinch-hit for Student Canteen on GMA before leaving the network for Eat...Bulaga!.
In 2000, Eat...Bulaga! became the first to give away millions on Philippine television. When Magandang Tanghali Bayan, then the noontime show of ABS-CBN, introduced Pera o Bayong to its audience, it became an instant hit, causing MTB to top the ratings of Eat...Bulaga for two years. This forced the Eat...Bulaga! management to give the first millions, through its segment "Laban o Bawi", "to get the audience interest back."
Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 25th year on television in November 19, 2004 at the Expo Amphitheater in Clarkfield, Angeles City, Pampanga, making it the longest-running noontime show in the Philippines. The television special was attended by an estimated 50,000 spectators and enjoyed the highest daytime TV rating in the Philippines. It won the Best Entertainment (One-Off/Annual) Special at the Asian Television Awards in Singapore on December 1, 2005. The event was hailed as the most successful on Philippine television, narrowly matched only by the 1st Starstruck Final Judgement. The presentation, titled Eat Bulaga Silver Special, was broadcast on November 28, 2004. By this time, Eat Bulaga! had modified its title, dropping the three dots.
In December 2004, GMA signed a five-year contract extension to keep the show on their network until December 29, 2009. After celebrating its 25th anniversary, it was incidentally the 10th anniversary of Eat Bulaga's start in GMA the following year.
Second decade on GMA, 30th anniversary (2005–present)
In 2006, the SexBomb Girls left the show due to a dispute with its producers. The show, in turn, opened auditions for new in-house dancers, under the name 'EB Babes', as a reality competition. The group officially debuted on August of that year. On March 2007, the SexBomb Girls returned as regular cast members.
On March 6, 2009, Francis Magalona, one of the long-time co-hosts, succumbed to leukemia. The following day, the show produced a tribute episode in which the whole cast performed his songs dedicated in his memory. During the tribute, it was revealed that Magalona coined the word 'Dabarkads', a popular name to the Eat Bulaga family.Ryan Agoncillo, new returnee on GMA Network, replaced Magalona and continued Magalona's role.
In 2009, Eat Bulaga! celebrated its 30th anniversary, dubbed as Tatlong Dekads ng Dabarkads (Three Decades of the Dabarkads). The show focused on honoring and helping remarkable people, including 30 poor, hard-working students and other everyday heroes as a gesture of paying back to the public who supported them. On December 18 of that year, the show renewed its contract with GMA Network. In addition, the show signed an extended contract with GMA Network in March 2011 which would last until 2016.
On February 2011, the SexBomb Girls along with the group's choreographer Joy Cancio left once more, this time for ABS-CBN's Happy Yipee Yehey!.
On October 6, 2011, Eat Bulaga! launched its coffee table book called Ang Unang Tatlong Dekada (The First Three Decades). It was written by Butch Francisco (a veteran columnist and TV host) with Jako de Leon (son of Joey de Leon) behind the design concept. Alongside the book, Eat Bulaga! gave away 3000 limited edition CDs of the 2004 Silver Special Anniversary celebration. Additionally, GMA News and Public Affairs produced a documentary titled Kuwentong Dabarkads hosted by Dingdong Dantes.
On August 18, 2012, Eat Bulaga! aired a special episode celebrating its 33rd anniversary without commercial breaks, the first time in its history. A soundtrack, Dabarkads D' Album: A Party for everyJUAN, featuring songs popularized by the Eat Bulaga! cast, as well as the theme tunes used by the show, was released in July 2013.
Due to public demand, Eat Bulaga! revived its traditional Lenten season drama specials during the 2014 Holy Week after an eight-year lull. Unlike its previous productions, the six heartwarming stories were inspired by true to life stories of former contestants of the popular segment, Juan for All, All for Juan. Two episodes were shown each day from Holy Monday to Holy Wednesday.
On July 16, 2012, Indonesia's SCTV Network aired the show's first international franchise, Eat Bulaga! Indonesia. The network, which had considered securing the rights for a local version for the past five years, started formal negotiations with TAPE, Inc. in April 2012, with approval given in June 2012.Eat Bulaga! Indonesia ended on April 3, 2014. However, the show eventually returned to the airwaves on November 17, 2014 on its new home network, antv, with the new title, The New Eat Bulaga! Indonesia.
Voyager Innovations, Inc., a Philippines-based technology company, released the official mobile app of the show on January 23, 2015. Eat Bulaga! is the first noontime show to launch their own mobile application that would allow their fans to stay connected with the hosts. The app also contains exclusive videos from the show's thirty-five years on television as well as a mobile version of one of its most memorable game segments, Pinoy Henyo.
A talent-themed showdown contest between two contestants, the winner of the day to be determined by a panel of Dabarkads judges. The winner of the day wins P20,000 and moves on to the weekly grand finals for the chance to win the prize of P100,000. Recent week themes have been about "Aegis" and "Hip-Hop".
Bulagaan is a segment of "knock-knock" jokes in a classroom scenario, with the hosts divided into groups, dressed in school uniforms, and singing their answers to the teacher's question. After performing, the group spins a giant roulette (numbered from 00 to 100) which is the basis of their score.The group with the lowest score will be punished at the end of the segment and later going free-for-all, throwing cream pies at each other. This segment occurs once in a while, usually during special occasions.
I-Search Na Yan!
A homeviewer portion where homeviewers have a chance to win cash and other prizes. Ryzza Mae Dizon asks a question related to Philippine history or current events, and people can use any resource, such as an encyclopedia or an electronic source, to find the correct answer.
Juan for All, All for Juan: Bayanihan of d' Pipol
Dubbed by Joey de Leon as "Bayanihan na may kasamang swerte", this segment shows the true purpose of Eat Bulaga! — to help less fortunate Filipinos and to give happiness to every Juan who supported them throughout the years. Included in this segment is the "Plastic ni Juan Project, where the plastic bottles they collect from the barangays they visit are turned into school armchairs, to be given to their chosen school in a specific barangay.
Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Paolo Ballesteros, and Marian Rivera-Dantes are the primary hosts in this segment, who are on-location at the chosen barangay for the day, with Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon and Allan K hosting in the Broadway Studio. A studio host draws an entry from a box containing registration forms from the chosen barangay and calls that person to confirm their name and address. The barangay hosts then go to the home address to meet and congratulate the winner. The winner is interviewed shortly by the hosts about family, work, health, and other personal background. The winner is given food, cash, and other prizes from the sponsors of the show, including appliances from Hanabishi, an O+ Android smartphone, grocery showcase from Puregold, and a raffle entry for a chance to win house and lot from Lumina Homes. Aside from the sponsor's prizes, the winner also receives a final cash prize from the show itself.
Afterwards, the hosts will announce the barangay's name and the phrase, "Bayanihan na!". The Filipino term "bayanihan" refers to a spirit of communal effort to achieve a particular objective. All who wish to be eligible to win must bring specific items that the hosts mention and must then race to the numbers laid out on the streets in under a minute. The hosts pick a random number. The person standing on that number and the four next numbers receive cash prizes and gift packs from the show and its sponsors. The line with the most behaved people, dubbed as the "Bayanihan Line", receives P1,000 each (for a total of P20,000). In the event of bad weather, the studio hosts select seven entries. The seven winners must each bring plastic bottles and their registration forms to receive P10,000
This segment is done on every show, Monday to Saturday, with locations ranging nationwide - from barangays and subdivisions across Metro Manila, all the way to provinces in Visayas and Mindanao. There, they usually have their selected contestant registered the previous day, with a copy of their entries sent back to the Broadway Studio to be drawn the next day.
Next to Juan for All, All for Juan is a special segment called Barangay Bayanihan. This applies to the chosen barangay of the day. For it to qualify, it must be well-organized, clean and well-behaved. Everyday a barangay is added to the list of "qualified" barangays, eventually summing up to more or less 20 barangays for the month. Otherwise, just one violation of the said requirements means the disqualification of that barangay. After each month, the hosts choose three barangays who will win a special prize based on their rank, with the best barangay winning the grand prize and the title of Barangay Bayanihan.
The hosts satirically answer several questions of barangay residents who seek resolution to their problems. Homeviewers may email their problem or directly call the hosts to share their problem on air. The barangay hosts also attempt to answer questions that netizens ask through the show's Twitter or Facebook page. The netizens may also offer answers or solutions to the chosen “problem of the day.”
The Eat Bulaga! audience is split into two sections, the Blue and Yellow teams, and several members from both sections are selected to represent their team in the game. The game master selects a letter and the players try to gather items from their team that start with that letter (for example, S = sunglasses). The team that wins the most gathering rounds wins the game, the winning audience team receiving multiple money prizes or Eat Bulaga! t-shirts.
List of segments
AFP Search for Singing Soldiers (1986, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2000)