Monday, February 27, 2006

Newsbreak has an interesting take on The Religion of Noontime Shows.

The reality is that noontime shows in Philippine television are mere copies of each other. “Student Canteen,” “Kalatog Pinggan,” “Kwarta O Kahon,” “Eat Bulaga,” “Lunch Date,” and “Wowowee” share the same format.

What have changed are technology—TV sets are more affordable—and viewer profile. Orlando Mercado, former senator and host of GMA-7’s “Student Canteen” and “Lunch Date,” says: “TV ownership is so high now that even the smallest shanties of informal settlers have TV antennas.”


The noontime show starts with a production number and then mix talent searches and game throughout the show. They are basically variety shows and you can trace their format to the vaudeville shows of pre-television age.

“The format is still the same,” said Malou Fagar, executive vice president and assistant general manager of Tape Inc., the producer of GMA-7’s “Eat Bulaga.” “We only adapted to new trends but the format never changed.”


In the noontime shows, ratings matter and the most entertaining show wins.

Ratings Champ

“Eat Bulaga” has always been the show to beat. It has moved from RPN-9 to ABS-CBN to GMA-7 in its 27 years in the industry. They always carried with them their audience.


MTB gained a tremendous following from noontime viewers after it launched Pera o Bayong and became a “bigger apple” than “Eat Bulaga.”

“Eat Bulaga” was forced to copy Pera o Bayong and came up with Meron o Wala. But ratings didn’t pick up immediately. MTB topped the ratings of “Eat Bulaga” for about two years, Fagar disclosed. So the management decided to give away the first million on television in 2001.

“It was our way to get audience interest back,” Fagar said.

Noontime shows were never the same since then. Gone are the days when top prizes were about P100,000 and contestants were happy with P1,000 consolation prizes.


Unfortunately for ABS-CBN, its noontime dominance was short-lived. ...Last year, it introduced a different noontime package. Primetime hit “Pilipinas Game KNB” with Kris Aquino is timed with the first half of “Eat Bulaga,” and “Wowowee” with Revillame coincides with the second half of “Eat Bulaga.” “Wowowee retained Pera o Bayong.

They, too, weren’t big enough for “Eat Bulaga.


Then the “Wowowee” tragedy happened and ABS-CBN had to cancel yet another noontime show. ABS-CBN introduced about eight noontime shows since “Eat Bulaga” left the station in 1995.

The tragedy didn’t seem to faze the devotees of noontime shows. Monday after the “Wowowee” tragedy, people still showed up in the ABS-CBN compound for Pera o Bayong, unaware that the show had been cancelled.

This time, ABS-CBN offered its primetime hit, “Pinoy Big Brother,” to noontime viewers. It has yet to draw fanatics.