Vic Sotto, Tito Sotto, Joey de Leon announce 'Eat Bulaga!' departure from TAPE, to move to TV5 — source

Kristofer Purnell - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Noontime variety show "Eat Bulaga!" main hosts Vic Sotto, his brother Tito Sotto, and Joey de Leon have announced that they will be parting ways with Television and Production Exponents Inc. (TAPE).

Confusion first arose when on reruns of "Eat Bulaga!" were aired earlier today, suddenly, the feed cut to the show's production area.

The three hosts were standing in the middle while other co-hosts and staff were taking their places in preparation for the announcement.

Tito began by saying they arrived to do their regular work, however, were not allowed by new TAPE management to air a live show.

Joey then recalled that he and the Sotto brothers have been on the variety show for 44 years since starting it in July 30, 1979, "Lubos ang aming pasasalamat sa mga naging tahanan namin, unang-una ang RPN-9 for nine years, and ABS-CBN for six years, at ang GMA for 28 years."

Vic offered his gratitude for all the advertisers that teamed up with the show since 1979, then Tito continued by thanking fans, TAPE Inc. co-founder Tony Tuviera, and to the Lord Almighty.

After calming down the voices inside the studio, Vic said: "Hindi na namin iisahin ang laman ng aming puso at damdamin. Ang hangad lang namin ay makapagtrabaho ng mapayapa, walang maaagrabyado, at may respeto sa bawat isa."

Related: TAPE owes Vic Sotto, Joey de Leon over P30M —Tito Sotto

Vic then confirmed that beginning May 31, 2023 that he, Tito, and Joey would be parting ways with TAPE Inc.

"Karangalan namin na kami'y nakapaghatid ng tuwa't saya mula Batanes hanggang Jolo at naging bahagi ng buhay ninyo. Marami-maraming salamat sa inyong lahat, hanggang sa muli, saan man kami dalhin ng tadhana, tuloy ang isang libo't isang tuwa," ended Vic, raising his fist as his brother followed suit.

The trio's co-hosts who were present — Paolo Ballesteros, Maine Mendosa, Jose Manalo, Wally Bayola, Allan K, and Ryan Agoncillo — all gave them embraces as Vic and Joey said one more time before leaving the stage area, "We love you, bye-bye."

A reliable source confirmed to Philstar.com that "Eat Bulaga!" is in talks with Bacolod City mayor Albee Benitez for a transfer to rival network TV5.

Benitez is the founder and owner of Brightlight Productions, the TV production company behind "Eat Bulaga's" former rival noontime show "Lunch Out Loud" that was later reformatted into the now defunct "Tropang LOL," as well as Korina Sanchez's show "Rated Korina" and variety show "Sunday 'Kada" - both still airing on TV5 and ABS-CBN's affiliate platforms.

Last month, Tito alleged that TAPE owed Vic and Joey at least P30 million each for the year 2022 alone, although Vic said in early May it was a much bigger figure.

"Pero sa'min ni Joey, wala ‘yun. Wala ‘yun. Ganu’n namin kamahal ang ‘Eat Bulaga’," Vic said at the time, stressing that he and Joey do not mind getting their pay postponed. — Video from Maine Mendoza via Facebook

RELATED: ‘Actually, kulang ‘yun’: Vic Sotto says TAPE owes him, Joey de Leon not just P30M each

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