Aside from Joey, Vic Sotto and his wife, Pauleen Luna, Jose Manalo and Maine Mendoza hosted the Bawal Judgmental, the show’s popular segment featuring Kapuso star Bianca Umali as “judge” for the seven guests that included Dean’s Listers and working students graduating with honors.
STAR/File
Eat, Bulaga! bans live audience over COVID-19
Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - March 10, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Followers of the GMA-7 noontime show Eat, Bulaga! were pleasantly surprised yesterday to watch it without the usual jampacked audience, perhaps the first time a “live” show aired from an empty studio. The drastic move was necessary due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak that has so far affected nearly 100 countries, including the Philippines.

“We were just told about it when we got to the studio yesterday morning,” said Joey de Leon, one of the main hosts who writes the Sunday column Me, Starzan for The STAR. “A sign was placed at the entrance that we won’t be accepting ‘live’ audience for the meantime, but we don’t know how long it will last.”

According to the Bulaga official statement, “in view of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Philippines, which has placed the country in a state of public health emergency, the management of Eat, Bulaga! has decided to temporarily suspend the admission of a live studio audience in the airing of its show, to help prevent the spread of the virus and to ensure the health and safety of its talent, staff, crew and members of the audience.”

The statement added that the decision was made after extensive and careful consideration in order to cooperate with government efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, with the assurance that “araw-araw pa rin po kaming maghahatid ng isang libo’t isang tuwa sa inyong tahanan,” and a reminder, “Ingat po tayong lahat, Dabarkads!”

Aside from Joey, Vic Sotto and his wife, Pauleen Luna, Jose Manalo and Maine Mendoza hosted the Bawal Judgmental, the show’s popular segment featuring Kapuso star Bianca Umali as “judge” for the seven guests that included Dean’s Listers and working students graduating with honors.

The Bulaga measure came in the wake of President Duterte’s declaring a state of public health emergency amid reports that 20 people were confirmed to have been infected with COVID-19 through local transmission, at least one in Quezon City as reported by Mayor Joy Belmonte.

In yesterday’s edition of Bulaga, instead of the studio audience being asked questions for the guest panelists, with Wally Bayola duster-clad as a housewife, residents of Rodriguez, Rizal, where the remote telecast was aired, were instead invited by Ryan Agoncillo and Jimmy Santos to ask questions.

“No more beso-beso, no more kissing, no more shaking hands,” added Joey, “just a simple ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ from a distance.” Soon, the hosts might be required to wear masks on air.

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