Thursday, September 04, 2003

TVB has succumbed to the pressure of ratings and announced yesterday that "Princess Pearl 3" will be moved from the prime time 8pm slot to the earlier 6pm slot as of next week and will appear as a half hour episode format. Its original slot will be replaced with Damian Lau, Shirley Yeung and Maggie Siu's "Ying Hung Do Siu Nin" (Find the Light) that has been tasked with rescuing the ratings.

This was a commercial decision as TVB boss Tsang Sing Ming admitted that the main reason for the move was the poor ratings that fell to a low of just 18 points in the first week of airing with an average of 23 points and a peak of 29 points. Although the typhoon 9 on Tuesday resulted in a peak of 36 points, the anomolous result was not able to save it. He points out that this was down to poor acceptance by the audience and they must face the reality of poor scheduling and no matter if the show was their own or bought in, the appropriate action must tsill be taken. However he emphasises that the fall in ratings was not due to an effect of the competitor channels because they have not risen and the changes are merely to attract the viewers back to watching TV at this time.

When asked whether they had made the wrong decision to buy in this series, he said: "It's not the case, we have to try a range of different genres, as a commercial TV station our priorities must be on the ratings problem." As for the reaction of the sponsors, he says that they have indicated a wish to see more viewers at this prime time and he believes that the sponsors of this show will agree to the adjustment.

Before the announcement, Leo Ku and Dik Lung went along with their plans visiting an old folks' home in Po Lam to actively promote the show. Brother Lung feels that because the third instalment has changed the cast, he hopes that the audience will give them a chance as he laughs: "Not all swallows have such big eyes!" He and Leo have faith in the ratings, especially Leo who hopes that their third week ratings will begin with the number 3, who would have thought that hours later, the changes would be announced. Could it be down to Huang Yi's eyes not being big enough?

After the changes were revealed by TVB, the reporters called Leo for a response and his manager Paco Wong responded: "From the aspect of his manager, I ought to stand up for him and say that we are helpless against TVB's decision, but Leo will mostly be appearing in episodes 12-40 of this show, the first 12 being dominated by Mainland actors and possibly not to the Hong Kong audience's tastes. I hope that after episode 12 the show will do better because when it was shown in Taiwan, the ratings only rose after Leo appeared." As for Dik Lung, he says that as an artiste, then of course he hopes that his hard work will be repaid, but he can't change reality and doesn't see this as a bad thing and will take it squarely. Brother Lung says: "When the first and second series were aired the situation in Hong Kong was very different from now, so maybe it is not the right time for ancient dramas now and I will accept the arrangements. (Will you feel this is being disrespectful?) TVB have their reasons for doing this."


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