Friday, January 30, 2004

[Oriental Daily, Ta Kung Pao & The Sun]

TVB held its New Year blessing ceremony yesterday headed by Chairman of the board Sir Run Run Shaw who greeted all the staff on behalf of the company directors. Other senior executives present included Deputy Chief Executive Leung Nai Pang, Group Managing Director Ho Ding Kwan and Assistant Managing Director Chan Chi Wan. The show was hosted by Lily Lei and as well as a lion dance, there was a lucky draw, sideshow games and a buffet, all creating a happy atmosphere.

Talking of the outlook for TVB this year, Ho Ding Kwan was optimistic as he indicated that the advertising revenue for the year was not bad and pricing has been reviewed accordingly. Will there be a pay rise for the staff? Mr Ho indicates that he hopes so, but this will depend on the revenue reports. Although the economy has made a recovery, it is still just the beginning of the year and it is still too early to say. TVB's paid viewing service will be unveiled in full on Monday. In response to suggestions that the relative low profile of the launch has made rivals Cable breathe a sigh of relief, Mr Ho says that the paid television service is just beginning and Cable are one of their providers who have their own managing body.

As for TVB's paid service providing a hour of new drama, so that they do not run out of series to air on free to view and paid services, the company will be increasing its drama outputs from the current 560 hours to 780 hours, of which a hundred hours will be jointly produced with the Mainland TV stations. A further 120 hours will be bought in externally. When asked if TVB plans to introduce a 24 hour news service to rival Cable's news channel, Mr Ho says that there is no intention for this because there is currently not enough resources available.

Also, Mr Ho will be concentrating on affairs linking the company with the Mainland this year and he will be passing responsibility for the production resources department (ie Artiste division), legal department and the production department over to his colleague Chan Chi Wan, who will become the head of five departments, including his current reports of external affairs and scheduling. When Mr Chan was asked if he would be getting a pay rise, he says: "No, I am just learning!" As for the series "Medical Heroes", that will begin pre-production next week, will this be replacing "Healing Hands III"? Mr Chan denies this, insisting that "Healing Hands III" will definitely be filmed. As for whether Lawrence Ng will be appearing in it, he says that Lawrence has a good working relationship with TVB and if there is a suitable part, then he will be made an offer. "Medical Heroes" will be filming on location in East Africa and it should all be very safe as it is being developed as a tourist region.

In addition, after various reports that Hong Kong's artistes have a poor psychological support and a call from film director Cheung Kin Ting to include a psychological development element in the training of new actors, Mr Chan reveals that he will be taking part in the tutoring of the artistes classes, where they will be introducing a psychology course and he welcomes Director Cheung to come and assist with the teaching. He also says: "Actually I have just come from a meeting with the Anti-drugs campaign members and they would like to discuss the ill-effects of drugs with our students. This is not an indication that artistes are turning to drug abuse, it is just so that we make clear the dangers that they can face and if they decide to follow this path, then no-one can help them."

During the ceremony, Sir Run Run was flanked by this year's Miss Hong Kong winners Mandy Cho, Rabee'a Yeung and Priscilla Chik. Talking endlessly to Mandy, Sir Run Run was full of life and seemed in very high spirits. Whilst playing the games, Sir Run Run was like a big kid as he became very excited and had to be coaxed away afterwards by his assistants and Mandy. Wearing a short skirt, Mandy was very absorbed with Sir Run Run's company and almost revealed herself on many occasions. Later she defended herself saying: "It wouldn't happen, because I have something on underneath! (Were you too busy looking after Uncle Six to attend to your sitting position?) This has nothing to do with that!" When asked what she was chatting to Sir Run Run about, she says: "Uncle Six told me a little about TVB's history and when we were playing Bingo, he was even sharper than me to spot the numbers and he ended up helping me out!"

After filming with Aaron Kwok in his music special recently, there have been rumours that Mandy has become the object of Aaron's desires and he has tried to date her. When Aaron was asked about whether Mandy fits his criteria for a perfect lover, he replies smiling sweetly: "Of course she does, she is Miss Hong Kong after all! She has a good education and a happy personality." When asked if he had given her a lift home, Aaron says: "You said it! We don't really know each other very well so why would I take her home? In truth, her father picked her up from filming. (Did he get in your way?) Don't say that, she is Miss Hong Kong and I care for her as everyone cares for her. (Are you attracted to her?) Of course I am, if I wasn't I wouldn't have chosen her when I judged the contest!"


[Sing Pao, Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun]
(& pics from Apple Daily)

With the current situation surrounding the Bird Flu epidemic, Hong Kong's government officially banned the import of live poultry from the Mainland. At the blessing ceremony for TVB's "Destinies of the Western Chamber", there were two chickens among the sacrificial food that also included roast pig and fruit, but the master leading the ceremony indicated that they were local live chickens and were totally safe. Nicknamed "Chicken Queen" Kiki Sheung was not afraid at all as she took a whole plate for herself to savour. Is she not afraid of bird flu? She says: "Not afraid! I am 'Chicken Queen', I just went to the roast meat stall the other night to buy half a chicken to eat. Chicken and fish are foods that you cannot be without. Even if I go to China I will still eat it, a lot of things are down to fate! If the chicken is properly cooked, there is no problem. We have to help the chicken farmers, if we don't eat chicken, how will they survive?"

Myolie Wu is also continuing to eat chicken as she says: "I will still eat it and I am not afraid, usually the chicken we eat in restaurants is made from frozen chicken and I am even drinking chicken soup. However I will avoid the white boiled chickens that have some blood in them as I prefer to eat fried chicken more!"

Michelle Ye is more afraid of the bird flu. She says: "With the infection so rife at the moment, I daren't eat it. You see I have little spots all over my face, I am afraid that if I catch the infection then it would be terrible." Talking of her new show, Michelle feels like this is an ancient prequel to "Triumph in the Skies" because working with fellow co-stars Myolie and Ron again takes her back to the previous happy times. She also indicates she will be taking part in the continuation show for "Triumph".

Ron Ng feels that the ban on Mainland chickens is inevitable and he will try and eat less chicken. However he believes in imported chicken from other countries, because if it passes the checks, then it should be okay.

There have been reports in a magazine recently that Michelle Ye has been dating a director, but after filming with him she has left him. In response to this, Michelle says: "How do you know if it is me if they did not mention the name? Don't be silly! It is definitely not me, nothing like this happened and if the irresponsible reporters have evidence, then they should bring it out. If I had done something like that I would admit it." She indicates that she has not read the details because this would make her angry.

The show was filming yesterday until around 4 am with the next session to start an hour and a half later, Myolie, who lives quite far away went back to Michelle's home to rest. However, Myolie was not comfortable in a 'strange bed' and could not sleep, so she just rested. This was not the first time that they have shared a bed, as they have already tried it whilst filming for "Triumph in the Skies" in Hokkaido.

Talking of the filming of the continuation for "Triumph", Myolie feels that it would not be the same without Francis: "Without Sam, there will be no Zoe!" She feels that Francis is part of the soul of the characters and it would be disappointing without him, so she hopes he can find the time to make an appearance.

Fellow co-star Sammul Chan revealed in a radio interview yesterday that as "Triumph" has brought him a rise in popularity, he would like to be part of the show. In his words: "Of course it would be best with all the original cast and crew. I think he worked quite happily with the company. (Are you worried it won't go ahead?) I don't think that it will be cancelled because of one artiste. I will definitely be greedy and take a part, especially if the show will be filming on location abroad again so we can combine work with pleasure!" As for the reports about Francis' reasons for turning down the show, Sammul does not believe the negative press about Francis opting to make 'real money' instead. Sammul also revealed that he will be living his dream to become a pop singer soon as he was signed by an international record company soon after he found fame with his two popular shows last year. He says that the company has many famous stars in its books already and often arranges concerts for them, but as for which company he has signed, it is all still shrouded with secrecy and he will leave it to the company to make the announcement. Sammul's debut album will be out in May or June and as the 4th May is his birthday, Sammul hopes that the record can be released on that date to make it extra special. As for his image, he says he cannot be a bad person, so it will most likely be a 'good boy' with a healthy image.


[Oriental Daily]

Three Miss Hong Kong representatives Rabee'a Yeung, Priscilla Chik and Selena Li visited an old folks' home to offer their new year greetings and play games with the elderly residents handing out lucky packets and presents. When the residents saw the pretty girls, they immediately offered some new year greeting phrases and even added "A house full of children and grandchildren", making the three girls laugh uncontrollably before they graciously accepted the greeting saying: "That's great!"

Over the new year, Selena and her family went to Macau to set off some fireworks as she reported excitedly: "This was the first time I have ever set off fireworks and although they were very expensive - like burning banknotes and with so many people it was quite dangerous, but they were so beautiful and I will definitely go again!" She visited the casino at the Lisboa and looked around, but did not make any new year riches.

Also, Rabee'a and Priscilla who have both been round collecting lucky packets at the new year laugh that they have not counted their lucky money as Priscilla explains: "Our tradition is that we do not open our lucky packets until the fifteenth day." Rabee'a says: "There is a big pile, so it should be quite rewarding!"


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