Monday, February 23, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun]

Today is Adam Cheng's western birthday and yesterday was his lunar birthday, but he was still filming yesterday with Cerina di Graca and Maggie Cheung in Yuen Long for "Proud Heroes of Chu and Han" and could only celebrate in the evening. Co-star Maggie said that she would buy him a cake for his birthday, but when the press visited the set yesterday, they couldn't see any cake and many people did not know it was Adam's birthday. When the reporters called for Cerina to give Adam a birthday kiss and before she had a chance to respond, Adam had called out in jest: "Wow! That would be very advantageous to me! But I will only accept kisses from pretty girls, are you a pretty girl? I don't mind if you don't kiss me though, because I already tried it out last night, rolling around, even better than in 'A Quick Step of Passion'." His words left Cerina very embarrassed and unable to do anything but giggle.

It turns out that Adam's telemovie with Sheren Tang was broadcast on Sunday, but he did not have time to enjoy it. This show is dubbed to be his most extreme performance that has left Adam with some memories as he joked again when Cerina and Maggie posed for a photo saying: "Let's have some more 'steps of passion'."

When Adam was asked how he will be celebrating, he says he went for an Indonesian meal with his family earlier and as for what his daughter has bought him, he says: "She made me a birthday card that is very beautiful. (What did Joyce get you?) She is in Canada, so I haven't received it yet." He adds that he revealed he liked digital cameras earlier, then he received two from his fans. He felt very awkward because he felt like he was asking for a present. He smiles: "I felt very embarrassed, so next time I will not say!" As for a birthday wish, he hopes to be happy and not to dwell on things.

As for Maggie's missing birthday cake, she says she intended to wait until they were back in the studio before she bought a cake for him, but then she found out that they had no studio scenes and they had a very early call, so she didn't have time to prepare. However, she has wished him a happy birthday at the first opportunity and he says that it is the thought that counts.

With a section of staff unhappy at the TVB cutbacks, sparking off a 'Wear Black' protest earlier, prompting talks between the union and the chiefs, Maggie says in response: "I personally agree with the formation of a workers union, because if the staff have a problem with their work, then they can follow a proper channel to talk with the company and this will make people more comfortable at work." As for the wear black protests, Maggie did not take part, saying: "I didn't have to go into TVB City that day and I only have a per-series contract with TVB, so I am not 100% TVB staff. However, I do hope that they can reach a peaceful agreement." At the moment, Maggie has not taken part in any union, including the HKPAG. She says: "I am too lazy! Also, my friends are not members, so I do not have any channels to contact them. (If you have the chance will you take part?) Let me find out more about it."

After receiving many complaints to the HKBA for airing the uncut version of "Titanic" featuring the nude scenes, TVB were faced with another barrage of unhappy viewers after airing telemovie "The Quick Step of Passion" on Sunday as more viewers complained about the sexual content, despite the ratings for the show averaging 20 points.

In response to this, TVB Assistant Managing Director Chan Chi Wan indicated that telemovie "Quick Step" was similar in style to the Western movie "Fatal Attraction", so they had already had internal censorship beforehand. Once this was passed, then they arranged for this show to be aired after the half-past nine watershed and carried a 'Parental Guidance' warning and TVB had made all the necessary arrangements. Maybe the recent sensitivity, coupled with the familiar faces of local actors heightened the reaction, but to date, the Broadcasting Association has not lodged any formal complaints against TVB.

TVB's other shows held their ratings with "Lady Fan" rising by one point to an average of 28 points, "Virtues of Harmony" stable at 29 points and the new series "Armed Reaction IV" averaging 29 points and peaking at 31 points.


[Ta Kung Pao, Oriental Daily & The Sun]

With cutbacks and redundancies at TVB causing the displeasure of their workers union, peaceful talks were held between representatives of the managers and the union. Present around the table were TVB assistant managing director Chan Chi Wan, personnel and administration department head Wong Yu Cheung and four other executives who faced union leaders Chan Wah Chi, Lau Shun On, Kwong Wing Hong and six other members. The talks lasted three hours and proceeded in a calm and accepting manner resulting in the agreement of "Reaching a compromise to help each other".

Mr Chan indicated that the talks helped to strengthen the communication between the parties allowing TVB to understand the reasons for the workers union and their goals, whilst the union were able to see TVB's reasons for why they have taken this action. According to union vice-president Lau Shun On, they understand that the cutbacks are a commercial decision, but the signals they received earlier were not as clear. The union has received four complaints and will address each one with a suitable explanation. He describes the outcome as 'Compromising to help each other' and they have obtained a promise from Mr Chan that they can contact himself or personnel to gain an understanding of any further changes.

Having been in existence for only three months, the "TVB Employee Association" has around 350 members with artistes among them. In response to the fact that the union has managed to recruit 10% of the company's 3200 staff, Mr Chan does not feel that this is a threat because to be able to have a link to the staff, it does not matter how many people join. Also with rumours that the Artiste department assistant chief Lok Yik Ling will soon be taking the place of Production Resources Deputy Chief Au Tai Kwan, Ms Lok denied this yesterday as well as the rumours of her falling out with Catherine Tsang, saying she has learned a lot from Tsang.

Also, the "Hong Kong Television Professionals Association" headed by veteran TV worker Tsui Siu Ming will be launched on 27th February with Liza Wang taking the president's chair.


[Oriental Daily]

TVB are currently making preparations for a light entertainment variety show due to begin airing at the end of March. Although the name of the show is still under discussion, the content will be along the lines of the classic "Enjoy Yourself Tonight" series with song, dance and sketches and a new arrangement of regular hosts. However sources suggest that the old EYT anchors such as Liza Wang and Lydia Shum will not have a part.

This new show, tentatively titled "Relax, it's Friday" is still being chalked out at the high levels, but is planned to air every Friday evening at 10:30 pm for an hour and to start with will have 40 episodes, taking it to the end of the year and more long lived than the annual reprise of EYT. As for the regular hosts, they will consist of newcomers with Lydia and Liza nowhere to be seen, possibly down to their high fees and the recent need for TVB to reduce its budget on the variety productions.

When asked for confirmation, producer Lam Ka Wing explained: "There will be no Liza and Lydia this time, but not necessarily because they are expensive. The company wants to give a fresh taste to the viewers and more opportunities for the newer artistes, hopefully training them in live show skills and improvisation."

Liza Wang feels that the reason for TVB using newcomers is down to the price of her fee, she says: "TVB have not asked me to do this show, from what I know they will be getting newcomers to host. (Are TVB saying that the classic actors are too expensive?) This is probably one thing that they considered, I think that TVB should make more of this type of show because it is good training for cast and crew." Without her and Lydia at the helm, Liza doesn't feel that it will lack a representation: "You can't say that EYT has to have Liza Wang and this show is not called EYT. (Will you feel a little helpless?) You can't say that, the company has to train its newcomers."


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