Wednesday, February 25, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao]

TVB's recent economy drive has sparked off reports that "Virtues of Harmony" is cutting its more expensive stars as a result, with Cutie Mui being the first casualty, replacing her with MCI winner Linda Chung and other new stars such as Hawick Lau and Lo Ho Kai.

In response to these reports, Cutie denies being sacked from the show as she says: "I thought long and hard about it and decided that I wanted a new working environment, so I requested to be moved into the Variety Shows team. I will finish filming 'Virtues of Harmony' on 7th March and then begin hosting a new entertainment series on 19th March. (But isn't it perilous in the Variety team at the moment?) All along I have loved doing this type of show and although I love 'Virtues' and am thankful for the last three years of stable filming, I can't have the best of both worlds and had to make a decision."

Cutie denies being a highly-paid artiste as she laughs: "Although I can sing and dance and I am beautiful with a sweet voice, able to take on modern and ancient roles, but I am not highly paid! How can one person's salary balance that of Hawick and Lo Ho Kai?" As for TVB's 'one-show contracts', Cutie says that this policy had already been introduced four or five years ago and at the time she offered to reduce her salary because she was doing over 90 shows a year. As for the current offer, Cutie says that as she has chosen to co-operate with the company, then she will respect their decision. The world outside is not bad, but for her, TVB is her world.

As well as moving to Variety, Cutie has many other plans for the future, including continuing her spokesperson role for a beauty salon and investing in Florence Kwok's new restaurant that will be opening in July or August.

Also, in response to the cast changes in "Virtues", Nancy Sit says that for a long show, changes in the cast will be inevitable. As for whether she is worried about being moved out because of her high salary, she laughs: "Ha! I am the cheapest artiste there. The company will do its sums and I am sure they will come out the winner." Nancy reveals that in 2001, she offered to reduce her appearances from over 90 to half, because she had to look out for her other jobs. As for Kingdom Yuen who is another highly paid artiste, is she worried about being written out? She laughs: "You can't worry about these things, just have to do your job." She also says that in a long show there will be people coming and going and this is a common occurence.


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