Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Executives Ho Ding Kwan (right) and Yip Yui Yu introduce TVB's forthcoming development plans

[Ta Kung Pao]

Yip Yui Yu was appointed in April as the International Enterprise Managing Director and yesterday, together with Group Managing Director Ho Ding Kwan, he met the press to reveal the international development plans for TVB in the future. Among them was an agreement that has been reached with governments in Guangdong Province to provide services to ten stations in nine cities, with TVB receiving a royalty for their copyright.

Mr Yip pointed out that as well as breaking into the mainland markets and more collaboration in series with the mainland companies, there is also Taiwan's TVBS providing three channels and soon to expand its own productions, focusing on youth idol series, such as "Love Contract". Also TVB will also be putting more emphasis on other areas, such as the joint production with Thai Television on "Split Second" and the Singapore collaboration "Yuma Yuma". Other partners will include companies from Korea and Japan.

As well as developments on the television side, TVB will also be working on new technology to utilise the world wide web and mobile telecommunications, presenting the European and American markets with an online sales outlet of VCDs and video tapes. Building on this, TVB will also be providing a service selling the productions of other stations, such as series and shows from the mainland.

TVB will make good use of the stacks of series in its vaults, repackaging and redubbing them to market to the European and American markets. As well as English, the Spanish and Indian speaking communities will also be catered for, with the focus on factual series and martial arts shows.

In the many lines of development, Mr Yip indicates that the timetable has not yet been finalised, but the first task will be to finalise the arrangements for airing in the mainland. Other areas will be rolled out subsequently. Also, the resources within TVB International (TVBI) will be realigned, but there will be no more job losses, with just some rearrangement of departments.


[Ta Kung Pao]

TVB held a blessing ceremony yesterday for the Olympic Games and the Olympic coverage simultaneously in the Athens News Centre, Olympic City Plaza and TVB City and wishing for everything to go smoothly. Among those taking part in the ceremony were Andy Hui, Alex Fong, Joe Ma, Vincent Kuk and Winnie Yeung and over in Athens, Michelle Ye joined them on the screen to introduce the situation over there.

This is the first time hosting the games for Andy and he hopes that the ratings will surpass the 35 point mark. It is very easy to make mistakes in the live show, so Andy feels that the most important thing is to keep a calm and clear mind. When asked whether he was worried that he could not catch up with the quick witted Vincent, he laughs: "If I can't catch him, then I won't bother!" However, he believes that there will be a lot of improvisation and it will be good fun.

Today (12th) is Andy's birthday, so how will he be celebrating, he said at first that he would not be celebrating, but it was later revealed that he would be having a big party, to which he admitted that it was just a meal. When asked whether he is in the mood for celebrating after becoming single again, Andy said impatiently that a big party or a small party is just the same. Talking of birthday wishes, he hopes that the Olympic Games Coverage will bring in some good ratings.

After the ceremony, Alex headed out to Athens in the evening, but he indicated that he had not yet packed because he believes that packing is easy for men and the most important thing to bring with him is his ID and his press card. Alex has his own sportswear sponsors, but whilst hosting the Olympics, Alex will be wearing his TVB uniform. As this conflicts with his endorsement agreement, he has made arrangements with his sponsors and they are fine about it.

Also, there have been complaints from some of the crew in Athens about the accommodation and food, but Alex says he does not mind as long as the show goes well, then it doesn't matter about the food and lodgings.


[Ta Kung Pao]

As well as breaking the markets in Hong Kong, Steven Ma also has intentions of making a name for himself in the mainland, so he has recently signed with Beijing company Xingze International in a management contract and hopes that this will help with his career in China.

Steven introduces the company, saying that although it was only set up this year, its services are very wide, covering arranging work for artistes, distribution of productions, management of large scale musicals, themed advertisement production and other cultural facilities. There are many well known artistes signed with them, such as "Bronze Teeth"'s Wang Gang, Golden Horse Best Actress Qin Hailu, martial arts action master Yuen Biao and Japanese star Kuriyama Chiaki. Steven was introduced to the company whilst filming in China last year through mainland star Li Yu.

Steven says that the company also has a branch in Japan, so he can also take this opportunity to break into the Japanese markets, but as he has little knowledge of Japanese, he is working at this a the moment. When it was suggested that he should find himself a Japanese girl to help him with his Japanese, Steven did not agree, saying: "We would not be able to communicate and anyhow I have already been to Hokkaido on vacation and the tour guide said that the girls there are very bad-tempered and demanding, so he feels he will not be able to meet their needs and they will not be his girlfriend."

In September, Steven will be heading back to TVB to film a new series. As he has not filmed for over a year and there have been some staff changes recently, he is worried that he will not feel comfortable on his return. When asked if he had met with new boss Lok Yik Ling, Steven says that he met her earlier, but has not heard her mention any new policies. As he made his contract in February with Chan Koon Ming, changing to a per-show contract, then he feels that there will not be any major effects on him.


[Oriental Daily]

Roger Kwok and Kenneth Ma donned their 'old maid' costumes yesterday in a final scene for "Same Work Same Bowl". After singing a set of songs on the stage, Roger appeared not to have had enough as he picked up his guitar off the stage and pretended to propose to a rather amused Myolie, creating his own style of romance and making Myolie very happy indeed. She indicates that she has had great chemistry with Roger in the show and hopes that they will get the best partner award in the anniversary awards. She says: "I have never filmed a series where I can't stop laughing, it was great fun! I feel like it went very quickly and all that is left is some location shooting in Zhongshan in September, so I really miss it and I hope there will be a sequel or at least the cast and crew can meet again in another series."

Myolie was praised by the producer for really capturing the character based on the veteran diva Tang Pik Wan and she smiles: "I never think about winning the best actress award at the anniversary, but I would like to take the best partnership award with Roger. I don't think we will make it this year though."

In the show, Wong Yeuk Tung playes the role of Dik Na, but she was mocked for not being curvy enought. She jokes: "I have already used two (bras), is that not enough? It doesn't need to be so exaggerated, as long as I have done my best to meet the requirements." She adds laughingly: "In the show I have to flirt in nearly every scene and seduce people, then swindle them. I am not afraid of setting my character style though as I can't worry too much. If I do well, then people will like me and help me cahnge my roles. Take Ada Choi for example, she started off in not so straight roles, but she is still very popular now."


[The Sun]

Deep Ng and Ron Ng were in TVB City shooting some photographs for the poster to "Police Cadet Brave Hearts" and wearing his fighting gear, Deep indicated that after this session, he has finished all his work for this series. When asked how he was feeling, he said: "I can't talk about it just yet." Then he left with the crew.

Priscilla Koo, Ron, Sammul Chan and Fiona Sit continued filming for the series in a scene where Priscilla's husband in the show Tsang Wai Kuen is kidnapped and by chance, she gets into a fight with kidnapper Wong Chun Tong, but wearing a wedding dress, her fighting was rather hindered. She says: "It is quite a fight because my leg kicks as high as Wong Chun Tong's head."


[The Sun]

After an absence of six years, TVB's "Anniversary Music Special" will be back this year, riding on the revolution of "Jade Solid Gold". The show has been agreed to be aired on 31st October and will start the celebrations for the TVB anniversary in November. In its day, the show brought out all of TVB's contracted singing stars, such as 'the Four Heavenly Kings', Faye Wong and Sammi Cheng, so to ensure that it doesn't seem quiet in comparison this year, TVB has been eagerly preparing and negotiating hard with the record companies, also inviting singers from the mainland and Taiwan so that over a hundred singers will be there for the event.

Many record companies have responded enthusiastically to TVB's plans and Universal's executive Chu Kwok Ching said: "It is definitely a good thing, now that TVB is starting to focus on music, so we will definitely support this." Gold Medal spokesperson Miss Chan says: "The anniversary is a large show that only happens once a year, so if they do it again, then I am sure all the stars will take part." As there will be huge number of stars present, then the role of team captain for the male and female teams on the night is under great speculation and TVB are currently thinking hard about it. As for the format, it will be based highly around the music, with a live accompaniment and just like in the past, it will challenge the singing ability of the singers.

Also, Miriam Yeung was recording the commentary for "Number 1 Animal Olympics" earlier, working opposite famed sports commentator Ng Fong Wing. She said excitedly: "This is the first time we have worked together and so I'll 'hand over to him' anyway." [Em's note: This joke plays on the pun that the news anchors are always 'handing over' to Ng to talk about sport.] Miriam also reveals that at the celebratory party for her good friend Mark Lui's concert earlier, she had food poisoning after eating some sushi: "My ex-colleague gave me some medicine, so I was okay after going to the toilet."


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