Friday, August 06, 2004

[Oriental Daily, Ta Kung Pao & The Sun]

Jessica Hsuan, Sunny Chan, Patrick Tang and Dave Wang were among the cast members gathered at TVB City yesterday for the costume fitting of new series "My Wife, Your Honour". Jessica reveals that when she and Sunny worked together on "Secret of the Heart", he had promised her that if no-one wanted her, he would marry her, but when Jessica found out that he was already married, she was devastated and joked that if no-one wants her in the future, she would have to be Sunny's mistress.

Jessica plays a judge in the new show and responding to the comments that TVB had tailor made this show for her in order to keep her on their books, Jessica denies this, but pledges to treasure this opportunity she has been given, because TVB rarely makes shows that have the female as the central lead.

In the series, Jessica and Sunny have a baby and at the event, Sunny would not let go of the baby actor, constantly telling the baby to call him 'Daddy' and attracting jokes that he is extremely broody. Sunny admits that he has been busy making babies with his wife, but as he will be filming, this will be put back by a few months.

Also, Patrick denies rumours that he has been actively flirting with Bobo Chan, saying that you don't need to flirt with friends, just communicate and whenever he goes out with Bobo, his girlfriend Marsha Yuen is well aware of it, so their relationship is not affected at all. He will not allow this to affect his friendship with Bobo either, praising her for being pretty and direct. As their experience in the music industry are similar in that they are struggling, then they feel a connection and can talk to each other, but she has not mentioned anything about her split with Edison Chen.

After over ten years away from TVB series, Dave Wang was back in TVB for discussions about the show yesterday and he indicates that he is back after his old friend Tommy Leung offered the invitation and he jumped at the chance to return a favour to him.

Dave says: "I have not filmed any TVB series for over ten years and although I made a telemovie earlier, this is the first time I have played a judge. My character is very stubborn but honest and is even a little amusing, with scenes from beginning to end." As for whether Dave will be singing the theme song, he says that this will be down to his record company to arrange and his salary is okay. When asked how much 'okay' was, he says: "Usually for singers to film in TVB series, the fee is a few hundred dollars an episode, but not for me. You would not get me for a few hundred dollars, but we all know that filming for TVB will not earn you as much as the companies elsewhere." Although Dave indicates he is back purely on the grounds of doing Tommy a favour, there are still rumours that the real reason he is back is that there are not as many opportunities outside. He says: "All I have to do is agree and there will be plenty of opportunities for me. In any case, I am happy to work with Jessica and Sunny and I have made arrangements with Tommy that I will have enough time to rest."

Dave reveals that his asthma was very bad in March and April and the medication left him bloated and swollen. Now the hard times are past and he will not let himself be so swollen any more. However, he is worried that filming another series will affect his voice, so he has been looking after himself. He will also be appearing in many of his own suits in the show.


[Ta Kung Pao]

The "TV Show Appreciation Index Survey" second quarter results were released yesterday and out of the 97 shows broadcasted by TVB, ATV, i-Cable and RTHK, the top ten most popular wre named. RTHK took four shows, TVB and Cable both gained three and having previously taken the top spot a number of times with "Stories from Afar", ATV was no-where to be found in the top ten this time. The top ten shows in order were: "Hong Kong Connection" (RTHK), "Monday Report" (TVB), "News Magazine" (TVB), "Doctor and You" (RTHK), "News Watch" (Cable), "MovinG China" (Cable), "Police Call" (RTHK), "Headline News" (RTHK), ""Cable News" (Cable) and "ICAC 2004" (TVB).

The report shows that no series were in the top ten, with only TVB's special production with the ICAC just making it into tenth position among the current affairs and documentaries. ATV's news programme only made it to 14th place and the once cult show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" scraped into 17th place, proving that ATV still has a number of shows keeping the audience captivated.

In the top twenty, RTHK took seven places, TVB and ATV took five each and Cable only took three, proving once again that RTHK continues to make the most highly acclaimed programmes.


[Ta Kung Pao]

Linda Chung appeared at a cosmetics promotion yesterday and offered her services as a model for a demonstration. Linda is confident about her appearance, especially her natural looks without make up, so she usually does not wear very heavy make up and faces people with a very simple look. Since joining the "Virtues of Harmony" family, playing the character of Michelle 'Hung Pak Lam', Linda's popularity has risen and many sponsors have approached her, so she has a promotional event to attend nearly every week. Yesterday's event brought her a five figure fee and for a newcomer, this is very satisfactory.

As well as the sponsors, 'Michelle' has a group of faithful supporters and at yesterday's event, there were a few fans who dragged her off for photographs, making her very happy. Linda says that every time she goes to events, these fans will be there and sometimes they will give her presents. When asked if she has received any rings from them, she says not yet, but if it is just a gesture of their support, then she will accept it.


[Ta Kung Pao]

Alex Fong was at a promotion yesterday and he seemed rather subdued as he explained that he has had a throat infection that has affected her voice and this is not better, so he had been to see a doctor that morning who told him that the infection had passed, but there is still a little swelling. He says: "The doctor asked me if I was feeling under a lot of pressure, but I am not really that stressed, just that the effect on my voice is affecting my mood."

Alex had been recording the theme tune for his series "Treasure in the Family", but because of the infection, the quality of his voice was affected. Luckily producer Mark Lui understood and did not reprimand him. Alex says with resignation that in order to get better sooner, he is combining Chinese with Western medicine and taking seven tablets a day. When asked if he has requested his company to cut down on his work, so he can get some rest, Alex says that as well as filming, he has to prepare for the Olympic Games coverage, so there is little time for him to rest at the moment. Later, he will be heading out to Athens, so he hopes he does not need to sing then.

With Kelly Chen also suffering from a throat infection, has Alex offered her any tips to overcome it? He believes that many artistes work late into the night and this can lead to infections easily, for singers in particular, this can be a real problem.


[Oriental Daily]

Sammul Chan appeared yesterday in a suit and white leather shoes in a typical seventies look, even topping it off with a gold chain around his neck that displayed the words 'Good Health'. He laughs: "I thought I'd use this chain to match the reminiscent look. It was a present from my nanny and I have never worn it before, so it was hard work finding it at home." He will soon be presenting the TVB Olympic Games coverage and he has received a four inch thick 'bible' that left him stunned and he has not yet started reading it. He says that his work is lined up to the end of the year, so in order to face all this work, he has not seen much of his family and he is also turning down his friends' offers of trips abroad as he laughs: "Every time I am at my busiest, they will invite me to go away. The most I can manage at the moment is half a day in Macau."


[The Sun]

This year's Miss Hong Kong pageant will be held next Friday and as well as top guests, TVB has also invested in the costume design. There will be six outfits and two sets of swimwear for the girls on the evening, including a set of swimwear themed as 'Multicoloured Mermaids' to show off the contestants' figures. Style Director Karen indicates: "We will only be providing the girls with nipple plasters to avoid them exposing themselves. Even without support this is no problem because the girls all have great figures." In order to tie in with the Olympic theme, this year's winner's cape will be different from the traditional maroon, changing to a sequinned bronze colour, creating an Athenian Goddess version Miss Hong Kong.

Also, an internet gambling site has released odds for 6 Kate Tsui to win at 4-1 together with 1 Queenie Chu and 18 Jacqueline Wong. As for 8 Winnie Shum who has been tipped for the top three all along, she has slipped to sixth with odds of 10-1.


[Sing Pao]

Since Mona Fong took over the top spot at TVB, there have been reports that Deputy Production Resources Director Catherine Tsang has lost some of her power, with even the popular and profitable series "Virtues of Harmony" being pulled at the end of the year at the instruction of a 'super executive'. Hwoever, Catherine insists that the proposal to end the long running show at the end of the year was hers and not that of anyone else. She says: "I would like to know who this 'super executive' is."

Reports indicate that with "Virtues" moving from the ancient version to the modern version, they have been well supported by the basic sponsors, so it cannot easily be cut, due to contracts with the sponsoring companies. As for reports that Catherine was so put out by the decision that she did not even take part at Liza Wang's celebratory party, Catherine said on a telephone interview: "I had a prior arrangement on the night of Liza's party and I told her when she called me that I would only be able to attend if I could turn down the other engagement."

As for "Virtues of Harmony" being cut, Catherine says: "The decision to end the show at the end of the year was made a long time ago and it was me who suggested it to the company. The ancient version aired for over three hundred episodes and the modern version has added more than another four hundred and it has been a series with stable ratings and promotions, but it is time for the writers to take a break, allowing them to rest a little before coming out with some new ideas."

Catherine continues: "The company strategy is to give viewers more choice. Take the ancient 'Virtues', it stopped for five months before the release of the modern version, during which we aired "The Family" and that had good results. The company needs to do something with the external shows that we have bought."

As for the magazine reports, Catherine says with exasperation: "They are so ignorant! They have not paid any attention to the direction of the markets, but they just want the circulation, so I will just see it as doing them a favour!" She laughs: "Actually I would like to know who this 'super executive' is!" In response to the suggestion that her favoured artistes Steven Ma and Maggie Cheung fading from the scene as a result of her loss of power, she says: "How will good actors be without work? As soon as they stop work with TVB, they have been marked by all the other companies. Take Maggie for example, afer filming 'Proud Heroes of Chu and Han' and 'War and Beauty', she has gone out to Shanghai to film 'Song of Everlasting Sorrow'. After Steven finished his series, he is making real money and will soon be heading out to America and Canada as well as the mainland to work in addition to what TVB has arranged for him."

Talking of "War and Beauty", catherine cannot stop as she enthuses: "This is one production that I sincerely recommend. Gigi Lai, Maggie Cheung, Charmaine Sheh and Sheren Tang have all done a remarkable job, especially Gigi. She has really changed and has been well moulded by producer Chik Kei Yi. In the past Bowie Lam was very afraid of making Qing period shows, but he has no regrets about accepting this role."


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