Monday, November 15, 2004

[Ta Kung Pao 16/11/04]

TVB is holding its "Sales Presentation 2005" over two days at the Happy Valley Jockey Club to introduce details of forthcoming productions on TVB Jade and Pearl to potential sponsors and the event is hosted by Leo Ku, Denise Ho and Derek Li. Artistes present include the 'Jade New Army' members such as Linda Chung, Fu Sze Sze, Vivien Yeo, Winnie Shum and Chui Kin Pong and compared to the past years where the occasion was attended by numerous leading male and female stars, it seemed to have lost much of its glitz this year.

The TVB information indicates that series to be aired next year will include "Same Work Same Bowl", "Yummy Yummy", "Imperial Layabout", "Hotel Turmoils" and "Ten Brothers" [translated working titles] and those yet to be filmed include "Powder and Rouge", "Happy Hotel", "Yellow Earth Great Plains", "Eternally Unique", "Espionage and Dangerous Love" and "Determined to Reach the Clouds". Among these, "Determined" will star Ekin Cheng. As for this year's hit return of "Super Trio Show", the terrible threesome will be back with two special shows on land and on water as well as a luxury and a hardship tour. Nat Chan's quiz show will be back called "China's Smartest Star".

TVB's Marketing and Sales Department Director in Chief Leung Kin Wah revealed at yesterday's event that TVB's advertisement fees will go up by 10% next year, but existing sponsors will have a special promotional rate if they can confirm their budgets before 10th December and it is up on 2004 by 15%, then they can receive a discount of up to 24% as well as 18% more free advertisement. When asked about the advertising revenue for 2004, Mr Leung said: "2004's income was up on 2003 by 10% because of the SARS outbreak in 2003 and the additional methods of advertisement available in 2004, such as product placement in TV shows."

As for the sales presentation this year being held over two days, but the class of the guests being weaker than previous years, Mr Leung says: "There's nothing we can do about that, because the space is limited and in the past the customers could come into TV City to watch the presentations, but this year we hoped to let them watch and eat at the same time, but this meant that space was limited and so we had to split it over two days. Tomorrow there will be two sessions in the afternoon and evening and in total, we will meet over a thousand customers over the three sessions."


[Ta Kung Pao 16/11/04]

TVB's "War and Beauty" has been a winner this year in terms of ratings and reviews and the theme of political conflict and backstabbing has hit a nerve with the office workers of Hong Kong thus explaining its popularity. Moreover, the show's hard-hitting stab at the real face behind humanity left people with much food for thought. The results of the "Most Moving Hong Kong Incidents" of 2004 poll held by RTHK were announced yesterday and "War and Beauty" came in at second place, after only the Olympic Games. Stars of the series Bowie Lam and Sheren Tang were guests at the event and helped to reveal some of the winners.

Bowie says that he is happy that "War" was able to affect Hong Kong in this way and in response to his own rise in popularity as a result and becoming favourite to win the award for "My Favourite Male Lead" at the anniversary celebration, he says that he is confident and laughs: "I have not finished thinking about my thank you speech yet, but I have prepared my outfit for the evening as I have received sponsorship from a designer label and have chosen three outfits, each worth about $20,000. I will be wearing my own ring to go with it."

Bowie admits that he is becoming more and more nervous as the anniversary draws near and unable to sleep, he wakes up every morning at 4am. Although the award is not yet his, he has still received a lot of congratulations from people and he is worried that Dayo Wong will win the award instead, so he is asking people not to congratulate him just yet. As for reports that the female lead award will be going to both Sheren and Gigi Lai, Bowie feels that a double winner is not a problem because everyone is happy then! He also laughs that he does not mind if he is a double winner with Dayo and if he can work with Dayo next year, then that would be even better!

Sheren was asked about the rumour of a double winner and she says she will not comment on this because whether she wins an award or not, she has still received the praise from the audience and that is the most important thing. Also, as she will be wearing her sponsor's jewellery, she will not need to provide her own for the celebration. She does not care about standing out and laughs that if you see someone wearing hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewellery on them, then it definitely won't be Sheren Tang!


[Ta Kung Pao 16/11/04]

The TVB Anniversary Extravaganza will be taking place on Friday evening and this is a time when the female stars can show off their beauty. Among the highlights will be Gigi Lai's $30 million of jewellery, but her junior Shirley Yeung is not moved by this, saying that it is not just about showing off diamonds, as long as the design suits the outfit.

Shirley has received sponsorship of her outfit and jewellery from a friend and she has tried on her gown, but has not chosen the accessories yet as she is leaving this to her friend and therefore she does not know its value. With Gigi insisting she will respect the event and not wear a low cut dress, Shriely says tht her dress will be low cut and back revealing, but this is just to match her diamond jewellery.

Shirley was a guest at a promotional event for a contact lense centre yesterday and she says that apart from her fee, she has also received a year's worth of contact lenses. She is about 300 degrees short sighted, so as it is not very bad and she has heard rumours that laser eye surgery is not 100% safe, she has no intentions of correcting her eyesight in this way. She has been wearing contact lenses for six or seven years now and has had many funny moments. Once she forgot to take one lens out and she felt uncomfortable so she went to see the optometrist, but was unable to find the lens. After a couple of days it fell out on its own. Another time, she did not clean the lenses properly and contracted an eye infection. As an artiste, you sometimes have to wear your lenses for seven days a week, so you have to be careful to select the right lenses.


[Ta Kung Pao & The Sun 16/11/04]

Nick Cheung, Raymond Lam, Sonija Kwok, Sharon Chan, Leila Tong and Bosco Wong were among the cast members of "The Last Breakthrough" taking part in a promotional event for TVB and the Kenyan Tourist Board for the start of a campaign on the tramways, setting out from Sai Wan tram terminus and going all the way to the other end of the line at Causeway Bay. For the next six weeks, there will be banners featuring pictures from "Breakthrough" and Kenya on out outside of six traditional styled trams. When Sonija and Nick posed for photos beside the tram, some fans called out to Nick: "Nick- you have lost so much weight, it pains us to see you like this!" making him rather embarrassed.

Nick says: "After losing weight, a lot of people have said I look more handsome and everyone has praised me. Actually I only lost a few pounds, but maybe it is my skin head! Recently I have been having some health treatment, so my food has been plainer and I have a four and a half pack with just a little bit of fat on my abdomen."

Not having been on a tram since she entered showbiz, Sonija said that as she was not working last night, she had arranged to meet up with some other cast members from the show to watch the first episode together, but as some people had to attend the Sales Presentation, the event did not take place. She says that filming "Breakthrough" was great fun and everyone gave her the nickname "Song Nei" (Crazy Nei) because this sounded like her English name and and she was very playful on the set. Sonija laughs: "At first, everyone thought that as I was from Miss Hong Kong, that i would be very quiet and not speak. Then they found out that I am not only able to play with them, but we had a good time as well, so they gave me this name. People have called me this before, but I have not heard it for a long time now."

Sonija also took part in an episode of "Super Trio Show" with Nick and although she was rolled around on the floor and soaked with water, she still had fond memories of the show. As she also won a number of prizes, she says that she will go back again if she has the chance.

Raymond feels that the time that "Breakthrough" is being aired at is much better than "Twin of Brothers" because people have to work late now and the later time slot is better. He says: "They are repeating 'Survivor's Law' late at night at the moment and a lot of people are watching that and saying it is good, but when it was aired during prime time, the reaction was not as enthusiastic." With the premiere of "Breakthrough" yesterday, did he call some friends and family together to watch it? He laughs: "I don't need to because they will automatically support me." Raymond himself did not have time to watch, but he has recorded it to watch later. He does not encourage other people to record it though because this is not counted in the ratings!


[Ta Kung Pao 16/11/04]

The sixth "Yan Chai Charity Golf Tournament" was held at Clearwater Bay Country Club yesterday and HSBC Managing Director Ngo Ching Fai JP was the guest of honour, with Niki Chow invited to drive the first ball. This event raised a total of $500,000 for the Yan Chai Educational Services Trust.

Simon Yam was originall to be a guest, but cancelled at the last minute, but other celebrities at the event included Nat Chan and his wife Cecilia Wong, Michael Miu, Stephanie Che, Rain Lau, Yvonne Lam and Helen Ma.

Niki has been busy filming recently for ancient drama "Scholar Meets Soldier" and rushed to the event straight after filming yesterday morning, so she was a little tired and seemed rather subdued. Whilst everyone else talks about slimming, Niki is actually trying to put on weight because her slim figure is an obstacle to her action shots, especially during the wirework, where it is easier to be injured if you are too slim. As a result she is trying to pile on some pounds in the hope of taking her weight from 110 lbs to 120, but she is worried that the weight will show on her face and her breasts will seem smaller, making her look bad on the screen as she puts on and loses weight very easily.


[The Sun 16/11/04]

TVB's "Passion for Black Forest" filmed its final shots yesterday in a scene that tells of Myolie Wu and Joe Ma getting back together and hugging each other in a very touching scene. Afterwards, Myolie commented that Joe's chest is like a sponge cake: "He is really huggable! I ate a lot of cakes whilst filming for this series, but maybe because it was so hard work, I have actually lost a few pounds!"

When asked if she was confident about taking an award for "My Favourite TV character" at the anniversary, Myolie says: "I am not confident because I feel that the 'War and Beauty' cast will do well." As for the reports that Joe Ma will not win an award this year, he says: "I will not be unhappy because it doesn't matter if I win an award or not. I think Dayo Wong will win."


[The Sun 16/11/04]

"War and Beauty" has been a big hit and even the supporting cast members like June Chan have benefitted after being signed to be a spokesperson for a slimming company. June says: "Everyone thinks that I am very slim, but I have a lot of 'sneaky fat', especially my legs that left me never daring to wear short skirts and boots. Now I am getting paid to get slim and they have got rid of my fat legs, so I am very happy."


[The Sun 16/11/04]

with the anniversary almost upon us, all the ladies are getting glammed up and despite rumours that she will not be attending the celebration, Maggie Cheung is currently working hard on her schedule whilst filming for "Song of Everlasting Sorrow" in China, so that she can show off all her designer labels at the extravaganza show.

Maggie's stylist Ricky indicates that she has received a sponsorship of $10 million of jewellery from Bvlgari and Van Cleef & Arpels and her gowns have been sponsored by Valentino and Gucci. Valentino have even shipped in a number of outfits and fur coats especially from Milan for Maggie to choose fromand one of the priceless outfits is the only one of its kind in the world. Maggie says: "I have not confirmed whether or not I will be back, but with so many sponsors supporting me, then I will still try to go, no matter how hard it is to take time out from filming."


[The Sun 16/11/04]

TVB's "My Favourite Female Lead" award for this year has been an object of much contention and the female stars have not only been showing off their jewels to gain the spotlight, some have even resorted to building relationships with the executives as Charmaine Sheh was spotted lunching with TVB production chiefs Lok Yik Ling and Catherine Tsang yesterday afternoon as the competition reaches a white heat!

There have been many rumours of late that TVB's 'big sisters' of production - Production Resources Deputy Chief Lok Yik Ling and Drama Section Deputy Chief Director Catherine Tsang have been 'spoiling' Sheren Tang and Gigi Lai and that the award will be split between them, as well as rumours of expensive gifts of shoes being passed to the bosses. However, there was another twist in this story yesterday as Charmaine was spotted lunching with Ms Lok and Ms Tsang and even dared to arrive half an hour late, proving that she holds a strong position in the respect of the two ladies.

Afterwards, Ms Lok commented: "There was no special reason for the meal, Charmaine is a TVB managed artiste and we will look after her. Other artistes are all TVB's sons and daughters and we do not have favourites. It is a difficult situation and I don't want to put too much on it as I just deal with everyone naturally. (Who do you think will win?) If there are four winners, then that would be the best!"

After the meal, Charmaine headed off to an opening and she admitted openly that she had been to lunch with the two bosses. As for the rumours that the award will be going to Sheren and Gigi, Charmaine asked: "Has this already been decided? (Do you feel better after having lunch with the two executives?) It was just a meal! The company has always been good to me, but we did not discuss this over dinner. They just told me to keep working hard." As for Gigi Lai receiving jewellery sponsorship totalling $30 million, Charmaine says: "This is not about value, as long as it looks good. Anyway, the awards are fair competition and there is no smokescreen, so no-one knows the results until the final moment. I am from Miss Hong Kong, so I can prove there is no fix."

With the second print of "War and Beauty" DVD sets selling out almost immediately, TVB's External Affairs Assistant Chief Tsang Sing Ming indicates that there will be a release of 2000 VCD sets priced at $488 that come with a special souvenir brochure. As for the final week ratings for "Split Second", it maintained a 26 point average. Sunday's "Super Trio Show" fell by a point on the previous week to an average of 32 points.


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