Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Entertainment Newsreel #3: Mostly television industry news....


Hello!  My apologies for how late this post is compared to my earlier newsreel post.  I’ve been really busy since returning from Jacky’s concert in mid-February so I’m still trying to play catch-up on some stuff.  Luckily, with the Chinese New Year holiday, there wasn’t a whole lot of major entertainment news the past two weeks (at least not stuff that I care about) so that’s good.

Below is this week’s newsreel post.  Note that it’s shorter than usual because I’m still catching up, plus most of what I wanted to relay about HKTV and the television industry I already posted up detailed articles on last week so make sure you check those out as well.

Television industry news

FOX ASIA

-          Someone asked me earlier if I knew when Fox Asia’s 2 HK series Trading Floor and Stain’d will air.  At the time, I said I don’t know because I truly didn’t know…but last week, I read an article where one of the executives from Fox said that both series are scheduled to air in “Spring 2018”.  Of course, that’s still a big vague, but at least it helps us narrow down the time period – since spring officially starts in March and lasts through May, then it’s pretty safe to say that both series will air anytime within the next 3 months, so watch for the official announcement (which I anticipate will come any minute now).

-          Honestly, I can’t wait, as I’ve been highly anticipating both series.  I even downloaded Fox’s app on my iPad already so I can be prepared once they air (and yes, I already combed through it when I downloaded it to see if there was any info about the 2 series, but so far nothing – I didn’t check last week though so unless they updated recently….).


ATV

-          So far, the only “big” news from ATV is that they are already working on the much-touted television remake of “A Better Tomorrow”.  ATV’s CEO Ng Yu attended an event recently and revealed that they are throwing millions of dollars into the production, though cast has still not been confirmed yet.   I personally still think that the leads are going to be Mainland artists, as Ng Yu pretty much “hinted” at such when he said that they “will be throwing millions of dollars into the production because they want to ensure quality and also well-qualified Mainland actors are expensive” (yes, he actually did mention Mainland actors and production costs in the same sentence, though he didn’t say outright that he was going to cast Mainland artists). 

-          Ng Yu also implied that he originally was thinking about having HK singer/actor William Chan star in the series.  When reporters asked him about the cast for ABT remake, Ng Yu said that they are still working on it, but the biggest problem is with artists’ schedules – for example, in the past, whenever he would approach William Chan to participate in something, he would readily oblige, however nowadays when he approaches him, he is not able to accommodate due to his busy schedule filming in Mainland (remember that Ng Yu was head of EEG before he got pulled out of retirement to head up ATV comeback venture and William was EEG artist, so of course he could get him to do anything he wanted).

-          As I’ve said before, I’m not keen on this whole remake thing, especially with such an iconic classic as ABT, so most likely I won’t watch anyway, no matter who they end up casting.  Personally, I’m just interested in seeing how ATV fares this time around and whether they will succeed in “re-inventing” themselves.  So far, it doesn’t look promising at all (read my previous posts on ATV and you’ll probably understand why) but it’s still early so we’ll see….


OCTB

-          I know everyone is dying to find out latest on OCTB.  The latest “news” on the OCTB front – this comes from a  post that OCTB production team put up on their social media pages back on 2/22: they will officially start filming Season 2 in Spring 2018 (everyone seems to love spring, lol), which pretty much means in the next couple weeks, with anticipated airing date of Winter 2018 (so December it looks like).  This is great news actually, as I originally thought we won’t get to watch season 2 until 2019, but looks like they are pushing for sooner – basically end of the year 2018.

-          The same social media post also indicated that there will be 2 major OCTB-related events coming up soon so watch for those announcements!  [Sidenote:  I have a feeling I might now know what those “events” are but I will hold off since I could be completely wrong for one and two, it sounds like the announcement will come really soon so no point in speculating].

-          The following is actually “old” news from end of February (I read about it at the time but didn’t have time to write up this post on it so figured I’d mention it here):

o   HMV setup a booth at the annual CNY fair in HK a few weeks ago selling all sorts of OCTB paraphernalia – pillows, mugs, playing cards, etc., all with OCTB cast and/or scenes and/or logo on them.   Justin Cheung (aka Jiu Jik) and Benji Chiang (aka Sai Wah) were responsible for manning the booth each day and helping to sell stuff (Justin especially since a lot of the stuff had his Jiu Jik character’s face on them, lol). 

o   Benji was interviewed and said that they actually have plans to release more OCTB merchandise in the coming months for fans to purchase, since it will be awhile before season 2 airs and they wanted to keep the momentum going.  He said that they are super excited about OCTB character action figures that are being made right now and also video games based on the series that are in the works as well.   Looks like they are definitely “going all out” in terms of promo for the series, which they can afford to do now that they’ve got Netflix backing them financially!

o   Speaking of Netflix…Justin was interviewed as well and was asked about season 2 and 3 filming.  He wouldn’t reveal too much of course but he did say that seasons 2 and 3 both got the green light to film.  Both seasons will also air on Netflix, which has become an investor in the series and will be contributing financially to the project (this of course means that future seasons could incorporate Hollywood stars).  Also, Justin’s character will continue to be significant in season 2 and they are currently planning out how his character will evolve…


12 comments:

  1. 小賢,

    Did you hear about the web series with Pierre Ngo and Chan Kwok Kwan? Is that show also made by the team behind OCTB too? You got any news about that one?

    I'm excited about the Fox series with Kara Hui and Anthony Wong, even though I'm not a fan of Patrick Kong.

    I get what ATV's trying to do, and they're definitely not trying to get money from HK audiences. They're trying to rehash content to sell the rights to Mainland audiences. Nothing wrong with that, but I'm not confident that they'll create great content.

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    1. @Anonymous: I know which web series you’re talking about...I think it’s called Iron Fist or something like that. No, I don’t think that has anything to do with Visual Bros, as that series was originally reported as being a movie (I pulled news reports from January and it said that was a movie, not a TV series). Not sure when it became a web series or if the media is just reporting it wrong....anyway, the only people from OCTB involved with that one I think are Danny Chan and Dominic Lam (Dominic plays Danny’s father). So far that’s all I remember from the top of my head but if I find anything else, I’ll definitely let you know.

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  2. Sorry being off topic, but since you're a Jacky Cheung fan and following the HK Entertainment for more then 25+ years I really want to ask you something.

    For a very long time I do have a lot of interest in Hong Kong Music Charts and so I'm collecting them, especially 70's, 80's and 90's. I know there were six charts introduced: RTHK, Music Bus Song Charts, TVB, CRHK, Metro and 881 CRHK Airplay Charts. Also there were album charts like Music Bus, New Generation, Disc Jockey, IFPI, RTHK Album Charts etc.

    Some of these charts I have in my possession, I do have some 80's and 90's charts like Music Bus Album Charts 86-87, CRHK 903 91-93 complete charts, RTHK Charts 80's and 90's. Also I do found a lot Music Charts on the internet from 1996-now (newsgroups from the 90's and old websites which archives are still online).

    Actually I want to try and ask you the next questions: Did you ever collected those charts and did you saved those charts up until today? Also do you have some knowledge of those Music Charts?

    Leon

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    1. @Leon: No worries about being off-topic, as I don’t have any rules against that here (in fact, I go off-topic all the time, lol), so feel free to ask whatever you want and I’ll do my best to answer. :-)

      Yes, I’m familiar with those music charts, but I don’t have any saved up or anything like that, since I’m not a collector in that regard. To be honest, I’m not a fan of those types of charts, especially not the ones in HK, due to the lack of integrity with each media company having their own biases and “methods” for determining which songs get on which charts for how long…to me, whether a song gets on a chart or not is no indication whatsoever whether that song is good or not (just like on the television side of things, I’ve never cared about what type of ratings a series/program gets because to me, that “number” doesn’t tell me anything about the quality of the program, which is what I’m mostly concerned with).

      With all that said though, it’s cool that you collect those charts – it must have been a huge undertaking though, especially the older charts which are probably super hard to find (online archives notwithstanding). Is there a specific chart or a specific artist’s songs you are looking for? I don’t save those charts specifically but I do have a lot of entertainment magazines from the 1980s/90s that I’ve saved up over the years and also books that have been written over the years (recent ones and older ones) that might have some of that information in it, so if there is something specific you are looking for I can check and see if there’s anything there….

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    2. Hello again,

      Maybe you can help me with "completing" the charts information I have for now. I do miss some basic information of these charts, maybe you know them.

      I do have interest in the charts because you can find the "plugs" of that time. When an album is released, they always sell the album with their plug songs. Plug songs are the selling point of an album, the most "commercial" song (in the sentence that this song will yield the most money). For a long time I'm collecting all plug songs of the Hong Kong Music Industry, and you can find those songs on Music Charts. I'm also a fan of Commercial Music (songs promoted on media platforms) and those Charts are made for that task.

      I have summed up all Hong Kong Music Charts that I know for so far. I have devided them into two categories: Single Charts and Album Charts. You can help me with the missing information or giving additional information (like this Music Charts also exists...)


      Here the details of all the "Single Charts" I know so far:

      - RTHK (中文歌曲龍虎榜): The first Single Music Charts of all. Established in 1975 with a another name, but that was changed in 1976 to the present name. At first, this chart listed ten songs. In 1987 it changed to 15 songs and later to 20 songs (I really don't know when exactly, it was definitely before 1993).

      - TVB (勁歌金榜): The second Single Music Charts. Beginning from 1st February 1986 and always listed 10 songs on their charts.

      - Music Bus (香港新歌榜): A Single Chart which started from 1986. Listed 20 songs on their charts.

      - CRHK (叱咤樂壇流行榜): Existed since 1988. First based on Airplay and listed 30 songs. After some time (I think around 1994/95) they changed their charts to 10 songs and all songs have to meet the criteria that it's "made in Hong Kong". If I look at their chart info in 1996 it stated the next: "『叱吒樂壇流行榜 - 903專業推介十大』 總結每週於叱吒903商業二台專業推介播放率最高的十首原創歌曲" (Source CRHK website). But when looking at 1997, they changed it back to 20 songs and that's the case up until today.

      - Metro (新城勁爆流行榜): I don't know when this Charts started, but I think at the beginning of Metro Radio in 1991. 20 songs were listed in this chart and until today that never changed.

      - Metro (FM Select): Information about this Single Charts I know too little. Maybe it was around 1993 this chart was founded, because the first time people of usenet posted this chart was around 1993. Amount of songs listed on this chart I don't know too. I think this chart was broadcasted on the other station of Metro, named 新城金曲台.

      - CRHK (雷霆歌曲播放指數): This chart began in 1996. It was the airplay charts of CRHK, where the airplay of songs was counted from the well-known radio stations of Hong Kong (RTHK, CRHK and Metro). 20 songs were listed on this chart and it lasted until 2004.

      And here the details of all the "Album Charts" for so far I know:

      RTHK (RTHK香港大碟榜): Don't know when this Album Charts started, but I think it was the first Weekly Album Charts.

      CRHK (商台中文大碟榜): Don't know anything about this Album Chart. Only know it was started at the beginning of the 80's.

      Music Bus (香港大碟榜): Began in 1986. 15 Albums were listed on this chart.

      New Generation (香港最暢銷大碟榜): Don't know when this began, but it charted 10 Albums.

      New Generation (全港分區暢銷大碟榜): It charted 10 Albums of some Local Music Stores in Hong Kong (Each store has their own chart). The beginning of this chart is unknown.

      Disc Jockey (香港唱片銷量榜): Don't have any information about this Album Charts.

      IFPI (IFPI 唱片銷量榜): Started its chart on 29 April 1993. Listed 10 Albums on their Chart.


      I have read that Next Media (壹本便利) has done a "Chart Summary" before. They took all the four stations charts and combined them into one chart. Maybe you have information about that?

      Do the Entertainment Magazines you own ever published some music charts? And which Entertainment Magazines do you possess? Also do you have Music Bus, New Generation or Disc Jockey magazines?

      Leon

      PS. Thanks for you reply!

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    3. @Leon: Ah, I see – so you’re actually looking for the “plug” songs. Yes, I definitely know what those are and how the process works (or at least the way it used to work, which probably isn’t the same it works now, lol). If I remember correctly, back then, for each album, a singer was allowed to choose 3 songs to plug and in those situations where the name of the album was also one of the song names, that song was automatically treated as one of the 3 plugs. Some of the older singers who are still active in the industry (Jacky for instance) still do it this way so a lot of times it’s not too difficult to figure out which songs they used as plugs. But I agree that the music charts are probably the best way to find this information out, though as you pointed out already some of the charts are incomplete so not all the information will be there.

      I do recall seeing some old music charts from back in the days, but can’t remember whether I saw the info on Weibo or in actual magazines. The entertainment magazines I have from the old days are a mix of Mingpao Weekly, TVB Magazine, HK Screen Idol Magazine (no longer in print as the company went defunct decades ago), and a few other miscellaneous ones that I don’t remember the names of at the moment. I don’t have any of the music-specific magazines you listed though. Also, I’m a huge reader so I own a lot of Chinese books about the entertainment industry and have quite a few that are about the HK music industry -- its evolution and history, specific artists, etc. – so it’s possible there is information in there. You said that you have already searched the online archives for those radio stations, right? If not, that’s definitely a good place to start, though some of the sites require you to be a member with a paid subscription to their site so depending on whether you are or not, that might limit the information you have access to (CRHK for example, I know requires paid subscription as a 903 member in order to access their radio show archives).

      I can definitely go through my archive of HK music industry stuff and see if I’m able to find some of the stuff you’re looking for. If you don’t mind giving me your email address (you can just send an email to me privately at llsmusings@yahoo.com instead of putting your email here, since this forum is public), I can send you whatever I find when I find it (I figured this is probably the easiest way but let me know if you have other suggestions…).

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  3. haha llwy12 for a second i thought you were so fast and included news on HMV Group(3DChina) filming web series. They released a promo earlier with all their past movies filmed with Hk style saying they will start filming series. I think it's a great idea! Because so far I've loved what they've done with both The Menu movie version and Dayo Wong's Agent Mr Chan! They are sincere in filming movies for Hkers even though it's obvious they want to make money in China and promote their own artistes.

    I think most fans first reaction like mine was ask whether we'd get a season 2 for The Menu on Gregory Wong's fb. Well lets face it I don't see HKTV ever continuing as web series if so I think they should really allow China3D to continue pay copyright for continuations! The bad part is that if China3D does continue with season 2 I'm not sure whether there was a fallout with Sabrina LeungSiuBing over the movie version or why she didn't participate. If it was PoonManHung's decision that's fine but if it was a fallout with SiuDingYat and the company then it'll be tough to fix.

    llwy12 if you have more news I'd like to see what you think of HMVGroup/China3D filming web series. Honestly I'm more excited about this then Fox's productions. Mainly because Fox always paled in comparison to other US tv stations to the point they are no more and bought out by Disney.

    I'd like to know how Disney's purchase of Fox will effect their original plan of expansion into the HK market.

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    1. @sport: LOL…not THAT fast, haha. I actually did read about HMV and them foraying into web series, but didn’t include it because I didn’t have time to delve into that news yet (you know me – I have to do my research and really understand it first). No worries though, I will probably have some information about it in my next newsreel post.

      I have to say that I agree with you about HMV (China 3D). As I’m sure you know, I’ve always had my reservations about that company and I still do, but I started noticing them more because of the The Menu movie and am impressed by what they have been able to accomplish the last couple years. I think I might have said this before but when it came to The Menu movie, I had prepared for the worst and ended up being pleasantly surprised by what they did with it – of course, the series was still the best and nothing can ever replace us getting “jipped” out of season 2, but given the circumstances, they actually did a fine job with it. Sure, a lot of the credit goes to the scriptwriter Poon Man Hung and director Ben Fong, but Stephen Shiu Jr. and his company also deserve credit for keeping the same production team from the series and allowing them the creative freedom to bring their vision to light in the first place (from what I could see, the only unwritten “requirement” from the collaboration was that they had to utilize China 3D artists, which was fine since they were “additions” only and most of the original cast was still intact). You and I both know how important working environment is and whether the people you work with respect and value creative freedom – that was the biggest differentiating factor between TVB and HKTV. Given that the HK entertainment industry as a whole does not value creative freedom, it’s refreshing to see these brief moments that come through.

      LOL…yea, I was actually thinking the same thing about Fox. They definitely don’t have a good reputation nowadays (and it’s not just because they were acquired by Disney – all the “fake news” stuff and the sex scandals plus the connection with Trump definitely haven’t helped things one bit). With that said though, I’m looking forward to their series mostly because of the big name veteran artists in them (almost all of whom are known for their great acting) – the way I see it, even if the script sucks (which I doubt), I know that at minimum I will be treated to stellar acting, which nowadays is all I can really ask for given that acting talent is hard to come by. I’m still trying to find out more information, as the last I heard was that the acquisition by Disney won’t affect Fox’s already planned productions but then again that was awhile back ago and it’s possible the execs said that to prevent people from panicking so how true it really is remains to be seen….

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  4. Yea Fox has a rep of being a racist tv and news station and their production has always paled in comparison to both free and cable stations. Like when was the last time they had a hit series?...

    Yes totally agree about HMV Group I still have my reservations. It’s ok to want to make money in China but to being like ATV and TVB using collaborated series and mainland actors and giving up on HK audience entirely is unacceptable! I laughed when you mentioned William Chan rejecting Ng Yu’s offer. I was thinking Ng Yu was going to turn ATV into “EEG tv” looks like it’s not that easy when he’s a nobody now. The whole using entirely Mainland artistes is just a destined to fail. Last time I checked OCTB was entirely HK actors and it broke China web series records!

    Honestly I hope besides funding OCTB that Netflix would start producing their original HK series. Their finance and connections will allow unimaginable possibilities. We’ve never even heard of Hollywood stars filming Hk series.

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    1. @sport: Yea, I laughed too when Ng Yu said what he said about William. Sounds like ATV’s efforts to “reinvent” themselves isn’t working out too well. Personally, I think they rushed things too much, though not sure whose decision it was to launch so quickly. I mean, Ng Yu had just taken up the position for like a few months and hadn’t even had time to study ATV’s history or read through all the legal paperwork – it’s no wonder they failed miserably with that whole MDWAV remake fiasco thing (it’s laughable for them to announce a remake of a series that they don’t even have the rights to – so stupid!).

      I read somewhere that Netflix does have plans to create their own original HK series, but they’re going to take it slow and do their homework first (which is the way it SHOULD be done!). The first step was penetrating the HK market, which they started doing several years ago, but it’s going to take some effort to get complete buy-in from HK audiences – after all, when these audiences are used to getting their entertainment for free (TVB’s free-to-air channels), having them switch to paying a subscription for something they are less familiar with (Netflix), it’s not an easy transition. I read an article awhile back ago (can’t remember if it was last year or year before) analyzing the whole Netflix thing in HK and it was interesting the stuff they were finding about which audiences were more willing to pay Netflix subscription versus those who won’t and why. I think Netflix is taking the right approach….

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    2. Asians especially the older gen tends to be frugal. they’d rather watch for free online then having to pay a monthly fee. If Netflix can make those who aren’t willing to pay buy it then they’v struck gold.

      Recently the free hkdrama streaming websites have trouble mirroring onto the appletv. I’m not sure if it’s the websites or the appletv (gen1) is too old. My dad is the only one who uses it.

      If there was an HK movies and tv series based platform like Netflix I seriously wouldn’t mind paying! I feel Ricky is very short sighted to not want to make HKTV into the next Netflix and be totally web based. There’s definitely a need and anmarket for something dedicated to HK newly released movies, and original tv series. Example: I’d rather use Joox dedicated to local HK music and artistes then Spotify or KKBox(more taiwan based)

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    3. @sport: Hey there! Sorry for yet another late response...

      My head is spinning right now, as I'm still recovering from a severe cold (part of the reason why I've been partially out of commission the last couple weeks), so please forgive me if some of what I write comes out all garbled or incoherent, lol...

      I wouldn't mind paying a subscription fee either for good content. With that said though, I don't think RW was short-sighted in not wanting to go the Netflix route with HKTV, as it honestly wouldn't have had much chance for success if he did given the massive reach of Netflix nowadays. I do agree that there is a need for something dedicated to HK movies and original TV series, but unfortunately, something like that isn't likely to be created by a local company because of how restrictive and old-school the HK entertainment industry is.
      No doubt that if HKTV even tried to do something like that, they will get shot down just like they did with the license thing and worse yet, leave the door open for a company with Mainland ties to swoop in and finish what they started (and claim credit for coming up with the idea too). As much as I hate to admit it, TVB's stronghold on the HK entertainment industry is too great and the government obviously supports them so there's no doubt in my mind that if HKTV were to touch anything related to entertainment industry that would be even remotely threatening to TVB's livelihood, they will absolutely do everything they can to bring HKTV down. But of course, TVB is powerless against foreign companies with a global reach, such as Netflix and Fox, which is why both companies are able to expand into HK and even directly compete with TVB if they wanted to yet TVB can't do a single thing about it.

      I've been reading up some stuff about Netflix lately because of OCTB and apparently, they've got alot of grand plans in the works, including further expansion in Asia market. Apparently, Netflix has experienced rapid growth this past year, as they added 7.4 million new subscribers just within the past 3 months (January to March). Globally, they currently have 125 million subscribers, with half of those subscribers being outside the U.S....their revenue has also grown 43% this past year alone. With those kinds of numbers (and that type of global reach), there is no way a company like TVB, which has 50+ years of experience and financial backing under its belt, would be able to compete with them, let alone a "startup" like HKTV that technically never really broke into the HK television industry. The more I read up about HKTV's e-commerce thing (and also other news about the various changes and shifts in global trade in general, amongst other things), the more their decision makes sense to me -- from a business perspective, choosing e-commerce over establishing an entertainment empire is definitely the wiser and more sensible option amongst the two...

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