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Monday, December 18, 2017

**UPDATED** HK Television Wars Update: ATV making a comeback!

**12/24/17 Hot off the press update -- Soooo.....things are starting out on the wrong foot already.  Turns out that ATV won't be able to remake MDWAV because the rights to that series (along with a bunch of other popular ATV classics) was sold to Fox Networks.  Fox released a statement today (yesterday) stating that they hold the rights to MDWAV and ATV would be infringing on copyright if they were to remake the series without Fox's consent.  ATV's CEO Ng Yu was asked about this today and he said that it is true that most of ATV's series were indeed already sold to other companies (including TVB, Fox, HMV, Sohu, etc.) and that it was a misunderstanding on their part, as the records are really messy and they are still going through them.  He said that they are in discussions with Fox right now on possible collaboration with the remake but if that doesn't pan out, they have other series they can look at remaking instead.

What a mess!  I mean, how could ATV not know that the rights to the series was already sold to Fox?  And then to announce plans for a remake as though ATV still owned the rights?  This definitely doesn't look good for ATV, especially with their already previously tarnished reputation....


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Ok, so seeing that I haven't updated HK television-related stuff in awhile and we're coming up on the end of the year, I figured it was time for a mini "recap" of some of the major things going on in the HK television industry as of late.  This will be a quick, relatively short post (yea, I know, departure from my normal "War and Peace" style, but hey, I'm busy and in a crunch for time this month).

I don't plan on talking about all the TV stations, as I don't really have time for that right now (maybe I'll do a year-end recap later – we'll see), so I'll just focus on one major "hot off the press" HK television news for now.

The big news this weekend was ATV announcing their official comeback.  No, they didn't get their license back.  Rather, they are returning as an internet TV station where their programs will be available to watch via mobile platform (phone and tablet app) as well as via OTT (Over-the-Top) TV set boxes.  The new owner is a Mainland businessman with (supposedly) boatloads of money and he has hired quite a few big name industry veterans to head the station, including former TVB (and EEG) director of operations Ng Yu (he will be CEO), former TVB top exec/manager Peter Au, retired former TVB director of promotion and marketing Tsang Sing Ming, and former TVB (and subsequently NowTV) head of variety shows production Ho Lai Chuen (who is supposedly serving in the capacity of "consultant").  Also, they have a new logo now and I believe their official name is called "New Asia TV"….

In terms of artists, Ng Yu announced that everyone signed a "per series/show" contract only and are essentially free artists who can work for whichever station they so choose.  They will not be doing artist management in the beginning – instead, they intend on cultivating newcomers by having them work with experienced artists, then they will pick out the ones who are good and sign them to long term contracts (interesting strategy).  There were boatloads of former ATV and TVB artists who attended the official press conference this weekend (note that the official re-launch date isn't until January 29th – they are just making all the announcements 1 month early), most notably Stephen Chan, Margie Tsang, Wong Hei, Spencer Leung, Joyce Chan, Anne Heung, Queenie Chu, Cillia Lok, Jacqueline Chu, ATV veteran Lau Shek Yin, etc.  Supposedly these artists are only a few of the over 100 artists + behind-the-scenes crew that ATV currently has working for them. 

Programming-wise, the biggest highlights are Stephen Chan hosting the 2018 version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" – of course, he's got pretty big shoes to fill considering how popular that game show was back when Kenneth Chan hosted the Chinese version on ATV many years ago (and no, I highly doubt Stephen Chan will be able to invite the "A-list" guests that Kenneth was able to back in the days when he hosted).  The other big highlight (on the variety show side) is that they will have a live variety program that will air every night Monday thru Friday – the show is called "See You Tonight" (and yes, the similar-sounding name to TVB's iconic live variety show EYT is probably deliberate) and will consist of one episode a night with a different theme each night hosted by different artists.  Spencer Leung, Joyce Chan, and veteran radio host Sarah Lee will host the Monday entertainment news-themed edition (Spencer said that for the first episode, he will be inviting 2 of his "enemies" whom he hasn't seen in a long time on to the show to have dinner with him – he also said he can't guarantee their won't be arguing or fighting so he advised audiences to tune in to see what happens).   Wong Hei and Anne Heung will be hosting Thursday nights, with the theme being travel and food, while Queenie Chu, Cillia Lok, and Margie  Tsang will host Wednesday nights where the theme will be fashion / lifestyle.  Lau Shek Yin will host Tuesday nights with the theme being HK current affairs and societal concerns.  I didn't catch who will be hosting Fridays though – will update once I find out.  

I'm sure the biggest question on people's minds is whether ATV will be filming series.  The answer is yes – the 2 "big productions" they already have in the works is a television version of the iconic HK movie "A Better Tomorrow" (yes, the movie that starred Chow Yun Fat in one of his most famous roles ever, "Mark Gor" – it also famously starred Leslie Cheung and Ti Lung) and also, a remake of ATV's classic hit "My Date with a Vampire" (I was never a MDWAV fan but those of you who are/were, feel free to comment how you feel about this news – good? Bad? Indifferent?).  Cast won't be announced until later, though in terms of MDWAV,  I highly doubt that any of the artists who were involved with the original will be participating in this new remake version.  Also, Ng Yu had done an interview last week (prior to this weekend's press conference) where he pretty much already confirmed that all of their "self-produced" series will be collaborations with Mainland – meaning produced with Mainland money, feature Mainland artists, and overall be geared toward Mainland audiences.

Lastly, the question of the day from reporters during the press conference was whether there would be a repeat of what I like to call "Salarygate" – remember those 4 to 6 months where ATV failed to pay their staff's salaries, resulting in hundreds of ATV staff having to apply to the Labor Department and also take ATV to court to recoup their lost wages.  Ng Yu confirmed that there will absolutely NOT be a repeat of that, as one of the pre-requisites for him agreeing to be CEO (keep in mind that he had retired from EEG last year) was that the owner must put staff salaries first and foremost.  He said the current owner of ATV has tons of properties and business and money is not an issue…in fact, he said that the owner plans on investing 400 million HKD the first year to make sure all relevant and necessary production costs, salaries, expenses, etc. are covered.

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To be honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this whole ATV thing.  In my book, that station's reputation is so tarnished already that it will essentially take Herculean effort to truly re-establish themselves as a possible force to be reckoned with in HK audience's eyes.  Personally, even after their announcement, I wasn't all that excited about their programs, as there really wasn't much that interested me except for that "See You Tonight" variety program that I might possibly watch, mostly out of curiosity to see whether it will truly be an "original effort" or merely a copycat of EYT (long-time TVB fans will probably remember that Ng Yu is still considered the "father of E.Y.T." and is largely credited with making that show the success it was for so many years, so it's hard for me to believe there won't be 'E.Y.T.' influences in the show).  The 2 series they announced so far I'm definitely not interested in – as I said above, I was never a fan of MDWAV so I could care less that they are doing a remake of it, but I did love the movie "A Better Tomorrow", which is one reason why I don't want to watch the ATV remake version because I know for sure they are going to butcher it (come on now – I don't care who they end up casting, no one is ever going to surpass Chow Yun Fat's iconic performance in that movie!).  With that said though, one thing I will say is that if the powers-that-be at ATV have been paying attention to entertainment news the last couple months, they perhaps would've heard the iconic film's director John Woo recently reveal that actor Mark Cheng was originally slated for the role of 'Mark Gor' but he turned it down due to scheduling conflict, so Chow Yun Fat got picked for the role (CYF was known as "box-office poison" at that time – he was a huge television star, but movie-wise, practically every movie he had made leading up to that movie had bombed).  To me, it would be interesting (and probably a huge talking / selling point for ATV) if they were to cast Mark Cheng in the lead role for the TV version – in a way, giving him a chance to fix a previously "missed opportunity"….but this is just me putting in my two cents…I actually have no idea who ATV is going cast in either series.

Concluding thoughts:  Basically, my approach with this ATV comeback thing is "wait and see".  As I said above, I'm not excited for any of their programs or artists.  On the contrary, I'm actually more excited about the internet series from other lesser name (in HK at least) production companies:  namely, OCTB season 2 (which will start filming next month) and also both of Fox Asia's HK series "Trading Floor" and "Stain'd".  The trailers for both series have been out for awhile already and even though both were only a few short seconds, the little I saw already blew TVB series out of the water big-time.   I read in the news that they recently did a special director's cut of "Stain'd" where they edited all 5 episodes into a movie length film and debuted it at the Macau Film Festival, where 2 of the series' stars Kara Hui and Tse Kwan Ho as well as director Patrick Kong were in attendance (the other lead, Anthony Wong, was not in attendance) – the film version was supposedly quite intense and gory (the story is based on a real life HK murder case – the infamous recent case of a teenager who hatched an intricate plot to kill his parents and dismember their bodies, then blamed the killings on the mentally ill friend who  had assisted him).  With 3 award-winning A-list actors leading the series, no doubt the acting will be top-notch!  "Trading Floor" also I'm excited about, mostly because of the cast (again, award-winning movie actors Francis Ng and Liu Kai Chi), plus the producer is none other than Andy Lau – the "big names" attached to the project and the guaranteed top-notch acting are enough to get me absolutely interested!

25 comments:

  1. My mom told me about this as well and I am excited in a sense that it's not all doom and gloom in HK. I am not sure about the TV version of ABT. Has John Woo or Tsui Hark say anything about that? Are they going to be involved somehow? As for MDWAV, I was a big fan of the show back in the day. I hope they'll improve on it this time around.

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    1. @ch1kusoo: With regard to ABT – from what I read, ATV bought the rights to make the TV version I’m assuming from the production company that made the movie. Tsui Hark and John Woo aren’t involved with the TV version in any way – neither of them have said anything and I doubt they will, since this isn’t the first time a remake has been done of that movie. The producer for the series (former TVB producer Fred Lam) said that they are in very early stages in terms of planning for the series and the cast is far from being determined yet.

      MDWAV – not sure if they will improve on it, since it sounds like none of the original cast and production team (producer and writer) are involved. We already know Joey Man won’t be involved since she’s signed with TVB. Eric Wan said that ATV approached him, but he already turned it down because of the vampire theme (he did an interview a couple months back where he talked about some of the things that happened in his life the past few years and how he has turned to Christianity and therefore won’t get involved in anything that contradicts his faith). Kenneth Chan hasn’t said anything either way but I highly doubt he will return – if he had any intention of returning to ATV, they wouldn’t have invited Stephen Chan to host “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” when it was Kenneth who hosted that show at the height of its popularity.

      I heard that a lot of people have doubts about whether ATV will succeed this go-around, which I can’t blame them for because ATV’s reputation truly is bad. What they do have going for them though is that they have the right people involved at the management level, as Ng Yu is smart and even though I don’t like him much, he does seem to know what he is doing. Already, from his latest interview where he talks about the strategy with artist management, you can already tell his thought process is not stuck in the Stone Ages like TVB’s management’s is. As stated above, ATV’s strategy in terms of artists is that all experienced artists will only sign per series contracts AND it is specifically stipulated in those contracts that the artists are not bound to ATV and are free to collaborate with whatever other media platforms they so choose, including rival TV stations. The only artists they are going to sign as “managed” artists are newbies and only after those newbies have had the chance to work with the more experienced artists. Ng Yu said that in this day and age, with so many different platforms to choose from, trying to tie an artist down to 1 TV station is stupid and doesn’t work….almost all artists nowadays value more than anything else the freedom to collaborate with anyone they want to so for TV stations to still choose the “you can only work for me and no one else” path, they are essentially committing suicide.

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    2. I'm glad that they're back and I understand they have to film mainland co-productions, but man would it kill them to TRY to create some original programming? I wasn't a fan once I heard they had to feature mainland artists and cater to the mainland...this might be dead in the water already.

      I wish Ricky Wong got that license and didn't antagonize China years before forming HKTV. He really had a great plan to cultivate new talent and fresh ideas. Sure, his shows were hit or miss but at least he tried. I watched some of the ViuTV dramas, and they're dull, cheap-looking, poorly written and littered with some of the worst acting I've ever seen. I wish there was a company out there that actually tried to compete with TVB like ATV did in the 80s and 90s. Honestly, TVB has produced 3 or 4 dramas that are worth watching this year, but 3 or 4 dramas out of 15+ is still really shitty.

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    3. @Anonymous (part 1 response): I know, right? Sure, collaborating with the Mainland in some form is inevitable nowadays and I’m fine with it as long as the series (program) doesn’t lose its HK flavor, but unfortunately, the way these TV stations have been going about it – by gearing more towards Mainland audiences rather than HK audiences – is pretty much already dooming it from the start. I honestly don’t get the mentality of these stations – if they are so desperate to cater to Mainland over HK due to the Mainland market being so much larger, why don’t they just move their headquarters to Mainland and produce series exclusively for that market rather than continuing to go through the HK market. Yea, I know the argument is that HK series have a certain attraction to Mainland audiences and moving to Mainland would just make the station one out of a thousand other stations over there and so it loses its appeal…but from HK audience’s perspective, I’m sure they don’t appreciate being “used” as the stepping stone and then thrown by the wayside when they are no longer needed….

      In terms of ViuTV – I wouldn’t say all their series are bad. I actually think they are more sincere in wanting to produce quality series than TVB is….at least ViuTV puts in the effort and tries to create content with HK audiences in mind – unlike TVB who basically is at the point of not giving a crap about anything…HK audiences can basically “take it or leave it” when it comes to watching their series. Now granted, I’ve only actually watched 2 ViuTV series in their entirety so far and happened to like both series, but I think my case is a bit of an exception because I deliberately chose 2 of their best series to watch (the two series were Margaret and David – Green Bean and My Very Short Marriage). I also watched a few of their variety programs and thought they were pretty decently done. With all that said though, at the end of the day, I agree that they can’t hold a candle to HKTV and everything that company was able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, not to mention HKTV’s programs were all way higher quality. As much as I hate to say it, I honestly don’t see ViuTV amounting to much of anything – I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up following in Commercial Television’s (CTV) footsteps back in the 1970s and eventually get swallowed up by the monster that is TVB.

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    4. @Anonymous (part 2 response): Yea, I wish HKTV had gotten their license too. You know, it’s kind of interesting – back in 2012/2013, at the height of the licensing battle, I felt like I was one of maybe like 5 people actively supporting HKTV. Back then, I was constantly getting into arguments with people (I’m presuming most were TVB die-hard fans) over HKTV and why I felt they were worth supporting – and of course, I was constantly defending them in forums and such (I remember back then, it had gotten to the point where I would merely mention “HKTV” in the comments to a Jaynestar article and would immediately get attacked). Over the past 2 years or so, the one comment I’ve hard the most has been: “I wish HKTV had gotten their license.” In a way, it feels bittersweet hearing those words – on the one hand, I’m happy that HKTV is finally getting the support they should’ve gotten back then and it’s reassuring to know that I wasn’t alone in my support of them, but the flip side is that it’s too little too late now, as the HK television industry has changed to the point that even if HKTV were to resume operations, it would be of no use, since the market is now saturated with internet series and that part of the business has already taken off…if HKTV came in now, they would be so behind that it’s almost a guarantee that they will fail (not to mention the dynamics at HKTV has changed in that Ricky Wong is no longer the one in charge, so if they do come back, the way they operate will be very different).

      If you were to ask me 3 or 4 years ago, I would’ve told you that there was still hope for the HK television industry, hope for HK television audiences in being able to have better options locally with programming content. Nowadays, seeing how bad things have gotten, I think I’ve become jaded and no longer see any hope. My attitude towards this whole thing nowadays is pretty much – let the chips fall where they may and let’s see what happens….

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    5. I was probably one of the 5 people that tried to defend HKTV on Jaynestars. All this complaining in HK about a lack of alternatives, they actually had a fucking rally about the lack of alternatives and nobody even bothered to support HKTV when they launched.

      ViuTV really has to step it up IMO. Most of their programming look incredibly cheap. I get why they're producing 30 min dramas and cheap reality TV, but nobody's watching. Why not try to do something different instead of making corny K-Drama clones?

      That's what I appreciated about Ricky Wong. He wanted to set his station apart by producing content most Asian TV stations wouldn't try to produce.

      It's a shame how the HK television (and movie) scene has devolved in the last 15 years. I feel there's a lot of talent out there, but there's been so much uninspiring and outright bad content that's been produced in the last decade. Just look at the new Heart of Greed series. So much talent wasted with such awful material.

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    6. @Anonymous: I totally hear you! As I kept saying after the whole HKTV thing derailed, Hong Kongers have no one but themselves to blame for the lack of alternative options because they had the opportunity to do something back then but didn’t. Whether the reasoning was due to not wanting to rock the boat, or already being heavily brainwashed by TVB or, as seemed to be the reason in most of the cases, a hatred of Ricky Wong that extended unreasonably to his company as well…bottom line is that HKTV didn’t get the support they should’ve gotten and the result is what we have today, so to me, HK audiences (especially those that didn’t support HKTV or the issuance of additional licenses) should quit complaining and just suck it up.

      Speaking of the HKTV protest, I actually followed it quite closely back then and still even now, I have the utmost respect for the artists who participated back then and were not afraid to take a stance for their beliefs. The artist most worth mentioning is Power Chan, who was signed to TVB back then, yet he brought his wife and daughter along to march in the protest…granted, he stated specifically that he was not there to support HKTV per se, but rather to oppose the government’s “black box operation” in terms of the way they handled the licensing issue…either way though, by virtue of showing up (and thereby risking backlash/retaliation from TVB), it sends a powerful message (though of course, we all know that in the end, the protest amounted to nothing, since the government still refused to explain their decision, which was pretty much all that those who marched at the time wanted).

      Agreed that HKTV was definitely in a class of its own with doing things that other TV stations would never do. The fact that every single one of the 17 series they produced was able to cover an entirely different genre/theme (none of the series were the same at all), with different cast for each (not an easy task considering the limited number of artists they had to choose from) and unique story to tell for each one, plus the investment in state of the art filming equipment and meticulous attention to the aesthetics piece through real location filming, HKTV was able to achieve in 2-3 years something that TVB couldn’t even do in 5 decades! It’s a shame indeed that the industry has become the way it is currently but oh well – there’s not much that can be done about it anymore. They had their opportunity with HKTV and pretty much wasted it so now they will just have to live with what they have no matter how bad they think it is….

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  2. LOL I can't believe it. so ATV actually CANNOT produce a remake of MDWAV? how embarrassing. What's next, their license to produce Who wants to be a millionaire? expired? haha. ATV working with Fox could be interesting but what's troubling out of all this is that Ricky Wong hasn't said a word for a long time! I hope that HKTV dream doesn't die yet. That news awhile back about him selling his HKTV shares to some affiliated company seems to me he has something up his sleeve.

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    1. @ch1kusoo: LOL...yea, exactly. Coincidentally, the next day, the company that owns the rights to A Better Tomorrow released a statement as well saying they own the rights to that movie and it can't be remade without their permission. Luckily, Ng Yu had a response for that one, as the version of ABT he is planning on making is John Woo's version, whose rights are held by a different company (I guess John Woo's classic version back then was based on a story that originated from a different source). After the holiday, Ng Yu said the company that owns John Woo's version of ABT will release a statement confirming that ATV had indeed bought the rights to make a television version.

      Yea, nothing from Ricky Wong in a long time. I checked my notes and the last article I read about HKTV was back in September and that was the one about RW selling his shares to his partner. I personally don't think RW has anything up his sleeves -- instead, I think he has finally woken up and realized that the HKTV dream is indeed dead so he is moving on...though of course, in that last interview, he said HKTV is not dead and will return stronger than ever -- but then again, that's what he's been saying for 3 years already and still nothing, so for me, the stance I'm taking is: I will believe it when I see it.

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    2. I remember reading that Fox actually acquired the broadcast and remake rights to MDWAV, Flaming Brothers and I have a date with a spring when Fox brought 28 series from ATV's catalog, so I was actually wondering how the new ATV could produce a MDWAV remake.

      I'm actually looking forward to watching the two Fox+ mini-series, especially the Trading Floor. I'm not a fan of the movies that Patrick Kong's produced (he tends to produce a lot of idol dramas/bad comedies), but I'm wondering how he'll be able to handle working with talented actors like Kara Hui and Anthony Wong.

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    3. @Anonymous: Yea, I remember reading that too, but I didn’t think much of it when ATV made their announcement, as I assumed they had already talked to Fox behind-the-scenes and made all necessary arrangements already in terms of copyright. I was shocked that ATV hadn’t even talked to Fox yet – in fact, they came across as though they didn’t even know the rights had been sold (which thinking about it now I guess shouldn’t be so surprising since the higher ups involved now weren’t involved in the past so they probably didn’t know). But on the other hand, ATV shouldn’t have rushed through this restructuring thing. Ng Yu kept emphasizing that he only took up his position in March / April of this year and is still learning about the company, so things are a bit of a mess at the moment. Honestly, why not take the time to thoroughly review all the paperwork first, make sure they have everything in order, then slowly make plans and announce once things are ready? The way this whole thing is going down with ATV (announcing plans for a remake but not actually being granted the rights to remake) is unprecedented and honestly just makes them look incompetent.

      About Fox’s 2 series – I have the exact same sentiment as you regarding Patrick Kong, which is why I was more looking forward to watching Trading Floor and barely mentioned Stain’d. But then I saw the trailer and was thoroughly impressed. Also, I’ve been reading up quite a bit on Fox’s series and supposedly Stain’d will be a huge departure for Patrick Kong – he was interviewed a few months ago and people did bring up the question about him making crappy rom-coms and other films along the same lines and why this series should be any different from what he usually produces. He actually said that this experience was way different because first and foremost, the financial investment – Fox threw lots of money into producing the series, more than Patrick Kong has ever worked with in his previous movies, so he can afford to pay attention to the quality. I heard that Patrick Kong wrote the script for the series as well and Fox basically let him take a lot of creative liberty with it. In any case, the way I see it, even if the script is so-so, there’s no way that the series won’t be good given that Kara Hui, Anthony Wong, and Tse Kwan Ho (3 of the most talented actors in HK) are in it – watching the 3 of them battle acting chops alone is well worth the price of admission in my opinion!

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    4. @ch1kusoo: Hi again! Just wanted to let you know in case you didn't see my response to sport3888 below...after months of not hearing from Ricky Wong and HKTV, there was finally an article about him earlier this week in the Economy/Finance section of HK01. Ricky Wong is basically back in the news, but this time it's about HKTV Mall. I'll try to put up some details on my blog some time tomorrow...

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  3. It's ATV, I had no hopes in the first place....

    In regards to HKTV, it is definately a shame that they never got their license or persisted with the internet TV route which is the way of the future. I must admit I was sceptical of HKTV during the whole licensing saga, mainly because of Ricky Wong's cocky attitude which I think was the real reason he lost the license. If he had kept low key like the other 2 stations, he probably would have gotten the TV license (since we know that China doesn't actually have an issue with him since they allowed him to buy China mobile telecommunications). That being said, it ended up probably a good thing for him because the HK TV industry is really dying and not profitable so focusing on e commerce is probably the way to go.

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    1. @Phixster: Very true! Those who’ve followed my blog for awhile will probably remember that I also did not support HKTV in the beginning, as I was also put off by Ricky Wong’s cocky attitude. At that time, my money was actually on NowTV, which sounded like it had the most potential (back then anyway). But as things progressed, it became more apparent that HKTV had the most potential and of course, they eventually won me over with their content as well as the way the station operated, so in the end, I was able to look beyond RW’s personality / attitude and focus on the company itself instead.

      Yea, it was definitely RW’s attitude and big mouth that got him in trouble. And no, China didn’t have a problem with him at all – he’s small potatoes where China is concerned and they technically could care less whether he got a license or not. It was really the local HK government that had a problem with him and it just so happened that he gave them the ammo needed to get rid of him. Yes, it’s a shame, but like you said, he is better off now with his e-commerce business, which I heard has been doing quite well.

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    2. Isn't the e commerce business still part of HKTV? Yet Ricky sold all/most his HKTV shares so how does that work?

      Anyway I was hoping the new ceo and partner of HKTV would go ahead in development a internet network but it doesn't seem like there's any news or plans.

      I find it odd for the other partner to buy the majority stake and not have any plans on going ahead with the TV Network. The company is still mainly an entertainment platform more than it is an e commerce company.

      As for ATV, once I heard the words "mainland collaborated series" and "target mainland audience" my interest completely dropped to zero.

      Ng Yu and a bunch of outdated/old TV execs who doesn't care for freedom of creativity how other countries produce series isn't exactly promising.

      I guess I was the only one who supported HKTV from day one when I heard their plans. I never though NowTV (now ViuTV?) would work because they didn't have a set plan besides hiring two outdated "golden couple producers" from TVB. Not to mention NowTV mainly produced variety shows even when they were a paid channel so there was no way they'd be much different as a free station.

      Gosh I've recommended a few HKTV series left that my dad didn't watch yet and I'm getting sad over the loss of such a great station again! He's watching Once Upon A Song which I felt totally felt short of expectation as a "1st HK Musical TV series". No it was NOT a musical at all. I was expecting something at least on par with Disney's kiddie/teenage High School Musical or most close to the Step Up movies.

      Anyway surprisingly even a series I though was subpar, my dad actually enjoys it and finds it funny and entertaining. Guess that's the difference between because educated and knowledgeable abut US TV series and movies vs those who mainly watch TVB series on a daily basis.

      It's even more depressing seeing how it's obvious the reason why OCTB and a few TVB series could film with single camera and 100% real location was because those crew got their training from HKTV days! If it wasn't for Ricky Wong's foresight on retraining all the behind the scenes people I'm sure OCTB and later copycat productions by TVB would NOT happen!

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    3. You know what I find even more ironic than the internet series filming using HKTV’s methods? That most of the former scriptwriters and producers who had jumped ship to HKTV and have since returned to TVB are now utilizing what they learned to make what amount to “copycat” series for TVB. The writers and producers for both “My Unfair Lady” and “Line Walker 2” (two of TVB’s most touted series this year) were a few who had returned from HKTV and they even made it a point to say that they were taking what they learned and improving TVB’s series with them. So yea, basically TVB is now benefiting from HKTV’s demise….those of us who followed HKTV closely know exactly what’s going on but of course since most HK audiences didn’t, many of them are now thinking wow TVB is really improving and trying to put in the effort with “innovative” series like MUL when in fact it really had nothing to do with TVB themselves. Even TVB’s most talked about series this year, The Exorcist’s Meter, wasn’t wholly their idea, as that script for that series came from a scriptwriting contest that they had launched a year or two ago where the “grand prize” for the winning script was to have it made into a series (the guy who won got some prize money too I think but that’s about it, lol).

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  4. Also I'm not sure whether that Fox filming tv series for HK wouldn't last. With Disney acquiring Fox whether or not things will change or continue will be up in the air.

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  5. Unlike HKTV, series like OCTB, or Fox still use a few Mainland actors (ex: Trading Floor) or choose to use big name movies actors. These don't provide a steady environment for young HK artistes or production crew to grow or harshness their skills. Not to mention their series all seem very short. HK and Cantonese audience are in desperate need of continuous tv series production besides TVB! ViuTV meanwhile only films a 1-2 series at a time and their production and screen quality can not compare to HKTV's!

    OCTB is the only series that copied HKTV"s production style and/or when above and beyond what they started!

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  6. The future is about going the Netflix route which is why HKTV should ‘ve gone the internet route from the start. Seeing how successful 100Most and the billions of money they made without producing a single series shows how powerful the internet platform is! Not to mention how desperate HKers are for quality entertainment and news.

    HKTV could definitely succeed in HK if they set their hearts out to be the next Netflix. Problem is I too feel Ricky has given up. Sure he is still a main shareholder in the company who owns HKTV but not being CEO anymore doesn’t sound good.

    I refuse to believe the other partner will throw money into the trash. Why purchase most of the shares if he doesn’t want to continue the tv series production?

    Either Ricky and the partner(what is his name again?) has truly given up or they’ve learned their lesson and are retreating to fight another day.

    Llwy12 so far I’ve only seen Hk based 2 internet series in production one is the seasons for OCTB amd the other is invested by youku starring ChiLam, Fiona Sit, etc not exactly alot when you consider there are 12 months in a year and many people watch several tv series on a daily basis.

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    1. @sport: There are actually several dozen internet series being made every year, it's just that we usually only hear about the ones with either big name HK actors/actresses in the cast or HK producers (former TVB producers) and alot of current and/or former TVB people are involved. There's one that former TVB producer Tommy Leung is producing that is (no surprise) a co-production with Mainland but has boatloads of former TVB people in it (including tons of veterans like Benz Hui, Wilson Tsui, Deon Cheung, Leung Kin Ping, Felix Lok, etc. etc.) There are also others I've heard about when reading interviews with veteran actors (i.e. they would say they just finished filming such and such web series or whatnot), but most of the time, I don't even know the name of the series. Regardless though, all of these series have 1 thing in common and that is they are all Mainland co-productions. The one exception is OCTB, which is 100% HK production -- producer Jones Soong made it a point to reveal where all the money to produce season one came from and it was all a mish-mash of earnings from himself, Danny Chan and his wife Emme Wong, Sam Lee, and a few of his other buddies (all of whom were involved in the filming of OCTB).

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  8. I can gurantee there is still room for HKTV to come back if they want to. Because excluding myself who has banned TVB for life, my entire family still watches TVB’s crappy series and sitcoms. Even if they’re crap they’ll still watch while playing games on their phones like a zombie.

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    1. @sport: Coincidentally, there was an article about Ricky Wong this past week. HK01 actually did an interview with him…guess what though? The entire article is about HKTV Mall – not a single mention about HKTV the former TV station. (The article itself was in the “Economy” section of the newspaper rather than the “Entertainment” section as previously).

      I think the article clarifies it a bit in that Ricky Wong is still “CEO” but of the HKTV Mall side of things – he is no longer involved in television production side of things, which is why this particular interview focuses on the mall. Basically, if we want to hear about the TV side of things, they have to interview the other CEO – the one he sold his stake to…however I highly doubt that’s going to happen, since that CEO has never been a vocal person (even a few years back when HKTV was at its peak, the other CEO – I think his name is Paul – was in attendance at all the events but we rarely ever heard from him).

      This week is crazy busy for me so not sure if I’ll have time but if I’m able to find some breathing room here or there, I’ll try to get a recap of the article on my blog….

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    2. @sport: Oh, there was another article about HKTV that came out around the same time. I don’t remember if it was you or someone else who mentioned about HKTV’s production studio that they built in Tseung Kwan O and that they had to resume filming again otherwise the studio would go to waste. Well, the other article talks exactly about that – Ricky Wong said that the studio was originally built to accommodate filming of TV series, but since his application for a license failed, they had to change things so that the facility is used for other purposes and doesn’t go to waste. He announced the launch of a project related to his e-commerce (HKTVmall) business where he is basically turning the facility into a “training ground” of sorts for students and young graduates who are interested in getting into the e-commerce business to “rent” the equipment and the facilities for free to use for media-related processes such as filming supermarket commercials, promo videos, etc. – this will give these students a chance to use professional, state-of-the-art equipment in filming and also take advantage of their brand new post-production editing facilities to do their work. I won’t go into details of the project here but there are actually some pretty strict requirements on who would qualify to be included in the project.

      I’ve actually got to hand it to Ricky Wong for being creative. Using the studio as a hub for his HKTVmall business was already a given, but turning the rest of the facility into a training venue to help cultivate a younger generation of business leaders – now THAT I didn’t see coming! With all that said though, this also means that the prospects of HKTV (the TV station) making a comeback are getting dimmer and dimmer….

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    3. Yes it does sound like HKTV making a comeback sounds dimmer as we speak.

      I truly hope the other CEO Paul? Isn't just going to sit around and watch Ricky Wong focus on HKTVMall. Surely he bought those shares hoping to resume productions or do something if not what's the point?

      Come to thing if the Paul the quieter partner was the CEO maybe HKTV wouldn't be int he state that they are in now.

      I don't blame Ricky though, he's a businessman and innovator. HK is in serious need of something like Amazon and development of local e-commerce. If successful he may very well become the richest man in Hong Kong some day.

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