Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Jacky Cheung “A Classic Tour” – Las Vegas stop: February 17, 2018


As promised, here is my recap of Jacky’s concert, which I flew to Las Vegas to watch this past weekend.  Just like with his previous concerts, getting the chance to watch and hear Jacky sing live is one of those experiences that is worth every single penny paid for the ticket (which in this case, caused me upwards of $500 for the most expensive VIP ticket option once all taxes and fees were factored in)!  This year was particularly special because of the 4-sided stage that Jacky chose to utilize for his entire concert tour, which meant that it would allow him to get more up close to fans for one and two, no matter which side audiences sat on, it was guaranteed that they would get some amount of personal interaction and also a more enhanced viewing experience.  Therefore, with this concert, it was especially advantageous to sit closer to the stage, which is why I chose to buy the most expensive tickets available – I ended up in one of the first 9 rows in my section with a seat very close to the aisle on the side of the stage, which provided me the perfect vantage point to all the action on stage.  Needless to say, I was super happy with the seat I ended up getting (despite being a bit apprehensive at first due to the stressful ticket purchasing process and also not being able to choose seats at the time of purchase).   

I went to the Saturday night 8pm show (Jacky did a total of 2 shows at MGM – one on Saturday night and the other on Sunday afternoon, 3pm) and of course, being the type of person who is always super-prepared and never likes rushing or doing anything last minute, I flew in from Los Angeles the night before the concert (on Friday, 2/16) and did some walking around to get a feel for the venue (obviously I don’t go to Las Vegas often, since I’m not a gambler and not particularly into watching shows, even the ones that HK artists often go there to perform – pretty much the only reason I have to go to Vegas is for Jacky’s concert).  Both of the two previous Jacky concerts I went to (his “1/2 Century Tour” in 2012 and his “Year of Jacky Cheung” tour in 2007) were at Caesar’s Palace, which was a much smaller venue – this was the first time he performed at MGM Grand Garden Arena and since his concert this time around was being organized by his record company Universal rather than an “official” concert organizer like previously, I was curious to see how different the experience would be.  One of the first things I noticed was that there seemed to be a lot less “promo” material for the concert this time around.  I did see a few banners outside of MGM Grand hotel advertising the concert and all of the Chinese-themed restaurants in the hotel also had signs at the entrance with his concert poster on them -- which, curiously were there on Friday night when I walked around but were removed already by the time I walked through again Saturday mid-morning (I had a few friends who actually arrived on Saturday around lunch time and they commented that they almost thought they were in the wrong place because there were no posters whatsoever when they walked through).  Not sure what the deal was with the posters and why they were removed so soon (especially when there was to be another show on Sunday) but not really a big deal I guess – just thought it was a little weird.

The night of the concert, I actually went down to the arena a little before 7pm to line up and was shocked to see that there were already thousands of people there, patiently waiting in line to get through security (and here I thought that I was super early, lol).  I forgot that MGM’s arena could sit 13,000 plus people (especially with the 4-sided stage this time around), so I guess seeing about a thousand people already there that early was “normal” given the total number of people expected (side note – we ended up starting late, around 8:15pm, because so many people were still outside the arena waiting to get in).  Seeing that we started late, I was actually a little worried that some of the songs might get cut, but it turns out I had nothing to worry about because Jacky gave us 100% of the performance he gave at the other stops and then some (just to put things in perspective, the concert ran for 3.5 hours, with Jacky singing nearly 40 songs – definitely a record!).

In terms of the concert itself – IT. WAS. AWESOME!!!!  Jacky gave a mind-blowing performance and as is his usual style, he put 110% effort into giving us a show that was worthy of all the time and money we spent to get there!   Getting to hear Jacky sing live was already a treat in and of itself, but to see all the effort he put into the dancing for his fast songs – given that he is already 56 years old and dancing was never really his strong suit – I had nothing but admiration and respect for Jacky, especially at that moment!  During the “talking” segment halfway into the concert, when Jacky talked about being ill right before the concert and also suffering from jetlag and insomnia (he arrived in Vegas the Friday prior to the first show but had barely slept), my heart broke a little because I knew how tired he must have been but being the perfectionist he always is, I knew that also meant he pushed himself extra hard to make sure Saturday’s performance would be flawless (and it WAS for the most part, with only a few imperfections here and there with a few songs – largely unnoticeable in my opinion and definitely didn’t detract from his overall performance).  I hope that Jacky was able to rest up a bit more prior to Sunday’s show (which I wasn’t able to attend due to that show being added so much later and my schedule already being set) but if not, I can only hope that Jacky takes care of himself and gets sufficient rest prior to his next stop (in Australia), which thankfully isn’t until March 9th (a little over 2 weeks away).

I know with the recaps I did for Jacky’s previous two concerts, I had “complained” about some annoyances I had with rude audience members and whatnot but this time around, I really didn’t have much to complain about.  Perhaps it’s because this time I made a conscious effort not to pay as much attention to people around me or maybe I was just too excited to be sitting so close to the stage for the first time in my life and getting to see Jacky perform so up close that everything else just paled in comparisons.  The concert experience this time around was beyond amazing and absolutely unforgettable!  Oh and I definitely have to put in a word about the “magic sticks” that each of us had waiting for us at our seats – talk about an “enhanced” concert experience, that was a wonderful touch to an already amazing show!  Looking back even now, I am still in awe of how that stick was “timed” so well to the music, to the point that it turned off automatically (despite on/off switch being in the “on” position) during certain songs and turned back on or changed colors during others – truly “magical” and I have to say that I’ve never seen anything like it (not that I’ve been to many concerts in my life, but specifically for Jacky’s previous concerts, compared to the simple “glow sticks” that we had gotten for those, this “magic stick” was definitely a major upgrade, lol)!

I will end this post with the rundown of all the songs Jacky sang that night, though a quick disclaimer that despite having “written down” all the songs during the concert, there is still a possibility I might have missed something during the segments when I was too immersed in Jacky’s performance to pay attention to what I was doing.  So if anyone who is reading this was also there for Saturday night’s show and see that I may have missed a song or two, please definitely let me know (thank you)!  Oh and anyone who had attended Saturday night or Sunday afternoon’s show (or both), please feel free to share your thoughts as well!

**

Jacky Cheung “A Classic Tour” Concert – Saturday, February 17, 2018 – Song List

1.       我與你
2.       非常夏日
3.       今晚要盡情
4.       慢慢
5.       離人
6.       這麽近那麽遠
7.       怎麼捨得你
8.       愛火花
9.       忘記他
10.   她來聽我的演唱會
11.   我真的受傷了
12.   頭髮亂了
13.   和好不如初
14.   遙遠的他
15.   想和你去吹吹風
16.   野貓之戀
17.   餓狼傳説
18.   如果這都不算愛
19.   醒著做夢
20.   不經不覺
21.   春風秋雨
22.   你的名字我的姓氏
23.   愛是永恆
24.   祝福
25.   用餘生去愛
26.   給朋友
27.   心如刀割
28.   不老的傳説
29.   離開以後
30.   一千個傷心的理由
31.   只想一生跟你走
32.   我等到花兒也謝了
33.   一路上有你
34.   吻別
35.   每天愛你多一些
36.   李香蘭
37.   Amour
38.   情以逝
39.   如果愛

Friday, February 16, 2018

The BIG day: Jacky Cheung "A Classic Tour" - Las Vegas stop!!

Ok, well, not quite the BIG day yet, as there are still a few hours until midnight so technically right now it's still the day BEFORE the big day, lol.  But hey, the fact that I'm here at the MGM hotel in Las Vegas and perhaps Jacky is in the same building as well already makes me super happy, lol.  I am SO looking forward to his concert tomorrow night -- can't wait!!

Here are a few pics that I took (sorry for the bad photography skills -- taking pictures is definitely not a strength of mine!).  One thing I noticed this time around -- there wasn't as much promo for his concert here as there was in past years, which I guess isn't too surprising given the organizer of the concert this time is different and I'm sure does not have as much pull (and definitely not as much experience) as the previous organizer.  I remember when it was at Caesar's Palace, Jacky's concert banners actually covered an entire half section of one side of the building, plus there were large posters all over the place).  This time around, there was only a medium-sized banner out in front of MGM hotel and also a bunch of smaller posters in front of all the Asian-themed restaurants in the hotel.  I didn't go into the MGM Garden Arena area yet (passed by it but didn't go in) so not sure if there are any big posters there or not -- I hope there are though!

In any case, I'm EXCITED to be here and totally ready to be BLOWN AWAY by yet another magnificent Jacky performance.  I'll definitely be doing a recap some time after the concert (might not be right after though -- maybe the next day) so be sure to watch for that post!

Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures! :-)





Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Entertainment Newsreel #2: More OCTB news + HKFA nominations

Here's this week's HK entertainment news items that I found interesting....


Movie news

Hong Kong Film Awards

-          Nominations list came out today for this year's HKFA (which will be held in April).

-          Ann Hui's wartime epic Our Time Will Come leads the pack with 11 nominations, followed by Sylvia Chang's Love Education and Wilson Yip's Paradox, each with 9 nominations.

-          Best Actor race will be interesting this year, as there are 3 veteran HK actors nominated (Andy Lau forShock Wave, Ronald Cheng for Concerto of the Bully, and Louis Koo for Paradox), 1 newcomer (Ling Man Lung for Tomorrow is Another Day) and 1 Mainland actor (Tian Zhuang Zhuang for Love Education).  This is the first Best Actor nomination for Ronald (he won Best Supporting Actor a couple years ago and also won Best Song twice previously) and I believe the third or fourth nomination for Louis.  No predictions on my part since I didn't watch any of these movies (not yet anyway) but I heard Ronald's performance was good and also quite a departure from his usual comedic roles so if I had to pick someone to root for, it would probably be him.

-          Best Actress nominees were actually anticipated, as most of these were already nominated in other awards shows.  The nominees include:  Chrissie Chau for 29+1, Zhou Xun for Our Time Will Come, Stephy Tang for The Empty Hands, Sylvia Chang for Love Education, and Teresa Mo for Tomorrow is Another Day.  Again, no predictions from my side but considering Stephy Tang already won Best Actress earlier at the Hong Kong Critics Association awards, no doubt that she is one of the hot favorites going into HKFA.  I'm curious to see the results, though I'm not rooting for anyone in particular in this category.

-          I'm not going to recap all the nominees (you can check out the entire list at the link below) however just a few interesting things I saw: 

o   In the Best Supporting Actor category, Philip Keung has 2 nominations – could this finally be his year to win?   Two nominations can be a blessing or a curse, as it could cause the vote to be split, which decreases one's chances.  I like Philip so I'm fine if he wins, though Paul Chun is also nominated in this category again and despite not having watched the movie he was nominated for, I'm still rooting for him because he's one of my favorite actors, lol.  Interestingly, last year's Best Actor winner Gordon Lam is nominated in Best Supporting Actor this year forParadox, which I heard he did a great job in.  

o   Best Supporting Actress category is all over the place, as it pits veteran actresses (i.e. Deanie Ip and Susan Shaw) against film industry newcomers (i.e. Joyce Cheng and Baby Bo).  This will be an interesting race as well, though again, no one in particular that I'm rooting for.

-          Here's the full list of nominees (courtesy of SCMP):  HKFA nominations



Television news

OCTB

- Reference this post I wrote about season 1 airing on Netflix starting this month.  Also, season 2 cast is still a pretty huge discussion point at the moment, with the latest "rumor" being that, due to the Netflix connection, they are currently in talks to secure Hollywood stars to participate in the series.  Details are in the above post.

- I had mentioned in my previous newsreel post that filming for season 2 was scheduled to begin after Chinese New Year.  Well, according to an article that came out today, looks like the plan might have to change now due to an unforeseen circumstance.  In an interview today, producer Jones Soong had the below to say:  "Originally we had already confirmed that a 'big name' artist would participate, someone whom audiences were really looking forward to seeing.  Unfortunately we just received word that there is a slight issue with that artist's schedule, so he will no longer be able to participate.  Of course this will affect the script, so we will need to do some re-writes now."

o   So now, filming will be delayed until March so that the re-writes can be done with the script.  In terms of the delay in filming, Jones Soong wanted to reassure audiences that their intention is to give the very best to audiences:  "I've always been of the mindset that a lot of focus has to be on the script being well-written.  I insist on completing the entire script before commencing filming because in my mind, on-the-fly scripts do nothing to help the production."    Jones also emphasized that he (and his team) won't rush things just to meet a particular deadline or to get their deposit quicker, as they don't operate that way.  The one thing that will be the biggest concern for them is artists' schedules, as that will impact their production significantly.

o   Bummer…looks like we will now have to wait until March for season 2 to start filming.  But I'm fine with it, since they want to make sure the script is properly written before they start.  There are very few production companies out there nowadays that focus on the script like this so kudos to Jones and his team for their efforts!  Though I can't wait for season 2 to start, I also admire and respect the team's decision to make sure the script is 100% good to go before they start – if that means filming is delayed, then so be it!

o   Sidenote:  As to who that artist is who originally committed but had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts?  Of course Jones Soong won't say.  So the reporter tried taking the "highly anticipated by audiences" route and asked Jones about one of the open endings from season 1, which was the identity of "Godfather" Sun Ye's son Michael (featured in a scene with only his backside and also his voice), whose identity was to be revealed in season 2 and whether that is the character affected. [This makes sense to me, as what other character would require the script to be rewritten due to the artist pulling out?].   In response to this, Jones laughed and said:  "Think about who in this industry is named 'Michael'!"  [Ha, that's such an obvious clue, lol!  If the artist Jones is referring to is indeed Michael Tse, then looks like my guess wasn't too off the mark.  Too bad he won't be able to participate in season 2 anymore though, as it would've been awesome to see Chicken (Jordan) and Dai Tin Yee (Michael) reuniting (though of course, they would've been on opposing sides, with Jordan's Phoenix battling Michael's triad leader character).

o   Here's the source of the article for those interested in reading it:  HK01


TVB

-          I read the other day that the series that will be taking over The Forgotten Valley's (the Louisa So series that is currently airing in the regular prime time slot) will be "Watch Out Boss", which is the series starring Flora Chan and Ben Wong that had been filmed 3 years ago (one of TVB's last series that was still buried in their warehouse).  I'm not interested in watching the series, as I'm not too fond of the cast first of all (aside from Flora and Ben, both of whom I like, not really keen on the other 2 leads), plus from what I've seen in previews and such, the story sounds lame (seems like another pointless comedy to me).  However I decided to include a snippet about this series in this post because, well, those who read my first "Entertainment Newsreel" post will probably know that most of the TVB-related stuff I cover in these posts are along the lines of "WTH moments"….given all the controversy surrounding this series at the moment (before the series has even aired), I think this legitimately falls into "WTH" category (ok, probably more like "WTF" territory depending on if you're a Flora fan or not).  So here's the lowdown:

o   Given Flora's popularity with audiences (back during the height of her career, she had won multiple audience-voted "TV artist of the year" awards from a few media outlets), you would think that TVB would cherish the opportunity of having her film for them as a way to get back into HK audiences' good graces (something that TVB desperately needs nowadays).  Well, apparently not – looks like TVB is still its old petty self and continues to have no qualms about playing their internal politics as long as it suits their fancy, even if it is at the expense of their artists and also the audiences who still support them.

o   Earlier, TVB released the trailer for the series as a precursor to the series airing – at that time, fans were already complaining that Flora was barely in the trailer, with her presence being reduced to a teeny tiny shot of her head.  If you think that's bad, wait, there's more...

o   It is now rumored that the episode count of the series has been cut from 20 episodes to 15 episodes.  The reason for the "trimming down" of episodes?  No, not to help the plot flow better by cutting out excess stuff or improve overall quality by editing out mistakes and such (which is what most "normal" production companies would do).  Supposedly, most of the scenes that will be cut are Flora's scenes – the rumor is that through post-editing, TVB is cutting out most of Flora's screen time so that instead of her being first female lead as was the case when she filmed the series, she will be reduced to "supporting" role and the series' second female lead Ali Lee will become first lead instead.  [Sidenote:  I know you're probably wondering how is it even possible to turn a supporting artist into lead and a lead into supporting purely via post-production editing?  Of course it's possible – just go ask world-renown HK director Wong Kar Wai, who practically wrote the playbook on this particular editing skill, though his reasons for doing it has nothing to do with politics – unlike TVB!]

o   So why is TVB doing this?  Some people are saying that TVB is trying to ride the Ali wave and since she's under their management contract, it makes sense that they would try to promote their own people.  While that may be true to some extent, it's not like Ali is a big enough name actress for TVB to give such special treatment to, especially when there are other artists at her level (second female lead whom TVB is currently promoting) filming other series also with veterans, yet same thing (editing out the veteran's scenes) is not happening there.  So to me, this theory doesn't hold any water.

o   The REAL reason why TVB is cutting Flora's scenes goes back to my earlier assertion that TVB is being petty again, as Flora is currently working for their rival station ViuTV.  A couple months back, during ViuTV's sales presentation, it was revealed that Flora will be producing an info series for ViuTV, called "Stages of Marriage".  The program will invite 5 different married couples from different walks of life and also different countries to share their different perspectives on marriage in efforts to help audiences understand how marriage is perceived across cultures.  Flora and her husband will be one of the 5 couples on the show.  Back when she was interviewed during ViuTV's sales presentation, Flora said that she agreed to do this program because the topic interested her but more importantly, it lets her go back to her roots, as audiences may remember that she was a producer for TVB's Pearl channel (their English language channel) prior to becoming an actress.  She indicated that she likes being a producer more because she has more control over the quality of the production (she also said that she is interested in doing more behind-the-scenes work and already completed writing of a script, a society piece  about life choices and decision-making that she hopes to produce / direct herself as a way of giving back to society).

o   While on the one hand, I can understand TVB not wanting to help another station promote their artists, I still feel that it's utterly ridiculous for TVB to take these types of petty actions that do more damage for themselves than good.  I mean, how is the series going to look like after TVB cuts out all of Flora's scenes?  Um, TVB certainly ain't no Wong Kar Wai (not even close!!) and their producers have nowhere near the skill he does.  Besides, I've seen the way TVB edits their programs and believe me, it's horrifying! [Sidenote: It's kind of ironic but subscribing to TVB's channels here in the U.S., we're kind of treated as second-class citizens in that we sometimes get the "shoddily edited" version of their programs complete with scenes cut out – not the same way the program aired in HK – and the ones I've seen have been pure CRAP!  There was one time where I got so frustrated with a variety program that they edited to the point of being unwatchable – literally they were cutting people's dialogue off mid-sentence! – that I actually called up TVB USA and gave them a piece of my mind (luckily TVB USA had and continues to have good customer service and actually is sincere about trying to fix issues – unlike its HK counterpart – so I went easier on them than I normally would other companies, lol)].   So yea, petty TVB is at it again – stroking their own egos and playing politics for politics sake with absolutely zero regard for anyone or anything (even those who support them)!  This kind of bullcrap (which TVB pulls more and more often nowadays) is actually one of the (many) reasons why I've stopped supporting TVB despite being a die-hard fan for 30 years.  IMO, Flora's fans should get together and boycott TVB – or perhaps flood the Communications Authority with complaints deriding TVB's stupid politics and pettiness (though probably this won't happen since HK audiences will always have some amount of sentimentality toward TVB no matter how badly they screw up….).

Monday, February 5, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: OCTB officially airs on Netflix + season 2 news


Not sure how many people remember last year how, practically the day after OCTB's final episode was broadcast on Youtube, the series was "taken down" permanently from the site, which sparked some outcry because many people hadn't watched the finale yet.  At the time, in response to this, I remember producer/director Jones Soong mentioning that they were forced to take the series down for financial reasons (implying that due to the series' success, a media company was interested in buying the series so they had to take it down to protect that company's interests), however Jones insisted that the series will be back "very soon".  At the time, there were rumors that the media company Jones referred to was actually Netflix, but it was never officially confirmed.

Well, it's confirmed now!  According to the below article, OCTB officially airs on Netflix starting today (2/5/18).  Jones Soong said that since removing the series from Youtube, they have spent the last 6 months in post-production, making the series better than  when it originally aired.  For those who are worried that anything substantial changed, Jones said not to worry, as most of the changes were to the aesthetics rather than the plot and also improving upon the visuals such as making the transitions from one scene to the next much smoother.  The biggest change is in the opening theme credits, which will be in English now rather than Chinese.  I don't currently subscribe to Netflix but now I'm considering doing so just so I can check out how the series will look now, lol. 

Oh, and for season 2 news – Jones Soong confirmed that they have more than enough funding for season 2 (most who followed the series last year will probably remember that season 1 funding was a huge challenge and mostly involved Danny Chan, Jones Soong, Sam Lee, and few other friends pooling their life savings together in order to make the series), especially now that Netflix is involved.  When asked whether they will be able to invite "big name" Asian stars to join the cast now, Jones said that they are actually looking at incorporating Hollywood stars.  He said that they are currently in talks with a particular Hollywood star to join the cast – of course, as usual, he won't reveal who the person is but he did say the actor collaborated with famous wrestler-turned-actor The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) in the past (already there is speculation that the Hollywood actor they are in talks with is Fast and Furious star Vin Diesel, however that is of course rumor at this point).  So until the cast is announced, let the speculations begin!!

Link to article: HK01

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Entertainment Newsreel #1: Television and some movie news…

As promised in my previous post, here's my first entertainment news updates post for this blog..

I welcome feedback so feel free to leave any suggestions you may have.  Also feel free to bring up any other recent happenings you might have read about in the comments if you want to (remember that I only included tidbits that I was interested in and most of the below was done from memory, so it’s definitely NOT all-inclusive).


Movie industry news

HONG KONG FILM AWARDS

-          Louis Cheung may be banned by TVB (through no fault of his own) but his fans don’t need to worry, as his footing in the HK movie industry is pretty solid.  He will be co-hosting this year’s Hong Kong Film Awards alongside Charlene Choi.  Given that this hosting job traditionally goes to artists who are established in the film industry, this is actually a pretty big deal for Louis, though with his experience in hosting TV programs, I think he’ll do fine.  Look forward to seeing his performance!

-          Speaking of HKFA – the news that came out last week is that ViuTV was granted exclusive broadcasting rights for the awards ceremony this year.  HKFA chair Derek Yee said that he is impressed with ViuTV’s sincerity and commitment to HKFA, as the station has a lot of pre-awards show events and programs planned (i.e. exclusive interviews, special feature pieces on the nominees, etc.).  Basically, ViuTV is doing way more than TVB ever did when they held broadcasting rights (not surprising of course, as it’s obvious TVB doesn’t respect the HKFA awards show).  I will definitely be tuning in this year to see how ViuTV does!  Oh, by the way, HKFA nominations will be announced on February 6th, so for those interested, might want to check on that day to see if their favorite movies / artists got nominated.



Television industry news

OCTB

-          This is kind of “old news” from last week but those of us who are dying to find out who will be joining the OCTB cast for season 2 may not have to wait too much longer.  The show’s co-producer (and lead actor) Danny Chan Kwok Kwan attended a function for his new movie last week and when asked by reporters about OCTB season 2, he confirmed that they will commence filming for season 2 right after the Chinese New Year holiday (which means that the final cast will be announced before then).  Not surprisingly, the reporters also tried to get Danny to reveal who will be joining the cast for the new season (with focus on whether any of the rumored Y&D artists will join), but of course, Danny was tight-lipped and refused to drop names – HOWEVER he did say that he just got word that a big name veteran agreed to do a cameo for them in season 2.  Danny said that they had reached out to the veteran thinking that the person would never agree but turns out they were wrong – the veteran will be filming 1 day for them, though not sure what this equates to in terms of screen time.

-          More OCTB news…I think it was last month (end of December), several of the guys from the OCTB cast (most of whom had become best buds during filming) held a party at veteran actor Michael Chan’s house (he played triad leader “Godfather” in OCTB) – though it was not an official OCTB cast party, there were still quite a few people from the series’ cast and crew there.  Justin Cheung had shared some pics on his social media account and of course, netizens seized the opportunity to “read into” the possibility that the pics might reveal some clues as to upcoming cast.  One of the artists spotted in the pics was actor Chin Siu Ho, who was not part of the original OCTB cast, so instantly, there was speculation that perhaps he would be part of the season 2 cast.  True or not, I have no clue.  I guess we will find out in a few weeks.

-      Sidenote (not really news but just a fun little piece for fellow fans of the series) -- in terms of former Y&D cast joining OCTB, my money is on Michael Tse and/or Anthony Wong (those were 2 out of the 4-5 names circulating on the Internet the past couple months).  I'm basing this on stuff I had read over the past few months and also the little I know of the artists' schedules and backgrounds.  Of course, I could be totally wrong and that's fine, but just thought I would throw this in, lol.  :-)


ATV

-          ATV had their official “re-launch” party last weekend (on January 29th).  I didn’t watch the program (which I heard was aired live on their app as well as their OTT thingie) but according to several media outlets, the program was a “disaster.” I won’t judge whether the “disaster” part holds any water, since I didn’t watch the show, but here’s a quick recap courtesy of HK01 and also Mingpao:
-           
o   First, the biggest name guest star in attendance at the ceremony was George Lam, who opened the night singing several of his classic hits

o   After that, former “golden MC” Ivan Ho chatted up a storm with a bunch of former TVB/ATV people, but instead of introducing any upcoming ATV programs, they mostly reminisced about the “good old days” of the entertainment industry, even mentioning a few iconic “classic” programs that their supposed rival TVB produced (hmmm, I thought this was ATV’s launch party, why would they mention TVB productions?  Well, I guess one thing they’ve got going for them is that they don’t “censor” the mere mention of their rival station’s name like, um, their “rival station” does, lol….)

o   There were a bunch more musical performances, but almost all of the performances were singers from the 70s/80s who sang classic songs that most of the current audiences (meaning the younger generation audiences that ATV is supposedly targeting) probably had never heard of.  [Sidenote:  I laughed when HK01 noted in one of their articles that they actually thought they were watching TVB’s “Cantopop at 50” (minus the hosts of course) because of the similarity in style (of the launch party) to that program as well as all the veteran singers who participated.]

o   Stephen Chan, whose newly revamped “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” is one of the key “selling points” for ATV’s comeback, was noticeably absent from the launch party.  Supposedly, Stephen Chan fell sick and had to pull out of the show last minute, so his buddy Wong Hei (who will be hosting a variety program for ATV) stepped in to host the ceremony in his place.

o   For me, the biggest “takeaway” from the ceremony in terms of implication for future were:

1)      Singer/actor Richie Jen attended the launch party along with artists under his management company (though the biggest name there from his company was William So…Edmond Leung was originally scheduled to be there too but since his high profile arrest for drunk driving was just a few days prior to the ceremony, obviously he had to skip, since his career has been put on hold at the moment…).  So perhaps this means future collaboration between Richie's artists and ATV?

2)      China 3D’s Stephen Shiu Jr. was in attendance and when interviewed by reporters, he very candidly “talked about” TVB’s ban on his artists and outright said there is a “high probability” that his company will be collaborating with ATV in the future (as a reminder, some of the “bigger names” under his management are -- Chilam Cheung, Myolie Wu, Louis Cheung, Justin Cheung, Gregory Wong).  Don’t be surprised if you see any of these artists filming stuff for ATV in the near future!

-          In terms of the big 64 million dollar question – will ATV resume filming series?  Well, those of you who read my previous 2 posts about ATV’s comeback will probably know that they were originally planning on doing 2 remakes this year:  a TV series remake of John Woo’s iconic movie “A Better Tomorrow” (the one that starred Chow Yun Fat, Leslie Cheung, and Ti Lung) and also a remake of ATV’s own classic hit series “My Date With A Vampire”.  If you read the update to those same posts, you will probably also know that ATV hit a snag with both these planned remakes, as it looks like their new CEO Ng Yu didn’t do his homework prior to announcing their plans (he later admitted that he hadn’t finished going through all of ATV’s old paperwork/records yet, as he was only hired on by the Mainland company that currently owns ATV back in April of last year and so there was still a lot of work to be done in terms of “catching up” with ATV’s past history). 

o   At the re-launch party, Ng Yu confirmed that the remake of “A Better Tomorrow” will move forward despite actor/singer Stephen Fung’s company issuing a statement claiming they hold the rights to ABT and did not authorize ATV to do a remake.  Apparently, Stephen Fung’s company holds the rights to the original TV version while a different company holds the rights to the John Woo movie version – ATV did get permission from the company holding the rights to the John Woo version (that company is supposedly going to release a statement soon), so their remake will proceed.

o   The remake of MDWAV is still a no go (though there was no mention of this at the launch party – not surprising of course given the embarrassment).  Fox Asia still holds the rights to MDWAV (which ATV had sold to them a few years ago but the current execs conveniently forgot) and they are actually planning on remaking the series themselves, so pretty sure they are not going to authorize ATV to do any type of remake.  Ng Yu did say (back in December when Fox issued their statement) that they were going to discuss with Fox and see if they are open to a collaboration – if Fox agrees, then ATV still has a chance…I guess we shall wait and see.

o   Oh and to add salt to the wound -- the series that ATV had previously announced was going to be their “debut” series (Mainland series “The Legend of Ba Qing” starring Fan Bing Bing) which they supposedly spent big bucks to buy….well, it was announced last week that the air date in Mainland China will be delayed, as someone “reported” the series to the authorities and so the producer(s) now need to “fix” some stuff before it will be allowed to air (I had read that the number of episodes will be cut down but I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the details to be honest).  So ATV is basically in a holding pattern right now, with their execs probably “praying” that the issues will be resolved soon.  

  - What a mess for ATV!  I'm not normally superstitious but man, so many obstacles from the getgo can't be a good thing for a station that is trying to re-brand itself.  Not a good way to start their "re-launch" that's for sure!


TVB

 Of course there will be mention about TVB in a recap about entertainment news happenings – however one “disclaimer” that I would like to make:  most of you who have followed my blog for awhile and/or my comments in certain discussion forums probably know what my attitude is toward TVB nowadays.  Basically, when it comes to TVB, don’t expect to see the “latest and greatest” in terms of new upcoming series or whatnot because I barely follow that stuff anymore.  Nowadays, I don’t pay much attention to which new series are airing in TVB’s prime time “golden” timeslots since I don’t watch their (new) series much anymore.  If you’re looking for latest info on new series and/or current generation of TVB artists, there are plenty of fansites out there so feel free to check those out instead.

With that said, the 2 things I wanted to mention about TVB this week (note that most of my TVB mentions in these posts are along the lines of “WTH moments” -- basically stuff that I found "laughable"....):

-          So you guys remember that disaster of an anniversary series Heart and Greed (the 3rd installment to the Heart Of Greed franchise), right?  Those who’ve been following entertainment news the past few weeks probably know that HAG’s ratings in HK sucked (though I heard their finale episode actually ended on a high note) and word of mouth was horrible as well.  Throughout the month or so that the series aired, it was pretty much “bashed” every day for one thing or another by netizens and audiences alike (and no, it’s not a coincidence that the series was completely shut out of the anniversary awards, despite the “high hopes” of the cast and crew going into the awards).  Given the above, I don’t think it would be a stretch to say that the series was NOT well-received and therefore, the franchise can officially DIE now…

o   Well, um, not quite….it was announced recently that there are plans for BOTH a movie version as well as stage play version of the series (the 3rd installment specifically).  Not too many details on the movie yet, though I did see a rumor somewhere that Ha Yu might get pegged as the director for the movie version (which makes sense to me, since Ha Yu has his own production company and already directed/produced a few movies the past couple years).  If Ha Yu does end up being the director, the question I’m most interested in is whether his son Dixon Wong will be involved in the production again (as he was in Ha Yu’s previous works) – reason I ask is because Dixon Wong is a ViuTV-contracted artist currently so it will be interesting to see what will happen with that if the movie is still affiliated with TVB. 

o   As for the stage play, TVB already confirmed it’s definitely a go and the veterans – Ha Yu, Louise Lee, Susanna Kwan, etc. -- stated that they have already started planning for it.  Supposedly, the stage play version will be “comedy-heavy”, which I guess means that we will be spared all of those intensely dramatic arguing + crying scenes that were a “staple” of the franchise?  I guess we shall wait and see….


-          Turns out all the backlash that TVB got after the highly contested results of their 50th Anniversary Awards “paid off” for them, as the ratings report came out last week and this year’s awards garnered 33.6 points (probably the highest ratings for ANY TVB program – series included – in all of 2017), which, according to the media, are the highest ratings the awards has gotten since 2014. 

o   Of course, TVB held a celebratory dinner to commemorate this (in which the behind-the-scenes crew as well as all award winners were in attendance) and the execs took the opportunity to give a bunch of “motivational” speeches.  I won’t repeat the exact content of their speeches (because quite honestly, some of the stuff they said made me want to puke, lol) but just know that, in typical TVB-style, the execs pretty much praised themselves for a job well-done and reiterated once again that the high ratings means that HK audiences still “love” them (yes, bring on the barf bags!!!)


And last but certainly not least….

HKTV

-          After not hearing anything for like 5 months, HKTV was finally “back in the news” last month (January), though depending on which side you’re on, you might be happy or sad at the reason why they are in the news again (personally, I’m both happy and sad, but that’s just me…).

o   As I stated in the comments to one of my recent blog posts, Ricky Wong gave a presentation last month about the launch of his new e-commerce related project (as you may recall from this blog post I wrote up back in August 2017, Ricky Wong sold his stake in HKTV to his partner, so he is no longer the CEO, however he still oversees the HKTVmall side of things).  In a nutshell, Ricky Wong is basically turning HKTV’s multi-million dollar studio in Tseung Kwan O (near where TVB City is located) into a “training ground” for media students with an interest in e-commerce – the students will be able to “rent” HKTV’s facilities and equipment for free to film essentially whatever they want (i.e. supermarket commercials, product promotional videos, etc.).  The purpose is to cultivate potential future business leaders (more specifically in the e-commerce field) while at the same time not letting the facilities go to waste. 

o   Here are links to the 2 articles (from HK01’s Finance/Business section) that has more details on the project: Article 1 and Article 2

o   Like I said elsewhere, from a business perspective, kudos to Ricky Wong for putting in the effort to cultivate a younger generation of potential business leaders – though of course, none of us should be surprised that RW decided to go this route given his background and the fact that he is known for his creativity and being innovative (the phenomenal success of his previous telecom business is proof that he knows what he is doing when it comes business development).  Personally, I feel that this project is a great idea and one that I wish HKTV (more specifically Ricky Wong) the utmost success on.

o   With that said however, the above news, coupled with the fact that Ricky Wong’s HKTVmall e-commerce business is doing extremely well (there is an article that actually had some impressive numbers in it but I didn’t post it because it’s buried in my list somewhere – if I’m able to dig it out anytime soon, I’ll try to at least post up the link to it) – means that for those of us who were looking forward to HKTV resuming production of their series (something that RW had promised would happen if their 2nd application for a license is approved), the prospect of this happening has gotten a lot dimmer.   The longer the government continues to drag their feet with the second round of applications (it’s been like what, 3 years already since HKTV’s 2nd application was submitted?), the likelihood of HKTV resuming filming gets dimmer and dimmer.  Personally, I don’t want to go into my spiel about whether I think it’s a good idea for HKTV to resume production or not, since that topic would take up a full post in and of itself, plus I think I already talked about it previously in my blog….but fellow HKTV supporters definitely feel free to express your thoughts on this in the comments below if you want.


That’s it for now, but note that since this is the first post in this particular series and I’m technically a little behind with it (most of the above news was from mid-to late January, some even from December), I will probably be doing another post in a couple of days to “catch up” with this past week’s news.  After that, the plan is to do these posts probably weekly (maybe bi-weekly depending on my schedule) with more current news.


Enjoy! :-)