Niki Chow to Replace Charmaine Sheh’s Position at TVB?
In order to film TVB Producer Lee Tim Sing’s My Cruel Lover , Niki Chow Lai Kei terminated her former BMA music contract early at the beginning of the year. Niki’s former love rival, Charmaine Sheh Si Man, was rumored to leave TVB and film in China instead for more money. Due to TVB’s lack of fadans, Tim Gor encouraged Niki to sign a management contract with TVB. Tim Gor even promised Niki that in the coming year, Niki will be promoted to a top fadan, replacing Charmaine’s position!
TVB Chasing Niki to Sign Management Contract
In February, Niki signed a per-series contract with TVB. On several occasions, she also met with TVB executive, Virginia Lok Yi Ling, to discuss the terms of a management contract. Despite heavy promotion, TVB’s new fadans could not be elevated to a higher position, while few older fadans were left. Earlier, Tim Gor advocated for Niki in front of Ms. Lok, noting that her acting skills were okay although she never took an acting class. With an additional push in promotion, Niki could achieve Charmaine’s status within a year.
An inside source revealed that TVB was interested in signing a two-year management contract with Niki. Currently, Niki earned $3,000 (HKD) per episode under her current per-series contract. “Under the new management contract, her filming fee would be increased to $10,000 (HKD) per episode. Although this fee was still far from the $20,000 to $30,000 (HKD) fee that top TVB fadans earn, it was not a bad price for a newly signed artist. However, Niki felt that a two year contract was too binding. Since TVB would also take commission fees out of Niki’s endorsement deals, she was still considering the terms.”
Niki’s Past Series Achieved High Ratings
Niki filmed five series with TVB in the past. The Gentle Crackdown <秀才遇着兵> peaked at 42 points in ratings. Under the Canopy of Love <天幕下的戀人> peaked at 37 points in ratings. Niki’s past series had strong ratings, with the exception of The King of Snooker <桌球天王> which fell below 30 points in ratings.
Niki acknowledged excitedly, “The only way I can repay Tim Gor is to decline other jobs and focus on filming My Cruel Lover.” (Once you sign a TVB management contract, did Tim Gor promise to promote you to Charmaine Sheh’s status?) “Ha…?! How did you know that? Um…I did not say that; only Tim Gor would have the audacity to utter these words! As for the management contract, I will think about it once I complete filming My Cruel Lover.”
Since Charmaine Sheh allegedly snagged Kevin Cheng Ka Wing from her in the past, was Niki easing her vexation in the latest turn of events? After hearing the reporter’s question, Niki walked away and then responded, “I figured you might ask such questions. At this time, I will focus on filming series.”
Reporters contacted Kevin for comment regarding the possibility of Niki signing with TVB. Kevin said, “If you are saying that Tim Gor is promoting Niki, why don’t you ask him?” (Since Charmaine and Niki were both your former co-stars and rumored love interests, what do you think about Niki’s acting?) “Her acting is always good!” Kevin pointed out that he answered enough questions and quickly turned to leave.
Lee Tim Sing: “Don’t Want Charmaine Sheh to Work So Hard”
On March 12th, reporters contacted Lee Tim Sing. Although he acknowledged that Niki’s acting still needed improvement, he supported advancing her to a top-line actress. “Niki has great physical attributes. She is not too tall and looks good next to male co-stars. As for acting, we can improve that slowly. Even Sheren Tang Shui Man was not an great actress when she first started in the industry.” (Why did you have to seek out Niki in particular?) “You don’t think I want to find someone else? Outside [TVB], everyone has a contract. As for the actresses within TVB, they frequently appear in numerous series broadcast throughout the day already. Otherwise, the remaining actresses have not achieved a certain position yet.” (Did you say that Niki can replace Charmaine?) “I am uncertain as to whether Charmaine will leave TVB or not. However, it’s very strenuous for her to film series after series. Now, we have another fadan for producers to cast.”
Recent rumors claimed that Kevin Cheng may have reignited romantic flames with Charmaine. It appears that Niki and Charmaine may be destined rivals in both love and career. Although Niki’s affinity with the audience was mediocre, Tim Gor strongly supported her in front of Ms. Lok. It was still uncertain as to whether Tim Gor can turn Niki into a top fadan.
A Look at TVB’s Current Fadans
Charmaine Sheh- Once her TVB contract expires in April, the possibility of Charmaine remaining at TVB is low. Rumors were rampant that Charmaine will film in China to earn more money.
Bernice Liu- Since splitting with Moses Chan and dating new boyfriend, Alastair Lam, Bernice has been plagued by negative rumors and was “frozen” by TVB. Allegedly, prior to the scandal, Bernice had already renewed her contract with TVB.
Myolie Wu- In the past, Myolie was heavily promoted by TVB. Often revealing contorted expressions in her series, Myolie was ridiculed by netizens. Many TVB producers grew afraid of casting her in series. Although Myolie still had two years left in her TVB contract, it was difficult for her to advance further in Hong Kong. In recent months, she has started filming in China.
Fala Chen and Linda Chung- Both Fala and Linda have good relationships with TVB producers. Among actresses, they advanced quickly in recent years and accepted many endorsement jobs on the side. Even if Fala and Linda do not overexert themselves, the audience will likely grow bored seeing them too much!
Tavia Yeung- Originally, Tavia had the potential to fight for the #1 Sister title with Charmaine Sheh. Tavia still has three years left in her contract. If Charmaine leaves, Tavia will undoubtedly get the coveted spot. No wonder TVB has to develop new fadans!
Excerpt from Sudden Weekly # 816
Jayne: Lee Tim Sing does seem to have an affinity for Niki Chow. He even stated earlier that the female lead character in My Cruel Lover was especially written for Niki. However, Tim Gor’s longevity with TVB is unclear and the man has spoken about retirement many times. Even if he wanted to promote Niki to higher status if she signs a management contract with TVB, will he have enough time to do so?
When news of Charmaine not renewing her TVB contract first surfaced, we discussed thoroughly the state of fadans remaining at TVB and their status. Tabloid magazine, Sudden Weekly, seems to echo the same thoughts. Now we have Tim Gor saying the same, that they were not many fadan choices left in TVB.
After the late 90s and the glory of Jessica Hsuan, Maggie Cheung, Gigi Lai, Ada Choi, Flora Chan faded, TVB only managed to develop Charmaine Sheh into a big star. Gigi Lai and Sheren Tang became big at this time as well. In between, we had Sonija Kwok, Yoyo Mung, Myolie Wu, Tavia Yeung, and Bernice Liu groomed for succession planning. Tavia Yeung emerged the strongest among this generation, while the others’ actress sucess was not as strong as bargained. Not only in terms of popularity, but also in acting strength as well. Following this period, we had the emergence of Linda Chung and Fala Chen as well. I also think that Natalie Tong, whom I find to be quite beautiful but needs a better stylist, might shine if given more memorable roles.
Yes, there are many loopholes to fill. Is bringing in Niki Chow the right move? I do like Niki and she has a distinct personality that might give the TVB fadan scene an interesting mix. In the past, she played similar types of characters, so if TVB is serious about promoting her further, range of acting might be an issue.