An Analysis of TVB “Standing” Positions: Kenneth Ma Finally Ready for TV King?

Like seniors posing for their final class picture for high school, TVB artistes would gather together every year to pose for a group photo during the annual TVB Anniversary Gala. For years, this annual group photo would be analyzed from top to bottom by the media, touting it as TVB’s pantheon. The station’s top artists would be placed front and center, giving us all a good glimpse of artiste hierarchy within Hong Kong’s number one television station and management agency.

TVB Favors Kenneth Ma for TV King?

In the center of the front row would always be, of course, Liza Wang (汪明荃) and Carol “DoDo” Cheng (鄭裕玲), respected veteran entertainers and regular MCs of the TVB Anniversary Gala. Standing beside the two veterans would usually TVB’s “number one brothers”—and over the past few years, those brothers would be Wayne Lai (黎耀祥), Roger Kwok (郭晉安), or Moses Chan (陳豪). This year, Moses Chan remained, but standing beside DoDo became Kenneth Ma (馬國明).

Ever since being promoted to leading TVB actor ten years ago, Kenneth has become a mainstay in the front row. Over the years, he has slowly inched up from standing at the end, to the closer in the middle, and finally, to standing next to DoDo this year, putting him as one of TVB’s most important actors. With his soaring popularity after last year’s The Exorcist’s Meter <降魔的> and this year’s Big White Duel <白色強人>, 2019 may be the likely year where TVB will finally push Kenneth for TV King.

Ali Lee Still Staying Strong

Standing beside the “number one brothers” would usually be the “number one sisters”—this year, it was Ali Lee (李佳芯) besides Moses and Natalie Tong (唐詩詠) besides Kenneth. Ali was reportedly “frozen” by TVB after sharing a social media post that had upset mainland Chinese netizens, but judging from this photo, it appears that Ali’s position within TVB is unchanged.

Natalie, who won last year’s TV Queen and Best Actress at this year’s Singapore’s StarHub TV Awards, stood beside Kenneth, asserting her high status in the hierarchy. It’s very likely that the former TV Queen would be a top contender for this year’s TV Queen as well.

Standing beside Natalie was Ruco Chan (陳展鵬)—though he hasn’t had a new drama release this year, his position as TVB’s top dog remains. Beside Ali stood Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪), one of the stars of TVB’s first Netflix drama The Defected <鐵探>.

First row artistes are the following:

Liza Wang (汪明荃), Carol Cheng (鄭裕玲), Moses Chan (陳豪), Kenneth Ma (馬國明), Ali Lee (李佳芯), Natalie Tong (唐詩詠), Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪), Ruco Chan (陳展鵬), Nancy Wu (胡定欣), Mandy Wong (黃智雯), Vincent Wong (王浩信), Ben Wong (黃智賢), Pakho Chau (周柏豪), Elaine Yiu (姚子羚), Rebecca Zhu (朱晨麗), Priscilla Wong (黃翠如), Lai Lok-yi (黎諾懿), Owen Cheung (張振朗), Matthew Ho (何廣沛), Kelly Cheung (張曦雯), Sisley Choi (蔡思貝), Sharon Chan (陳敏之), and Tony Hung (洪永城)


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. Wouldn’t they call it a sympathy award due to his ooohhh so sad love life due to the scandal? haha lol…. I don’t think I will ever consider him TV King. But what do I know lol. Singapore also crowned him and the least favorite Natalie Tong? :0/

    1. @wm2017 I think this year Kenneth will have a good chance to win TV King. These center positions in Anniversary Gala show are very telling. Don’t think giving him the award is for sympathy…the TVB Best Actor award has frequently been an award given to recognition an artiste’s collective body of work rather than just a specific performance in a drama, and an indication of which artiste the station wants to promote more in the coming year.

      With Kenneth in two prominent dramas next year, “Line Walker 3” and “The Exorcist’s Meter 2.0”, it is the perfect award to hype up the series more.

      1. @jayne agree! One purpose of these award ceremonies is to promote future dramas. I remember one year, Grace Chan won an award, which many people feel she didnt deserve. She won it against Ali, like cmon! But, Grace was being heavily promoted, so that must be why

  2. Wasn’t Kenneth already seen as “tv king” in everybody’s eyes even though he hasn’t gotten the award yet? In my perception/knowledge, I thought everyone saw him as a great actor and well liked/promoted by tvb

  3. What a sad state tvb is in when those in first row are the brightest stars they have. Seriously Tony Hung? Didn’t everyone agree that his acting sucks? Sharon, Matthew, Owen, Elaine, Natalie, Edwin, Benjamin, Ben Wong? In tvb’s glory days these people would still be third or second lead at best. I miss good lead actors like Wayne and Roger. What is this Singapore pork award that Kenneth and Natalie “won”? There was no voting held so how in the world did they end up as winners? Sad……

    1. @pisces2019
      Tvb is no longer like its heyday where every star was pretty much a household name. I agree, such a pity that the former second line artists r now their biggest stars. Moses, Ali, Kenneth, r fine. But seriously, Natalie, Mandy, Tony, Pak ho, whom I really like though. Most don’t have the seniority or even as likable as the other stars. Where is nancy Wu and Vincent. Where’s yo-yo Chen?
      I also think they should promote Alice chan more she’s the most promising future number 1sister in tvb.

      1. @m0m0 Nancy left TVB. Vincent won last year or the year before. They wont give TVB King to him again. Yoyo Chen was never a lead.

  4. I feel Kenneth have a big chance this year since the drama he did got pretty good rating and all comments was for his character. I do agree about some of the people where they standing. I miss all the old tvb people

  5. I do think they’re giving this award to Kenneth out of sympathy.

    Natalie certainly didn’t help when she openly tried to discourage Vincent from competing for the award. “You already got it once, you don’t want it again, right?” Pffft.

    Sure the award is given out of the whole entirety of their career, but the main focus is the drama of the year. Let’s call a spade a spade. Plenty of veterans are ignored and passed over in light of popular artistes, whose body of work isn’t really that spectacular. This is all my own opinion on this – don’t flame me.

    1. @coralie I absolutely agree with you. Having followed TVB for as long as I have, I know for a fact those awards aren’t based on an artist’s collective body of work, but rather, the whim of TVB management and whom they want to promote…with the occasional exception being for those times when awarding a particular artist will become especially controversial, in which case they will usually go with the “safe” option (and there are the extremely rare circumstances where audience pressure actually had a hand in trumping management whim, but of course this doesn’t happen often). And it’s not just who ends up getting the award that’s an issue — who they chose for top 5 each year in the main categories already shows how much of a joke these awards are.

    2. @coralie veterans always get ignored, esp if they didnt get lead roles. One main purpose of these award ceremonies is to promote future stars that TVB wants to promote. We have seen it over & over – awards given to actresses that dont even deserve it & their acting has A LOT more room for improvement

      1. @luye yea, agreed. but i think they’re promoting kenneth out of pity over what happened this year. he received a lot of press and good evaluation over how he handled the situation. it doesn’t have a lot to do with his acting, imo, which is a shame and disservice to everyone involved in the competition. but no one ever said the fight was fair.

  6. I would’ve been happy to see Maggie Siu, Bobby, Wayne and Kent Cheng up there in the front. Maybe even Kingdom Yuen. If tvb was fair Maggie Siu really deserve to win this year.

    1. @abcd Agree. Maggie Siu has been a great actress in the last few years. I was not that impressed of her acting while she was young (in the 80s), but her acting has matured so much in the last few years. However, I don’t think TVB will give her the Best Actress award.

      1. @orchid123 You’re probably right. TVB doesn’t like to give awards to non “biological” kids lol. I remember when people were upset Joey Meng didnt get the best actress award for playing a villain because she wasn’t a “biological” daughter.

  7. kenneth is probably going to get tv king this year considering there’s no competition and probs out of sympathy. but honestly don’t think him getting the award will make much difference now since these days, getting a tvb award doesn’t mean anything about your acting but instead just the pure liking of the bosses. tvb has deteriorated in all the ways possible in the past few years, i hate to say it since i grew up watching this, but tvb’s becoming such a dumb joke.

  8. High chance kenneth going to win TV king.. finally. White duel was good drama but his acting not exactly impressive?
    strong competitors will be roger kwok & vincent or joel chan as black horse.
    Vincent acting was good but unlikely he will get it again this year.

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