Bobby Au Yeung Angered by TVB’s Arrogance

As many A-list and established performers leave Hong Kong to seek work in Mainland China, TVB has lost many actors. With a dwindling number of veterans left, TVB has been making immense efforts to keep those remaining. However, it came as a shock when Bobby Au Yeung (歐陽震華) was snubbed by management in a recent discussion over his contract renewal.

While meeting with TVB’s Artiste Management Department to discuss the terms for his contract, Bobby was reportedly told that the company will “call him when there is work for him.” Bobby was extremely displeased about being unappreciated and undervalued.

Since Bobby was with the station for more than 30 years and starred in numerous highly-rated dramas, he was shocked by the poor treatment. As many artistes spoke up in defense of Bobby, he expressed his gratitude, “I’m surprised by the big response; many people spoke up for me because they felt that I was [treated improperly]. A reason must be given for some things!” Asked if he was angry, Bobby said, “I just want justice and emotional reassurance. I don’t want a third party to tell TVB what I said!”

After Virginia Lok (樂易玲) poorly handled the contract negotiations with Bobby, Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍) stepped in to personally discuss the matter with Bobby in hopes of changing his mind. Asked whether Bobby will sign again with TVB, he said, “It doesn’t matter. I will accept when there is work. The most important thing is that we have an enjoyable partnership, similar to any business arrangement. I’m not a laborer!”

Catherine Tsang Believes It is a Misunderstanding

Asked whether Bobby is still angry over the incident, Catherine said, “Not sure! I told him not to cause any harm to his health. It’s okay! It’s just linguistic misunderstandings. It’s nothing. I’ve watched him grow up, so I will definitely watch out for him.”

Previously, TVB’s upper management indicated that they will develop a customized role for Bobby. Catherine further explained, “It was tailored for him. Previously, his health was poor. I told the producer that he must be careful with Bobby’s jobs. [Take care of him] just like a kid or even an older actor. He is like a protected animal. During the hot season, we will not have him film an ancient drama.”

When asked what requirements Bobby has in order to renew his contract, Catherine said, “No! He doesn’t have any special requests. He’s very easy-going.”

Virginia Lok’s Response

Asked about her botched up discussion with Bobby, Virginia Lok said, “Why wouldn’t I want to sign Bobby? That day, my colleague and I met with Bobby’s manager. We didn’t finish discussing the contract, and I never heard my colleague say, ‘We will call you when there’s work’. I think it’s a linguistic misunderstand.”


This article is written by Huynh for

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  1. Could it be due to his health? He had been hospitalized while filming a series sometime ago…maybe TVB management is afraid he will fall sick again, hence the uncertainty in renewing his contract. Poor Bobby…

  2. I hope Bobby says no to contract renewal (though I doubt it given his loyalty to TVB). It’s unfortunate, but until one of the artists actually has the guts to say “screw you, TVB” and not return to film any series no matter what, TVB is never going to learn their lesson and of course the vicious cycle is going to continue. The artistes department will continue with their rude behavior as though nothing happened and will continue to screw up contract negotiations with veteran artists because they can just send Catherine Tsang in after the fact to do damage control. Sad….

    1. @llwy12 Totally agree! If I was Bobby, after such rude treatment I’d say “screw you TVB”. Bobby is rich and filming is just his interest! Not to men he films mainland series as well! For a lead actor of his caliber to be treated this poor is inexcusable! All the more reason to boycott TVB the arrogant + monopoly company who only cares about their management artistes!

      1. @sport3888 It’s precisely because TVB is a monopoly and such a powerhouse in HK that they can afford to be arrogant and treat artists with little to no respect. Though the sad thing is, for the past 15 years, they’ve pretty much been riding on the coattails of their past glory (the 70s/80s/90s eras) and using that to justify their arrogance. This is why it ticks me off to no end whenever I see the current management (who obviously weren’t around back during TVB’s glory days) messing with the veteran artists who’ve been around longer than them and also who helped build TVB up into the empire it is today (lost count already how many times Bobby’s situation happened with other veteran artists over the past 5 years especially). Have some respect! If those stupid people negotiating the contracts don’t have it in them to be well-mannered and respectful toward veterans, then find someone who can! To me, that’s one of the failures of the current artistes management department — sending desk level “nobodies” to discuss contracts with veteran artists and putting those artists’ fates in the hands of people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing (seems to be Virginia Lok’s style ever since she took over the department)….that in itself already reeks of insincerity and disrespect…

  3. bobby has been stereotyped by tvb in comedies the last years,i hope tvb can give him in a role as villain which he has never doen before,maybe he can surprise us like roger did.

    1. @kolo Actually, Bobby has played villain roles before — quite a few of them in fact…it’s just that most of those roles were back in the 80s before he became popular. If you want to see a different Bobby (more as dramatic actor and villain rather than comedian), got to watch his series from the 80s…

      With that said, I do agree about TVB stereotyping Bobby into comedic roles, but that only started occurring in the 90s. It’s kind of a pity in my opinion, as Bobby is a good dramatic actor. Same situation with Roger — he’s a good dramatic actor as well, but ever since Ah Wong, he was stereotyped into comedic roles for many years. I actually prefer his dramatic roles over his comedic ones (probably because I started with his series in the 80s so to me, he is a dramatic actor more than a comedic one).

      1. @llwy12 i couldnt remember his villain roles in the eighties anymore,but agree he is versatile and can do more than just comedies,i like his role in dissy bussiness.

      2. @kolo It was more mid-80s to early 90s when Bobby was doing the dramatic and villain roles (early 80s he was mostly playing kelefe and small supporting roles)…that was also the time when he was still using his real name Au Yeung Yiu Chuen (if you ever decide to look up his earlier series, use his real Chinese name, as he only started using the stage name Au Yeung Chun Wah in the late 80s/early 90s). After he became popular with Files of Justice, no more villain roles (luckily he still had some dramatic roles interspersed between the comedic ones, though not as many as in the earlier days).

  4. You’d think with everyone wanting to leave, TVB would jumping all over someone like Bobby who actually wants to stay. But somehow the management can botch this up.

  5. I just finished reading Bobby’s interview with Mingpao Weekly (published today) where he got to tell his side of the story. Virginia Lok also got the chance to ‘defend’ her artistes department in the same interview. Definitely a very interesting read– after reading the interview/article, I felt like we’re going through the Steven Ma contract termination issue all over again (similar situation, different artist)…

    Whether this whole incident is a ‘misunderstanding’ (as TVB claims) and whether Bobby will decide to continue collaborating with the station remains to be seen…but one thing is pretty clear: TVB needs to get their act together internally, as it’s quite obvious from this incident that none of the management are on the same page. If the problem is that TVB is too big now and the management isn’t competent enough to handle matters, then they need to self-reflect and figure out whether they need to re-think their business structure. Bobby made a great point when he said in the MP interview that its artists are TVB’s greatest asset and one of the main reasons why the station has been so successful over the years. If TVB continues to prioritize money/profits and politics over their greatest asset (the artists who work for them regardless of what kind of contract they have), it’s only going to accelerate their downfall even faster….

    1. @llwy12 Again, TVB needs a lesson! If I was Bobby I’d say good riddance! He doesn’t need to rely on TVB!

      1. @sport3888 Well, looks like Virginia Lok and TVB are in trouble now. In the MP interview, Virginia Lok denied that anyone in her department said “call you when there’s work” and even tried to blame Bobby’s manager Lydia, saying she was actually the one who said those words. And now Lydia is shooting back, refuting VL’s account of what happened and revealing that it wasn’t the artistes department staff who said those words, but rather Ms. Lok herself. Bobby of course supports his manager 100% and even said that it’s “normal” for Virginia Lok to deny everything and try to blame others.

        Not sure what’s going to happen at this point, since the issue seems to be escalating into a verbal battle now. But I hope this means that Bobby doesn’t sign with TVB again…

      2. @llwy12 In the response of 620, she said of some kind of record or minute about what Lydia said. Well, let’s see if she can provide anything.

        I dont know it is just me or not but I find Catherine Tsang’s response regarding this dispute is also arrogant.

      3. @alluka Personally, I think 620 is bluffing. She is probably referring to the minutes that get taken at meetings and such, but that’s only a summary of key points — doesn’t record word for word what was said. Besides, let’s not forget that Lydia (Bobby’s manager) has a pretty good reputation in the industry while 620 has a bad track record (this is not the first time she and/or her department has screwed up artists’ contracts) — so of course Bobby is going to support the manager he has worked with for 15 years (Lydia) over TVB.

        And no, I didn’t like Catherine Tsang’s response either, but she does have the advantage of being the one with all the connections to the veteran artists due to her tenure at TVB and the fact that she has established good relationships with all of them over the years. I honestly don’t like any of the current management and could care less if they kill each other in their internal struggle for power — but the piece that I don’t like is that the artists are the ones being sacrificed in their ‘power war’….

      4. @llwy12 If I remember right, Bobby has his connection with TVB through Tommy Leung, Not Cat Tsang. He doesnt seem to close to Cat Tsang side but in Tommy Leung side. His friends are also in Tommy side (He is close to the group of youngster LF, Ron, Joel Chan and KC). He refused Cat Tsang to join the negotiation. As Tommy has gone, I think TVB doesnt want Bobby that much anymore.

      5. @alluka That’s true — Bobby is definitely closest to Tommy Leung, since Tommy is the one who helped make him popular through his series….but with Tommy out of the picture now, the next most ‘senior’ in terms of tenure is Catherine Tsang (she and Tommy started at TVB around the same time, in the late 70s) — that definitely gives her an advantage and even if artists in Tommy’s camp weren’t particularly close to her (and may not even like her), there’s still going to be a certain amount of respect and ‘face’ that they are willing to give her (especially the ‘old-school’ artists like Bobby).

        I actually don’t feel Bobby is particularly close to Catherine Tsang or Virginia Lok (I don’t think he likes either of them), but his manager Lydia is friends with CT, plus like I said above, at the end of the day, there’s going to be a certain amount of ‘face’ that he will give her over VL. Also, if we look at all the interviews he’s done, not once has he said anything bad about TVB itself or the rest of the management team — the only person he has openly criticized is VL and her artists’ department. That’s why to me, there’s still a possibility, however little, that he might re-sign with TVB if CT is involved with the negotiations (despite the fact that CT is just as insincere as the rest of them)…

      6. @llwy12 Bobby did refuse the involvement of CT in the picture. He said that he only wants to deal with 620 and artist department. Bobby believes Lydia than 620 but he seems to not like CT to involve. Maybe CT’s statement angerred him as well.

  6. Bobby should just leave, there’s little incentive for him to stay, with most of the veteran artists that had already left, same with the behind-the-scene personnel. TVB won’t be able to compile a team of decent actors for a series, nevermind a well-written script.

    TVB needs a lesson learned, and it will come, either at shooting themselves in the foot, or from other competitors.

  7. In the latest news, Bobby is so angry at TVB. I think his leave is confirmed :(.

    1. @alluka Well, it doesn’t help that Virginia Lok continues to “bad-mouth” Lydia (at that promo event today, VL responded to Lydia’s accusations by saying a bunch of BS that doesn’t clarify anything and basically implied that Lydia was causing trouble for Bobby). I would be angry too if I were Bobby. Oh and now, VL is claiming that what was said during the meeting is “confidential” (so obviously she is not going to produce those minutes or recording or whatever the hell she claimed they had).

      I hope Bobby’s leave is confirmed too and he doesn’t let Catherine Tsang talk him into re-signing with TVB.

      1. @llwy12 Bobby isnt close to Cat Tsang to start with. He even seems to closer to 620 than Cat Tsang. He is closest to Tommy who left, So nobody in TVB really has intention to keep him as main actors.

        Actually many left actors have mentioned that TVB hinted that they dont need them. But Bobby’s case is the biggest. The others are used to leave in peace to maintain the relationship.

  8. My feelings on the matter are so conflicted!

    On one hand: Bobby, you’re the best, TxB doesn’t deseve you. At all. Take the last ounce of quality TxB has left and let it die in the hands of that witch 620.

    On the other: I’d totally miss seeing Bobby in cantonese-speaking series! I’d literally watch any TxB drama with Bobby in it (I even survived the atrocious ‘Men with no shadows’ for that reason).

  9. Catherine Tsang’s comment is filled to the brim with scarcasm. I don’t think TVB value Bobby very much anymore. It’s not simply Virginia Lok botching contract negotiation. It looks like TVB does not think Bobby is worth the effort of serious negotiation and retaining anymore, not even Catherine Tsang.

    I think TVB is changing structure and direction. Maybe they want to be more youthful and the veterans did not fit into their scheme. Bobby is not the first veteran who face this treatment. Louise Lee also has commented about TVB not needing her anymore or something.

    1. @kidd Finally a comment I can agree with.

      I used to love watching Bobby but the last series I enjoyed with him was more than 5 years ago. He can be great of course, but the past few years has all been about the contracted commitment to cast him without much thought to make the best of him, for both sides. It’s like a marriage gone bland and both parties continue making babies for the sake of making babies. I don’t see anything wrong with VL wanting to terminate this dull relationship after several counseling sessions. Looks like Lydia can’t accept the fact TVB is initiating divorce. And Bobby would be heartbroken, but it’s business not real marriage.

      BTW, the long tradition of binding nonmanagement artists with (multi)annual contracts were meant to prevent them from working for ATV. It’s about time TVB do without it. ATV will shutdown soon.

      1. @geliguolu agree. I think the core of tge dispute is the behavior of both sides. TVB thinks Bobby is gentle so he wont make dispute big, just leave silently like some others. Bobby cant believe TVB can treat him coldly.

        Overall, the contract wont be signed.

      2. @geliguolu That’s fine and of course TVB has the right to do it, but why not just be forthcoming instead of dragging everything out and make it into such a big issue. I can’t remember whether it was VL or CT who said that they’ve been in discussions with Bobby and Lydia about his contract for almost half a year already — if they have no use for him anymore, then just say so from the beginning of the discussion, something along the lines of: this is the direction the company is taking which unfortunately means there will be less opportunity for us to cast you in lead roles…based on this, let us know if you would like to continue our current collaboration or change the way we collaborate or not collaborate at all. I’m sure Bobby would’ve been fine if it were clearly explained, as he’s not an unreasonable person….but instead, they take the “we don’t want to work with you anymore but we’re not going to tell you” route, which obviously backfired on them. It goes back to the poor way the issue was handled, which once again is a reflection of even deeper problems with TVB’s management as well as how the station is run.

      3. @llwy12 I 620 said that if TVB isnt sincere to sign with Bobby, they(artist department) Didnt negotiate 5 to 6 months with Lydia/him.

    2. @kidd i dont think so, if tvb doesnt want bobby anymore,then they doesnt have let ct to handle this matter,i think tvb still want to contract bobby but just as second lead or even as green leave.

  10. Bobby re-signed with TVB after all and will be filming a new series in November….so I guess now TVB doesn’t have to worry about changing their ways — they can continue treating artists like crap and continue getting away with it… 🙁

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