It appears that there will be a major change in TVB’s drama department in the following months.
According to a gossip site on Friday, TVB’s director of drama production, Catherine Tsang (曾勵珍), has lost her strong hold on the station’s drama department. After taking full control of the department in 2014, the TVB dramas that were made under Catherine Tsang’s direction delivered dismal ratings and poor reviews in the last two years.
The CEO of TVB Group, Mark Lee (李寶安), thus announced that the drama department would go through a major revamp operation, and he has enlisted the help of executive Sandy Yu (余詠珊) and the newly appointed assistant general manager To Chi Hak (杜之克) to manage the resources of the department. In addition, assistant general manager Peter Au (區偉林), who normally handles the funds of production, was “demoted” to manage the departments for art, makeup, and TVB’s visual effects partner Zenith Digital Creation instead.
Mark Lee admitted in a recent interview that TVB has been undergoing a change in staff, stating that TVB needs to change in order to meet the demands of the dynamic market. He said, “There are three points: [we] need to make [programs] that are unstinted, have substance, and are youthful. And because we will be establishing a second broadcasting platform next year, the workload has increased. This is why we need a revamp.”
Sandy Yu Rises In Power
While Catherine Tsang is losing favor among TVB’s big bosses, variety department executive Sandy Yu is gaining more favor. Over the last two years, the executive producer has churned out TVB variety programs such as Big Big World <世界零距離>, DoDo Goes Shopping <Do姐去Shopping>, and Four Amigos Bon Voyage <四個小生去旅行>, all which garnered high ratings and popularity during their runs.
Sandy Yu’s positive contributions to TVB do not end at variety. Her suggestion to broadcast the non-local drama The Empress of China <武則天> during a primetime slot had turned out to be a profitable decision—The Empress of China has not only become the second highest-rated television drama of the year, its final episode is also the most-watched episode of 2015. Thanks to The Empress of China, TVB’s main channel “Jade” altered its third primetime slot to air dramas seven days a week instead of only five, and that successfully pulled up TVB’s Saturday and Sunday evening ratings.
Sandy Yu and To Chi Hak were also in “close talks” with Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯), who has been blacklisted by TVB since 2013, to return to the station next year to star in the drama Women Who Can’t Act Cute Have It the Hardest <不懂撒嬌的女人最苦命>. In addition, Sandy Yu convinced Power Chan (陳國邦), who announced his high-profile leave from TVB a few months ago, to renew his TVB contract. Power confirmed in an earlier interview that he will indeed return to TVB, and will be starring alongside Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) and Teresa Mo (毛舜筠) in a sitcom next year.
Catherine Tsang’s Camp Suffers, Ruco Chan “Sacrificed”
The shift in personnel has affected TVB artists as well. The 2014 hit drama Line Walker <使徒行者> was announced by both Tencent and TVB last month that a second installment was in the making. Original cast member Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼), who won Best Actress for her role as “Ding Jeh” in the TVB Anniversary Awards last year, attended the TVB Sales Presentation 2016 and announced that she would take part in the sequel. However, latest developments point out that Charmaine was dropped from the sequel due to her high price demand. Sandy Yu then suggested the studio to cast Kenneth Ma (馬國明) and Tavia Yeung (楊怡), both who were not favored by Catherine Tsang, to helm the blockbuster.
As a result of Catherine Tsang losing power, many artists who fall under her “camp” have to experience setbacks in their careers. This is allegedly the main reason why Ruco Chan (陳展鵬), who is currently one of TVB’s most popular artists, lost his TV King award to Anthony Wong (黃秋生) this year. Other members of the “camp” including Raymond Wong (黃浩然), Maggie Shiu (邵美琪), and Kenny Wong (黃德斌), are said to be struggling to get cast in dramas.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.