E.U. Writer Blasts TVB: “It’s Time to Wake Up!”

TVB dramas in the 1980s and 1990s left a deep impression among viewers. The quality of recent TVB dramas is widely regarded as being in decline and even plagiarizing overseas productions. E.U. <學警狙擊> scriptwriter, Chu King Kei (朱鏡祺) is one of the latest ex-TVB employees to step forward and cautions the station to change its ways before it is too late.

Chu King Kei had worked at TVB for more than 20 years. Chu King Kei is most well-known for writing police-gangster television series. His masterpieces include E.U. and To Be Unstuck In Time <隔世追兇> starring Roger Kwok (郭晉安) and Flora Chan (陳慧珊). Chu created the enthralling “Laughing Gor” character that made Michael Tse (謝天華) famous.

Considered to be one of TVB’s most talented former scriptwriters, Chu currently Creative Director at Ricky Wong’s (王維基) CTI HKTV.  Chu’s first drama at CTI is Police Boundaries <警界線>, starring Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智), Dominic Lam (林嘉華),and  Leila Tong (唐寧).

Advising TVB that “It is time to wake up to reality,” Chu has a love-hate relationship with TVB. Having worked at TVB for 2 decades, naturally he did not up and go when Ricky Wong offered him a job. It was been a hard decision to leave TVB, but Chu knew it was the right one due to the station’s limitations on writing policies.

Lack of Writing Freedom

Chu King Kei revealed one of the reasons that pushed him to CTI was the lack of freedom TVB gave the writers. He revealed, “They (TVB) told us we have the freedom to write what we want. But that’s not the case! We cannot write about any sensitive topics, such as same-sex relationships, religion or politics. We also cannot write too much about social workers or the lower class. TVB is too afraid of controversies and complaints!”

TVB writers were also told not to delve into themes related to the dark side. For example, in Men With No Shadows <不速之約>, the writers were told not to focus too much on the role of Raymond Lam’s (林峯) devil as it would not be well-received.

Unlike TVB, Ricky Wong is known to push boundaries, and that includes giving unlimited freedom to his writers and directors. From previews of its 12 upcoming dramas, CTI explores seldom seen genres such as horror and gore. CTI vowed to put the shows on the internet, with additional scenes that might not make it the censored television version.

Fixed Casting

Chu King Kei let on that every year, TVB senior executives would pass down orders to cast certain artists in certain roles. Should there be a need, the writers would have to re-write the roles to suit the artists.

Chu said, “Like the Laughing Gor character which I created; the senior executives did not support it. They felt a supporting role should not be more outstanding than the leading roles. I was the one who insisted to cast Michael Tse in that role.” The Laughing Gor character was so popular; it has since spawned a television drama two movie spin-offs.


Not only is TVB on edge to be politically-correct; the ideas are running out and they have resorted to using the same themes repeatedly, or even “borrowing” ideas from overseas productions.

When Mysteries of Love <談情說案>was released, many viewers alluded the plot was copied from the Japanese television drama, Detective Galileo <神探伽俐略>. Chu disclosed, “It is not an unreasonable doubt. Three of the characters were direct copies from the Japanese show!”

“TVB no longer rules television dramas. Actually many viewers only watched their television series because they have no choice. But it’s different now! TVB needs to wake up to that fact!”

Source: Face Magazine # 292 via ihktv.com

This article is written by Karen for JayneStars.com.

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  1. Uber excited for CTI – I hope there will be easy access to watch CTI shows in the U.S.

    Yeah pretty much watch TVB for mindless Cantonese entertainment and something to talk about with parents/family who don’t speak English.

    1. You should be careful!

      From personal experience I have discovered that watching TVB series have made me more stupid than before, LOL

      1. LOLL @ Exoidus LOL.
        You made a good point, you no longer need to sit through the whole series to figure out what will happen to the casts LOL.

      2. Yea, some series can make you more stupid.. A lot of them at times don’t make sense as well… TVB is really sinking ship… sigh…really miss the good old days.

      3. “no longer need to sit through the whole series to figure out what will happen to the casts”
        Because of the above statement, people don’t accept “When Heaven Burns” because it is an atypical drama series. If you skip one episode, you may have problems to understand the next episode.

      4. well, it has been known for years that some TVB series really doesnt’ make sense and copied ideas of some foreign series but I still think Chu’s complain was just some typical reasons like what others gave about TVB.. there are many countries that still implement restriction in series/movies.. like for eg. one cannot say bad stuff about the Govn, politics, racial and same sex matters.

        His complains are really no biggies really.

      5. “From personal experience I have discovered that watching TVB series have made me more stupid than before, LOL”

        Ahh don’t say that!! Don’t! Don’t!! Without TVB, life will be mundane. Without TVB, where will Jaynestars be? Where will we all be? We all made a “career” out of TVB this and TVB that!

        TVB, I may be more stupid but I still love you! Or rather

        It is not that I love TVB less, but I love my sanity more. However I still love TVB, for what it is worth because if not for TVB, I am as boring as they are now.

        By the way Missing You is a rather nice series even if I look at Jason Chan I want to slap him for talking without conviction. He must learn from Raymond Wong about conviction.

      6. Funn,
        Haha, we all grew up watching TVB. Some shows, despite their illogical plots and lead stars testing our patience, still manage to entertain us. Perhaps like the scriptwriter, Chu King Kei, we all have a love-hate relationship with TVB. Bash all we want, but their dramas have been part of our lives for so long it’s hard to severe age-old ties, including Exoidus who still manages to find a few likable stars in the “sinking ship”.

      7. Haha, don’t worry Funn im sure you are still as intelligent as ever.

        Guess it’s my own fault for getting infected by the stupidity virus due to my weak defence system.

        My only hope now is to continue watching TVB series (TVB’s evil plan) by employing the strategy “fight virus with virus”, LOL

  2. Honestly, as much as I am all for creativity and freedom of expression, I feel irked that CTI keep dragging TVB’s name through the mud to make themselves seem more outstanding. I say let the dramas and writing speak for themselves. People have eyes for themselves and can see for themselves that TVB’s quality lately has been lacking, but its stooping to a low to act like they are all high and mighty when they haven’t even been able to show us anything yet.

    1. Yeah, I agree especially because it seems like that’s all they talk about. lol
      It’ll be interesting how they change throughout the early years if they don’t get the results they want.

    2. Certainly the E.U. scriptwriter don’t represent the whole CTI. He is only expressing his personal opinion with regards to his former employer.

      Let’s see if his friendly advice will be taken into consideration, which I doubt as long as it’s operating in a monopoly.

      Funny interview with former TVB artist aka “Fish daddy” LOL


    3. Guess after years of being fairly or unfairly bashed for bad scripts, aggrieved ex-tvb scriptwriters just wanted to vent and clarify that bad writing might not be totally their faults, given the creativity and time restraints imposed on them by tvb.

      1. Indeed, though it remains to be seen whether CTI’s shows will really be that revolutionary and if the housewives will accept them. Something like When Heaven Burns and Men Without Shadows were not well-received, likely for their controversial themes. However, I do agree that TVB storylines have long grown stagnant so I really hope CTI if nothing else, pushes TVB to evolve more.

      2. The thing is, it’s not just scriptwriters, it’s the artists as well. It’s the fact that CTI’s only promotional tactic is to diss TVB, like Ricky Wong told everyone to dish the dirt.

        I mean, I’m all for chasing new opportunities and hoping for a better environment, but it’s like when you’re interviewing for a new job, it’s just rude and discourteous to start trashing your old company.

    4. We shall find out soon if CTI’s drama series and scripts will be better than TVB’s or not.

      1. Aren’t they still trying to get the license or am I missing something?

        Honestly, CTI’s sale presentation wasn’t as great or ‘revolutionary’ as I expected but I’m open to seeing what they have to offer.

    5. WELL SAID. The constant bashing back and forth is pretty much pointless if either company’s future dramas do not deliver as they promised.

      Whether it’s just plain bashing or just speaking out the truth or voicing an opinion, audiences are pretty much just seeking for good entertainment/dramas in the end. Even if TVB had copied or produce similar plotlines from other cultures entertainment, I personally don’t mind as long as it’s good entertainment.

  3. There are good and bad about TVB. Bad- their dramas are getting boring. TVB can still keep their positive/conservative veiw by hiring more writers who most likely writes family base dramas but it needs to be very creative in so many ways that it suits to the modern reality instead of the same theme over and over again and sometimes their dramas seems unrealistic that I don’t even finish watching it. Good- their dramas are mostly family friendly and traditional so I don’t have to worry about it brain washing the kids with sensitive topics. Yes, CTI seems New and seems to have many creativities but does viewers really buy it if the story line isn’t good? TVB is the king of HK entertainment, their build up doesn’t just go away instantly. They just need better writers and some creativities. TVB shouldn’t blast or show themselves being scare of compitition…they should endorse it and handle it in a classy fashion. I’ve seen CTI’s presentation…it’s all good and interesting. But many of their stuffs I’m not even consider watching due to the topics or theme does not apply to my believes vaules.

  4. “When Mysteries of Love was released, many viewers alluded the plot was copied from the Japanese television drama, Detective Galileo . Chu disclosed, “It is not an unreasonable doubt. Three of the characters were direct copies from the Japanese show!””

    I think everyone who watched Galileo knows that. Even the set was copied. But let’s all jump onto the TVB bashing bandwagon and let us all see how original the other TV stations are.

    1. They also copied Bottled Passion from the korean drama Bad Guy. Not 100% but it was basically it. Surprisingly, they even copied the ending, since TVB don’t usually have happy endings.

      1. Let’s be realistic. There are only so many ideas to go around so every artist ends up copying another idea at the end of the day. What matters is how well these ideas have been appropriated. Mysteries of Love was trashed because it really sucked as a series alone, copy or no copy. Bottled Passion was a success because it was well executed, regardless of where the premise comes from.

        As an aside, if you ardently follow Korean dramas, most dramas are like at least 60% similar to another drama because they have so many damn cliches.

  5. For me, I wouldn’t really want them to delve into topics about religion or politics since it can be a sensitive subject and it can be seen as propaganda depending on how they deliver it.

    1. not really…lots of films/tv series (by tvb and in the movies) in the past had heavy spiritual/political themes. greed of man, divine retribution, hong kong 1984, story of woo viet, all those chow yun fat/john woo movies. none of those were overly preachy at all.

      1. I’ve actually never watched any of those so I can’t really judge.

        I was just thinking how I don’t really care for it in any of the American shows I watch, so I wouldn’t really care for it when I watch HK series.

  6. Hopefully, the TV licensing bureau in HK better get off their lazy and inept behinds and grant those licenses for more entertainment to hit the airwaves. A choice between TVB and ATV is not too much of a choice.

  7. To Get Unstuck In Time – this is a great series! I forgot about it until it’s mentioned now!

  8. To Get Unstuck in Time is a direct copy of the movie Frequency, so there’s hardly any originality there. You know what they say, ‘people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’.

  9. This guy is talking nonsense. TVB never focuses on the lower-class???? What about L’esgart and Ghetto Justice?? And didn’t When Heaven Burns have a political undertone as well??

  10. TVB may not be original but some shows are still quite entertaining. Okay, it’s not going to break any boundaries but they’re soap operas for god sake. When have soap operas ever been credible. They’re only used to pass the time. If it bothers people so much, stick to watching documentaries.

  11. There will be two more free TV stations in Hong Kong, CTI and NowTV. I don’t know why we only get publicity on CTI and nothing on NowTV.

    1. because nowtv is operating in a low proflie and doesnt poach tvb stars agressively as cti do,and they already exist for a few years as pay-tv.

      1. Miu Siu Ching said on Commercial Radio HK (CRHK) that she (NowTV) will start a new series next year late March/early April production.

  12. This guy is totally right. Finally someone from the inner circle saying something about the crap quality of TVB scripts.

    For example, I was just watching one of the latest episodes of Friendly Fire. So we have this scene where Laughing Gor is standing outside the house and think Tavia is having an affair, because Tavia and Louis Yuen were falling in bed after being scared by a moth/butterfly/whatever. Really TVB, really?????? Was this scene written by a 4-year old????? LOL

  13. It’s obvious TVB tries to cater to the general family audience. I don’t need a scriptwriter to tell me that. I do look forward to some CTI series but in the long-run, focusing on unorthodox topics will lead to CTI’s demise. CTI can try to pursue all the creative and artistic direction they want but in the end what matters is viewers. When families in HK gather around for dinner, they will probably be watching TVB, not horrific CTI shows.

  14. Not wonder ‘Men With No Shadows’ turns out this way.

    The scriptwriters might be wanting to make Raymond’s character really dark and a true devil, but they were forbidden to do so.

    I understand TVB’s concern. You know how complaint-happy HK citizens are. Every little thing, they report to the government Broadcasting Dept.

    “We cannot write about any sensitive topics, such as same-sex relationships, religion or politics.”

    I remember in the 80s and 90s TVB did produce series with such themes. One of the stories is ‘The Threat of Love 1’ focus on a gay couple played by Lawrence Ng and Ben Wong. TVB also produced some series with Buddhist and Taoist theme.

    1. i remember some drama where kevin was gay and a baddie. It was a good drama but i forgot the name.

      1. That’s ‘The Ultimate Crime Fighter’. 🙂

        Kevin was good in that series.

      2. @ Funn

        He was either gay or bi. In the series, he also courted Gigi Lai.

        That was not the first time Kevin played a gay guy. He played one in the movie ‘Boys?.

    2. Ah, ‘The Threat of Love’… I liked that they didn’t portray the gay couple as being overly flamboyant.

  15. I don’t believe that Hong Kong audiences have always been entirely composed of housewives. It may be because shows have become extra conservative so that the primetime audience has dwindled down to complaint happy si lais.

    With the internet, DVR, and multiple airings of shows most working adults with disposable income are willing to pay for entertainment.

    1. I believe it is the same argument for movies, people are willing to spend time and money to watch quality movies not crap.

  16. Such ironic comments, given that one of CTI’s new dramas is a ripoff from Twilight and their other drama sounds a lot like D.I.E. This is basically pot calling the kettle black.

    1. I wasn’t aware that they’ve already broadcasted CTI dramas. Where did you watch them?

      Yeah! I thought so.

      1. I’ve watched the sales presentation clips and read the synopsis of the dramas. You mean you didn’t know about these? Go to Asianfanatics and you can find some behind-the-scenes pictures too. If you can read Chinese, there are more discussions going on about their upcoming dramas in Chinese forums.

      2. Beth, I’ve seen the sales presentations like most in this thread. But to go as far as calling it a ripoff of Twilight and a “drama (that) sounds alot like D.I.E.” is unfair, considering that the drama series has yet to be broadcasted. Until you’ve actually seen all of the eps from beginning to end, it’s unjustified to make such accusations.

  17. When we leave the old for the new, we orientatally bash the old to honor the new. There are many ways to promote the new but this worst but most effecitve way usually is used 🙂

  18. You guys have no idea how right this guy is blasting about TVB. At the rate TVB is going from looking at this past decade, they are going to be shot down by competitors in the next 10 years, especially when they are losing talented people. The awards they give out are pretty much meaningless now, and the dramas are recycled. At this rate, within 30 years they may even cease to exist.

    1. It will take more than 10 years to get where TVB is. I don’t think TVB is threatened. Look at ATV. Doing nothing and still here. However, competition is good. So I welcome the competition but I won’t write off TVB just yet because TVB has an extensive distribution network, something CTI or new companies do not have yet.

      1. TVB is very smart. She has an extensive distribution network in Malaysia, Mainland China, Australia and New Zealand, and North America. TVB’s products will surely be airing in these countries beside Hong Kong. Even CTI or NowTV will get established firmly in Hong Kong, it will take them years to have the same type of distribution network overseas.

      2. Agreed, especially since it’s been estimated that CTI will take at least 10 years to make their money back based on how fast they’re burning their money.

      3. Ditto. I welcome more competition because that means more dramas to choose from and to watch.

        That being said, TVB as a company is pretty stable.

    2. Well TVB still has an edge over the other new companies because it has been around the longest and has made many of the big stars of today into who they are now… I guess it is just a matter of time to see if the other new stations can do what TVB has done… Time will tell all..

  19. To be honest as much as I disagree with TVB’S business strategies and treatment of their stars (especially those that play minor roles) , I must say that I like how they cater to the FAMILY. I’ve seen the trailers for the CTI stories .. all those paranormal plots are so unappealing.

    1. I think, what I like about TVB dramas is that there is something distinctly consistent and “Hong Kong” about their styles. It’s very family friendly and ‘Hong Kong’. I can’t really express it, but to compare TVB dramas to Korean dramas, there is not too much unnecessary dragging out or dramas, nor is it too short like J-doramas, it’s not as cutesy as Taiwanese idol dramas, and it’s not as slow as some Mainland dramas. Compared to American dramas, it’s not as frank.

      In general, it knows its target audience and actually targets its audiences. I feel like CTI is trying to hard to be like “American shows” like NipTuck, having some musical show, some supernatural ghost show, some vampire show etc etc.

  20. Hong Kong ppl are lucky to watch TVB for free. We have to pay to watch it. I would choose TVB over any tv station. I like it cuz I know all their faces in TVB. The management know who their audience is. No matter what part of the country you live in, TVB is everywhere.

    CTI tv series doesn’t look interesting.

  21. Hope CTI will not be another ATV! don’t go to extreme! HK complains about EVERYTHING!!!! TVB is playing safe! 🙂 i’m pretty sure TVB target market is still housewives and family.

    1. tvb only makes series for housewives because they know they are the boss in da house ^-^

  22. For a long time I was trying to figure out why was my relationship with TVB so strained over the last few years. And reading Funn’s comments above gave me an awakening, yes, they’ve made me stupid and subconsciously I knew I had to stop watching their programmes before they turn me into a complete goofball!! I grew up idolising TVB’s stars and tried to copy all their fashion trends back then and now sadly enough, I tell myself they are not good enough for me.

    1. LOL. I’m sorry to hear about your breakup. Hope you get over it quickly 🙂

  23. They fired the writer for E.U? NO WONDER TVB productions have become stale and unwatchable.

    E.U. was truly one of the last few serious dramas TVB churned out that was commendable. No wonder ‘Lives of Omission’ turned out so horrid.

    Step your game up TVB.

  24. TVB have always been able to bring out the best in mediocre artists and make them shine. Good example, nobody noticed Nick Cheung when he was with ATV. HK audience complain about unfamiliar storylines, suicide scenes etc, etc. Look at WHB poor rating. So far CTi Ricky Wong have boasted nonstop how great things will be when he gets his license, time will tell. But TVB is definitely not a sinking ship.

    1. HK audience = housewives. WHB was a hit with young adults.

      And it’s not even a case of TVB bringing out the best of people, it’s because they’ve been around for so long their brand is trusted by HK audiences. And if they decide to push someone, it doesn’t matter how good/bad their acting is…sooner or later they’ll be accepted.

      1. Unfortunately the ratio of young adults did not reflect on the rating. And many people complained about the cannibalism,, sexual context. TVB needs to be convinced that HK audience is ready for more dramas like WHB.

    2. Mockinggenius,

      The ratio of young adults did not reflect on its rating because most of them had long abandoned TVB. Young adults have choices, and are not bound by whats broadcasted from their TV boxes. Most housewives and the elderly, on the other hand, don’t have the choices to reach other sources. They are fed with whats given to them. No one knows what the emergence of CTI will be like, and the type of reputation it brings from its broadcasts, therefore it will capture a wider variety of audiences at least in the first year. This will paint a more accurate picture of the TV-watching audiences in HK today.

  25. I am writing from perspective of ardent overseas audience. TVB may be free for Hong Kong citizens, but we (friends and family here in the US) certainly pay for it whether it be in cable fees or DVD rentals/ purchases.

    With all the pay options to watch out there, Hong Kong tv (mainly TVB) still has the edge due to Cantonese language and familiarity. If CTI or other networks live up to expectations or willing to break some interesting story grounds, that is where my money goes.

  26. Yea d blasting might do TVB some good but how convincingly good CTI shows gonna be n how soon can we get to c comes back to d big question mark, when??????
    Well, I don’t hate TVB only dat TVB makes me hot n cold with a bit of barking n purring in between or otherwise zzzzzzz…..

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