Raymond Lam Denies Virginia Lok Asked Him to Leave TVB

Raymond Lam (林峯) treated the cast and crew of Three Kingdoms RPG <回到三國> to 5-table dinner last night, celebrating the good ratings results in its first week of broadcast. Kenneth Ma (馬國明), Ruco Chan (陳展鵬), and Kaki Leung (梁嘉琪) were also present. Three Kingdoms RPG averaged 30 points last week, peaking at 34 points. Despite the upcoming broadcast of the London 2012 Olympics, Raymond remained confident that local audiences will continue to support the drama.

Since his good friend, Ron Ng (吳卓羲), openly declared that Viann Zhang (张馨予) was his girlfriend, Raymond was drilled as to whether he will be as transparent in handling his love affairs. Surprisingly, Raymond was unaware that Ron had openly acknowledged that he and Viann were dating. In comparison to Ron, Raymond was much more low profile. Since the exposure of bed photos with ex-girlfriend, Mavis Pan (潘霜霜), in March 2011, Raymond has not had an official girlfriend since.

Claiming that he was still looking for the right person, Raymond said, “If the timing were right and I wished to reveal it, then I will do so, which is normal.” He added that if the public acknowledgement made his girlfriend happy and he was comfortable about an open declaration, he will do so.

At the celebratory dinner for Three Kingdoms RPG, Raymond especially invited former TVB producer, Lau Ka Ho (劉家豪)–who currently works for now TV–to attend. Mr. Lau is extremely satisfied with the ratings performance of the drama. Raymond was glad that the audience enjoyed the drama as well. Raymond said, “I have worked with Producer Lau in 4 dramas and the ratings were all very good! The roles were custom-tailored for me.” Audiences found that Raymond was a suitable casting choice for the role of brilliant military strategist, Zhuge Liang.

Raymond has been making increasing strides in the film and music industries, aggressively performing in three continents this year alone. Since Raymond currently films only one TVB drama per year, the opportunities to see his TVB colleagues has decreased. As per his generous habit in treating others, Raymond footed the dinner bill last night. He said, “It is very fortunate to be able to see our colleagues over dinner tonight!”

Virginia Lok Not Leaving TVB?

Earlier, there were rumors that TVB executive, Virginia Lok, will be leaving the company in October to work for Shaw Brothers’ new management company. It was reported that Ms. Lok will likely bring along popular TVB artists, Raymond Lam, Kevin Cheng (鄭嘉穎), and Myolie Wu (胡杏兒). While pledging his loyalty to Ms. Lok, Raymond and Myolie noted that they still have outstanding contracts with TVB for a period of time. Raymond denied rumors that he will be leaving TVB. Raymond said, “Ms. Lok has not asked me to leave TVB. As long as Ms. Lok is at TVB, I will not leave.”

Ms. Lok has since denied that she will leave TVB to work for Mona Fong (方逸華) at Shaw Brothers. She said, “Each time there are rumors that I am leaving, TVB will increase my salary! It’s great!”

TVB majority shareholder, Charles Chan (陳國強), also denied that Ms. Lok will be leaving the company at yesterday’s 45th TVB Anniversary group photo session.  Mr. Chan said, “Ms. Fong (Mona Fong) did not leave TVB; she is still a shareholder. She will return to TVB for meetings. Ms. Lok has always been involved with Shaw Brothers’ movies, so it is not correct that rumors claim Ms. Lok is going to work at the film studio!”

Source: Ming Pao,  Oriental Daily, QQ.com, Oriental Daily

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Jayne: I wouldn’t be too sure to say that Virginia Lok is definitely staying at TVB. What I notice is that TVB’s most popular artists (Raymond Lam, Myolie Wu, Kevin Cheng, Bosco Wong, Kate Tsui, etc.) are now focusing on mainland China and filming less and less for TVB.

This is an odd strategy for TVB, when the “television wars” are supposed to erupt in Hong Kong this year. CTI is seen as a big threat to TVB, signing many well known artists to film for them. If Ms. Lok were truly staying at TVB and concerned about the well-being of the company, certainly it is an odd strategy to deploy its best “warriors” away from Hong Kong now, while casting newcomers such as Priscilla Wong to hold the fort in new dramas such as “Heart Road GPS”? All for some quick commissions that TVB is about to earn?

Something is brewing and I sense there will be more management changes at TVB to erupt. Already, we are seeing new producers rise at TVB, with new artists being promoted. This seems very uncharacteristic of Ms. Lok’s old ways. Does she have one foot out the door already? If not Shaw Brothers, it can be Huayi Brothers!

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  1. Very good point, Jayne. I also want to know what’s going on internally, lol I guess time will tell.

  2. “as long as ms. lok is at tvb, i will not leave”

    ie. if viriginia lok leaves tvb, she will most certainly be taking her favourites with her.

  3. lolol kenneth and ruco’s hair:D as for Raymond, wow I think the older he gets, the better looking he gets too

    1. On the picture above Raymond looks like he is high on drug and he needs to take a nap…

  4. Raymond is doing good the Three Kingdoms. I really like his portrayal of Chugot Leung, he’s definitely one of the few actors in tvb that suits “the poetic scholar” role. It’s is also his best character in Lau Kar Ho’s dramas, the other three were bad imo. I do prefer Raymond a lot more in Tommy’s and Poon’s dramas.

    1. I actually prefer LF’s ‘Goon Ga Jai’ role in Moonlight Resonance and think he portrayed that role the best of all the Lau Kar Ho series, followed by his performance in Heart of Greed.

      1. “Agree with you” love his role in Moonlight Resonance and Heart of Greed.

      2. GGJ is like a rabbit, adorable. But dun find his acting is anything special in MR. Among LKH’s, I prefer him as Alfred more because Alfred has a character. Just that I dun think HOG is so good.

        LF’s acting, by far, is better with ppl in Tommy’s side.

      3. Yes, Alfred is so likable that nobody even hated him for cheating on SJS! 😛

  5. Raymond seems to have an extensive collection of “LF” baseball caps.

    1. His company ordered a lot of t-shirts and hats with the letters ‘LF’ on them for his Light Up My Live concerts. He was giving them away during the concerts. Unfortunately I didn’t get one during my attendance.

    2. He is going to launch this LF label line along with a Shanghai company. Then it’s reasonable to promote it from. The hat is with New Era, the Tee with Shanghai company.

      A business.

      1. I don’t like the underline below the letters. He should connect the L & F like the way roger federer does for his RF logo. It looks quite stylish.

  6. ‘ it is an odd strategy to deploy its best “warriors” away from Hong Kong now, while casting newcomers to hold the fort in new dramas’

    I totally agree with Jayne on 620’s odd strategy of sending off their strong and powerful warriors to China whilst they promote newcomers who cannot garner and guarantee high ratings during such a time of battle with the up and coming new tv stations. Why in her rightful mind would she be engaging in such a senseless act? The only explanation is that she is slowly and quietly assisting her warriors to better places in return for their future loyalty if she should need them later on. LF, KC and MW would feel obligated to do whatever she says because she had lifted them up to their current statuses and they would have to repay their debts to her, sort of like the Chinese saying ‘yum sui see yuen’.

    1. Gar,
      “LF, KC and MW would feel obligated to do whatever she says because she had lifted them up to their current statuses and they would have to repay their debts to her, sort of like the Chinese saying ‘yum sui see yuen’.”

      Loyalty and the friendship card can only buy you so much. In the end, the money and fame will talk. What Ms. Lok has done to win their “loyalty” is put cash and opportunities in their pockets, due to custom negotiated deals.

      For Kevin Cheng for example, Ms. Lok likely advocated to give him the Best Actor Award last year, which raised his profile even more. Ms. Lok also brokered Kevin’s deal with EEG, which would mean more money through concerts and films in the future. EEG is very effective in marketing its artists and their top stars make very large earnings.

      Ms. Lok is a formidable player because she has managed to forge very profitable earnings for her favorite artists. They will follow her to the new organization she goes to because Ms. Lok will likely continue to broker deals that are beneficial to them in the future. It is not about just repaying debts to her (there are favors but one must earn one’s market worth too), but the promise of even bigger deals and money in the future.

      Ms. Lok has managed to raise the commercial worth of a select few artists well.

      1. Gar,
        While I understand that TVB should have a vested interested in the mainland market, their home market, Hong Kong is now at risk. Thus, it does not make sense for them to send their most popular artists to mainland China, no matter how much they wish to go and earn money. The amount of time spent appears to be 20% at TVB and 80% outside, which does not help TVB enough. This is most apparent last year, after Charles Chan became the majority shareholder.

        What Ms. Lok is doing is raising the mainland profile of TVB artists in China, so that they can be of more value to her in the future. She is not trying to make them into major film stars, but rather extend their presence to China aggressively. This appears to be more than an interest for TVB, but rather an interest for herself, perhaps to raise her own profile as a power broker in representing artists for major production companies.

        Maybe Ms. Lok might start her own production company, backed by key investors. Maybe Kevin Cheng might start his own company and she is a partner. Anything is possible, but what I see is that Ms. Lok does not have TVB’s key interests at stake right now.

        The careers of the artists who have been promoted do not seem well-planned. Ruco Chan is filming comedy after comedy, when that is not his strength. Jason Chan is promoted before he is ready. Lai Lok Yi is promoted to lead now, but in a situational comedy that does not have high ratings. All these roles seem random and not well planned, not the manner in which big stars’ careers are carved.

        The big cards left at TVB right now are Kenneth Ma and Tavia Yeung among the younger artists. They are popular and have an acknowledged fan base, but they do not strike me as Ms. Lok’s favorites. Kenneth and Tavia are producers’ favorites, utilized heavily in many series. While you may think that they are very deserving artists to win Best Actor and Best Actress, the awards buzz surprisingly has not started and it is already July.

        Frankly, I suspect even TVB does not know who to give the awards to this year yet. Normally, Ms. Lok plays a big role in advocating for the winners, but her interests may be elsewhere right now.

        What I see is that TVB is not a united front against the “war” against CTI. The heavy recruitment stage that CTI has done is already over, but TVB managements seems split amongst its various interests. The true dividing factor was not CTI (despite sensational claims that CTI lured a lot of staff away), but by the change in ownership after Ms. Fong stepped down and Charles Chan took over.

        I wish Stephen Chan is still at TVB. Despite his corruption scandal (in which “petty” fees were involved), I see him as someone who had TVB’s interests in mind, an appreciation for talent, and a charismatic leader.

      2. Jayne:

        “I wish Stephen Chan is still at TVB. Despite his corruption scandal (in which “petty” fees were involved), I see him as someone who had TVB’s interests in mind, an appreciation for talent, and a charismatic leader.” …………… I agree with you. If Virginia Lok is leaving, the best person to manage TVB will be Stephen Chan. Maybe after his “bribe affairs”, Stephen has learned a good lesson and will manage TVB with a sincere heart. He is the person with the ability to manage TVB.

      3. Im still disgust Stephen Chan, he learn the lesson from ICAC Investigators 2011 TVB series, I mean ICAC case. But managing TVB today, no way jose!

      4. I will have to disagree with Jayne here.

        You are giving Ms Lok way too much credit. She may be a top TV executive wielding lots of power, but she is not super woman that can really dictate and coerce everyone to her will. I don’t buy the conspiratorial idea that she has the power to decide who wins best actor award.

        The lack of evidence is one factor. Last year BA award was really between KC and Laughing, and almost all the producers and the audiences voted for KC. There was no need to rig the results.

        TVB is now extending slowly into mainland. I think it is a wise choice, given that the HK market is very limited. If I am the owner of TVB, I will surely support such a move.

        But in order to penetrate the mainland market, it requires the right kind of stars. Mind you TVB will not only be competing with mainland China producers but with the Taiwanese and Koreans too. Even in HK itself, more people are watching mainland TV shows, as their Mandarin has improved remarkably over the past few years. Likewise, just a few years ago, few TVB actors have adequate command of Mandarin, but the situation has changed drastically nowadays.

      5. The choice of series dun fall into 620. The producer will do such thing, to choose everyone he think suitable. Then he contacts with 620 to know if the list of artists he chooses are available at this moment or not. If they are busy, he will choose another ppl.

        The time table of series airing is also not 620’s duty. Before Stephen Chan did, now Ho Lei Suen is doing. This is why SC has change to do corruption like last time, because he was the one who worked with the sponsors for the series and shows.

        I blv too many ppl are exaggerating 620’s power. She isnt that powerful in Txb. Rather that she deals with the artists so she has more exposed.

      6. The strategy of sending ppl to China is partly due to Uncle 4 Charles Chan. He tends to focus on China market. When he replaced Uncle 6, it’s predicted that he’ll make Txb closer to China, more details, to SMG. Actually what is happening is like the prediction but slower than expected.

        If you notice, the Chinese series that Txb ppl are filming, are either SMG’s or somehow related to SMG.

      7. LOL uncle 6, the guy that can barely make any sense of what is going on for the past decade?

      8. I’m wondering if TVB allowing its bigger stars (Raymond Lam, Kevin Cheng, etc.) to venture to the mainland is less a deliberate strategy and more a flexibility or concession they have to grudgingly allow given the reality of the current situation, lest these artistes decide to leave TVB completely to make RMB up north. From the point of view of TVB, perhaps it is better for RL and KC to film one or two TVB series a year than none at all. It’s still not a good situation for TVB though, since they’re left with a dearth of competent, popular leads to helm their series. Actually I feel TVB does still have a fair amount of talent left, but I agree with Jayne that the way they promote/groom second/third-line artistes to first-line does not seem to be well thought out.

      9. This makes me question the motive of 620. Almost all of those under her are the ones that are able to venture out and make some real money. I don’t believe she has tvb’s interest as her priority.

      10. When 60-70% amount (up to 90% sometimes) of outside works of managed artists run to the pocket of Txb, the more 620 sent her faves to China and the higher they are paid, the happier Txb is. And no chance for them to stop this thing.

        The stat is provided by Sheren Tang in an interview. She said that Txb normally takes 50-60% of the fee as management fee, administration fee and other fees. In case of works for Txb, the cutoff might be 90% or even free. Then, if the artist is paid HK$100, s/he’ll received 40-50 while the rest run to Txb. This amount dun include the payment to the manager, assistants, makeup artists, etc.

      11. I don’t doubt these artists makes money for tvb. But these artists are loyal to 620 and not tvb. The only ones that are able to venture outside of tvb are the ones that are loyal to 620. That’s the motive with 620. She’s only partial to those she favors. If you look at her side of the army, they are more highly promoted as compared to other artists that are not in her army. It’s a known fact that’s how she operates.

      12. I discussed on how 620’s faves are promoted in other topic. What is saying when MM – not 620’s fave like claimed by many ppl – is acting first lead in 3K RPG while LF – 620’s fave like claimed by many ppl – is second lead?

        Really that 620’s faves are highly promoted by Txb? Can say that they are promoted, but highest promoted? I have a little doubts of that.

        And since 620 is still working for Txb, it’s hard to know that her faves will be loyalty to Txb or her. Until she left, we’ll know. Maybe they will leave Txb before her. Look at Charmaine.

      13. P/S: As long as they make money for Txb, it’s Txb’s interest, not 620’s because she dun receive their money but Txb. Unless she did corruptions, no way it’s her interest.

        I want to ask a small question: Out of 620’s faves, who can bring back to Txb as much as her fave right now? Look at the list of best earners in Txb now, how many of 620’s fave in it and how many of her non-fave in it? If they can bring back a lot of money to Txb, why don’t promote them in order for them to continue to bring back more money?

      14. RL’s ckl is one of the most important characters in 3 kingdoms. If you call that 2nd lead then I guess he’s second lead – but I disagree. MM might not be 620’s fav, but he’s one of the few left at tvb who can lead a series. Moses is basically half retired, MT is busy filming movies (last year) and filming in china this year, RL is busy with outside jobs, kc is busy with other ventures outside of tvb, Ron – well I don’t know what he is doing because I don’t care. But you see my point? All of 620’s fav are making real money outside of tvb because she allows them to venture out. But MM isn’t her fav so he only gets to film tvb series. How is that justified? Not to mention, almost all of 620’s male favs series hasn’t been aired yet. They are being aired closer to tvb awards time. Even if they only film one series it’s much better to be aired closer to the awards rather than 5 series in the beginning of the year. By the time the awards are around the corner how many people will remember hc compared to let’s say gj2?

        There’s always going to be politics in a company. But 620 is obviously working to her advantage instead of the company’s interest. Making money for the company short term isn’t in the best interests of tvb atm

      15. Before, Bosco, KC, LF only have Txb series. For example, Bosco’s first China series was the one with Myolie and it’s last year. KC is kinda similar. BBJX was last last year too. LF only had one China series on 2006 and another one in 2012. Not that 620’s fave have China series all the time.

        Same to MM, he might have China series in the future. If he has one, will you comment that MM dun have this chance because of 620? MM quit the China series due to TITS2 – a grand Txb series. To act supporting in a China series or leading in a grand Txb series? I blv he has the priority.

        If talking about airing time, wow, MM is even having better. HC, I guess it’s the doctor series On call something (is it?) was few months ago, but 3K RPG and Tiger Cubs, and upcoming SSSS which is said to be an anniversary series. Recent years, MM always appeared in annivesary series, who can compete with him in great timing?

        Tell me who among 620’s faves who have anniversary series? Lolz, note that LF has never had an anniversary series in all 13 years of his career. How to compete?

        About 3K RPG, I don’t know if you are watching it or not, if you are, you will see that MM appeared in most scenes.

        But 620 is obviously working to her advantage instead of the company’s interest. Making money for the company short term isn’t in the best interests of tvb atm

        If you are talking about the best interest of the artists, I will agree with you. I feel that the strategists Txb is using to promote artists are not the best for them. But since they are a company, making money is the best interest to Txb! 620 can have what benefit from that? Only high salary. Only in case she is caught corruption, I disagree with you that the current promotion stategies of Txb is giving her benefits.

      16. Oh if having more screen time means they are male lead, then i guess in The fistful of stance Kevin Cheng is only second lead and mm is first male lead. Also, who do people know in 3 kingdoms? A made up character or ckl? Ckl is always the most interesting character in 3kingdom.

        Playing 3rd or 4th lead at tvb isn’t any better than a supporting cast in mainland china. As long as the storyline is good people will notice the supporting cast. Besides how do you know what other chances the mainland film will bring mm? Look at Steven ma, he’s one of the more sought after artists AFTER he left tvb.

        Steven ma’s series in china was millions of dollars, if 620 is so good with helping tvb make money then why wouldn’t she allow sm to go to china? Because she doesn’t like sm. his series are always aired in the new years or end of year. He has never been in a big productions. Compared to sm; moses, RL, mt, bosco are in a better position.

        Did you read what people say about 620 after they leave tvb? Actually, did you even read what 620 says about artists after they leave? You can judge by her words she is those managers where you have to please, polish her shoes and buy her handbags or else you will never be promoted. I don’t know how anyone can say she is doing tvb any good. She only sells herself as the GREAT manager – which she isn’t.

      17. It’s so naive to think that the only benefit 620 gets is a high salary. It’s a known fact that she receives expensive gifts all the time from her managed artists. How much does she make a month? 50k? 70k? 100k? Anyhow, do you know how much a Hermes handbag costs? Or those limited edition handbags? And other expensive gifts that are not known to the public. Besides, if Steven can sneak around with the money, what makes you say 620 is clean? Especially when she manages the artists directly.

      18. Regarding to the birthday presents, do you think only 620 receive these type of presents? Lolz, it’s truly naive to think so. I don’t know if you have ever work or not, but most of employees are shoes polisher like that if you consider the ppl who give gifts to bosses on special events are shoes polisher :P. It’s an ugly truth. Not only 1 but all the bosses, if it’s needed.

        Meanwhile, I don’t say 620 is clean, but since when she isn’t caught, she is assumed to be clean under the light of law. Due to this reason, the only benefit that she is the salary and other expenses. I can say the same thing to Cat Tsang, Tommy Leung, Ho Lei Suen, etc. and all other Txb executives. Do you think it’s really friendly of Tommy to have all these artists as guests in his daughter Toby’s wedding? Even more crowded than the Txb anniversary award few days before that.

      19. I agree with the biased treatment of 620 to Steven Ma. And I see how she tried to ignore him. But regarding to MM’s cases, I don’t think so.

        First, MM himself said that he has China series invited but he himself also wanted to film TITS2, so Txb denied for him. Second, if there is no more invitation to him, well, it’s his matter. Third, to say of the refusal, uhm, there were a Chinese director who mentioned on his weibo that he wanted to invite LF to film a China ancient series last year and he even went to Txb to discuss (stated by him), but end up that Txb dun agree to LF to go but gave him to film 3K RPG at this moment. Even 620’s fave like you claimed has the refusal of China series in order to film Txb series, what is so strange of non-fave?

        I said that I don’t know you are watching 3K RPG or not, but the storyline mostly focused on the character of MM. CKL might be memorable, but the central character is MM’s. And screentime, too. What does it mean? Bad treatment? Biased favourism? Wow, I blv tons of Txb artists want to be treated that bad like MM.

        Obviously, everything isn’t as easy as we often see. Who is really Txb’s beloved biological sons, lolz, have to wait to see.

      20. Harley,
        “It’s so naive to think that the only benefit 620 gets is a high salary. It’s a known fact that she receives expensive gifts all the time from her managed artists.”

        Ms. Lok must be compensated better than what we think. Although she gets those expensive handbags from others, she can certainly purchase them herself.

        On the other hand, Ms. Lok appears to be dressed in lavish designer brands when she appears at functions.

        During the Stephen Chan corruption scandal, Mr. Chan allowed the press to take photos of himself at home. The living room of his apartment appeared in the photos, which was somewhat small (300 to 400 square feet?) with very modest furniture. The living room was done in a very modest style (almost Ikea like), certainly did not look as if he paid for expensive interior design or Italian furniture.

        I believe it is a very strategic decision to do so, to show the world in an indirect way that he does not have a lavish home, implying he did not benefit in lavish material goods from the corruption scandal. The fees raised in the case are “petty,” certainly not enough for Mr. Chan to jeopardize his General Manager position for.

        Interesting that Mr. Chan has a higher title, but Ms. Lok seems to have more lavish material goods. Don’t know what that signifies, but perhaps there are material benefits outside of her salary. And the worthy material benefits would not be from the artists, but the companies trying to strike these deals.

        Working in a job such as Ms. Lok is not necessarily about money, but it affords a great opportunity to establish herself as a figure of major influence. When the Rose Chan scandal happened, Ms. Lok was able to quickly work together with Rose’s sifu, Sin Kwok Lam, so that Joe Ma would not be slandered. I was impressed that Ms. Lok was able to act so quickly and have Mr. Sin actually say that it was not Joe’s fault.

        Fans do not like Ms. Lok because of her strong favoritism, but that does not negate her relevance in the industry.

      21. Forget to mention, 620’s husband is a rich businessman. Before joining Txb, 620 was the director in her husband’s company.

  7. I thought that Shaw Brothers and TVB were connected and that’s why they’re trying to get more TVB stars to film movies (such as the Law Ba and Laughing movie)? Aren’t they also forming a joint company in China so that it’s an easier path for them to film in their series as well?

    Although the rumor might be true, I thought the reason that they’re letting some of their bigger artists film in China is part of their strategy. This way, their artists can gain some fans in China and build up TVB’s fanbase and build them up as bigger stars. Also, if they start loosening up their hold on them now, they’ll be more grateful and willing to resign with them later instead of jumping to another station with less restrictions.

    1. They are still connected, Shaw Brothers still has a stake with TVB

    2. Shaw was father of Txb and now the sister company.

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