Sheren Tang to Sign With CTI at $150,000 Per Episode?

The competitive fire between TVB and City Telecom (CTI) continued to flame. Tempted by higher wages at CTI, many former TVB artists have signed with the new company. After offering Charmaine Sheh (佘詩曼) a filming fee of $130,000 HKD per episode, CTI reportedly offered Sheren Tang (鄧萃雯) an astronomical price of $150,000 HKD per episode! While Sheren and CTI were still negotiating, it was speculated that she will likely sign with them.

Last month, Ricky Wong had allegedly reached out to Sheren. Ricky’s sincerity reportedly convinced Sheren to film for CTI, after she completes TVB’s War and Beauty 2 <金枝慾孽 2>. Allegedly, CTI’s 2-year contract stipulated Sheren to film 40 episodes, which offered a large degree of freedom.

It was revealed that CTI will be producing 7 dramas, of which 3 dramas will be filmed this year: a police drama starring Felix Wong (黃日華), a drama depicting family struggles, and a female-oriented drama starring Sheren Tang, Maggie Cheung (張可頤), Bernice Liu (廖碧兒), Lawrence Ng (吳啟華) and Frankie Lam (林文龍). An insider revealed that the drama will feature Sheren as a strong businesswoman. The drama will be broadcast in Hong Kong as well as mainland China.

Sheren was currently filming War and Beauty 2 and appeared to be reserved in responding to questions regarding a possible collaboration with CTI.  “What? There are such rumors?” Asked if she was offered a filming fee of $150,000 HKD per episode, Sheren said, “Ha? I have to thank him! Ha Ha!” Regarding rumors that Ricky Wong will offer her a custom-tailor role in a new drama, Sheren replied, “Ha? He said that?” Excusing herself that she needed to enter the TVB studio to start filming, Sheren left.

A CTI Public Relations representative declared, “Sheren is still filming for TVB right now. We have not discussed all the details yet!” The representative did not clarify the filming fee CTI offered Sheren. “Ricky will be negotiating the price himself. It is a bit awkward to talk about it now! We do not wish to agitate the other television station too much. When things are finalized, we will announce it!”

CTI has been successful in recruiting Charmaine Sheh at $130,000 per episode (former TVB price at $30,000 HKD) Maggie Cheung at $120,000 HKD per episode (former TVB price at $20,000 per episode), Bernice Liu at $40,000 HKD per episode (former TVB price was $15,000 HKD). Felix Wong, Frankie Lam, Shek Sau (石修), Mannor Chan (陳曼娜), Paul Chun (秦沛), John Chiang (姜大卫), Wilson Tsui (艾威), Yuen Wah (元華), and Felix Lok (駱應鈞) have also signed with CTI. In addition, CTI was persuading Noel Leung (梁小冰), Leila Tong (唐寧), and Mimi Kung (龔慈恩) to sign with them.

TVB has countered its recent loss of talent by attempting to recruit “new blood” Alice Chan (陳煒), Joey Meng (萬綺雯), Chrissie Chau (周秀娜), Janice Man (文詠珊), and Annie Liu (劉心悠).

TVB Deputy Director of External Affairs, Tsang Sing Ming (曾醒明), indicated that Sheren was still filming War and Beauty 2, thus her future filming arrangement was unclear. Mr. Tsang stated, “TVB values the spirit of the contract, whose intention is to ensure that artists will only film for us.” Mr. Tsang did not wish to comment on CTI’s policy of allowing its signed artists to film with any company they wish, further adding that they will continue to seek “new blood” to join TVB.

Source: Sudden Weekly #872 via

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Jayne: Sheren will likely film for CTI, due to the good price and degree of freedom in the the contract. If CTI’s initial dramas turn out to be successes, more artists will likely join.

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      1. Me, too. Sheren is my most favourite actress in Hong Kong, and Charmaine is my 2nd best. They both act well. What a shame if TVB will lose both of them.

  1. Jayne, don’t you mean Sheren will likely film for CTI?

    Just based on the actors they have managed to recruit, I’m pretty interested in seeing the shows they will produce.

    However, I’m still wary of CTI’s economic model. Based on this article, CTI pays the actors astronomical high salaries without tying them with long-term contracts. We know that TVB’s model is to pay very low wages, and furthermore, TVB takes a significant share of what the artistes earn from advertising jobs etc. So either TVB’s model is grotesquely profitable – high earnings and low costs – or, CTI’s model will not be very profitable. Or TVB has costs that CTI don’t have. I suppose there could be significant advertising costs in TVB’s strategy of *forcing* certain artistes to become popular. CTI bypasses this problem/costs by just stealing already famous faces from TVB.

  2. Ricky Wong better know what he’s doing. He’s taken some huge tasks here. All these huge pay raises, the construction of a $80 million production studio and he actually sold his entire telecommunication business to support this venture. Hopefully it turns out well for him…for his sake.

  3. For all this money he’s paying, he might as well try to recruit movie stars. Especially since there’s very few movies being produced in HK nowadays.

    1. I agree and since he is taking such huge risks and all, he should hire movie stars. But then again, would movie stars be willing to film series?? IF Ricky Wong sacrificed that much, then I really hope that everything works out for him. He is really taking a big gamble right now…

    2. Agree as well, get those movie stars back to tvB series!

  4. I think Leila Tong signed with CTI, because the last time I watched the news about CTI’s groundbreaking, she was there.

  5. I really don’t see how CTI can make money with the way they are spending. I doubt the ratings of their shows will eclipse TVB in the near future so I can’t imagine CTI balancing their expenses with advertisements. I’m assuming Ricky Wong is trying to spend TVB to its doom and I’m sure he has the purse strings to do so from his other businesses. Question is, is it wise to just pour money into CTI in hopes that TVB will eventually fall?

    1. These are start-up cost. Start-up cost are suppose to be high.

      Ricky’s a businessmen, he’s well aware what he’s doing. He recognizes TVBs weaknesses and thinks he’s got the money to overcome those obstacles.

      I really hope they keep the drama fast paced, unlike ATV.

      1. Speaking of ATV, I have a feeling that they may end up like ATV.

      2. I can understand him spending money on the studio for top notch equipment but I dont think paying artists 7 times their salary at TVB is wise when CTI has yet to have any success to justify the high salaries. It makes sense to entice top stars away from TVB but it makes less sense to offer third line and fourth line artistes astronomical increases as well. In the long run these fixed costs will surely do a number to their profits.

      3. I agree with you Ric and don’t think that paying artists so much will do them any good in the long term. The next thing you know, they will not make any profit and end up losing more instead of earning back what they have spent.

      4. I don’t know what kind of business strategies Ricky Wong has in running a brand new TV station to beat a well-established TVB.

      5. Disagree that these are just start-up costs. The actors will be accustomed to these salaries and will not take a cut down the road. Hence, the costs will remain as high in the future.

        Just because you’re a business man that doesn’t mean you know what you’re doing. He was on ATV too, right? And look how that turned out.

      6. Ric’s comment was not referring directly to artist salary but a mere reference to “spending.” My reference of start-up cost was related to the studio that’s getting built. The studio itself is consider a start-up cost and seemingly is a big portion of its cost.

        These fees that Ricky is paying, no one knows exactly how it will work. Everyone is assuming these main leads are taking 100% of the 40 episodes where it’s very likely 5 of the 40 episodes will showcase that particular artist.

        It’s really about strategy and on the surface, these numbers do not make sense but I firmly believe he’s thought this through.

        If his business fails, it would be his failure to capture the taste of the audience and not because of high fixed cost he could not maintain.

        Btw – artist fees are also not fixed cost. This is not a salary. If he chooses to use the artist, he will have to pay that amount. He may or may not use them. To me, this is all part of his strategy to generate talking points and throw down his competitor.

        TVB is also spending lots of money to counter Ricky. You think these new blood they are adding is free? Do you honestly think TVB can keep all its advertisements? I have a strong feeling the advertising companies are getting a higher bargaining power and won’t be willing to let TVB get so bossy about how things go.

        just my two cents on ricky’s strategy…

      7. That’s all fairly reasonable, yet very very speculative, no? We can all make ~guesses to what his strategy really is, but we only have what the media is reporting as “evidence”.

        I don’t disagree that their wages/fees need not be fixed (and I agree that it’s under variable costs but he will always need to play some actors), however, why on earth would they accept a lower rate down the road?

        I agree that advertisers will gain here because at the very least, TVB’s monopoly is broken which will strengthen their bargaining power.

        Whether TVB is spending a ton of money to counter Ricky or not, it won’t benefit CTI in the short-run. And if these fee rates are accurate and he does plan on featuring the actors more prominently – and not 5 eps like you purpose, then he is gambling big time about a relatively short period. Because that’s all he will be able to afford.

        Naturally, I hope it works out because I feel like the HK market could benefit from breaking TVB’s monopoly. However, if it doesn’t, a lot of money will have been wasted. On both sides.

      8. *propose

        (I seriously need to proof-read before pressing submit!)

    2. CTI’s getting a huge amount of exposure in the media, though. They’ve been making headline after headline the past year. CTI’s probably over-budgeting things now, but with the proper exposure and marketing, they will get revenue in no time.

      1. That’s an overly optimistic outlook imo. Media exposure =/= high ratings. People might tune in for the first couple of episodes but if the shows are not up to par, they will change the channel.

      2. Big risk = big return. So many other stations are playing it safe and garnered limited success.

        I’m ready for some bold moves from Ricky.

      3. Meh. I don’t really consider poaching famous artistes from your rival company for “bold moves”. However, I’m hoping they will inject some creativity in the scripts since TVB series have become very formulaic.

  6. I am very glad for Sheren, that she is in great demand everywhere. She deserves it as she seems to be a nice person and indeed a very good actress. With some competition from each other, CTI and TVB we just hope for better productions and improved acting. Everyone in the industry should be on his or her toes from now.

  7. It seems like CTI is just paying TVB actresses/actors just so TVB won’t have anymore “potential” actress/actors.

  8. I think so, too. CTI just wants to take away all the potential and quality artistes from TVB so that TVB will not be able to fight with them.

  9. I wonder Malaysia is able to watch CTI show.. 🙁 i wanna watch it since there are a lot of “golden” artist. I love watching them~

    1. I think they would air worldwide since they of course would want everyone to be able to see their shows.

    2. their strategy is dominate Hong Kong, then to overseas.


  10. I doubt it if we can watch City Telecom’s drama series in the near future. Our local Fairchild Chinese TV has an agreement with TVB, and is partly (20%) owned by TVB.

    1. lol i am a fairchild subscriber too, but honestly who needs that when u have the INTERNET! the city telecom shows will be online pretty fast, and to be honest if their dramas are good, i’d much rather watch those than the tvb ones on fairchild :/

    1. Not true. She still has per series contract with TVB for at least another year.

  11. It has been reported for a while, but it is not confirmed by Charmaine Sheh yet.

    1. I hope she won’t sign with CTI! I want her to return to TVB! :'(

    2. It’s obvious she can’t sign CTI contract if she still has an existing one with TVB 😉

      1. If the existing one is a free lance contract? So she can since it is the series that matters and not the producer/artiste management?

      2. Charmaine’s TVB’s contract might have certain stipulations – like a non-compete clause. Then she cannot sign with CTI until her TVB contract is up.

      3. Funn, she has a per series filming contract with TVB. It’s stipulated that she can only appear in TVB series, including no Cantonese interview on other HK TV stations.

      4. @She

        Errr… if you are referring to me, I’m no president. I’m a fan yes but I’m not holding any ‘post’.

  12. I hope CTI will air overseas, I’m willing to watch their series

    1. They obviously will or else how they will reach the worldwide audience??

      1. You may have to pay additional fees to subscribe special or additional channels to watch CTI programs.

      2. My bet is my local sattelite TV will have a new brand that will offer series from these major names because I can’t see how ASTRO with its major partner that is TVB will allow another rival into ASTRO package plan.

      3. ASTRO is TVB-itch. Dont they have a long term deal?

      4. I remember Astro did air ATV show. The one Ada Choi and Chilam and that handsome guy. Where Ada voice was so irritating but the show is nice! I think it’s called who’s the hero. So i think there are hope to watch CTI shows in Astro..

      1. CTI can only make money if the distribution goes worldwide. Domestic sale won’t help much. It is the worldwide sale. So first CTI must have a great partner in distribution rights.

  13. Their male leads line -up not so impressive, where are all the younger actors? Probably dare not leave TVB, because they need the exposure.
    I’ve got a feeling the news abt Charmaine might not be true. She owes her success to TVB & she’s still on good terms with them I assume????

    1. Since Charmaine Sheh has never confirmed anything, we still have hope that she will not sign up with CTI. I don’t mind if she is on a per-series contract with TVB. As long as she is not a CTI lead actress, she still can work for TVB. However, if Charmaine has signed a contract with CTI, I doubt if TVB will get her to film any drama series.

    2. I read somewhere that Charmaine still owes TVB 20eps so she cant sign with CTI yet.

      1. The news is not true about charm have already signed CTI. She still have her contract with TVB

  14. Whatever. I’m just glad that CTI is making a move because I’m tired of TVB monopolizing the market. 2013 will be a great year.

    1. 2013 already got new offerings from these new stations? So fast?

      The stories better be good because haven’t we been complaining about the same old faces in TVB when it is the very same old faces in these new TV stations?

      I want a wuxia series!!! Give me a wuxia series!!

      1. I’m dying for a wuxia series too! Why are TVB not making them anymore? Too expensive?

      2. too expensive, inexperience scriptwriters, scheduled issues & conflict, limited resources, etc

      3. @advo: Low rating and not the fave of HKers anymore? They seem to be fond of family quarrels more. Shrug* not my fave

      4. @ Fox,

        Does the genre really get low ratings or is it perhaps just the recent ones? Because maybe the ratings just reflected the quality of the series? I don’t get the HK audience. Aren’t they sick of quarrelling rich families or police dramas yet?

      5. @advo: I guess they are still hooking on these genre. Still see a lot of police+family quarrels on Txb with high rating. Not fresh at all.

        For wuxia, it seems that almost latest wuxia series got low rating. But when was the real last wuxia series?

    1. Unless… TVB did something… which will be impossible but not improbable but still pretty no way.

  15. i just hope all these dramas will be in cantonese .. i don’t understand mandarin well

  16. It’s up to how rich Ricky Wong is. How much money and how long can he remain the high prices of the artists? A station mostly leans on the advertisements. If CTI can gain a lot of big advertisement contracts, maybe Ricky can remain good conditions to the artists. If not, it will be a disaster to them.

  17. No businessman will do deficit spending, he has a great plan to sustain the company despite high spending like higher advertisement fee or sponsorship.

    Great to see tvb sweating now…after few decades of exploitation in own artist. Shame on them, they even control artists’ private lives, freeze anyone who is disobedient, predetermined certain prizes to their pet artists, extraordinary working time…hope they learn the lesson. Even Obama was elected as president of US, we shall see dramatic change in HK entertainment industry.

  18. Ricky Wong seems very ambitious. Though its too early to tell, his decisions now will either be his downfall or the reason for his success.

    Tbh, I’m glad for new competition but none of cti’s artists are “alluring” enough for me .. esp if its only one or two interesting actors a series then meh.

    1. I am not sure why series and movies are so different. The recent taiwan movie, the girls we chased had a bunch of no namer artist yet they broke records all over Asia. I don’t see why tv series cannot do the same.

  19. Why it doesn’t appeal me much when Frankie Lam name was mentioned in one of the upcoming series?

  20. TVB is a training ground for new artists & new blood so called CTI has save a lot of monies for training Ha ! Ha ! what a smart Alex CTI is !

    1. Not sure if thats considered smart of Alex or not since he forks out so much of monies into these “veteran” artists when audiences have started to forget about their “performances” and etc… and I don’t think I’ll be interested to see some 40s women taking up roles of some 20s women.

      I just hope TVB will promote their 2nd line fadans like Nancy wu, natalie tong, and etc to become lead.. atleast give audiences some fresh choices.

      1. It is not only to “give audiences some fresh choices” ….. those artistes, such as Nancy Wu, etc.” deserve to be promoted since their acting is better than a lot of those new top fadans in TVB. If those got promoted so badly and audience get tired of watching their many series throughout the year, why shouldn’t they promote more young artistes with good acting?

  21. TVB increased the artists salary had affected viewers like us, now our “Astro Wah Lai Toi” chinese program subscription fees is so expensive cos Astro have to pay them higher if Astro pay them higher to get the movie then Astro have to charge us higher.

    1. Yes agree with you that Astro has been charging us pretty expensive lately. There is a new station which I forgot the name and it also subscribe series/movies from oversea. Maybe you can switch to it and try? or maybe cut down some of these astro programs to save cost? I don’t really subscribe all the packages from astro, only subscribe some and dropped those like anime and sport channel out.

    2. In the end the artists is making hugh lot of monies, no wonder they’re so rich buying properties, opening big restaurants, opening new companies!, buying expensive clothing, cars & etc.

      1. This is the whole reason why so many “human beings” want to be TV artistes or movie stars!! Popularity and wealth!!!

      2. yea, but sadly not everyone is successful and becomes famous and wealthy. You also have to sacrifice a lot to enter the circle as well. You get some but you also lose some…

      3. It all depends what you want …. popularity and a glamorous life, or a simple life with little luxuries.

      4. Hey, I was going to say same “No Pain, No Gain”. Ha ha ……

      5. Yup, no pain, no gain. That’s what one of my teachers used to say to us all the time.

  22. All these expensive investments, I’m praying to god the dramas are actually well produced though. I agree with previous posters that they should have hired movie stars or just fresh blood too, we will get sick of seeing tvb faces as well. But most importantly, all the money spent on the new set and recruiting stars makes me worry about the scripts and directing. Those aspects had better not be neglected, or the dramas will be crap. I’m gonna hope for the best though, It’s about time tvb got some competition. besides, sick of the cheap as heck sets and music and recycled plots from tvb. Praying for u, City Telecom!

    1. Her contract expires right after she’s done filming War and Beauty 2. She’s a lock to go to CTI.

    2. Dont think Sheren will sign with CTI. She’s smart, they need her more than she needs them.
      CTI is totally not proven. She might want to wait & see what kind of scripts or writers they have 1st.
      Pointless for her to leave at this moment as she gets all the best scripts in TVB. now.

      1. What scripts? The same TVB who has the same stories about rich families fighting for money, a million interchangeable cop shows and love triangles in the workplace? Doesn’t seem like Sharon’s cop of tea, in fact she’s gone out of her way to avoid filming TVB these last few years. She’s only participated in projects with producers she’s had success with. At her age, it’s much easier to take the money and run.

  23. I’m glad TVB is finally getting some good competition. They’ve had monopoly for too long and has gotten away with paying their artist pennies and mistreating with long hours. I look forward to seeing what CTI produces.

  24. looks like Sheren’s worth more than Charmaine on the market.

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