TVB to Strengthen Its “Family Culture” and Allow Artists Sufficient Rest

With HKTV losing in the free-to-air television license battle, it looks like TVB’s monopoly on Hong Kong’s television market will continue to stay strong in the future. Despite this, HKTV has won something that TVB does not have – team spirit.

Many HKTV artists and staff members has united together in an ongoing protest to support Ricky Wong’s (王維基) station. The HKTV staff, many of them being former TVB scriptwriters, directors, and producers, argued that HKTV reignited their passion about making television and quality programs, while implying that their former employer failed to generate the same enthusiasm, camaraderie, and good faith that HKTV has established for their artists.

Former TVB artist Liu Kai Chi (廖啟智) also touched on the same topic in his recent interview with Ming Pao. Liu, who left TVB in 2005 after servicing the station for nearly 25 years, was unhappy with TVB’s working culture, which deeply affected his perception and passion towards acting. He explained that due to TVB’s lack of substantial competition in the market, the company failed to boost employee morale and many of its staff members lost the drive to make good television programs.

On the other hand, Liu has managed to recover his love for filming television dramas after shooting HKTV’s Police Boundaries <警界線> last year. He said that under HKTV’s family culture, he has regained the respect that he lost while filming for TVB.

TVB’s Response

Yesterday, during a banquet celebration and press meet for the ratings success of Triumph in the Skies 2 <衝上雲霄II>, TVB Executive Chairman Norman Leung (梁乃鵬) announced his plans in improving TVB’s current corporate culture and his hopes for cultivating a strong “TVB Family Culture.” Leung admitted that Liu’s interview had inspired him to start the TVB Family Culture project to revolutionize TVB’s current corporate practices.

The TVB Family Culture will aim at achieving the following four targets: respect for employees, reasonable working hours, reasonable salaries, and more performance opportunities for artists.

Leung said, “It’s not just talk. We have already sent out the memos. Studio filming should not exceed 10 hours at a time. The limit is 11 hours, and any filming over 12 hours have to be approved by the producer. Outdoor shooting should not exceed 12 hours, and filming over 14 hours will also have to get approved by the producer. We want our artists to have sufficient time to rest. We will also require the scripts of our dramas to be at least 80 percent complete before official filming begins. This will increase the production budget, but it’s more important to make good dramas for the audience.”

Leung also added, “If other stations can do it, TVB can do it better. We want our artists to feel proud that they work for us.”

At the celebration, Leung also revealed TVB’s plans in the mainland Chinese market, explaining that the establishment of TVB’s China subsidiary, TVBC, is to help TVB artists seek more jobs in the lucrative market. He also announced that Triumph in the Skies 2, Hong Kong’s current highest-rated drama of the year, has raked in over 300 million views online in China.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. it seems like the condition of the filimg isnt much better.

    “Studio filming should not exceed 10 hours at a time. The limit is 11 hours, and any filming over 12 hours have to be approved by the producer.”

    can’t be over 10, so shouldnt anything over 10 hours require approval? what happened to the 8 hour filming mentioned before. and outdoors are 14 hours? thats a bit much

    1. maybe now they film 18 hours non stop, so 10 hours is a huge improvement for them?

      1. I heard that it cannot exceed 13 hours in China but the good thing is that they allow their artists to get around 8 hours of rest. They believe that if an artist cannot have around 8 hours of rest then they cannot give their best performance.

        Talks about improving TVB’s work conditions have been in the talks for many years but whether they do it or not is a different story. Also, if the producers still want to work a lot like before then they have to continue to do so?? If so, then that is not much of a change. I wonder if they will give them adequate pay or not? TVB is known for being cheap so let’s see if they will or not.

      2. My feeling is they won’t get extra rest because they have other obligations, like promos, appearances with sponsors, etc. It sounds nice on paper but if there is a deadline to meet? And with so called many hours for rest, won’t the manager fill in the slots with more ad campaigns, appearances, etc?

  2. Wondering what about the actors in multiple dramas at a time?

  3. So if the producer approves long filming, it’s still on?

      1. Sooooo easy for producers…just approve EVERYTHING! hahaha Artists think they’ll get breaks but NOPE.

  4. It all starts with having a good leader because that can really impact employee morale and work ethic. To me, I think Norman Leung is doing a good job so far and acknowledges what needs to be worked on. It probably helps that he seems like a harmless grandpa, but he actually does the best PR for tvb. The previous years were under Mona Fong’s leadership which seems to be where a lot of the complaints come from.

  5. We all know even with the hours stated, if it is urgent, all things about working hours is off. They have deadlines to meet. Either longer filming months or shorter episodes.

    Anyway I swear I read FAMILY VULTURE and I thought how appropriate.

  6. The producers will definitely approve 99% of continuos hour filming using deadline excuse. 1% is for PR show.

    They should definitely focus on how to improve the earnings of 2nd 3rd tiers artistes and also minimum wage for crews.

    1. agree would be nice if they promote and give kelafe more opportunities

      1. Agreed. I personally feel bad for all the kelefes because when I read about ther unhappiness I always am able to recognise them and remember them. TVB needs to know how important their “green leaf” actors are because they’ve become a living trademark of TVB – the massive, ensemble cast and familiar faces.

      2. Agree and disagree. They should give chances to talent yes but it’s a very small industry with 123456 and counting people joining the industry every day. And most of them doesn’t have either the look, talent, luck or a combination of those to succeed. Sad to say only a small amount of the will make it and the rest will be kelefes forever. It’s a choice they make when joining entertainment industry, and it’s not just HK alone. Fame is something not being able to guarantee. But TVB should at least work on a stable income for those in 3rd tiers and also their behind the scene crews such as scriptwriters, props designer etc.

    2. Is there any articles regarding the min wage you mentioned for the production crew? I would like to see a comparison between their wage and the average jobs out there.

      1. Hardly though. But many 3rd tier and kelefe were complaining they can only earn a few thousand HKD per month, which may not be suffice to pay rental alone.

        I think TVB is calculating wage by hourly in variety shows, and episode for series.

  7. Strange they only talked about not working beyond X hours BUT nothing about the hours (rest) in between each session…..SO, could it be work 10 hours, rest 1 and THEN work 10 again?? LOL

  8. Only when HKTV appears with good wages and resting time now only TVB starts to implement theirs too copy cat.

    1. TVB has been a copy cat for many years, they are too special.

  9. Honestly, working 12+hours per day is the norm now. Even for a regular office job. In fact, most of us work 24 hours a day, with the ease of modern technology/global businesses. So the fact that a company is willing to speak out and say work hours will be limited, it’s atleast a step in the right direction.

    Deadlines are deadlines. Responsibilites are responsibilites. Even if an office hour is 9-5, if you have a deadline, you’ll stay to make sure the project is completed. I think the same should go for filming. yes, typical 10 hours, but if your series has a due date, then you should do your best to finish, even if it means getting less sleep. Its a working ethic that all should carry – artist or not.

    When you read/see veterans interviews about filming lives back in the days, it’s actually worst than it is now. Thus, not really sure why some artists are complaining now that they have to film for 14, 15, 16 hours.

    And then you have those that tell the world, oh, i just filmed for 15 hours overnight, and am now here at the function making an extra $***,*** for 30 mins.

    That aside, i do think that they should have better wages for their employees throughout, especially those that don’t have a chance to make extra $ by attending functions. 3rd and 4th tier artists should have at least min.wage and not just base their salary on whether or not they have jobs.

    Anyway, at the same time, 3rd 4th tier artists are kinda like those who dream of making it big in broadway or music.They should find another job to supplement their dreams of becoming big and famous.

    1. i agree with you…although I am not a big fans for TVB…and I also agree sometime TVB drama are very bad…But I agree with you that those staff can’t always complaint about long hours and not being promoted…sometime…it is really based on the luck! Sorry…but it is so true in this industry!

    2. Hmmm….from some of the comments here, sounds like some people don’t understand how TVB operates. We’re not talking about 14 to 16 hour work shifts here….we’re talking 24 to 48 hour + shifts with NO REST, consistently, over a long period of time.

      Let me give you an example. Deno Cheung did an interview recently in which he talked about how at TVB, he used to work the “2 to 4” shift. No, not 2pm to 4pm, but rather, 2am in the morning to 4am THE NEXT MORNING!! That’s working 26 hours straight, which is actually a ‘typical’ work schedule at TVB (he’s actually lucky he didn’t have to do the ’48 hour’ shift that some other artists do). It’s because of these types of work schedules that people complain about TVB being ‘inhumane’ – I mean, think about it…what company out there requires their employees to work 26 hours straight with no rest and no sleep? And not just once or twice, but ALL THE TIME??? Oh and before anyone brings up the ‘money’ argument – well, um, the artists who work these types of hours don’t get paid overtime, so it’s not like they’re getting extra money for working extra hours….

      And yes, I understand the point about some people supposedly working ’24 hours’ due to modern technology and stuff (hey, I work in the Corporate world too and I pretty much have a 24/7 job as well if you count checking work emails on my phone)….but the difference is that most of us who work those types of hours get compensated accordingly for it (plus it’s not ’24 hours with no rest’ like they do at TVB). For example, I have those types of hours because I’m in a managerial position at my company, so with the salary comes certain responsibilities – but my staff who are regular employees and don’t have such responsibilities work ‘normal’ hours (8 hours) and if I need them to work longer, they get paid Overtime (and even then, the number of hours worked in a day can’t exceed a certain amount, otherwise we’d be breaking labor laws).

      So no…to me, it’s not about work ethics at all. I’m sure most people don’t mind working extra hours occasionally in order to meet deadlines for a big project and such….but that’s NOT what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about working ‘insane’ hours on a consistent basis (every day or every other day)….to me, that’s definitely ‘not normal’, no matter which way people try to slice and dice it…

      1. Guess its back to money talk then. If said actors got paid a more “decent” salary, the the talk about hours wont even be there since they are compensated for every min of their work. Whereas now 3rd and 4th tier artists are paid by jobs, thus, the long hours.

        Same topic though, these actors and actresses chose to continue in this field, thus they know the rules. And honestly, how many time a day are they actually filming 24+ hours? 3 -4 nights a month? So working long hours, someone complains. Not enough work someone else complains.

        Personally I pull all nighters + 16+ hours days on a monthly basis with no OT pay. Some argue, oh your base salary covers it, but when you really do the math, does it really?

        All in all, yes, everyone deserves better work schedulesand pay, but choosing to voice all these dissatisfactions out after you cchoose to leave on yourown is unprofessional and unnecessary to me. If you dont like your job, quit and do somehing else. Dont wait 10+ years to give me your sob story. We are all adults. Make your own choice.

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