TVB’s Half Year Update – Who Will Win TV King?

As the end of summer draws closer, the buzz for Hong Kong’s TV King also draws nearer. This year, a mix of actors from different generations will be likely contenders for the TV King throne, but a favorite is hard to pick. Let’s dissect the choices below:

Ruco Chan (陳展鵬) and Shaun Tam (譚俊彥) for Succession War <天命>

The historical fiction drama surrounding the last month of Heshen’s life has officially come to an end. It is the only 2018 drama for Ruco Chan, who had previously won TV King in 2016. It’s a tricky situation for the Best Actor winner—portraying Heshen in the drama, Ruco had to dispel the popular belief that Heshen is nothing more than a silly, overweight and evil Qing Dynasty official, an image popularized by veteran Chinese actor Wang Gang (王剛). In Succession War, Heshen is portrayed as handsome, manipulative, and resourceful. Ruco’s casting was met with mixed responses at first, with netizens saying Ruco is too good-looking for the role, very much unlike Wang Gang’s sneaky portrayal of the character. With only one drama in his hands for 2018, alongside a controversial portrayal, it’s going to be hard for Ruco to win Hong Kong’s TV King for a second time this year. A TV King win also seems unlikely for Ruco’s costar Shaun Tam, who portrays the Jiaqing Emperor on the show. Succession War is only Shaun’s first drama with TVB, and the show’s unimpressive ratings won’t be enough to garner Shaun a win.

Lai Lok-yi (黎諾懿) for Who Wants a Baby? <BB來了>

It’s not that Lai Lok-yi is bad in his role—he’s been performing safely, but to win Best Actor in a drama made for housewives is going to be difficult. All the buzz seems to be falling on the show’s leading lady instead.

Benjamin Yuen (袁偉豪) for Stealing Seconds <東扔的時光> and Threesome <三個女人一個「因」>

The breakout star of 2016, Benjamin Yuen is TVB’s new rising actor. He’s led two dramas this year, and while both dramas have performed well in ratings and reviews, they failed to reach the same influence as his character Ngah Lo in 2016’s A Fist Within Four Walls <城寨英雄>. Benjamin himself also can’t seem to escape the typecast of being a rogue, hoodlum-type character. If Another Era <再創世紀> manages to snag a time slot this year, Benjamin may be able to turn his fate around.

Raymond Wong (黃浩然) for The Forgotten Valley <平安谷之詭谷傳說> and Apple-colada <菓欄中的江湖大嫂>

Both dramas became cult favorites of 2018, and Raymond has another hit in his hands. Unfortunately for the actor, both dramas are female-focused stories, and Raymond carries only a supporting influence in both dramas.

Ben Wong (黃智賢) for Watch Out Boss <波士早晨> and Birth of a Hero <翻生武林>

The former drama was a warehoused series, and the latter has been criticized for being unfunny. It is unlikely that Ben would be in the running.

Carlos Chan (陳家樂), Wayne Lai (黎耀祥), and David Chiang (姜大衛) for Daddy Cool <逆緣>

Arguably the most popular drama in the first half of 2018, Daddy Cool was also the drama that revived Carlos’ career. However, Carlos is not a TVB-managed actor, thus he has a higher chance of losing the award. Wayne Lai is a three-time TVB King, and while his performances have been steady, he was not the show’s most publicized star. As a veteran actor with a highly prolific and respected career, it is unlikely that David Chiang would vie for the TV King award.

Steven Ma (馬浚偉), Edwin Siu (蕭正楠), and Kenneth Ma (馬國明) for Deep in the Realm of Conscience <宮心計2深宮計>

As the official sister production of the 2009 hit palace drama, Deep in the Realm of Conscience consistently showed its strength in viewership ratings. Out of the three male leads, Steven Ma has the highest chance to win. His portrayal of Li Longji is widely praised. Despite his many years of experience on television, he has never won Hong Kong’s TV King. This year is his biggest chance.


This article is written by Addy for

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  1. The best actor award should be made void this year if there are any better performances this year.

    1. @jimmyszeto With how things have been going so far, they should cancel the awards show altogether, lol. IMO, the only 2 categories where there have been good performances are the Supporting Actor and Actress categories….maybe this year they should get rid of TV King and Queen and just give out a bunch of “green leaf” awards to the veterans (yea, I know, wishful thinking…).

      Joking aside though, if no other “big” productions come out the second half of the year, I’m willing to bet that Deep in the Realm of Conscience is going to sweep the awards, even though that series was mediocre at best and most of the cast gave “meh” performances. As usual, TVB is going to try to argue that the series’ high ratings and all the buzz that generated in the forums over some of the characters are proof that HK audiences loved the series and it was the most popular series of the year…plus the series was popular in Mainland too and that counts more than anything nowadays where TVB is concerned. If last year was any indication, there’s pretty much no hope that TVB is going to play fair with their awards – the minute they started using the awards as a promo tool to boost the careers of undeserving artists, TVB’s awards already lost all credibility in my book.

      1. @llwy12
        I agree. TVB will give the mainland audience what they want by handing the awards to artists with roles in ‘Deep in the Realm of Conscience’. It will be all over the mainland news….

      2. @jimmyszeto Frankly, I don’t think even the Mainland audience particularly thinks “Deep in the Realm of Conscience” was a good drama either. I’ve been following the new Mainland drama “The Story of Yanxi Palace”, and most of the comments I’ve read are talking about it’s waaay better than DITROC (mainly because both female leads have similar motivations) and that DITROC is a joke. It’s really only TVB who thought that drama was any good.

      3. @melia880 Yes, true…but as usual, the key here isn’t what the majority audiences (HK or Mainland) truly think but rather, what TVB “believes” that they think as well as how good TVB is at being able to convince people that they are justified in their decision. Even if only a few audience support DITROC and majority says it sucks, TVB will take that few audience opinion and blow it up to make it look like majority supports it….and if the ratings (or number of hits online in Mainland) are high (as it was for DITROC), that will support their argument as well. Heart and Greed for example – that series was criticized left and right by both HK and Mainland audiences alike and majority opinion is that the series was a waste of time and should never have been made in the first place, yet because the viewership count in Mainland was high (supposedly), delusional TVB touted it as a “successful” series and a few of the mainstream media outlets reported it as such (to the point that the cast actually did a follow up stage play for the series and there are talks of a movie version in the works as well as another possible sequel)….

      4. @llwy12 Haha very true. It’s ridiculous how delusional TVB is about their audiences. I’m curious to know what the actors think. I’m sure they see comments from the actual netizens and realise the drama is really a flop (or maybe they don’t have time to read comments, who knows), and yet they are “celebrating” the “success” of their drama. I feel like an actor/actress who is very passionate and serious about acting should feel insulted haha.

      5. @melia880 Most artists who work for TVB aren’t the “passionate” type — a lot of them claim they don’t read netizens’ comments while some say they do read but if the comments are negative then they ignore those comments. Regardless though, asking the artists usually doesn’t do much good because if they are under contract to TVB, they are not going to answer truthfully anyway out of fear of retaliation from TVB (we all know how petty TVB is). As a point of reference— with many of TVB’s recent “cost-cutting” actions (laying off 100+ staff, closing down sports/athletic department, shutting down studio 16, etc) and also their shift to Mainland, the reporters did ask various TVB artists for their thoughts and while the specific responses varied, most responses fell into one of the following general categories: 1) they support the company’s actions and trust that they know what they are doing, 2) the company has its processes and since they are only actors, it is not their place to question the company’s policies or decisions, 3) they don’t know the details so can’t comment, 4) it’s unfortunate but it’s the company’s decision, 5) hope that rumor (firing employees, closing studio 16) isn’t true, 6) raising the company’s profile in Mainland is a good thing that will benefit the artists and help them make more money, etc. And then there are those artists who’ve been in the industry long enough to know how to answer in a way that shows sympathy to those affected but stops short of criticizing TVB (for instance – Hacken Lee and Liza Wang’s responses to the sports/athletics department being shut down).

        Most of the time, the only artists who are going to speak their minds about these issues are those who either don’t work for TVB anymore or they work for TVB but don’t care about possibly burning their bridges with them.

        **Edit: Oh and the Heart Of Greed example — the cast was just as delusional as the producer in that they were praising the series to the skies and said would support a sequel if there were one (Ha Yu was the one who said he would consider producing a movie version)….though I think later they realized they should’ve toned it down because a few from the cast (I think it was Louis Yuen primarily) later insisted when the HAG stage play was almost finished with its run that the play actually had nothing to do with the series and that it was just a chance for the cast to reunite to do something else together…

      6. @llwy12 By banning employees from discourse regarding the situation in TVB, they are promoting a disconnect between the workforce and the company, which fosters an environment of fear and alienation instead. How can someone be loyal to TVB as a result? The ones who are loyal, are loyal to a person (like Catherine Tsang or Tommy Leung), rather than to the company.

        In time, this disregard for the company drives personnel to look outwards for opportunities, thereby creating a cycle of talent exodus. they’re unable to replenish the talent pool to keep up with the competition. which of course, means further disintegration of the company.

        one way to replenish the pool is to look externally. do you think TVB will be adding more mandarin actors/actresses to their roster to fill the gaps? I can see this happening.

      7. @coralie Of course, TVB will say that they have never discouraged their artists from stating their opinions freely, which is true in that publicly they are not going to do anything, but they have been known to take action behind the scenes to retaliate against artists who said/did something they didn’t like (we all know how easy it is for TVB to withhold job opportunities for an artist whose careers they control – which is one reason why many of the established artists nowadays refuse to sign management contracts with TVB)….this is common knowledge within TVB which is why most artists go the “self-censorship” route so they don’t get in trouble.

        Another more recent example – the hot topic right now is the upcoming MHK pageant, as TVB recently announced that they are cancelling the travel abroad segment and instead will have candidates do a photo shoot in Sai Kung (in HK) instead. Most of the non-TVB people that the reporters have asked for opinions have said mostly critical stuff (i.e. TVB is being cheap; and the one I like, lol — so after cutting awards show, cutting sports department, cutting staff, now they are cutting MHK perks too? Wow!) but with almost every single TVB person they’ve asked (including former MHKs and/or pageant winners such as Louisa Mak, Rebecca Chu, Crystal Fung, etc.), the response has either been some vague comment that neither supports nor criticizes the move (which is acceptable I guess) or some type of patronizing comment in favor of TVB’s decision (not going to list specifics because most of the responses make me want to puke, lol).

        It doesn’t sound like TVB cares much about loyalty nowadays because if they did, they wouldn’t be making some of the stupid moves that they have recently. The mindset with management has always been that they (TVB) have a guaranteed audience pool and therefore guaranteed base ratings, which ensures that they will always be relevant in HK no matter what happens so there is no motivation to do anything outside of the basics or to change things for the better or whatever. Who cares if the talented artists leave? They can always find newer artists out there who are more than willing to replace those artists – sure, the newer artists’ acting is crap but hey, the 50+ year old housewife audiences aren’t going to notice and even if they do, it’s not like they’re going to turn off the TV and refuse to watch.

        TVB had actually signed Mandarin actors/actresses before (I don’t remember the specifics but I know they had some type of exchange program thing back in the 90s where students studying drama in Mainland universities were given the opportunity to film with TVB as part of their studies) – it was mostly small scale though and most of those artists didn’t stay in the industry. With the recent mandate handed down from management that ¼ of TVB series must be collaborations with Mainland, audiences will likely see a lot more Mandarin-speaking artists in TVB series, but most likely they won’t be TVB artists — it’s not necessary for them to sign Mandarin speaking actors/actresses themselves because the Mainland production companies they collaborate with probably have plenty of Mandarin-speaking artists to supply to them. Also, depending on how much say TVB has in the production, it’s possible that some of the meatier roles in those collaborations will have to go to Mandarin-speaking artists (I had read some stuff earlier in the year that said one of the conditions that most HK/Mainland collaboration contracts have is that a certain number of roles have to be reserved for Mainland artists – this is the way it works currently with all those HK/Mainland movie collaborations you see in the HK film industry)….the problem then of course will possibly be fewer opportunities for HK artists in TVB’s own series….

  2. I rmbr Lai Lokyi as a supporting actor in Daddy Cool. He’s a solid actor but the dramas he’s in aren’t ever centered around him. Nevermind that all the dramas thus far are flops— either cringy script or not popular, I doubt theres real contention for this award this year unless there’s another blockbuster coming out

    1. @bubbles23 The problem with Lai Lok Yi is that all his performances are essentially the same – he’s basically portraying some version of John Ma in every drama. I’m actually surprised he’s even mentioned because honestly, his acting has never been anything to shout about.

  3. All the dramas this year so far was a flop. i found the bb drama decent, succession war’s plot was bad but ruco did well, and deep realm was eh to me

    1. @jcc10 Why do you think SW plot is bad? I stopped watching after episode 6, but I’m now I’m trying to get back into it because people are saying the later episodes are pretty good. I wish they made Jiaqing a more likable character…

      Also no one really stood out for me when it comes to TV king… Ruco is the only good one that comes to mind but he’s always good anyway.

  4. Haven’t watched Succession War or any of Benjamin’s series so I wouldn’t know, but for me David Chiang is top running for TV King. He did a good job making his scumbag character likable.
    Wayne already has 3 awards so it wouldn’t be fair.
    Carlos did a really good job too so I wouldn’t mind if he won.

    None of the men from Deep in the Realm of Conscience stood out.
    Chris Lai doesn’t shine in Who Wants a Baby?
    Raymond is a fine actor but he hasn’t had any breakthrough roles – it’s always Mr. Nice-Guy with him.
    Same with Ben Wong.

    This year has been a big flop, much like last year – which is a shame because I thought 2016 their redemption year.

  5. From what I have watched, i think that Wayne and David are the best lead actors so far. I am not sure if Carlos fits in as a TV king or as an Improvement Award, but award of not, he rocks.

    Ruco is a close behind. No one else I have watched in 2018 has left an impression on me. But depends if “Brothers” is counted in but it may provide some competition.

    I am more interested in the Best Supporting Actor awards. I am standing up KK Cheung as Qian Long in SW. He has done marvellous roles over the years and not gotten any recognition.

    If anyone from the “The Great Adventurer Wesley” wins any award, I will puke. The series is horrible.

    1. @elizabeth carlos is pretty good, but he doesn’t stand a chance winning tv king. i’m looking forward to vincent’s drama, hopefully it will air soon

      1. @jcc10
        I agree that now it is left open for Vincent to win if he comes up with another good performance. There is also still Roger in ‘At the Threshold of an Era Again’ which is yet to broadcast. It’s been an horrendously unwatchable year so far. I’m taking a long hiatus from watching current broadcasted series to re-watch most of the old 80s Michael Miu and Barbara Yung series.

      2. @jimmyszeto My “hiatus” has been since the early 2000s….technically I’ve been in “re-watch classic series” mode for close to 2 decades already, lol. Agreed that this year has been pretty bad in terms of “watchable” series, though I don’t see it as worse than previous years because it’s been bad for a long time already. Nowadays, in a given year, I’m lucky if I’m able to find 1 watchable series from TVB (if I’m able to find 2 watchable series, I consider that a miracle, lol). Pretty sure TVB already knows how poorly they’ve been performing in recent years, but it’s not like they are going to care because they will always have their housewife audiences who will support them regardless (and now they have Mainland audiences as well)…until the day that no one in HK watches any of their series anymore (which will never happen), I don’t expect anything to ever change with them….

        P.S.: 80s series rock! Watch/re-watch as many as you can if you have time…you won’t regret it! 🙂

      3. @llwy12
        Before everyone left, TVB would sometimes turn up with a good series every 3 or 4 years. Now it actually isn’t possible to produce a good series. The few that actually had potential such as Legal Mavericks, A Fist Within 4 Walls and Line Walker all became flawed beyond belief as the series progressed. The last great series TVB has made is ‘When Heavens Burn’ and that was 2011. Seeing the recent rise of web series and how ridiculously pretentious ‘Deep In the Realm of Conscience’ was made to suit the mainland audience, I’m afraid ‘When Heaven Burn’ might be the last ever great series from TVB…..

      4. @jimmyszeto And even When Heaven Burns was flawed beyond belief (though yes, overall, script and production wise, that was one of the better series to come out of TVB from the last decade). I definitely agree that TVB is incapable of producing good series anymore – the main problem (among many) is their antiquated system as well as their refusal to change. Whereas other TV stations have already been moving in the direction of allowing more creative and artistic freedom in their productions (i.e. working with scriptwriters / directors / producers as well as actors/actresses from other disciplines such as theater and movie worlds, also exploring other themes and subject matter outside of the same old stuff HK audiences are used to, etc.), TVB is still stuck in their “hold on tight to the reins” system and sticking with what they feel is the “tried and true” with little to no wiggle room outside of that. The fact that the same writers / producers / directors – some who were at TVB for 10 / 15 / 20 years — are able to go to a different TV station that places fewer restrictions on them (allows them to freely explore different genres, work with different artists, etc.) and in turn, churn out truly great series (some even massive hits) is proof that TVB’s “traditional” methods and system no longer work….but yet, TVB refuses to understand this and instead chooses to go in the opposite direction — i.e. instead of focusing on making better productions, giving their employees more creative freedom, hiring writers from outside, researching and exploring different genres / themes, investing in artists’ training, and most important of all getting rid of some of their antiquated, restrictive policies which would open them up to working with a larger network of people from throughout the entertainment industry, they decide to take the easiest way out, which is to lay off staff (firing TVBI and sports department staff), cut “superfluous” expenses such as broadcast rights for sports events and outside award shows (no more World Cup, Olympics, HKFA, etc), cancel award shows (Malaysia Astro and Singapore StarHub), reduce filming space by shuttering the doors on parts of their facility that aren’t used as often (their recent shutting down of studio 16 for instance), shift focus to a different market that will give them a more immediate return on their investment (Mainland market), etc. It pretty much boils down to poor management by those at the top who obviously care more about making good money over making good, quality productions.

      5. @jimmyszeto hey. I have not been watching as many tvb series this year as before because of the new choices from non-tvb companies. I think that after watching octb and the trading floor, I need a lot of time to think about the messages brought out.

        I only watched the ones I really am interested in. I halfwatched others my dad wanted to watch in family time.

        I tend to move away from large productions since I think tvb puts too much effort into gimmicks and not into substance.

        For this year, I still want to watch “Brothers” since the plot is interesting and also may the the upcoming series about stuntsmen though I don’t particularly like anyone in the series nor do I think it will win any awards. But the topic is fresh. I have really gotten sick of the doctor, lawyer or cop series that follow the same format.

    2. @elizabeth Considering the only TVB series I’ve watched in its entirety this year was Daddy Cool, my opinion probably doesn’t count for much but I’m also backing John Chiang — though honestly, he doesn’t really need the award, as he’s already a highly respected and celebrated veteran actor with a prolific career that most people would envy…to me, his past achievements (including being the first HK actor to ever win a Best Actor award at the Asian Film Festival – an honor he received in 1970 for the movie “Revenge”) are way more prestigious than any stupid award TVB doles out. I love Wayne and his performances have been solid, but he hasn’t had a standout role in years – plus it’s not like he needs the award either with 3 wins already under his belt. Everyone already knows how I feel about Carlos Chan (yes, I’ve been shamelessly promoting him on every platform possible, lol), but it’s already a given he has no chance since he’s not a TVB artist first of all, plus his career focus is in movies….yes, an award would be nice but I’m fine with him not getting anything, as I feel that the boost to his career is more worthwhile (more people know him now and he’s gotten more filming opportunities as a result).

  6. Haven’t watched all performances but David is my personal fav for now. No issue with Wayne’s performance but there is no surprise as well.
    Steven unfortunately has been borderline average in Deep in the Realm of Conscience, neither is Kenneth or Edwin been impressive in it. Infact, most of the cast in that drama has been mediocre at best, some even feel like a miscast.

  7. 1/2 time, not sure if anyone is worthy of the award thus far… no one is really standing out or screaming best actor… Some were just okay – Shaun Tam, Raymond Wong, Carlos Chan, Lai Lok Yi.. wasn’t bad…hope the balance of the months will have some break thru with the actors and their drama being placed in the time slots, otherwise, it will be tossed in the air.

  8. I want TVB to produce something as creative as My Ages Apart. Now THAT was a surprisingly good, refreshing drama. I enjoyed Moses & Louis Cheung’s acting immensely. I’ve noticed Moses really has a knack for doing comedies ever since he starred in Scholar Meets Soldier (still one of my favorites to date.) And Louis Cheung added to that chemistry to make a fabulous duo. I’m ok with leaving Bobby off as I find him really forceful with comedies. But if the trio can reunite for a comedy, I’d watch it in a heartbeat.

    That aside, male breakout artist this year: Carlos Chan. Male winner for me so far (minus the veterans): Carlos Chan. Lol.

  9. I haven’t watched any TVB series this year, but having been a Steven Ma fan for many years, I am hoping he wins, even though the few scenes I watched of him in DITROC left me very unimpressed – I think his doing theatre in the past year has influenced his acting, and it seemed very melodramatic.

    1. @anoninhk Now that you mention it, yes, I think it is a possibility that his recent involvement in theatre has an impact on his TV performance. I couldn’t pinpoint what initially but was disappointed with his performance in DITROC which I didn’t understand why because he used to be at ease in period drama.

    2. @anoninhk I completely agree with you! I’ve always been a fan of Steven Ma. His acting in dramas always provide a lot of emotions for me that I think other actors can’t quite get across… but when I watched DITROC, I felt something missing from him. Felt like his acting was not as genuine as it used to be. Now that you mention theatre, that might be it!

  10. Too soon.

    Anyway He shen is supposed to be very beautiful/handsome.

    However acting wise my choice won’t be ruco. I don’t like his unsure interpretation of Heshen. I’d rather he played heshen as a psychopath and all that because his he shen seems like one.

    Anyway I can name the best supporting. Can I name the actor who plays Shaun Tam’s eunuch in Succession War? I thought he was excellent.

    Ok, maybe Steven Ma. First time he played a truly horrible character.

    Carlos Chan because a breath of fresh air and e was believable as John Chiang’s dad. Yeap Carlos.

    1. @funnlim Steven Ma’s role was a truly horrible character? I felt while he was deceiving and thirsty for the throne, he did some good deeds like letting go the doctor who knows the empress wouldn’t be able to be pregnant again and Yu yuet where she could have been punishable to death for her role in shun heis miscarriage but nope. Even with Princess Taipings final end he let her die on her own way.

  11. Ruco is the only good so far for best actor. His performance was highly rated in Weibo and HK Discussion Forum. My vote surely goes to him.

    1. @groundhog
      HK01 is misleading. Heshen was smart and handsome in real history. Ruco’s acting was praised in majority comments especially Mainland China saying that he has the best Heshen image, but of course exclude those with fixed attitude against him.
      Anyway, despite his good performance, it’s obvious that ba award won go to him this year.

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