With Ricky Wong (王維基), Chairman of City Telecom, luring artists and staff away from TVB, executives Stephen Chan (陳志雲) and Mark Lee (李寶安) have been busily putting up a “resistance effort” through pacification by personally meeting with employees who considered leaving. TVB increased staff salaries in the range of 20% to 50% and was successful in persuading staff to remain at the company. In addition, TVB increased the production budget in heavyweight dramas to pacify anxiety among their employees. In addition, ratings guarantors, Wayne Lai (黎耀祥) and Maggie Cheung (張可頤), were recruited to star in 2012’s heavyweight drama, Big Eunuch <大太監>.
For employees who have already signed employment contract agreements with Ricky Wong, but were nevertheless considering remaining at TVB, Mr. Lee and Mr. Chan provided legal consultants to offer legal advice. Mr. Lee and Mr. Chan’s sincerity moved many employees who have worked at TVB for a lengthy number of years. Asked to comment upon TVB’s “pacification effort,” Ricky Wong refused to comment directly, only calmly replying, “Up until this point, I do not see much results.”
Earlier, Ricky Wong vowed to invest vast sums of money to attract talent and produce high quality series. Frequently accused of being unwilling to invest money in its productions, TVB could no longer cut corners now. Aside from War and Beauty 2 <金枝慾孽2> filming on location in Beijing, year-end heavyweight drama, Big Eunuch will film in Hengdian, China in February 2012. Compared to normal series, TVB will be investing an additional 40% in the production budget for these series.
The producer of Big Eunuch, Lo Wing Yin (羅永賢), revealed that Wayne Lai will be portraying an imperial eunuch, Maggie Cheung will portray Empress Dowager, and the currently promoted Ruco Chan (陳展鵬) and Raymond Wong (黃浩然) will play eunuchs with significant screen time.
Wayne praised Maggie in possessing the right aura to play Empress Dowager. “Maggie is very beautiful in ancient costumes, which are very suitable for her.” (Will you appear as onscreen couples more frequently to earn more money?) “Of course I want to do so! Let’s partner and charge together!”
With her TVB contract expiring at the year of this year, Maggie indicated that she will decide on the future once her manager completes the contract discussions. “It is a big challenge to portray Empress Dowager. I hope we can work together.”
In addition, Ruco Chan said he was happy in portraying an eunuch in the upcoming series, “This is a role that offers expressive opportunities. I was very happy working with Wayne and Maggie earlier.” In his first television series, Ruco indicated that he had already worked with Wayne, who offered him a lot of advice.
Excerpt from Orientaldaily
Jayne: Another Qing dynasty series centered around the imperial court! Will Wayne Lai wear old make-up for this series? I remember when the original sales presentation clip was filmed, Michelle Yim had portrayed Empress Dowager.
Isn’t it a waste to have Ruco Chan and Raymond Wong portray eunuchs? Wouldn’t this kill possible romantic arcs with the female cast?