“When Heaven Burns” Producer Jonathan Chik and Scriptwriter Zhou Xuming to Leave TVB

TVB was impacted by a mass exodus of talent in recent months. Recently, TVB husband-and-wife producers, La Ka Ho (劉家豪) and Mui Siu Ching (梅小青), announced that they will go to rival television station, Now TV. When Heaven Burns’ <天與地> golden duo, producer Jonathan Chik (戚其義) and scriptwriter Zhou Xuming (周旭明) also possessed the desire to leave, after they complete War and Beauty 2 <金枝慾孽2> in the middle of this year. Producer Lee Tim Shing (李添勝) will be retiring after completing Detective Columbus <神探哥倫布>. With the loss of several talented producers this year, the quality of series may continue to deteriorate, marking an emergency situation ahead for TVB.

Leaving After Completing “War and Beauty 2”

Producer Jonathan Chik and scriptwriter Zhou Xuming collaborated together on numerous occasions over the last 19 years, creating classic TVB series such as Cold Blood Warm Heart <天地男兒>, Secret of the Heart <天地豪情>, Healing Hands 3 <妙手仁心III>, War and Beauty <金枝慾孽>, and Dance of Passion <火舞黃沙>.  However, the golden do’s carefully crafted series, When Heaven Burns, was coldly treated by TVB and warehoused for two years. Assigned a poor airing timeslot, the ratings was likely affected. Despite winning the support of young audience members, the series lost a number of habitual viewing audience. The ratings for When Heaven Burns continued to fall to an average of 23 points (approximately 1.46 million viewers), making the entire cast and crew disheartened.

Zhou Xuming’s Departure Decision Not Related to “When Heaven Burns”

Although Jonathan Chik was promoted to a managerial title in 2011 and appeared to be heavily utilized, this did not impede his intention to leave TVB. He decided to leave with Zhou Xuming and venture into new territory together after completing War and Beauty 2 in the middle of this year.

Zhou Xuming confirmed that he possessed the intention to leave a long time ago, while insisting that it was not due to the cold treatment of When Heaven Burns or the upcoming “television wars” among rival stations. Since it was several months away from the completion of War and Beauty 2, it did not rule out that other variables may change in the interim.

Jonathan Chik did not respond to the press’ questions prior to the publication deadline. Allegedly, he wished to fully immerse in the production of War and Beauty 2, which he hoped will be his masterpiece before leaving TVB.

Lau Ka Ho and Mui Siu Ching Heading to Now TV

With the creation of new rival stations in Hong Kong and the loss of TVB’s monopoly over the free television broadcasting market, a mass exodus of talent occurred in recent months. Producer of many hit dramas such as Heart of Greed <溏心風暴>, Forensic Heroes <法證先鋒> and Beyond the Realm of Conscience <宮心計> husband-and-wife producers, Lau Ka Ho and Mui Siu Ching, confirmed that they will join Now TV in March 2012.

Rosy Business <巾幗梟雄> producer Lee Tim Sing will be retiring this year. With the drain of numerous producers and production staff occurring, this will have a serious impact upon TVB’s drama department and a stabilization plan was necessary. The younger (and less experienced) workers at the company were unable to take the helm yet.

Upon learning that Jonathan Chik and Zhou Xuming intended to leave the company, netizens were worried about declining standards of TVB dramas.

Source: Ming Pao

Jayne: I think Jonathan Chik and Zhou Xuming will be leaving TVB this year. The pair’s scripts have been increasing ambitious and TVB operates too much as a family series factory house, which may not suit Mr. Chik and Mr. Zhou’s artistic ambitions. Now that there are financial opportunities elsewhere (and higher paying ones too), no employee will wish to undervalue themselves.

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  1. Well, at least we will have other options of TV stations to view quality series as well as series catered to different age groups and demographics.

    Just like in the U.S. where the terrestrial TV stations air more conventional and conservative shows while the cable stations caters to more adult, ambitious and creatively superior but potentially ratings-starved ‘niche-market’ shows such as The Wire.

    There may still be a silver lining in this one.

  2. Seeing the rating of WHB and trouble it causes with china, maybe the duo felt that they would not be able to flex their creative muscle anymore in TVB. With the dismal ratings of WHB and the trouble with china, TVB might become more conservative in the type of series they allow producer to produce.

    It’s time now for TVB to promote new producer.

    “The younger (and less experienced) workers at the company were unable to take the helm yet.”

    How do we know these younger ones couldn’t take the helm if they weren’t tried? They might be able to inject fresh idea to the TVB series (if TVB high execs allow).

    1. “(if TVB high execs allow)”

      This being the main operative word, Kidd. Well said.

    2. Yeah..in every organization, people will come and go. Why don’t use this gap to “grow” out new seeds of filmmakers, producers, directors and scriptwriters? Dear T.B.B..stop living and breathing in the 80’s and 90’s and face up current challenges in producing fresh, yet intelligent and enjoyable ideas. You can’t give birth and grow to new “stars” if they do not have the ground(such as good scripts) to work their potentials on.

  3. The only one I’m really going to miss is Lee Tim Sing. I don’t think tvb promoting or getting new producers is a bad thing. Maybe they will have some fresher and younger ideas.

  4. I hate to be a bummer, but maybe this is a good thing. I mean with new actors and actresses comming all the time, some new producers won’t hurt. TVB needs some fresh minds, and stop making sequels…

  5. At least most are not retiring like Lee Tim Sing so we still have the possibility to enjoy their series and see their real abilities!

  6. I have serious concerns on the future of TVB series, TVB has lost 4 senior producers (not mention in the article: Terry Tong Kei Ming; final produce “Ghetto Justice”, my favorite TVB series of 2011). Also some senior scriptwriters left as well.

    Lately, TVB series are really heading a downward trend again, similarly back in late 2002 to about 2005. Quality of the series is not great at all or even mediocre.

    Half of the 2011 series have crappy first episodes, WHY? TVB! TVB should not shove crappy series down to the viewers eyes. 2011 TVB series, ratings, artists or even management (like hiring a ‘lying CEO’ to head of TVBI; Stephen Chan long standing incident, new stockholders, 620, HKRIA Big5 Music; etc) was not great year for TVB.

    TVB needs new blood badly!, so it is interesting to see what it is in plan in 2013. 2012 series looks ok, 2013 and beyond… really not a good outlook due to lots of recent bad news.

    [cross fingers] Please TVB; bring in good series, good publicity and lots of good luck[/cross fingers]

  7. 1) How can TVB produce good drama series if they only promote their favourite artistes and ignore the good veterans? None of their new top 5 (male and female) is good in acting.

    2) They gave the Best Actress Award to someone who is totally hopeless in acting. How could they convince the audience to watch their drama series, and their good artistes to stay and work for TVB?

    3) They don’t hire or try to keep good scriptwriters? Without a good storyline, how can a drama series be attractive? A good script is always the “soul” of a drama series.

    4) If they have such favouritism on certain artistes and other production workers, how can they convince the good ones to stay?

    5) Perhaps the future competitions will make TVB work harder to be more competitive.

    Good luck, TVB. As an audience, we will have more choices in 2012. We don’t have to watch just TVB drama series or its production.

    1. Ahh. I now see where some of that CRH hate stems from 🙂

  8. TVB has been going downhill for a long time already so with all of these producers leaving, they will go down even more. I hope that TVB will learn how to pay and treat their employees better before everyone else leaves as well and then they will not have anyone left… I wonder what they will do then???

    1. the ship is sinking already. They will prolly give the best actress award to Kate Tsui this year, LOL

      1. Well then the ship will sink even more until everyone on board dies…

      2. Compared to the competition, I think Kate has a shot. Dont forget that Fala was abt to get it last year, that would have been a tragedy. I hope Kate improves by focusing on the character and not so much on how she looks…then i’ll def vote for her (“-“)

  9. I welcome the new TV channels. More drama’s will be produced and thus more choice for TV viewers. I don’t have to see the same actors/actresses over and over again.

    I hope that the new drama’s will include many fresh faces.

  10. People always think ‘the grass is greener on the other side’. Maybe. Maybe not.
    TVB has taken a number of years to establish itself to be market leader. Even if every artists heads to Now TV, they still need time, infrastructure, audience to reach TVB status around the world. TVB is a brand well and truely established in a number of generations. It will be hard to beat.
    Good luck to Now TV. At least for viewers in Australia, unless the TV series are available online, TVB is all we’ve got.

    1. I agree as well. Unless people start leaking Now TV show streaming, TVB still has Nikki. Any female lead going there?

  11. I agree that other TV channels need time to establish overseas. However, with the current status of TVB, it may not be that hard for other channels to gain overseas markets once the contracts expire.

    We, as audience, definitely don’t want to watch the same faces over and over again (in 3 to 5 drama series per year). TVB should film their series with some good artistes, not those cheap and no-acting in-house ones.

    1. What TVB has is connection as in distributorship. Like how Pixar needed Disney, same concept. The others will need the same distributorship network which takes time to develop.

  12. Does anybody know if When Heaven Burns is being broadcast in mainland China? Cause if it is, it shouldn’t be as it goes against most things censorship stands for in China.

    1. Isn’t it banned in China? How then can it be broadcast, censored or not?

  13. I wonder if they will join the new TV station Now TV or go to China???

  14. It is sad that they are leaving and Lee Tim Sing will retire soon.. I wonder if there will be any new and talented producers and scriptwriters that will join or will they join the new TV station??? TVB will be in even more jeopardy…

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