Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Non Steven news: Imminent change in leadership at TVB?

Monday, April 11, 2011 Hong Kong
 Source: Oriental Daily
 Translation: llwy12@ http://asianfanatics.net

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 With the official sale of TVB made final on 3/31, Mona Fong seemingly still has the power to make decisions, at least on the surface, however it is understood that TVB is no longer the family business. Understanding her business position, of course Ms Fong will decide to shift her resources to focus more on her husband Run Run Shaw’s company, Shaw Brothers Films. It is said that Ms Fong’s favorites – including production department head Tommy Leung, production and resources head Virginia Lok, as well as executive Michael Mak – will follow her if she does decide to leave.

With Ms Fong’s team taking shape behind the scenes, the stage seems to have been set for an imminent departure. According to reports, Shaw Brothers spent nearly 100 million HKD on an entire set of digital filming equipment and intend to use it to shoot and produce several diverse films already in the preparation stage, including Tommy Leung’s “Laughing Gor” sequel, Eric Tsang’s underworld film with Bosco Wong as the lead, as well as Michael Mak’s new style films with action and sexual themes. As for the artists who would participate in the films, TVB artists will be given first consideration – in fact, Ms Fong already has a list in mind consisting of artists Kate Tsui, Myolie Wu, Bosco Wong, Mag Lam, etc.

In terms of Virginia Lok and Michael Mak, both executives are said to be following Ms Fong to the film world – it’s no surprise then that recently, there have been rumors of both executives either resigning or deciding not to renew contracts with TVB. If Ms Fong does decide to leave and take her favorites with her, Virginia Lok, Tommy Leung, and Michael Mak are sure to be part of the group, which would cause huge changes at TVB. Perhaps the artists got wind that TVB will no longer be the place to make the most money, so it’s no wonder that recently, many siu sangs and fa dans are either leaving or changing the terms of their contracts during renewal talks.

Yesterday, while attending an event, Virginia Lok was asked about the rumors of her departure. She replied: “Why such rumors? Of course not!” (Follow Ms Fong to Shaw Brothers to work on films?) “We’ve been working on films all along. Basically, the leadership has not changed.” (Hoping to expand into the Mainland market with films?) “Before, we already introduced our upcoming films at the Film and Television Expo – of course, if we can work on the Mainland market at the same time, it will be even better.” (Focus will be on doing films?) “Yes, but I will still be able to handle the managing of artists.”

Tommy Leung replied: “It’s only rumors. As of right now, Ms Fong has not asked me about leaving. In terms of films, we’ve been working on them all along – Shaw Brothers and TVB are already collaborating, so it’s not a problem. At this moment, Ms Fong is still the highest level decision-maker.”

As for Michael Mak, who was hand-picked by Ms Fong to return to TVB in 2007, expressed: “I returned to TVB to help Ms Fong, so whatever she wants me to do, I’ll do it. If she says to work on films, then I’ll work on films. In reality, I’m working on a few films right now.”

In related news, TVB fa dan Charmain Sheh recently switched to a per series contract. She expressed that she did not hear about Ms Fong leaving TVB to focus on films: “The reason I didn’t sign a management contract was because I wanted more diverse development, so of course, mainland China series as well as films are included in this. I’m sure that whatever Ms Fong’s focus will be on will eventually come to light!” (Ms Fong will focus on doing films.) “I have a good relationship with Ms Lok – hopefully there will be an opportunity to collaborate again in the future.”

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