As usual, read everything from Apple Daily tabloid with a grain of salt. There are 3 salient points to look out for: 1) Steven has requested tvb to terminate his contract early. 2) Ms. Lok says that Steven will join the Mainland series 'The Reign of Kublai Khan' next month, after all. (tn: Wonder how it will affect his schedule, and if he still gets the role that was previously offered. And what about his fees? By accepting the offer, Steven has lost much bargaining power. Stupid TVB!) 3)Despite Sentinel garnering a peak rating of 40 points same as "Omission", it was given zero publicity not even a celebratory dinner unlike the latter which was made much of by TVB with pomp and huge publicity.
The exodus of TVB’s siu sang and fadan is like a bursting dam. Recently, even Steven Ma, who has served TVB for 18 years, has intention of leaving the nest. It is reported that the igniting fuse originated from his discontentment over the cold shoulders given to his series, The Life and Times of a Sentinel, despite its high finale rating, plus that someone on his behalf tossed away his opportunity to act in a big profile Mainland tv series, all of which compounded to enrage him, so much so that he approached tvb executive, Virginia Lok, to request an early termination of his contract. The enraged Steven once said to a good friend: "This time I truly lost heart."
TVB's siu sang and fadan's exodus is like a revolving carousel, one leaving after another. Following the departure of loyal Stephen Chan pillar partisan, Wong Hei, and that of Charmaine Sheh, Bowie Lam, Yoyo Mung, and Bernice Liu etc from the nest, the latest person that will leave is Steven Ma. But it is rumored that Steven is leaving the nest enraged, and that he has parted on bad terms with Virginia Lok, who has total control over the artistes, and who is in a covert power struggle with Stephen Chan. Though his contract only terminates in June next year, Steven approached Ms. Lok last month to request an early termination of his contract; to sever the 18 years of master-servant relationship in one stroke.
Note: In Eileen Cha's interview, Steven clarified that what is reported about him leaving for sure is untrue because he is still considering his options. To please give him space and time to discuss the matter carefully with TVB.
Grievance: I truly lost heart
Steven has worked in TVB for many years and it was not until 2006 that he officially signed the servitude contract with tvb, summarily becoming tvb 'biological son". Thereafter he mostly shot ancient drama series. Every year he was nominated for tv king, (sic: incorrect, not every year) but has yet to be awarded, so a bit of sourness is inevitable.
Besides his dream not being realized, Steven also does not have an opportunity to participate in Mainland tv series. Conversely, Ron Ng, Bosco Wong and Roger Kwok etc. one after another went over to Mainland to shoot series. Apparently, a few months ago, Steven was approached by Tsui Siu Ming to participate in a high profile 50-episode historical tv series, The Reign of Kublai Khan, that will be aired in China's CCTV channel. Other actors include Hu Jun, Ray Liu and Charmaine Sheh, etc. Even though Steven will be a 2nd male lead but his screen time is not inconsiderable. Moreover, the chance to participate in a cctv tv series (tn: Chinese gov't owned tv channel) is a golden opportunity for all actors, and the fees earned can increase by as much as three times, about 1.5 million rmb. (tn: Before the offer was rejected, Steven reportedly was offered 2 million) Inexplicably, someone declined the series on his behalf, and presumably that greatly angered Steven when he found out, thus the fuse was lit.
On an aside: The Life and Times of Sentinel that he starred in last month garnered a high rating of 40 points (2.55 million) in its finale episode, tying with "Life of Omission" for the highest peak rating to date. While "Omission" held an extravagant celebration, Sentinel has had zero celebration. Steven was greatly disappointed by it. Add that to the catalyst of having his role in the Mainland series being declined for him, last month Steven requested Ms. Lok to terminate his contract. Reportedly, tvb higher management executives were all shocked by his request, and acknowledged the seriousness of the exodus of their first line artistes. Someone immediately reexamined the "Kublai Khan" series case to see if it could be reclaimed. Though Steven has now successfully able to participate in the series, he is still unwavering in his determination to terminate his contract. He said to his close friend: "This time I truly lost heart. No point!"
Terminating Contract: When all is said and done then will talk.
Yesterday, this reporter asked Steven to confirm whether he is truly terminating his contract with TVB; he was very evasive on the matter: "Thank you, everybody, for your concern. The company and I are right now discussing over some issues. The process is a bit complicated. There are issues that make me uncomfortable but it is not convenient to discuss the details just yet." It is rumored that Steven and Ms. Lok parted on bad terms over the matter of the series (Mainland) being declined, to which Steven said: "Anyway, when Hillman (tvb manager) told me that the higher ups said no, I was very unhappy. This matter is still being handled." The higher ups meaning who? Steven laughed and said: "That I don't know." What was the reason given for declining the series? He said: "Company policy. Said something about it has to be broadcasted in Hong Kong first, said that it is the same for every artist."
When mentioned Sentinel's high finale rating but zero celebration, Steven said: "This is Company's decision. I, too, would like to celebrate but maybe can't coordinate so did not have any celebration. Actually all these years, I've already gotten used to it." In past interviews, Steven has hinted at leaving the nest, will he leave TVB? He was noncommittal: "My contract ends June next year. Will take care of it later. But meanwhile I have a lot to think about. When it's all said and done, will talk then." Seems like from his words, Steven was disappointed with TVB, but he said: "I like TVB a lot, have a lot of feelings for it but the Company has too many concerns, and there are too many people involved. I will take care of future issues as they come."
Virginia Lok's Responses
As to Steven requesting early termination of contract, Ms. Lok had this to say over the phone yesterday: "Is that right? Let me look into the issue first. He still has some time left before the contract expires." It is rumored that Steven was dissatisfied with Sentinel being given the cold shoulders. But Ms. Lok said: "Whether to celebrate or not is the co-responsibility of the production department and the public affair department, not mine." As to the rejection of the series, she said: "The news is not accurate, have already accepted on his behalf. He will shoot it next month."
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