Saturday, 23 November 2013

Up to the Same Tricks

TVB host Nat Chan Pak-cheung hanging out with Patrick Tse Yin
Ever since Ricky Wong Wai-kay lost the bid for a free-to-air TV license for HKTV, Hong Kong people began complaining louder about the low quality of programming on TVB, even though it makes the most money.

Its rival ATV is a distant second and so the public was hoping HKTV would give TVB a run for its money -- literally.

However it was not to be, though people were still keen to make TVB work harder.

This past week TVB broadcast its 46th anniversary charity show, and before the event, flamboyant host Nat Chan Pak-cheung pledged he would crawl home on his knees if the show only had a three-point rating.

By throwing down the gauntlet, Chan inspired a campaign to boycott the annual show and track down the households that were monitored for ratings. Chan later pledged he would donate HK$3 million to charity if the ratings hit 30 points.

In the end he just squeaked by at 31 points, with an average rating of 29 points of 1.856 million viewers and a 95 percent free-TV audience share for TVB.

Does this mean the majority of Hong Kong people love bad TV?

We see TVB is creating more budget programs like the one we saw tonight.

Magic is a perennial favourite, but the TV station didn't build a special set for the show. Instead the three hosts went on location to different places in Hong Kong to get magicians to do tricks in front of passersby.

The first place was Cheung Chau where they met with a magician from the outlying island. His first trick was pointing to a fishing boat in the distance with a red T-shirt hanging on it.

From the viewer's perspective his hand covered up the boat, but then in an instant the T-shirt was not on the boat but on his body!

Another was literally making sandcastles on the beach by lifting a cloth off the sand. How he did that I had no clue.

Then the trio of hosts went to Sham Shui Po where another magician lit up light bulb tubes like light sabres without any wires, while another in Mongkok made fish balls appear in a paper bowl with curry sauce. Or how about the magician putting his hands in a tank with just one small fish and then opening his hands to release a whole school of fish?

The only bizarre one was having a pretty TVB starlet change clothes literally in seconds. She walked into one changing room and in two to three seconds wore a new outfit. Then she walked towards the camera and was covered up by a clothes rack and presto! A new set of clothing.

Towards the end she wore a dark blue dress and for the finale a white dress on top and you could see the blue dress underneath...

The show format was very similar to Cris Angel and a Taiwanese magician Lu Chen who are in restaurants or hotel lobbies doing tricks in front of live audiences, but the TVB one is set in Hong Kong.

How hard is it to copy what's already been done?

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