There have been recent reports that since former TVB executive Ho Ding Kwan joined ATV, there has been a frenzy of activity to attract TVB’s artistes to the competition, with huge sums of money being offered to the more popular stars, such as Charmaine Sheh. This has allegedly caused TVB to become very nervous and react by offering very long contracts and higher salaries to fight back. Faced with all the rumours, TVB executive Virginia Lok took part in a radio interview with Cha Siu Yan yesterday and asked if she was feeling the pressure of the headhunting, she says that she has always put pressure on herself, so it is nothing new and not related to the prospect of people leaving.
As for the reports of TVB raising salaries and extending contracts, Ms Lok says that if you only start offering more money and contracts when people are coming to grab from you, then it will have no effect and treating people well is not something that has only just started. Their relationship with the artistes has been built up over time and they have to gain trust and care in each other. Using the lure of money is not something that they have done recently and this can be a very short term measure. If the artistes discuss contract extensions, will the company be more generous now? Ms Lok says that they have already started doing this two years ago and they have not reacted to the competition in this way at all. She suggests that if in eight or ten years time, when the competition start doing well then this will give artistes more choice. Asked if she feels that there is no choice for artistes at the moment, she denies this and says that TVB is a training ground and somewhere were you can really hone your skills. With the mainland market so big, then many artistes have gone there seeking gold over the years and this is their harvest period.
As for the rumours about Bosco Wong’s contract running to 2017, Ms Lok openly admits this and says that he is not the only one as there is a big group of these contracts and they have not just appeared recently. As for the rumours that ATV are offering an 8-figure sum to attract Charmaine, she says that she has been in contact with Charmaine and there is no such thing. In any case TVB still has a long contract with Charmaine. Ms Lok adds that Charmaine has just had what should be her happiest year and a very fruitful one, so she should cherish and enjoy her status. Asked if she would be offering an invitation to the established artistes without contracts, such as Gallen Lo, Maggie Cheung, Frankie Lam and Kenix Kwok, she says that they all have contracts already. Asked whether she herself has been approached to join the competition, she laughs that she is still a newcomer and she has not been approached and no matter how much they offer, she will not leave. How about Ho Lai Chuen – will he leave? She says that he will not leave either. Asked if they will be inviting Ho Sau Shun and Lee Heung Kam back, Ms Lok says that they are arranging this now.