TVB's top drama is behind the camera
How's this for a soap opera plotline? A young, brilliant executive at a dominant TV station rises through the ranks, earning the adoration of the station's owner but antagonising not a few artists and senior managers along the way. At the peak of his career, graft busters burst into his office and accuse him of fraud and corruption relating to fees that sponsors pay station artists to appear at promotional events.
The arrest causes an earthquake at the station. Friends and allies start distancing themselves; enemies seize on the setback as a chance to regain lost territory. In his darkest hour, only a few friends stand by him. But justice prevails. He is acquitted and he returns to the station triumphant.
Now, the fun starts again ... another earthquake at the station.
That, pretty much, has been the courtroom saga of TVB general manager Stephen Chan Chi-wan, who was cleared of all charges last week.
Like it or hate it, TVB has been the city's dominant cultural institution. But real-life events have been far more dramatic and entertaining than any of the trite and formulaic drama series it has been turning out over the years.
Now Chan is back in the saddle, apparently fully endorsed by Mona Fong Yat-wah, wife of the station's centenarian founder Run Run Shaw and TVB's deputy chairwoman. It has been reported he had a cordial meeting with Mark Lee Po-on, TVB group general manager and his direct superior, who gave angry testimony against him in court.
The story has migrated from the news section of newspapers to the entertainment pages, as artists who stood by him expect promotion while those who turned their backs are trying to get back in his good graces. Now that's soap opera worth watching.