My Take

Ricky’s Revenge, the HKTV chief’s possible political push, may be more hype over substance

The media maverick has threatened to run for Lecgo on an ABC platform – Anyone But CY

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 10:55pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 May, 2016, 1:55am

The saga of Ricky Wong Wai-kay and his troubled television station would make better drama than any of the soap operas it has so far produced.

Almost three years ago, Hong Kong was practically up in arms when the Leung Chun-ying government refused HKTV a free-to-air licence, despite a massive investment and ready-made programmes all set for broadcast. This week, Wong announced he might – just might – run in the September Legislative Council election on an ABC platform: Anyone But CY. Call it Ricky’s Revenge.

HKTV’s Ricky Wong plans to run in Legco elections, with CY Leung’s exit as key campaign platform

Like many people, I thought the government’s rationale for HKTV’s rejection was ridiculous. One reason officials cited was that the station was not financially secure. That’s rich considering how ATV collapsed because of internal mismanagement and couldn’t even pay staff for months while regulators and labour officials were asleep at the wheel.

A conspiracy theory at the time was that the government was afraid HKTV might become a pan-democratic platform. If that were true, its worst fear has come to pass, as the media maverick now threatens to run for Legco with the express intention of going against Leung’s reappointment. The trouble is, that’s hardly a platform or policy agenda. It barely distinguishes Wong from potential rivals. It’s not just pan-democrats; many Beijing loyalists are upset with Leung and have openly worked against him. So join the queue, it’s a long one.

Legco run has nothing to do with getting free-to-air TV licence, says HKTV’s Ricky Wong

If going ABC is all that is required to be in Legco, Hong Kong is the poorer for it. A political platform is supposed to be about having actual policy ideas on how to fix things. Nowadays, you just have to scream and shout against Leung and Beijing.

I have been watching reruns of HKTV drama series on paid television such as Election and Black Rose. Judging by their quality – or the lack of it – I now think we didn’t miss much because of the government’s rejection of HKTV’s licence application.

Election has a good premise – about mainland influence and political corruption. But the dialogue and acting! Black Rose, the superhero mum, dates back to the eponymous character in 1960s cinema and is not an improvement. The original was much funnier.

If he is like his station’s productions, Wong’s election run will be just more hype over substance.