Mediacorp and ViuTV, a Hong Kong-based broadcasting and streaming service operated by HK Television Entertainment (HKTVE), are joining hands in the co-production of two Chinese-language titles, with the first drama series slated for release in 2020.
Announced at the signing of a memorandum of understanding at the 2019 Asia TV Forum & Market, this new partnership – the second tie-up between Mediacorp and ViuTV – will pool production capabilities and capital from both companies. It marks Mediacorp’s latest effort in engaging with the entertainment ecosystem beyond Singapore, so as to ramp up the repertoire of content offerings designed around its diverse audiences.
Carrying the working title of Ink at Tai Ping《太平纹身店》, the first of the two new co-productions is a 15-episode cross-genre murder mystery that explores the exploits of an enigmatic female tattooist Nana in her shop situated on Tai Ping Street in present-day Hong Kong. Shrouded in secrets related to the show’s thematic threads of revenge and romance, Nana’s backstory will embrace elements of fantasy, with space-time travellers and other otherworldly characters patronising her tattoo parlour.
The series will shine a spotlight on talent from both territories. The electrifying ensemble includes illustrious Hong Kong artistes Chrissie Chau (周秀娜), who will play the protagonist Nana; Alex Lam (林德信) and Adam Pak (栢天男). Singapore will be represented by red-hot A-listers Desmond Tan (陈泂江) and Elvin Ng (黄俊雄) and venerated veterans Zhu Houren (朱厚任) and Chen Shucheng (陈澍城); plus Asia Contents Awards 2019 Best Rising Star recipient Fang Rong (芳榕) and other up-and-comers like He Ying Ying (何盈莹) and Ayden Sng (孙政). The participation of these promising next-gen performers exemplifies Mediacorp’s commitment to nurturing newcomers in the Singapore showbiz scene and beyond.
This cosmopolitan cast will be backed by the best-in-class in behind-the-reel expertise. Series development will be led by distinguished director-producer Kevin Tong (汤皓浚), founder of Hong Kong-based independent production house Wondersky Media Limited (浩天广告及出版有限公司). An industry insider who has overseen the output of over 400 variety show episodes, Tong is best known for his work on the commercially and critically acclaimed ViuTV suspense series Psycho Detective《诡探》(2017) and its prequel Psycho Detective 2《诡探前传》(2019).
Meanwhile, production in Singapore will be spearheaded by executive producer Winnie Wong (王尤红), whose assorted accolades include Best Drama Serial (最佳电视剧) wins at the annual Star Awards 《红星大奖》for Breakout《破天⽹》 (2011) and The Dream Makers 《志在四方 》 (2014); plus Top Rated Drama Serial (最高收视率电视剧) wins for Love Thy Neighbour《四个⻔牌⼀个梦》 (2012) and A Million Dollar Dream《给我⼀百万》 (2019).
Filming is expected to ensue in February 2020, with the series lensed on location in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan. The show will be streamed on demand for free in September 2020 on Mediacorp’s digital entertainment service Toggle (to be renamed meWATCH from January 2020); as well as in the third quarter of 2020 on ViuTV. Details on the second Mediacorp-ViuTV co-production will be divulged in due course.
Lofai Lo, Director and General Manager, HKTVE said: “We are excited to embark on a second collaboration with Mediacorp. This time, we are upping the ante by committing to two projects so as to deliver the most creative, plot-driven and gripping stories to our discerning audiences. We hope this unique undertaking will reinforce our reputation for originality and diversity in production.”
Irene Lim, Chief Customer Officer, Mediacorp said: “ViuTV and Mediacorp share a passion for stellar storytelling paired with high production values. We look forward to working together to create compelling content in fresh formats that amplify our audience reach and recognition of the creative talent in our region. This collaboration complements our continuous efforts to ensure Mediacorp’s robust expansion in an evolving multi-platform mediascape.”
Doreen Neo, Chief Content Officer, Mediacorp said: “This collaboration underscores how resolute Mediacorp is about going regional in a bid to boost and win over both local and international audiences. Rallying resources with ViuTV is a strategic move which will grant us greater scale in expanding co-productions as a growth segment. The deal is also a declaration that Mediacorp is ever open for business. We are proactively pursuing partners for future projects, and look forward to co-creating content that will inspire and connect with our communities.”
This new ViuTV alliance is aligned with Mediacorp’s strategic step-up of cross-border collaborations, starting with the thriller Bluetick《已读不回》 in 2017; and most recently with Taiwanese production house Eightgeman (拙八郎创意执行有限公司) and Taiwan Television Enterprise (台湾电视公司) for the high-concept 40-episode dual-action drama All Is Well《你那边怎样.我这边OK》this year.