Chapter 613 Becoming a B-list celebrity!
From afternoon until night.
The modern poem was spreading virally across the internet!
Although Chen Ye and his management team made an emergency PR response to condemn Zhang Ye, it did nothing to help at all. Countless people were tirelessly forwarding the poem Crossing Half of China to Sleep with You and making a joke out of Chen Ye.
"Teacher Chen is becoming even more well-known now!"
"Chen Ye will become the catchphrase for our gay comrades in the future!"
"That Zhang Ye is so mean!"
"You only know that now? When has Teacher Zhang never been mean before?"
"Why did you all have to provoke him? It's not like you guys don't know what kind of person Zhang Ye is!"
"We can't put the blame on Zhang Ye for this matter. It was Chen Ye who was asking for it, so he deserves what he's getting now. Chen Ye and his fans were being low class to begin with anyway!"
"Right, Teacher Zhang is still the classy one!"
"Hehe, why do I like Zhang Ye so much!"
"Comparing Chen Ye to Zhang Ye? So what if he's a Central TV host! So what if he has hosted the Spring Festival Gala before? If you want to say that Chen Ye has more fans than Zhang Ye, I'd believe it! If you claim that Chen Ye has more experience than Zhang Ye in the hosting world, I'd believe it too! But if you want to compare them on their bickering abilities, then two of Chen Ye would still not out-talk Teacher Zhang! I kept wondering why anyone would even think that Chen Ye had a chance at out-talking Zhang Ye in the first place, why would the votes be so equally split at 49% each? What a bunch of morons!"
"That's totally true, if you look back at the poll results now, there shouldn't even have been any doubts as to who'd win it."
"Yeah, the difference in power is too great."
"Chen Ye and his fans deliberately tried to mock Zhang Ye, doubting him publicly, and someone even sarcastically proposed to him, coming up with all sorts of trick all day. But Teacher Zhang Ye just randomly came up with a poem and wiped them out just like that! This feels just like one of the phrases in Zhang Ye's poem from the past: 'With humor, he helped see to that the masts and sculls of Wei's navy go up in smoke and ashes turn into'!"
"Just now, someone even mentioned that Chen Ye's literary standards were comparable to Zhang Ye's? I totally laughed at that. Just who gave such confidence to these people! Just look at the lousy stuff that Chen Ye came up with, then have another look at the poem that Teacher Zhang wrote. I am a student in a Literature Department at my school and this poem might feel very vulgar on the first read, not looking like a proper modern poem, but let me tell you all something, that is what a layman would see it as. Read it with care, line by line and word by word. In my opinion, this 'sleep with you' is just like a coat, and an artistic convergent for the whole poem. This poem really expresses something on another level of understanding. Volcanoes are erupting, rivers are running dry, political prisoners and refugees are abandoned, elk and cranes held at gunpoint; just looking at those phrases makes it very clear that there's an element of societal reflection, and even an environmental message, and to sum it all up, it uses 'sleep with you' to draw it all in. This is such an artistic and high-level modern poem. Teacher Zhang Ye's literary standards are not something that people like you all, who only know how to use doggerel and limericks, could understand. Teacher Zhang could just randomly throw out a poem and the depth and profundity in it would all be lost on you all!"
Zhang Ye's fans were gaining strong momentum!
Because of the viral spreading of this poem, Zhang Ye's popularity was rising again, pulling the gap between him and Chen Ye even closer than before.
Chen Ye's fan club dispersed quickly as their morale took a serious blow, however a number of them still continued to refuse to back down.
"What are you all showing off for!"
"So what if he can write poems? Is that a big deal?"
"Wait and see about the lyrics memorization program! Beijing Television will surely pay a heavy price for believing in Zhang Ye's program plan! They will definitely lose their claim as the big brother of satellite channels in the north!"
"Wait for the great reveal of the downfall tonight!"
"If that lousy show's viewership ratings can pass 0.2%, then I will twist my head off!"
"Hur hur, I'm guessing even if you set it at 0.1%, you still would not need to twist your head off! So don't set it at 0.2%!"
In the end, the focus was back to the program Do You Remember. This round of scolding battles had started because of it, so naturally it must end with it as well. Everyone was waiting for a conclusion as to whether Chen Ye could safeguard his ranking or if Zhang Ye would usurp his position and rise up into the B-list rankings. The outcome hung on this show's performance.
His mother was picking her teeth with a toothpick when she asked, "Son, did you get into a war of words with others again this afternoon?"
Zhang Ye who volunteered to do the dishes today said from the kitchen, "Whoa, you even know about that?"
"I heard people talking on the bus when I was on the way home. What happened?" his mother asked.
Zhang Ye sighed and said, "It's about the program that I planned for Beijing Television. It's premiering tonight but no one believes that it will be good, so there were a bunch of people who came to insult me."
His father who was reading the newspapers said, "It's airing today?"
"Yeah, at 9 PM," Zhang Ye said.
His mother said, "Actually, when I saw the show's trailer, I didn't feel that it would be interesting either. Remembering lyrics? There's no requirement of skill in that at all."
Zhang Ye laughed and said, "Just wait and watch it tonight then."
At 8:50 PM.
Zhang Ye's parents were both seated in front of the television and waiting for the show to start.
At the same time, all over the country, many viewers were also waiting in front of their TVs and tuned in to Beijing Television. Before this, there was hardly any attention given to this program, but after the scolding battle in the afternoon, the news surrounding Do You Remember was stirred up a little as well. It attracted many curious viewers, most of whom were not exactly expecting the show to be any good, but just watched anyway because they wanted to know what the program was about, to see it in its true form. Even Chen Ye, along with his fans and those "foes" of Zhang Ye were waiting to watch the program. People like crosstalk actor Tang Dazhang and the Beijing Writer's Association's Meng Dongguo were also watching Do You Remember simply for the reason of seeing how bad it would turn out. They were all watching with the hopes of laughing at the quality!
The music played first then the program officially began broadcasting!
On screen, the lights in the studio flashed and the outstanding stage effects began. In the large studio, more than a hundred live audience members had turned up and were cheering in unison. With the dynamic music and opening dance, the atmosphere in the venue had been charged up and lighted up the whole stage as two hosts, a man and a woman, walked on!
"Good evening everyone!" The male host who was dressed in a suit was called Gao Ge.
Meanwhile, Dong Shanshan was dressed in a evening gown, not the type of evening gown one would wear for a red carpet event, just a modest one that was more suited for a lesser occasion. Her thighs were rather exposed and it made her look very sexy. However, possibly due the the male host's height, she did not wear high heels of eight centimeters but only an orange pair of high heels around five or six centimeters.
Dong Shanshan smiled very charmingly as she said, "Friends who are with us in the live audience and those of you who are at home in front of your television, good evening to all of you!"
Gao Ge was also in high spirits as he did the introduction. "Welcome, everyone, to the newly minted variety program brought to you by our sponsors, Hua Mei Shampoo and proudly produced by Beijing Television: Do You Remember!"
Dong Shanshan continued his lines, "This is a program where the entry barriers are the lowest in the country, with the simplest of rules, which only stands at one: whoever can sing the lyrics correctly. We're not looking for good voices or stage presence, we don't care if you're pretty or handsome, or neither, all we want to know is who has a better memory. As long as you can correctly sing the designated lyrics, you'll win! So what are you all still waiting for? Quickly come and sign up to take part now!"
Gao Ge said, "I am your host, Gao Ge!"
"And I am also your host, Dong Shanshan!" It was obvious that Dong Shanshan had more lines than Gao Ge and was probably something that was arranged by Hu Fei and Beijing Television, giving special care to Dong Shanshan.
His mother's eyes brightened. "Is that your classmate?"
Zhang Ye nodded. "Yes."
His father looked at the television and said, "I think I saw her before-when we attended your graduation ceremony."
"Yeah, she was one of the graduate representatives and made a speech too," Zhang Ye said.
His mother looked a little odd, as she kept staring at Dong Shanshan on screen and did not blink at all. Then, she said, "This girl looks quite good, she's really pretty. Son, does she have a boyfriend yet?"
Zhang Ye said, "Whoa, what are you thinking about?"
His mother said, "I'm not thinking about anything, I'm just asking."
"Probably not." Zhang Ye said, "At least that's what she said. But to be honest, her words are not very trustworthy and I don't think most of what she says is true either."
His mother immediately asked, "There are no developments between the two of you?"
Zhang Ye rolled his eyes and could not be bothered with her anymore.
His father commented, "Don't keep trying to mess around. Our son will know what to do."
His mother did not like hearing that, so she said, "What do you mean by 'messing around'? Look at our neighbor Little Wang. He has only just graduated from university and he's already going to get married soon."
His father rebuked, "Why don't you talk about the other neighboring unit's Little Sun. He's about to get a divorce."
"Old Zhang! Are you bent on singing a different tune from me?" his mother said angrily.
Zhang Ye laughed and said, "Keep it down, you two. Can we just watch the show now?"
The core segment of the program had started!
A very normal looking male lead singer was standing on stage and singing a classic oldie while Dong Shanshan was among the audience, moving around. When the lead singer stopped singing, she would point the microphone to a seemingly random audience member to let them pick up from where the lead singer left off at. If they got the lyrics correctly, they would win the right to take part in the competition.
The song's title was Just Yesterday.
This was a song by an old singer who had already passed away. It was a classic folk song.
"Just yesterday, you were on the horizon, walking to me with a smile."
"Just yesterday, you were facing me, your eyes looking sweet."
"Just yesterday, you were beside me, gently leaning on my shoulders."
"Just yesterday, you were behind me, slowly caressing my face."
His mother was already humming along to the song, "Just yesterday, you were on the horizon..." singing with a slightly out-of-tune melody.
His father sighed emotionally. "This is a very old song, I could still sing it when I was younger, but I have totally forgotten the lyrics now."
"Don't lie." His mother belittled and stepped on his claims, "You were tone-deaf since childhood, how would you be able to sing it?"
After the song ended and six contestants were chosen, they were all invited onto stage by Gao Ge and Dong Shanshan to officially begin the competition round.
Zhang Ye was still unfamiliar with the songs from this world. He did not know any of those that were performed at all. This was the reason why he did not pay attention to it but was only observing at Dong Shanshan's performance instead. He thought it was rather good. She did not look like she was nervous due to her small-timer reputation or never having hosted at a major satellite channel before. She was indeed worthy of being one of the top graduates from Media College in their year. As her old classmate, Zhang Ye knew her quite well and had never doubted her abilities at hosting. Some people judge her to be just a "vase," but it was true that she had really good looks and a great figure, distracting others from her job abilities. So even though she had a pretty face and a nice figure to her advantage, it was also her weakness. She did not lack the ability, she just lacked a chance like this!
Dong Shanshan said, "Alright, let's begin with the first contestant."
Gao Ge said, "Are you ready?"
The first female audience said, "I'm ready!"
Gao Ge laughed and said, "The next song is going to be really great. It's an early work by the Heavenly Queen, Zhang Yuanqi, and very difficult to sing."
Dong Shanshan said, "The title of the song is Please Look at Me. Over to our lead singer, Little Hai."
The music began. At the side of the stage, the second lead singer picked up the microphone. This lead singer looked very handsome and had quite a good voice as well. When he started singing, all the audience members cheered loudly.
"Please look at me. Is this the person you loved so deeply? Why, when you were in your hardest times, did she turn to go."
"Please look at me. Is this the friend you trusted so much? Why, when you were down on your luck, did he never look back."
"Please look at me. Is this the you who you liked so much?"
At this point, the lead singer, Little Hai made a gesture and the camera view switched to the contestant.
The female audience was clearly familiar with this song. She immediately continued from where it was left off, "-Why do I have nothing, even though I tried my most!" Although she did not sing it well, she had gotten the lyrics right!
"You got it right!"
The show continued from there.
Zhang Ye looked at his mother and asked, "Mom, what do you think?"
His mother who was still focusing on the screen, humming along. She absent-mindedly asked, "What do I think about what?"
"The show of course. Didn't you say it didn't interest you?" Zhang Ye said.
His mother just nodded and said, "It wasn't interesting from the trailer and previews, but not bad when you watch it. Compared to all those singing competition programs these days, it's much more interesting!"
On the internet.
On Weibo, some voices also stirred.
"Did anyone watch Do You Remember?"
"I caught it. Damn, it was actually much better than I expected!"
"Is that so? I thought it was only alright."
"It's really nice. My brother and I were singing along for most of the time. Did you all hear the second contestant? He's not even half as good as me. If I joined, I'd definitely do much better! No way, I have to register for it soon!"
"This quality of this program is really high!"
"So this is how you can make a variety show out of remembering lyrics? Zhang Ye is indeed Zhang Ye! Who says that he has lost his touch? Who says that his program will be a failure?"
"How strange is this! We knew the rules of this show early on, and the content of the show was exactly the same as the promotional preview. There's no change at all to the core of the program which emphasized remembering the lyrics, so what happened? I did not look forward to this show at all before, but why do I find it so enjoyable after watching it?"
"Yeah, I was wondering about that too. Just what is so interesting about this show? There shouldn't be any at all. Only one of the lead singers was quite good looking. Although the female host is quite sexy and pretty, she's still a rookie and I've never even seen her before. The contestants on the show are also pretty bad at singing. Just look at this fourth contestant singing totally off-key. The stage equipment is not exactly the most well-equipped either and overall the whole show looks pretty low end, but...I just can't keep myself from enjoying this damn show!"
"This show's rules just needs you to remember the lyrics, but that's not its selling point! This show is not like your traditional singing competition program. It's selling point is pretty concealed, like how the show looks really low end, but is in fact really at a high standard!"
"The viewership ratings will be difficult to predict!"
"Right, the viewer rating is a question mark right now. It might not really be that bad at all!"
"We'll know when we see the results tomorrow."
"I'm not gonna talk about this here for now, I have to go watch the show! It feels really relaxing to sing along while watching. After such a hard week at work, it feels kind of refreshing to be able to watch a show that can help me to relax."
The show finished airing and the first episode of Do You Remember ended successfully.
Zhang Ye's parents went to wash up before heading to bed, while Zhang Ye did not turn in yet. He was back in his room, checking on the internet for everyone's comments. At about 11:50 PM, when he knew that the day's viewership ratings would be released internally to the stations, he gave a call to Hu Fei.
The call connected.
Hu Fei said: "Little Zhang, I knew you'd call."
Zhang Ye laughed: "Yes, it's my program proposal, of course I'd be concerned about the results. So how did it do? Are the viewership ratings released yet?"
Hu Fei said: "They were just released."
"How much?" Zhang Ye asked.
Hu Fei said: "Hur hur, guess."
Zhang Ye thought for a moment before saying: "The first episode is surely not going to be very high. This kind of a program is the type that will get popular only after a while and will be more apparent when we hit the third episode. I guess the 50 cities' viewership rating is 0.5%?"
Hu Fei laughed heartily and said: "That's a bit short. The draft report I have for the 50 cities' viewership rating for the first episode of Do You Remember is 0.63%! It's second place for the same time period in the entire country!"
Zhang Ye smiled and said: "Good then. It surpassed the estimates by quite a bit!"
Hu Fei said: "To be honest, I didn't expect such a result either. Such an auspicious start to the first episode will surely boost the station's confidence in this program. Our team feels the same, and for the next episode, we have confidence that the ratings will be even better. Little Zhang, most of the program team is still at the office right now. We were all waiting for the viewership ratings to be released. Now that it has, we're all getting ready to go to supper to celebrate the good results. Why don't you join us too?"
"Forget about me." Zhang Ye said: "I only gave the proposal and was not involved in the production. Since I did not contribute to the show, I don't think I should join in the celebrations."
Hu Fei said: "Hur, since when did you become so modest? I'm not used to you being like this at all!"
The next day, the viewership ratings for the premiere episode of Do You Remember were released.
When the viewers saw the ratings, without exception, everyone was astonished!
"Did they get it wrong?"
"0.63%? How did it get so high?"
"It's only their premiere episode!"
"It should be right. This show was really enjoyable to watch!"
"Second for the same time period in the entire country? Compared to another satellite channel's singing program, its viewership ratings are only 0.06% lower? Beijing Television has put out a killer program this time!"
"My eyes have been blinded!"
The people who saw these statistics were all dumbfounded.
There were also many people who did not watch the show last night and were thus left scratching their heads. A show that had been acknowledged by everyone as a rubbish program that had no hopes: how did it receive such an illogical viewer ratings figure? If this was only for the premiere episode, then wouldn't the viewership ratings for the later episodes get even higher?
"What's going on?"
"What's the matter?"
"Who can update me on what's happening here? Did Do You Remember create a miracle?"
Someone answered: "Why don't you guys just watch the show first? There's a video of yesterday's episode on Beijing Television's official website. Go take a look and you'll know why. The viewer ratings it had are really not that surprising at all!"
Zhang Ye's fans were also stirred up and getting lively with the viewership ratings released.
"Teacher Chen, what's your opinion on this matter?"
"Teacher Chen, please make a speech about your thoughts!"
"Who was the one who said that if Do You Remember gets a viewership ratings of more than 0.2%, he would twist off his head? Come forward now, it's time to show us your circus performance by twisting your head off."
"Waiting for the head twisting performance."
There's a saying that goes: "He who handles vermillion will be stained red, and he who touches ink will be stained black."1 Zhang Ye's character could be considered a little mean, and among his fans, there weren't many that were pushovers either. They all jumped out together to do some face-smacking, riffling out some of those who had doubts about Zhang Ye's program planning abilities from before on Weibo and mentioned those public figures one by one.
"@TangDazhang, what's your opinion on this matter?"
"@MengDongguo, what's your opinion on this matter?"
"@ChenYe'sFirstAunt, what's your opinion on this matter?"
"@ChenYe'sSecondUncle, what's your opinion on this matter?
"@ChenYe'sPrimarySchoolTeacher, what's your opinion on this matter?"
"@ChenYe'sSecondUncle'sWife'sNephew'sGrandma'sThirdAunt'sHusband'sSister, what's your opinion on this matter?"
Especially towards Chen Ye, Zhang Ye's fans were being all fanciful and invented all sorts of non-existent user handles related to Chen Ye, particularly having fun while doing so. They were all being their terrible selves!
Chen Ye's fans nearly fainted from anger in this onslaught!
They're pushing this too far!
They're totally pushing this too far!
However, in the face of the viewership ratings for Do You Remember, they could not muster up a response. This statistic was the real thing and even if there were some minor inaccuracies, it would not affect it by much!
On the same day, some online media outlets had also started reporting on this matter.
"Do You Remember-Great success on both fronts: well praised and popular with the viewers! "
"This year's big winner amongst singing competitions!"
"A singing competition program that subverts all traditional singing competition programs!"
"The legend of Zhang Ye's program planning abilities keeps going!"
"A crossing of swords between Chen Ye and Zhang Ye, who would be the victor?"
"Dong Shanshan: new star in the hosting world!"
On the second night, the second episode of Do You Remember was aired as planned.
On the third day, the viewership ratings for the second episode were published: Do You Remember's second episode's 50 cities' viewership rating-0.75%! Number one in the country for the same time period!
The next day, the third episode's viewership ratings were revealed!
Do You Remember's third episode's 50 cities' viewership rating-0.81%! It retained its number one spot in the entire country!
In just three short episodes, Beijing Television's new program segment had unexpectedly dominated Friday's primetime slot. In the current low of a market saturated with traditional singing competition programs, a show that had somehow managed to lead way ahead in the same time period ratings was something that not only the audience could not have expected, their industry peers, the media, and even Beijing Television Station itself...had not thought it was possible!
It greatly exceeded all estimates!
Seeing the viewership ratings rise like a rocket launched, it felt dreamy!
This was a proposal that was simply given out by Zhang Ye casually? These were the abilities of the television industry's legendary program planner?
On the night of the third episode's broadcast.
Just as the interim viewership ratings for the third episode were released, the Celebrity Rankings Index was also updated. Zhang Ye's name was no longer listed in the C-list rankings, while in his place, a new name had appeared in the first spot. That name belonged to the famous host of Central TV, Chen Ye!
In this moment, at midnight.
Zhang Ye had quietly been promoted into being a B-list celebrity!!
1. one takes on the color of one's company