Chapter 636 Public outcry!
Later that afternoon.
It was time to leave from Central TV.
Fu Sihong had gone home, but Zhang Ye stayed behind and also asked the others to stay as well and called them to a spacious performance studio. This was the studio that Central TV Department 1 had allocated for their new program and was pretty large in area. It was previously being used by a talent show program and the place has not been cleared out yet. There were still some light boxes lying around on the ground and in some corners. In terms of its size, Zhang Ye was quite satisfied with it. A station like Central TV did not have a lack of venues. Compared to those other satellite channels, at which some programs had to share a venue between themselves and two or three other programs, Central TV's standout points were that they had large places, a good policy, as well as many employees.
"I'm afraid that it will be too rushed tomorrow, so I want to delegate some tasks first. It probably won't take up more than 15 minutes of everyone's time." Zhang Ye asked, "Has the green light for the funding been given?"
Ha Qiqi said, "It's been given. We have 20 million."
Zhang Ye nodded, then pointed around the venue and said, "This is where our program will be filmed. The station still takes quite good care of us since they've allocated the largest performance studio to us. I won't do things like asking everyone to shout some team motto or whatever. There's no need for unnecessary stuff like that. Everything still boils down to what we show by our practical actions, and because I'm still unfamiliar with what every one of you here specializes in, I took the initiative to plan out the tasks first. If any one of you is responsible for the job I mention or think that you're up for it, please tell me."
"Just give us your instructions, Director Zhang."
Everyone listened intently.
Zhang Ye said, "These tasks relate to the progress of the program's production, so I need everyone to do them well. The first thing is in regard to the website. Our new program will need to have a microsite on the website of Central TV Department 1 or have a standalone website of its own. Its purpose will be promoting and updating the latest news on our program and act as a platform to interact with the public. In the future, there will also be spontaneous polls for audiences to take part in, so I don't think I need to emphasize how important this is. I want two people to be in charge of the content for this and to network with the main Central TV website team to get it up and running."
A female editor said, "Let me handle it, that's my specialty."
A young male editor looked to his left and right before he raised his hand and said, "Count me in too. I was from the department that handled the official website before I came here, so I know quite a few people who I could get help from to code the microsite and prioritize it for us."
Zhang Ye said, "Good, thank you then."
The female and male editors said together at once, "You're welcome."
Zhang Ye continued, "The next thing is in regard to the preparations for the preliminary auditions. Sister Qi, I leave this to you. Please approach the station first for some marketing and promotional resources, like the reservations for a television commercial slot or website advertisement banner position so that we can put out information like the registration contact number and application methods. After that, set aside a time and arrange for the applicants to come in waves for the preliminary auditions. Although the actual audition will be done in the studio and recorded, there is still a need to do a preliminary audition so we can pick out the contestants who fit the vocal requirements of show."
Ha Qiqi responded, "Sure, just leave that to me."
Zhang Ye gave her a heads-up on this and said, "Your task will be the most difficult one, but it's also the most important and critical part of the program. If you need more help, you can allocate more people to your team."
Ha Qiqi laughed and said, "Good, it's good timing since we're expecting more people to join our program team tomorrow."
"Then last but not least, the venue layout and equipment." Zhang Ye looked at Zhang Zuo and said, "Brother Zhang, I leave this recording studio's work to you, so please help us to take control of that."
Assistant Director Zhang Zuo said, "Sure, what requests do you have?"
Zhang Ye said, "How is the quality of the audio equipment of our Central TV Department 1 as well as the studio equipment?"
Zhang Zuo blinked a few times and said, "It's pretty good. It won't be any lousier than the other satellite channel's equipment at least. Most of what we have are professional grade hardware, with some of it being internationally top-tier equipment. They were fitted just last year, but some others are a little older, though still considered higher-end equipment in the country. Overall, it's not too shabby."
When Zhang Ye heard that, he shook his head, "That's not going to cut it. The stage for our new program depends greatly on the audio quality, so even if just some of it is not too bad, that means it's still not good enough. If that's the case, then it would mean our setup is just so-so. My principles when it comes to making a program is to either make it the best in the industry or not do it at all. That's why, when it comes to the equipment and setup, we need it to be the very best. I won't accept any shortcomings, especially in the area of audio quality. If Central TV has the necessary hardware to support our requirements, then we will borrow them. If not then we will have to find something we can rent, but if they aren't even available for rent, then we will buy them!"
Zhang Zuo received a fright from this. "Buy it ourselves?"
Ha Qiqi also said nervously, "But we don't have enough budget to buy them."
Zhang Ye, who was also not too familiar with the market price, asked, "How much do we need?"
"You might not be aware of it." Zhang Zuo said, "If you really intend to get brand new, top-tier equipment, then the whole setup would cost over 10 million, minimum. That's already a very conservative estimate, and would include having already borrowed some items from the station. The kind of setup you're aiming for would burn a big hole in our pockets, so if you want something that is the very, very best, it could amount to several tens of millions. On top of that, there's also the troublesome portion of the technicalities. Since it would be a totally new setup, our staff would still need some time to pick up and learn how to operate it. With the 20 million in funding from our station, it's..."
Zhang Ye frowned. Even with the scenario of the program team borrowing most of the top-tier equipment from the station, it would still cost over 10 million??
It was too expensive!
It was too damn expensive!
But Zhang Ye still said firmly, "Try to borrow first. If that doesn't work out, buy them!"
Zhang Zuo said, "Then wouldn't we have no money left over to do other things?"
Zhang Ye said, "The equipment must be ready before everything else, so the pressure will be on your side. No matter what it takes, the props and equipment must be the best. Don't you all worry about the funding, I will think of a way. Let me handle whatever that needs to be handled on the backend."
'OK, I understand." Zhang Zuo was also turning steadfast now that Zhang Ye had given his word to back them up. He did not have to bother about anything else anymore, so he said, "I will communicate with the Equipment Department tonight and write a list of items we require. If Central TV does not have them, I'll get their purchasing manager to help quote a figure."
Zhang Ye nodded and said, "Good, then that's about it. Since the tasks have been allocated, everyone, please go home and rest well. Starting tomorrow, we will have a tough battle to fight."
Wu Yi was a little surprised. He said, "Director Zhang."
"Yes?" Zhang Ye was still quite unused to being addressed in that way.
Wu Yi asked, "Is that all for the tasks? What about the promotional copy...."
Zhang Ye said, "Oh, I will handle that."
Wu Yi said in surprise, "The invitation for the coaches to join the program..."
Zhang Ye said, "I will contact them."
Wu Yi was becoming even more surprised now. So he said, "Then the advertising copy..."
Zhang Ye said, "When the website is ready, I will write it."
Wu Yi said, "Then would you also possibly be handling the participating and title sponsors...."
Zhang Ye said, "Leave that to me as well."
"Ah?" Ha Qiqi looking a little embarrassed, said, "How can you handle all that by yourself? Those tasks are too broad. Why don't you delegate some to me. I still have the capacity to handle a little more."
The other members of the program team also scrambled to offer their help to Zhang Ye.
However, Zhang Ye waved them off and said, "There's no need for that, we'll talk about it again."
For some of the more important and trickier to handle tasks, Zhang Ye decided that he would take them on himself. Even though he was already an executive director, he did not leave all the work to others. Why would he let others do all the dirty work while he sat in the office sipping tea and relaxing? If he did that, the others would not be convinced by him. So Zhang Ye decided that he would get down to work as well. Besides, he was not the type who could sit around doing nothing and not feel bored. With The Voice of China about to make its imminent premiere, he was also itching to do as much as he could. Even if he were forced to rest, he couldn't do it since he was well known for being a workaholic!
The meeting ended.
Most of the team's staff left work, while some voluntarily stayed behind to clock some overtime, for instance the assistant directors, Zhang Zuo and Ha Qiqi. Since Zhang Ye was already very clear with his instructions, they couldn't slack off either. A viewership rating of 0.8% was too great a goal. The pressure they were facing was enormous, so they knew that they had to try their very best this time!
Zhang Ye did not work overtime because Chenchen was still with him at the television station. He didn't mind working late or staying behind in the office, but Chenchen couldn't, so after he prepared a simple advertising copy for the preliminary auditions for Ha Qiqi, he took Chenchen home for dinner.
The official website of Central TV Department 1 started running a promotional ad for a new program.
"Central TV Department 1 joins hands with Zhang Ye. Auditions for a large-scale singing talent show are beginning! "
Below the title was an introduction for the program: Regardless of looks, height, age, or occupation, as long as you're blessed with a good voice and hold a strong passion for music, come and register for the auditions immediately. What are you still waiting for?
Registration Hotline 1: 400-8XXXXXXX.
Registration Hotline 2: 400-8XXXXXXX.
Liaison: The Voice of China Program Team.
Actually, the ad was placed in a spot that wasn't too good. After all, this wasn't some television commercial. However, it was exactly this inconspicuous program ad that had created a stir online. Just one minute after the ad was posted, already a new thread had been created with an accompanying screenshot!
"Heavens! Zhang Ye has a new program!"
"Oh my god! That's too fast!"
"Yeah, didn't Zhang Ye just started work at Central TV Department 1 today? How could he already have news of a new program in the evening when he only started work in the morning? What kind of efficiency is that! Teacher Zhang is indeed the celebrated 'fastest draw' in the industry. Whether it's in producing programs or advertisements, there's only one way to describe it-fast!"
"But why is it a singing talent show?"
"Zhang Ye is making yet another singing program?"
"Dammit, I was still predicting that he would do a reality show! How did it turn into a singing talent show? Why did it turn out to be a singing talent show? It's a totally different genre from what I had expected!"
"The Voice of China? What a terrible name!"
"F**k, could this really be Zhang Ye's new program?"
As the thread heated up, countless netizens rushed over to take a look!
This included many television industry insiders as well! They were all very concerned about this topic.
A verified industry insider from Beihe Provincial Television Station said: "Regardless of looks? Regardless of occupation? Regardless of age? Can a talent show be done in such a way? What's the selling point of the program then? At first glance, it feels like this is a very innovative idea, but if this is a talent show, then the program would barely be watched by anyone. At most, it would be a program that would gain a cult following. I believe the viewer ratings won't pass 0.4%!"
Another industry insider also said: "To be honest, I'm quite disappointed at this. Having seen Zhang Ye's previously proposed program Do You Remember, I ended up having great expectations for his new program to be another innovative work just like his Zhang Ye's Talk Show and Do You Remember, but what is the meaning of The Voice of China? Regardless of looks and age? That has to be some sort of a gimmick, right? It's impossible that a television station would dare to go against the market trends and practices like this. This program will surely end up just like any other traditional singing talent show that is no different from the others, therefore I cannot understand why Zhang Ye would still jump into such a genre when such programs are so abundantly broadcast with up to four or five such shows per month. Isn't the audience already getting sick of them?"
A third industry insider said: "I don't get it either. For someone who is able to create such an innovative show like Do You Remember, why did Zhang Ye not choose to take another path and instead walk a road that is packed with countless other competitors? If this were the case, then why did he sell Do You Remember back then and not leave it for himself instead?"
Someone raised a doubt: "Based on Zhang Ye's experience, it's impossible that he did not take that into consideration. Could it be just as they had advertised it, that the singing program will only be focused on vocals alone?
"That's quite impossible!"
"Yeah, no one would dare to do such a thing."
"If it were really a talent show that only focuses on vocals alone, who would want to watch such a show? That would be worse than the current singing programs that we have, wouldn't it?"
The television industry insiders were generally quite pessimistic about the chances of this new program, similar to how those veterans at Central TV Department 1 felt earlier.
The netizens' reactions were much more diverse. Zhang Ye's hardcore fans were supporting the new show without any hesitation.
"Supporting Teacher Zhang!"
"It won't go wrong if it's Zhang Ye's production!"
"Haha, looking forward to Teacher Zhang's new show!"
"Experience tells us not to doubt Teacher Zhang's decision no matter what. Otherwise, once the dust clears, you'll find that your face has become swollen!"
"Right, although I also do not understand where the profoundness of The Voice of China lies at, I will still support Teacher Zhang unconditionally. There's nothing else to say except to tune in to the program on time. Teacher Zhang's show will definitely be a good watch. He has never disappointed us before in the past, present, and will not disappoint us in the future either!"
"Zhang Ye's fan club has gathered!"
"Let's help Teacher Zhang promote and forward it!"
However, there were also other netizens who were not optimistic about it.
"A talent show that only focus on vocals? That won't get much of an audience at all!"
"That's right. If there's someone who looks terribly ugly with a height of 1.4 meters, even if he sings really well, no one could like him, right? Who wants to look at someone like that? If I watch that, I want it to be a pretty lady!"
"Agreed. Just listening to the vocals is not too reliable, right?"
"Although I would like to agree that a singer should have good vocals as a main attraction, looks are still very important. They are public personalities no matter what, so they need to look friendly to others at the very least, isn't that true?"
"Is Zhang Ye intending to undermine the traditional singing talent show genre?"
"I agree with what the industry insider said earlier. It's definitely a gimmick that they're claiming that only the voice will be used to judge the contestants. It's just a bluff that's being used to confuse everyone. The show will still be carried out in the old way."
"Then there's even less reason to watch it."
"Yeah, there are too many singing talent shows these days!"
"What is Zhang Ye trying to do? What is Central TV Department 1 doing?"
"Zhang Ye is indeed Zhang Ye! The way he does things has always left everyone unable to understand why he does them that way!"
Just a tiny banner ad on the Central TV website had created such a big reaction from so many people on the internet. It was probably only Zhang Ye who could invoke such a reaction, as that guy's name itself already represented controversy. No matter how famous he was or how much he had achieved, just his personality that dared to do what no one else dared to was enough to put him in the same breath as "controversy." Nothing could be done about this. After all, this was how the entertainment industry worked!