Chapter 640 Coaches invited to join!
At a famous tripe shop in the city, Zhang Ye was wearing his sunglasses while Wu Mo was in his suit as the two of them walked out from the restaurant with their hands rubbing their bellies.
Wu Mo laughed and said, "We've just sealed a 100 million RMB deal and yet we only had 45 RMB worth of tripe and flatbread for lunch?"
"Isn't it better to have what you love to eat rather than what is good to eat?" Zhang Ye commented, feeling satisfied by the meal.
"Now that's true." Wu Mo remarked, "This is exactly what I love eating."
Zhang Ye said, "Alright then, when I get back later, I will get someone to prepare the contract and send it over."
Wu Mo opened his car door. "Sure, let's go then. Do you need me to send you back?"
Zhang Ye waved him off. "I won't bother you, I still have some work to handle. This title sponsorship fee has given me some pressure now, so I will need to quickly settle the program's guest coaches and invite a few big shots over or else the show can't be carried. Only then will it do justice to your 100 million RMB title sponsorship fee."
Wu Mo said just before he left, "Then I'll leave the advertisement copy to you as well?"
"No problem." Zhang Ye agreed immediately. "I'll get it done before the recording of the show. At that time, all you need to do is to add a slogan placement like 'Drink Brain Gold, Support The Voice!' in your advertisements. We will do a cross promotion of the product and the show, but let's talk about the details at a later date."
Wu Mo said, "OK then."
To know where a new program ranked, the most practical way to assess it was to take a look at the investment amount.
If 10 million was invested? Then it was just a normal-sized production.
If 20 million was invested? It should be a mid-sized production.
If 30 or 40 million was invested? Then it would be a large-scale production.
But if the investment was over 100 million? Then surely it would be called a mega-scale production! In this world, much less singing talent shows, even other types of variety shows that had 100 million RMB in investments were unheard of. No television stations dared to play it so big and no teams would risk such an amount of money. After all, the common figure for title sponsorship fees were around the region of 10 to 20 million RMB. Any higher than that and the investment sum would not be earned back at all as the return on investment was not proportional. So for any television programs that had an investment of 30 to 40 million RMB, they would already be considered as having a large production budget.
But as Zhang Ye was going for broke this time, he knew that the production costs for The Voice would not be any less than 80 million RMB. Now that the title sponsor was settled, Zhang Ye anticipated the final product even more. He was prepared to spend all of the 120 million RMB budget so that the program would not fall short. He was going to place everything he had into it to create a mega-scale singing talent show!
Equipment? They must be the top-tier ones!
The stage? It must have the best design!
Promotions? They needed the best time slots!
Contestants? They would be given the best treatment and accommodations!
As for the guest coaches...they had to be the most elite in the industry, of course!
Wu Mo had just left when Zhang Ye's cell phone rang. The caller ID indicated it was from his own office. Needless to say, the only person who would dare to use the telephone in his office would be Chenchen. It wasn't like any of the staff would dare to do so.
"When are you coming back?"
"I'm working outside now, so I'll only be back after noon. Oh yes, I nearly forgot about you. Get Auntie Qiqi to take you to the cafeteria for lunch. Don't wait for me."
"Be obedient while you're at the office."
Having comforted Chenchen, Zhang Ye eagerly rubbed his hands together as several faces appeared in his mind. He was not prepared to go back to work yet. With a boost in the program's funds, he was much more emboldened and surely would have to get things done now. If he could settle the guest coaches and get them to join the show, then the pre-production tasks were more or less completed, and his mission would also basically be done.
Who to find?
Who was most suitable?
An average celebrity would surely not do. If they were not professional singers, it wouldn't work either.
On this front, Zhang Ye had really given it some thought. When he determined that he was going to do The Voice, he had some ideas and thoughts about the guest coaches. But since they did not have enough funds earlier, he did not take any action yet. Now that he had so much more to work with, Zhang Ye could do what others did not dare, and even make it a reality. For example, inviting celebrities others could not convince or had no money to invite!
In this way, he made the first call.
Zhang Xia: the famous songstress of China who had been awarded the country's highest honor in singing. Many people grew up listening to Grandma Zhang Xia's songs as she was from the first generation of singers in China. Other than her reputation and qualifications, even though the youngsters these days did not consider her their favorite artist, there were no doubt about her status and ability in the singing industry. She has been singing all her life and just comparing the basics of singing, Grandma Zhang could outdo all of those Heavenly Kings and Queens. Regarding how to use her voice, tonal adjustment, and understanding of music, Grandma Zhang had the most experience. The key was that she could handle singing different genres other than bel canto1, as shown when she performed the "Woman Flower" written for her and Zhang Yuanqi by Zhang Ye. Based on her relationship with Zhang Ye, and taking everything into consideration, it felt like Zhang Ye's The Voice of China would definitely need to reserve a place for Grandma Zhang!
The call connected.
"Little Zhang?" Zhang Xia answered the call. He could hear the sound of a fan, probably because she was cooking. She said, "Wait a minute, let me turn off the heat, I was just cooking."
A moment later.
Zhang Xia laughed, "What's the matter, Little Zhang?"
Zhang Ye said, "Why don't you have your meal first and I'll call back later?"
"You can go ahead, I'm not in a rush to eat," Zhang Xia replied in a friendly tone.
And so, Zhang Ye explained, "Grandma Zhang, I am currently working with Central TV Department 1 and making a program called The Voice of China."
"I've heard about that, I saw it on the news." Zhang Xia said, "I was still thinking of taking some time to call you these few days. Are you really serious about creating a talent show that is only focused on the contestants' voices?"
"Yes, what do you think of it?" Zhang Ye asked.
Zhang Xia laughed a little before responding, "I think it's a good idea. Disregarding the specific audience base and the viewership ratings, at least I think that this program should be quite meaningful. Compared to all those other singing talent shows, there's a much more positive energy in it and feels much healthier for the industry, so you should do it. I'll support you for sure. Don't listen to what others say."
Zhang Ye was cheered up and said, "That was what I wanted to hear from you, Grandma Zhang, but don't just use your words to support me."
Zhang Xia was a little taken aback as she was just casually remarking on the issue. She did not expect Zhang Ye to take it so seriously, so she asked, "Hur hur, then how should I support you? Help you by posting on Weibo? Or help you to promote the program within the industry? Or have you laid eyes on one of my disciples? You would like me to get a few of them to appear on your program?"
Zhang Ye said, "That's not it at all. What I wish for is for you to join The Voice of China as one of the four guest coaches. Are you able to fit it into your schedule?"
Zhang Xia sounded very surprised at this. "Oh? Why are you inviting me? My reputation isn't that great and can't be compared to those younger singers these days. Their fans easily number in the tens of millions. Isn't the program that you're making meant to reach out to the younger crowd? The contestants would mainly be involved in pop music, right?"
Zhang Ye said, "Your reputation isn't that great? How many people from our generation do not know about you? The parents and relatives of the people from our generation mostly grew up listening to your songs too. If you say your name is not well-known, then I don't suppose that there are any big names at all in the whole of China. As for the music, our program is not only focused on pop music. The program welcomes all kinds of contestants who dabble in any kind of musical style. Besides, I've said that our program only focuses on the voice, so we naturally also need a coach who is very experienced with vocals and singing techniques on our side. You've been singing most of your life and I really can't think of anyone who is more suitable than you for this role!"
Zhang Xia forced a laugh. "But I'm already so old and my children have been asking me to retire. Right now, the only thing that I can't put down is singing, but I've already let go of all professional work schedules since a long time ago. I won't hide this from you. Just last month and at the end of last year, there were two singing programs that approached me to join them as well, but I rejected them. Regarding such television variety shows and talent shows, I have a certain resistance of them."
Zhang Ye said, "Heh, Grandma Zhang, you're really not being true to your words. Didn't you just say that my new program is very meaningful and that you would support me? But now in the next instant, you're being resistant to the idea already? You told me you were unable to put down singing, and our program is made exactly to let people go back to the roots of singing. The direction of this program does not conflict with your beliefs. If you join us, you will be helping the newcomers by discovering and training a group of people who have been forgotten or ignored but have good singing abilities. This is a job that's benevolent beyond measure since you'll be grooming the future talents of the singing industry."
Zhang Xia: "..."
Zhang Ye lauded, "If you don't take up this role, then we young ones will surely not be qualified either. In the field of music, your experience is the most valuable treasure to us. Without you paving the way for the later generation, they could easily take the wrong path or direction."
Hearing that, Zhang Xia was indeed feeling rather flattered. "Child, you have quite the glib tongue."
Zhang Ye declared, "Grandma Zhang, as the executive director of The Voice of China, I would like to once again formally invite you to join us."
After pondering for a few seconds, Zhang Xia answered, "You've already laid it on me quite thick, so I don't think I can reject you, right? Alright then, I promise you that I will join your program as a guest coach."
Zhang Ye happily replied, "That's really good news."
Zhang Xia said, "But I want to say this beforehand. If there're any fixed results or a designated champion, I will not want to take part in it. I will just listen to the vocals and say whatever needs to be said."
"To be honest with you, Grandma Zhang, that is exactly what I want from you. I give you my word that, as long as I helm the program team, there will absolutely be no underhanded results fixing! If I find out that it happens, then I will deal with them one by one! There will be no room for discussion!" Zhang Ye promised her.
Zhang Xia was very satisfied with that. She said, "That's better."
Suddenly, Zhang Ye thought of something. "Oh yes, we have yet to discuss the joining payment..."
"I'll leave that to you." Zhang Xia sounded indifferent to this.
But the more someone put it this way, the more Zhang Ye was unwilling to leave it unspoken. He said, "How much did the two programs that approached you before offer to you?"
Zhang Xia replied, "Several million I guess, I'm not exactly sure either."
Zhang Ye said, "They wanted to invite you with just a few million? Then they were really insincere in their offer. How about this Grandma Zhang, we will offer you a joining payment of 10 million RMB. What do you think?"
Zhang Xia said, "Are you taking me to be Yuanqi? Why would I need that much?"
Zhang Ye laughed and noted, "You're being too modest."
"That won't do, that won't do." Because of their friendship from the song "Woman Flower," Zhang Xia had never treated Zhang Ye as an outsider. "A few million is enough. Even the other singing talent shows are only offering that amount for their joining payment, yet you are thinking of giving 10 million? I know that Central TV is notoriously stingy, so why are they being so generous this time?"
Zhang Ye said, "They are them, I am me. The funding this time was provided by me. I'm also in charge of the program, so all the decisions will be made by me. It's settled then, 10 million will be your joining payment. I will get someone to prepare the contract later. Grandma Zhang, let's keep our personal relationship personal and business as business. That's that then."
1. Meaning "beautiful singing" or "beautiful song" in Italian, generally emphasizes the beauty of sound; term remains vague and ambiguous in the 21st century and is often used to evoke a lost singing tradition