Chapter 596 - The Appointed Host!
Dong Shanshan was a little taken aback. "No need for a script? Were the scripts prepared ahead before recording the program then?"
Hou Ge laughed and said, "They weren't prepared ahead of time, but he never, ever needed a script when he did a program recording. Even if it's a live broadcast, he just goes up and does his hosting without any script. There are 12 urban legends in the internal departments within Beijing Television Station that are being spread around and this is one of them. Why these are called urban legends is because even if we tell anyone outside the station about it, no one would believe them. Only our own internal staff knows that these are, in fact, truths and not urban legends."
Hu Fei patted him on the back and said, "Don't be talking about those useless things anymore. Discuss the program concept and hosting details with Shanshan. Everyone else is starting to get busy, so don't just stand around!"
"As you command!"
Everyone dispersed as the party was dismissed.
Hou Ge and Dong Shanshan walked to a workstation in the corner where he took out a stack of documents and place them one by one onto the table, and started explaining the program to Dong Shanshan.
As a professional host who had graduated from the most prestigious broadcasting college in the country, Dong Shanshan naturally had her own judgement of programs. While she was on the way to Beijing, Dong Shanshan had considered many things. She repeatedly considered the possible reasons Beijing Television had for signing her, a half-rookie with not much of a name carved out in the industry, as a host for such an important program segment. All her considerations only pointed to one thing, that the program needed someone like her who could be a "vase" to attract the viewers. Dong Shanshan's mission was probably just to stand on stage and occasionally make some remarks or say a few words and then let the show continue on its own. For this program, the hosts were simply there to be eye-candy and not much else. Dong Shanshan thought this was the only possibility, but she still came and signed the contract after just listening to the offer without a second thought. This was because, even if she were going to be a host who could be disregarded and ignored on stage, this was still the "Northern Big Brother" Beijing Television's variety program in a primetime slot. Even if she only had a bit part to play every week, she was willing to do it as this platform was too good!
But when Hou Ge had finished explaining the whole concept of the program and the role of the host, Dong Shanshan discovered that what she had initially concluded couldn't be further from the truth!
Not much screen time?
A bit part host?
Bullshit! The responsibilities of the host in this program turned out to be much more important than she had imagined! Although the program's main focus was still on the contestants, city PK, or the leading singer, the host was also a key part of the whole setup and couldn't be ignored. The host was extremely important and would have a lot of screen time since they would be needed to string together the entire show by appearing on screen and leading and setting the atmosphere of the live audience!
It wasn't a group of them!
It wasn't a partnership of a main host with four or five co-hosts!
It was just two hosts, a man and a woman, and that female host was Dong Shanshan. As she would be the only female host as well, there was basically no one else to share the screen with her at all!
Hou Ge looked at her and said, "Teacher Shanshan, that's generally how it is."
Dong Shanshan came back to her senses and said, "Ah? OK."
"It wasn't clear? That's fine. If you did not understand any of that, just ask," Hou Ge explained patiently. When it came to how he treated a pretty woman, he was always quite meticulous.
Dong Shanshan laughed and said, "It's not that, I understood it all. But I'm wondering about how very heavy the responsibility of the host is. That makes me feel very pressured. Since the station and the program team value me so much, have put such an important task on me, and given such a good program and time slot to me, I will definitely do it well."
Hou Ge said kindly, "Don't worry about that. Just relax and do your job."
Dong Shanshan said, "But how do I relax? Honestly speaking, this is my first time hosting such a large-scale variety program and it's even one on a satellite channel at a primetime slot. I don't know what the program teams sees in me to have invited me to join you all and given me such preferential treatment. So I'm afraid I won't be able to do well and end up getting withdrawn from the role." She spoke about how pressured she was feeling and what not, but somehow it felt more like she was trying to lead the conversation to something else.
When Hou Ge heard this, he smiled and said, "Listen to me, Teacher Shanshan. Don't worry and rest assured. There's no need to fret about anything else. Let me tell you something. The program Do You Remember could fire me or fire anyone else on the team, but they would never fire you for sure."
Fire you and I would still be here?
Did I hear wrong?
Dong Shanshan was taken aback and could only say, "Huh?"
Hou Ge said, "Anyhow, just relax."
"What did you mean by that?" Dong Shanshan looked at him.
Hou Ge mumbled a few words, knowing he had said too much in the presence of the pretty woman in front of him, and recovered his composure. He coughed and said, "I don't mean anything, it's nothing. I was just randomly saying a few things, so in any case, just don't feel too pressured and you'll be alright."
Dong Shanshan said, "Hou Ge, since this is what everyone calls you, I will address you like this as well."
"Sure, you can call me whatever you like," Hou Ge said with a smile.
Dong Shanshan, weaving some lies into truths, said, "You look especially like a cousin of mine. That's why I feel comfortable being around you. I've always been quite sociable, so I won't take you as an outsider."
Hou Ge said happily, "You mustn't take me as an outsider. Don't stand on ceremony with me. If there's anything you need, just come to Hou Ge. Hou Ge will definitely answer to your calls without any hesitation!"
Dong Shanshan's eyes had been filled with perplexity since this morning. She could not figure it out while she was on the way here, but her female intuition told her that a meat pie dropping out of the sky into her lap like this was definitely not without a reason, so she asked, "Alright then, the thing I need to know is: why is it that anyone else can be fired, but not me? And there's something else I can't understand all this while here. Why did the station look for me to assume the important role of the female host for such a large-scale production?"
Hou Ge glanced left and right, before saying, "About this..."
Dong Shanshan said, "Don't forget you promised that you wouldn't hesitate to help me out."
Hou Ge laughed bitterly and then whispered, "It's not that I don't wish to say it, but that I am not allowed to say it."
"Is it Zhang Ye?" Dong Shanshan was very clever and just brought up the name directly.
Hou Ge hesitated. "Erm, I did not say that."
Dong Shanshan observed his expression and said, "It must be him then. Didn't you all just say that there was a host who did not need to use any scripts? That was Zhang Ye, wasn't it? He and I were old classmates and also colleagues who have worked together before. About his ability to go off script and even doing that for a live broadcast, it was something that I witnessed with my own eyes as well. Zhang Ye is the only person I know so far who is crazy enough to dare to do a live broadcast without a script. Other than him, there couldn't be anyone else who was brave enough to attempt that. So that would mean that our program team was previously the team for the Arts Channel's Lecture Room program, right?"
Hou Ge knew that he could no longer keep this under wraps, so he confessed, "Correct."
Dong Shanshan asked, "Did Zhang Ye recommend me to the station?"
"What Teacher Little Zhang did was definitely not a recommendation." When he said this, Hou Ge also had a strange smile on his face. "Let me tell you this, but don't say that I was the one who said it."
Dong Shanshan nodded. "Naturally."
Hou Ge said, "Originally, the station had intended to ask Teacher Little Zhang to come back by offering him a long-term contract so that he could help plan a few programs for the station and to help bring up the viewership ratings as well. But as you should also know, Little Zhang used to have disagreements with the station on certain matters before and wasn't exactly on good terms either until recently. But even so, Little Zhang still did not have any intent of returning to the station, at least he claimed not for the time being. By rights, up until this point, there should no longer be anything to explain, but Teacher Little Zhang suddenly offered to do a program proposal for the satellite channel by selling it to the station. He did not request any monetary recompense and was fine with any offer, but he did make a request, and that was also his one and only condition for the station. It was..."
Hou Ge did not finish.
Dong Shanshan had already put his words together. She took a light breath and continued, "...was to let me be the female host for this program!"
"That's right." Hou Ge smiled and said, "As you can see, the station has agreed to this in the end. It was something that had not happened before as well. First, this was because the station's bosses and the relevant teams had judged that Do You Remember was a variety singing program that could stand out from all the other singing programs and make a name for itself. This program was something they had to get from Teacher Zhang no matter what, so that it wouldn't be sold to another television station either. Second, since everyone knew of Teacher Zhang's hosting reputation, the station leaders also trusted that Teacher Zhang's classmate which he had strongly pushed to be appointed would definitely not be a wrong choice. So rather than saying that this was a recommendation, it might be better to say that you were the designated host by the station and program team. This was effected by the station leader, and so anyone else can be fired, but not you!"
Dong Shanshan, "..."
From the other side, someone called out to Hou Ge, "Old Hou, we need your help over here."
"OK, I'll go over right now," Hou Ge responded to them and then turned to Dong Shanshan again and said, "I've already shared with you all that I can. Our team and Teacher Zhang enjoy a very good relationship. Since you're Teacher Zhang's classmate, you are naturally our friend and a part of us as well. As all of us used to watch Teacher Zhang's talk show very frequently, we've also heard of him teasing you before. Haha. So we aren't that unfamiliar with you. In the future, let's get to know each other well and communicate more often."
Hou Ge walked off.
Dong Shanshan was still digesting what he had told her.
Plainly speaking, this program only existed after having an appointed host. If Dong Shanshan was not the female host, then this program would also cease to exist! At this time, all the doubts and mysteries in Dong Shanshan's mind finally disappeared. She finally understood why a large-scale production like this primetime program on the satellite channel would approach her in the first place. This was all due to her old classmate helping her sneakily behind her back and not telling her anything about it!
Translator's note: Some news update for everyone, I've started my Patreon, so you can check it out here
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There are plans for advanced chapters sometime next month, so watch out for the announcement!