Chapter 597: An old classmate's appreciation!
It was already dark.
At his parents' house, Zhang Ye reclined on the sofa with his legs crossed and lit a cigarette with one hand while holding a porcelain tea cup in the other. With every puff, he had a few sips of tea and was feeling laid back and relaxed. There were no signs at all that he was an unemployed person who was unable to find a job after so many days.
Next to him, her mother rolled her eyes. "I've never ever seen anyone with such a big heart."
Zhang Ye took exception. "There's no urgency regarding the job. I will wait another few more days."
"I'm talking about Beijing Television's new program." His mother said, "If you've even planned out all the details for them and taken every step into consideration, why didn't you just do it by yourself?"
Zhang Ye snickered and said, "That program did not suit me."
The amount of variety programs in his head were too many that even if he were to randomly pick one, he would get a program that would do quite well in the ratings. But as his energy was limited, together with the other objectives and personal requirements, he would definitely not want to do all of them. If there was one that he would choose, of course he wouldn't choose one that would just do quite well. Given the choice, he would only choose the best of the best, an irreplaceable program that would leave all the other television stations in the dust with its success!
His father was less critical of his son's employment issue and instead pointed out to him, "Smoke less."
"Understood." Zhang Ye sat up straight and extinguished the cigarette butt.
His mother suddenly pointed at the television and said, "Son, is that the program that you planned? Oh, you had only just submitted your proposal this afternoon and it's already starting to get promoted by the evening?"
Zhang Ye looked over as well and said, "They're really quite efficient, but it's really not too many days away till they air when the other program ends. Brother Hu and the others must be getting worried too."
At Beijing Television.
The logo with large font depicting Do You Remember flashed impressively on screen before a public call for everyone in the country to register as contestants or lead singers. It was done in the very standard publicity technique and style. This publicity campaign was all done in-house by Beijing Television with no input from Zhang Ye at all. As he wasn't a part of the television station anymore, he was only in charge of the program format while everything else had nothing to do with him. He did not wish to concern himself with too much of these issues and couldn't do it even if he wanted to. As they say, don't meddle in affairs that aren't part of your position.
-This was the promotion the television aired.
On the internet, Beijing Television Station's BTV-1 1 website was also promoting the upcoming segment slated to replace the current program in the primetime slot. The promotion was much more detailed and gave a lot of details. At the end, there was even a tentative list of staff on the program team. For the positions that had not been filled yet, they were just left blank.
Do You Remember
Executive Producer: Hu Fei
Executive Director: Hu Fei
Program Planner: Zhang Ye
Assistant Director: Hou Liang
Host (Female): Dong Shanshan
Host (Male): T.B.C.
On Weibo, discussions about the topic began.
"Is Big Bird, Big Bird ending already?"
"Ai, that program's quality started to become really bad towards the end. It wasn't too bad at the beginning."
"Beijing Television's standards have been dropping of late. There's nothing creative about their programs anymore. I heard that the program next in line is even going to be a singing program? Haven't such programs already been overdone already? Are they not sick of it yet!? Ever since Teacher Zhang Ye left BTV-Arts Channel, I hardly watch Beijing Television Station's channels anymore since the programs are all somewhat similar to each other and have nothing special to look forward to. How I miss those days when Teacher Zhang Ye was still at the Arts Channel. Lecture Room opened up a new style of programming format and those episodes in which Zhang Ye talked about the Three Kingdoms set a new local viewership ratings record for education style type programs which are unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon!"
"There are rumors that Zhang Ye will be returning to Beijing Television Station?"
"Is that true?"
"I've heard so too, but I don't know how true those rumors are."
"The rumors were already refuted today at noon. Didn't you all read the Weibo of an official from Beijing Television Station? Didn't that person post something about something being regretful and a pity? That must have been referring to Teacher Zhang Ye."
"Ah? Zhang Ye's not going back?"
"Yeah, Beijing Television had invited him to rejoin them, but Zhang Ye did not accept the offer."
"Then doesn't that mean Teacher Zhang will still be unemployed?"
When it started, only a small number of people, about a dozen, were discussing this topic, but at one point, a lot of people suddenly joined in to talk about it as well.
"Quick, take a look!"
"Zhang Ye has a new program! Do You Remember!"
"Ah? I just saw the promotions for this program on Beijing Television too, but didn't Zhang Ye decline the offer to join Beijing Television Station?"
"He's not the host, but he created this new program for Beijing Television. Here's the link, just go and take a look at the program team listing! Please don't ask if this could be a coincidence where it's just someone with the same name. This was his old team and old employer, and besides he is the program planner, so this Zhang Ye can't possibly be anyone else!"
"It's really true!"
"Teacher Zhang has done it again. Even though he's not going to be the host, nor taking part as the director or producer of the show, I am still very hyped about it!"
"What is this program really about?"
"Remembering the lyrics? What's so interesting about that?"
"Yeah, I don't understand it either. Is that really something Zhang Ye would do? It doesn't feel like it, it just doesn't feel like him at all. A program that sounds so terrible, how could it have a good viewership rating?"
"Did Zhang Ye get water into his brains? There's are so many singing programs in the market now. At least 5 or 6 of them can be easily seen whenever you switch on the television. The audience is long sick and tired of this. I'm sure everyone will be tired soon by all of these. At this time, what we need is a innovative new program, but still, you can't just innovate senselessly. Remember the lyrics? How can there be any watchability in something like remembering the lyrics? Do you think the audience is crazy to want to watch you remembering lyrics? Beijing Television is also getting dumber and dumber. If Zhang Ye wants to do something as stupid as this, then did you all have to follow along and do it as well? Why would you guys even allow such a pointless program to take the primetime slot? I'm speechless!!"
"And who is that person called Dong Shanshan? A newbie? I don't think there's any host by that name at Beijing Television Station, right?"
"I haven't heard of her before either. They're even so daring in using people."
"I know who she is. She's Zhang Ye's old classmate and also the host of Online Talents."
"Just knowing that it's about remembering lyrics already sounds uninteresting to me."
"Uh, no comment."
"It might really be possible that this new program team has someone else by the name of Zhang Ye."
"That's right, this shouldn't be the standard that Zhang Ye would come up with. Whether it was Lecture Room or Zhang Ye's Talk Show, they were all all unprecedented examples of television programs in the industry. But what is this about remembering lyrics? Competing on how good someone's memory is? Why don't you make them compete on remembering punctuation or character strokes instead. This program sounds so odd and terrible! Just the name of the program alone gives people a sense of powerlessness and makes them feel sleepy!"
"Zhang Ye, what happened to you?"
"Did he lose his touch already?"
"Looks like Beijing Television has made a very wrong move this time!"
"Do You Remember? If this program can get any viewership at all, I will twist my head off!"
"Hahahaha, this program is such a joke! How can anyone even take memorizing lyrics and make it into a show?"
The netizens were also having their doubts.
Fellow peers were also ridiculing such a program.
People from the media were criticizing.
All kinds of interesting opinions were raised!
This was Zhang Ye. No only was he a controversial person whenever he spoke or did something, even the programs he did were full of controversy!
It was the same reaction as when Zhang Ye had presented this idea for the program to Beijing Television Station's staff. All of the netizens could not understand and barely any of them had any expectations for this program. Moreover, they did not even understand what this program would be about and what the selling point was. However, Zhang Ye knew exactly what this program would be about, just like how Beijing Television had also understood after Zhang Ye explained it to them. As such, all of these voices of doubt that were spreading around online did not disrupt their confidence in the program. Instead, after reading all those comments online, it even stirred the fighting spirit of Hu Fei's team as they all looked forward to giving everyone a surprise on the day the program premiered!
It was already pretty late.
His parents were asleep.
Zhang Ye went back into his bedroom and laid down on his bed. He switched off the lights and got ready to sleep, when suddenly, his cell phone rang. It was from Dong Shanshan.
Zhang Ye smiled as he answered the call: "Hello, old classmate. Did you call me so late at night because you missed me?"
On the other end, a feminine voice laughed: "Since my job issue has been solved, of course I must give you a call to give my thanks. A satellite channel's primetime slot, how generous!"
"Ah? What job?" Zhang Ye played dumb.
"What do you think?" Dong Shanshan said.
Zhang Ye said: "What are you talking about?"
Dong Shanshan: "Alright, don't pretend anymore, I know everything already." Saying that, she laughed and continued: "You're even keeping it from me because you were afraid that my pride would not be able to handle it? When you called me yesterday, did you already know about my departure from Weiwo Online television station? You even tried to keep it a secret by making the Beijing Television Station's staff not mention a word about this to me? Let me tell you, my ego is not as big as you made it out to be. In fact, it's rather small. If I had known that you had such connections, I would've already gone to your house to stop you at your front door and make you pull some strings for me."
Zhang Ye knew that Dong Shanshan was just spouting nonsense to him. Having been classmates for so many years already, how didn't he know that Dong Shanshan had a huge ego? Otherwise, would Zhang Ye have to go through all that trouble just to hide it from her? Would Dong Shanshan have needed to make all those excuses over the phone, saying that she was still working and not mentioning anything about her resignation? But Zhang Ye still smiled and said: "Hai, then you should have just said so earlier. Alright, alright, it was I who helped you. Tell me then, how are you going to thank your Big Brother Zhang?"
Dong Shanshan said: "You're really not holding back, are you? You've even become Big Brother Zhang now?"
"Yes, of course," Zhang Ye said.
"Shouldn't it be natural to help out an old classmate of yours? You're even putting on airs now, hur hur," Dong Shanshan said belittling his deed. "Tell me then, how can I thank you?"
Zhang Ye said in rare, serious tone to her: "Just host the program well and I will guarantee this will bring you places."
Dong Shanshan said: "Don't worry, we're both from Media College and besides, did you forget that I did better than you in school?"
Zhang Ye said: That's true, that's true, School Belle Dong was so famous in school back then. Actually, with your capabilities, it's more than enough for you to join a satellite channel station. I was just being a busybody by offering to help. Actually I didn't do this for you. I did a program proposal for Beijing Television because first, I wanted to help Brother Hu and the others. Second, I haven't been doing too well recently, so it was good that I had this chance to earn some spare money. Third, I intended to use Do You Remember to further my potential for program planning so that those television stations which can't make up their minds about me yet would quickly decide and contact me to join them. Since I am jobless now, I really need to find another employer as soon as possible. I am not one to turn round to graze on an old pasture like Beijing Television Station, so Do You Remember was also a step that I had to take before I could make my next move. It was to help increase my chances of attracting a better television station and offer, but somehow the timing was just right and you had just left your previous job as well, so I just helped to recommend you to them since it was just a by-the-by thing."
Dong Shanshan said: "Was it just a recommendation?"
Zhang Ye pretended: "Yeah, what else would it be?"
Dong Shanshan laughed: "That couldn't have been just a recommendation. I heard that...you specified me? That you said if they did not agree to using me as the host, you would not even sell the program proposal to them, which would mean that this was a host-bound program?"
When Zhang Ye heard this, he cursed and said: "Heh, those bunch of people. I had already reminded them over and over before I left to not say a word of this, but they still let the cat out of the bag? Who told you about it, Shanshan? Who was the one who had such loose lips? I am so hurt by this! What's trust even worth these days? The most basic trust between two human beings!"
Dong Shanshan was amused by this and said: "Of course I won't tell you who told me about it. But I already know all that I need to know now, so Classmate Zhang, I owe you one."
"Come on, don't be so polite with me." Zhang Ye said: "I find it hard to get used to you if you speak in this way. Besides, didn't I promise you before that when you had a new program, I would definitely help you with it? Now that I've fulfilled my promise, do we still need to be so courteous with each other?"
Dong Shanshan said: "That's true."
Zhang Ye changed the subject and asked: "What do you think of the program?"
"If I simply just hear about it, it isn't much. But when I found out about all the details of each segment of the program, I believe that the viewership ratings shouldn't be bad at all. On top of that, there's no other program that's more suitable for me than this. I had left the online television station precisely because I did not want my progress to stall. I knew I needed to seek something that would allow me to progress and transform myself, so this new role in a satellite channel station and even hosting a program in the primetime slot is good enough for at least 2 years of my development." Dong Shanshan sounded very satisfied and continued: "I must say that this old classmate of mine is really very thoughtful by thinking out every aspect for me. You're a true friend."
"But of course. When we're out in the working world, we can surely depend on our classmates." Zhang Ye asked again: "Are you fitting in well with the program team? Brother Hu, Brother Hou, and the others are all my old friends and good people. I'm pretty sure you'd like this sort of a work environment."
Dong Shanshan acknowledged: "Everyone's quite nice and the environment is good too."
Zhang Ye warned: "Yes, but there's also a lot of single guys, so watch out for yourself." He predicted that there would be quite a number of people who would want to go after Dong Shanshan, as it would be the same anywhere else.
"That's a valid point. I came here in a rush today and only wore a very plain skirt that probably reached down to my knees. Even so, my legs were viciously attacked by wave after wave of stares from the new colleagues."
"F**k, could you exaggerate more?"
"It's not overstated."
"Those bunch of people are really too direct then."
"I've always wondered. Doesn't your old classmate, I, have good looks too? So why is it that every time you men see me, the first thing you look at are my legs? I'm very curious about it, but where do you usually look first when you see me?"
"Me? I'm different from them."
"You look at my face first? Or the way I'm dressed? My hair?"
"I notice your eyes first!"
"Woah, that's so pure of you!"
"Yeah, of course. If your eyes did not notice me, then I look at your legs!"
Dong Shanshan: "..."
1. Beijing Television, which is also the satellite channel of Beijing Television Station is commonly referred to as BTV-1; refer to ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beijing_Media_Network