Chapter 641 Guest Coaches List!
In the afternoon.
After ending Grandma Zhang's call, Zhang Ye made a few calls in a row after that. Through the management agency, he found the agent before finally reaching the intended party after much trouble. After he made the intention of the call clear, Zhang Ye arranged to meet up with the person and drove over immediately.
In a district.
In a villa.
He followed the address and found his way here. Upon arrival, he saw the doors to the villa already opened and the male and female owners had both spotted Zhang Ye approaching. They came out immediately to welcome him.
"Teacher Zhang." The man waved at him.
The woman smiled and said, "We were still thinking of suggesting a more centralized place to meet. Was it hard to find this place?"
Zhang Ye smiled and shook their hands. He said, "It's best to discuss this in the privacy of your home since it is easier to speak there. There are people everywhere outside and it's not so convenient to talk about business. Once I had a meeting with someone at a coffee house and the staff and guests there were all busy taking pictures and creating a constant shutter sound with their cameras. Some of the young people were even more aggressive, coming up to our table to take photos of me up close. That really overwhelmed me, so how do you suppose we can talk about any business there at all?"
The man laughed and said, "Teacher Zhang, please come in.'
The three of them went into the villa.
The woman went to the kitchen and came out with some tea. "Old Chen and I have both heard of Zhang Ye's reputable name so much and we've always been paying attention to your news. I really like the songs you wrote and have been hoping to meet you so that we could talk."
Zhang Ye smiled and said, "Me too. The Heroic Couple1 of the singing industry-I've heard about the both of you for a long time now."
The man was taken aback and asked, "What is the Heroic Couple?"
The woman laughed, "We even have such a nickname? Where did it come from?"
Zhang Ye got a little nervous, knowing that it was a slip of tongue. There was no such thing as The Return of the Condor Heroes in this world, so he quickly added, "It's just a description for an ideal couple, ha ha."
The man said with a smile, "What ideal? We also argue on a daily basis."
Zhang Ye said, "Oh, but that's not how they said it on television!"
The man laughed heartily and replied, "If it's a television program, of course it will be slightly exaggerated to make us sound better. In our daily lives, which couple does not have their quarrels?"
The woman added, "If the argument gets too heated, we might even get physical."
If it were with other industry outsiders or the media, they would surely not say that much. However, since Zhang Ye was also an industry insider and the three of them were similar in popularity with all of them being B-listers, together with the fact that they had no conflict of interests, their conversation was naturally also much more lighthearted.
The man was Chen Guang. He was in his early thirties.
The woman was Fan Wenli. She was thirty years old exactly.
They were both top singers in the country and were ranked a little higher than Zhang Ye on the Celebrity Rankings Index. One was in the middle of the B-list rankings while the other was in the lower half of the B-list rankings, making them look like they were just average celebrities. However, these two people were considered top singers in the singing industry. As comparison, when Heavenly Queen Zhang Yuanqi was at her lowest point in terms of record sales, she was estimated to be selling two-thirds of what Chen Guang and Fan Wenli were. Citing either one of them as an example, they could easily be labeled top singers in the singing industry. But of course, when they were at their lowest point in record sales, they also lagged far behind Zhang Yuanqi. After all, a Heavenly Queen was still a Heavenly Queen and even at that lowest point, her fanbase was still on a different level. This also clearly explained the problem here.
Chen Guang and Fan Wenli were only focused on their music careers and hardly ever crossed over to the film and television drama industries. If the Celebrity Rankings Index excluded those movies stars and hosts, and the rankings were only based on the music industry alone, then the two of them would surely be ranked in the top 20. They could be considered as B-listers in the entertainment circle but A-listers in the music industry! This was also the reason why Zhang Ye was paying them a visit today after pondering for a long time. Because the two of them were the most professional of singers, their image also aligned with The Voice. Actually, even if he found an A-lister celebrity who was primarily an movie actor and secondarily a singer, it would still be alright. But Zhang Ye felt that would make the selections a bit incomplete. A stage where vocals were the main feature would surely need to focus on that point. So whether it be the stage, the contestants, or the guest coaches, he knew he needed the most reputable singers from the music industry and not just someone who was highly rated in the overall entertainment industry. These two things were totally different!
After chatting for a long while, Zhang Ye had gotten familiar with them.
Only then did Zhang Ye touch on the topic. He said, "Regarding my invitation over the phone earlier, what do you think?"
Chen Guang looked at his wife then said to Zhang Ye, "Actually, I specifically went online to do some research on it. A program that does not care about looks and only focuses on vocals-I get the feeling that it's just a gimmick, isn't it?"
Zhang Ye said, "Yes, it is a gimmick, but not the type of gimmick you're thinking of. What I want is to make a most professional singing program. That's no lie. The contestants we want are also not limited only to those who have the looks or stage presence. As long as they can sing well, I want them all."
Chen Guang sighed, "The concept of this program is good, at least. That's something I agree with."
Beside them, Fan Wenli laughed and said, "Yes, if only you'd encountered such a program back then, you wouldn't have had to toil so hard for five full years. You would've gotten very popular early on."
Fan Wenli was very beautiful and was a singer who overall had good looks, a good demeanor, and a good voice. However, Chen Guang's looks could only pass as so-so. He didn't look outstanding and even had some pockmarks on his lower left cheek from past acne. This was why Chen Guang had a very difficult time when he debuted. It wasn't until recently that his singing career took off due to his determination and some lucky opportunities, helping him get accepted by everyone. Now that his popularity was soaring, Chen Guang was finally able to reap the fruits of the labor he had put in all these years.
Chen Guang was laughing and sighing at the same time. "My singing career path can only be described as extremely arduous. I've easily put in more effort than others by ten or a hundred fold before I was able to stand at the same level as some of them. Other people would find it difficult to relate to this experience of mine."
Zhang Ye said, "I do understand it."
Zhang Ye, too, was not someone who had good looks.
Chen Guang took a look at him and said happily, "How can we be compared? You have the eloquence, literary, and math talent, and even musical talent, so don't compare yourself to me. With my looks, I had to walk this entertainment industry's career path with only one leg. Those who were blessed with good looks could be described as walking down it with two legs, but for you, Zhang Ye, you have been walking down it with ten legs! Even those pretty boys from Korea could not compare to you, so your situation is totally different from mine, hur hur."
Zhang Ye said, "Brother Chen, you're really praising me too much. Usually, the strategy is to praise first before attacking, so does that mean that you're going to reject my invitation? If that's the case, then I won't have any other people I can approach. Sister Fan and you are the most suitable coach candidates I can think of."
Fan Wenli said, "May I ask who else will be joining?"
Zhang Ye answered, "I've already confirmed one coach: Grandma Zhang Xia."
Chen Guang was stunned. "Grandma Zhang? She's a great artist and a veteran of the music scene. No one can match her soprano, but isn't Grandma Zhang already half retired? I've also never heard of Grandma Zhang ever participating in any variety programs, so how did you manage to invite her?"
"Grandma Zhang and I have a bit of a friendship, so you could say that she gave me a little bit of face this time," Zhang Ye explained.
Chen Guang thought about it for a moment and then looked at his wife. "What's your opinion about this?"
Fan Wenli shrugged. "Whatever you decide, I'll go along with it."
Chen Guang said, "I think this will be good opportunity and I'm really interested in such a program as well."
"Then why don't we discuss the joining payment?" Fan Wenli looked at Zhang Ye and said.
Zhang Ye immediately said, "It will be a general contract for a duration of up to three months. Of course, before the scheduled recording of the main program itself, we also need the both of you to accommodate our program team's promotional and other related activities as well as endorsements that are related to the program, all of which will be covered under the joining payment and not additionally payable. But if it has to do with endorsements outside of the program or extended promotional activities, then the relevant fees will also be paid out according to the clauses of the contract. We can always discuss that at a later time."
Chen Guang grunted his understanding.
"As for the joining payment," Zhang Ye smiled and said, "What I can say is that it will surely be the highest in the industry, especially when it involves two heavyweight coaches like the two of you. It wouldn't be good if we paid too little."
It was easy to speak to Grandma Zhang since they had a friendship, and more importantly, she did not really care too much for these contracts. But for others, the joining payment was surely the most important factor. Money always came first, so if it wasn't agreed upon, even if they felt that your program was good, it wouldn't matter at all. Besides, Zhang Ye already intended to produce such a mega-scale talent show, so he wasn't afraid to spend. He knew that however much he spent, it would surely be worth it.
Zhang Ye paused for a moment, and then said, "For the two of you, what if I offered each one 10 million RMB as the joining payment?"
Chen Guang's eyes moved.
Fan Wenli was also surprised for a bit.
Zhang Ye added, "How does that sound?"
The couple looked at each other for a moment before Chen Guang said, "I'm really unable to reject an offer like that." He had only ever participated as a guest on a talent show once before-two years ago-and that program had only paid him 4 million as the joining payment. Although back then, he wasn't as famous as he was now and inflation wasn't high either. But as an industry insider, Chen Guang knew that the current market was not as good as that time either. The market for talent shows was in a downturn with every television station lowering the guest joining pay, yet Zhang Ye offered the two of them a total of 20 million in joining pay. That was already a big show of sincerity. If it were any other program approaching them, he believed they wouldn't have even offered them half of what Zhang Ye had!
Zhang Ye stood up and put his hand out. "So, let's have a happy partnership?"
"To a happy partnership!" Fan Wenli and Chen Guang both stuck out their hands to shake Zhang Ye's hand in response.
With the agreements made, the only thing left was just to sign the contract at a later date.
Leaving the villa, Zhang Ye did not have Chen Guang and his wife see him out. He casually strolled toward the district as he took out his phone and scrolled through his contacts.
Out of four coaches, three were already settled!
He was finally down to looking for the last coach!
But this last candidate was also the most difficult to convince. With such a huge reputation, it was someone that Zhang Ye had to convince no matter what, for the sake of The Voice. But he knew that it would be very difficult as well, and did not hold out much hope. He left this candidate as the final one to contact as he was ready for a protracted battle. He knew of the importance of this person for The Voice since a mega-scale singing talent show should unquestionably be fronted by an S-list, big shot celebrity. Only then would the entire setup look grand, leaving the audience screaming and helping to drum up the promotions for the opener of The Voice. This person would eventually serve as the main attraction for the program!
Who would it be?
Who could hold up the entire panel of coaches and represent them for The Voice?
There was already no suspense to the answer-it had to be the Heavenly Queen, Zhang Yuanqi!
Perfect looks, a perfect body, a perfect voice, and she even had the largest fanbase in the whole of China. Other than her, no one else could step up to this role!
In Zhang Ye's previous world, The Voice was lavishly decked out, from the stage to the equipment, contestants to the coaches. Zhang Ye was also aiming to achieve that right now. To avoid any accidents and a noncompliance situation when he brought over the program to this world, he needed to make sure that he laid out all the proper groundwork so that this world-class program would be restored in its full glory. That was the reason why he needed such a strong lineup for the program's coaches. It needed to at least be on par, or surpass, his previous world's version of The Voice of China!
Old Zhang must definitely be convinced to join!
But how should he do it?
A Heavenly Queen was not simply invited with just a snap of the fingers!
Right now, Zhang Yuanqi's focus was on releasing a music album, holding concerts, or taking parts in movie, and was basically not planning to participate in any recordings for television programs. As there was a market downturn presently, the programs did not pay well and tended to take too long to finish recording, only to end up getting very average viewership ratings, which could also be described as an "unable to make ends meet" situation. These were the reasons why any genuine Heavenly Kings and Queens or even A-listers were taking part in fewer and fewer television talent shows. A normal variety or interview program was still alright since those would only take a day or just several hours to record. But a talent show was different. Beginning with the auditions and moving to the round of 16, then the quarterfinals and semi-finals, etc, the entire process was too lengthy. The big shot celebrities who did not lack any job offers couldn't possibly want to waste their time on such shows.
So how would he try to convince her?
Zhang Ye typed and retyped his words before finally sending out a very long text message to her. He made an introduction of his program and briefly explained the mechanics and format to Old Zhang.
Old Zhang replied: "Not interested."
Zhang Ye was speechless but replied: "Consider it for a moment. You can also tell me the joining payment you're looking at."
Old Zhang: "Too many activities, no time."
Zhang Ye: "It's not like I need you to be here at Central TV every day for 24 hours to do the recording. It's only a few days and we're also willing to accommodate your schedule to record the program. If you have something on, then we can always record it later and will surely wait for you."
Old Zhang: "Look for someone else."
Zhang Ye replied angrily: "Old Zhang, you're really ungrateful. My new program has just started production and needs some support, so you should really try to help me out here no matter what. Hurry up and agree, otherwise, don't expect me to write any songs for you in the future."
Old Zhang: "What good songs do you have?? Send them over."
Zhang Ye: "I don't have any now, so let's talk about the program first."
Old Zhang: "Even if I did state a joining payment, Central TV would not be able to afford it."
Zhang Ye: "If you don't state it, how would you know that I am unable to afford it?"
After about five minutes or so, Zhang Yuanqi finally replied: "The lowest I can accept is 40 million, along with two songs from you."
Zhang Ye: "One song."
Old Zhang: "Two songs."
Zhang Ye: "One means one, I don't have more."
Old Zhang: "......Fine."
Zhang Ye decisively said: "Deal! It's settled then!"
Old Zhang: "Are you sure that you can afford the joining payment of 40 million?"
Zhang Ye laughed loudly as he typed in his reply to her: "You don't have to worry about that. Just wait for your money."
Old Zhang: "OK, talk directly to my manager about the contract. Notify me in advance about the filming of the show and promotional trailers. Also, start thinking about the new song."
"I won't forget, do you think I would go back on my words for that?" Zhang Ye said.
It was settled!
He finally managed to get the Heavenly Queen to join the coaching panel for The Voice!
Was 40 million RMB a lot? To others, this might look like it was an astronomical amount, but for Zhang Ye, as long as it could help the program do well, it didn't matter how much it was. Besides, based on Zhang Yuanqi's status and popularity, as the person on top of the food chain that was the entertainment circle, if 40 million RMB was able to convince her to join the show, then it should not be seen as a business loss at all. At the minimum, even if other television stations offered 40 million RMB to Zhang Yuanqi to join their program, she would not agree to it. Those television stations were unable to produce and offer what Zhang Ye was able to give: a song. Old Zhang was not someone who would be moved by just anyone!
Everything was A-OK!
It was all settled!
The four generals have been fully assembled!!
1. Referring to The Return of the Condor Heroes