Critics: Hong Kong’s TV Industry Hits New Low with Derivative Talk Show Clone of Shows Like David Letterman, Jimmy FallonPosted: February 3, 2015
Vivienne Chow reports: Hong Kong’s television industry has hit a “new low” as TVB’s latest talk show Sze U Tonight was accused of copying popular American hosts such as Jimmy Fallon and David Letterman.
“A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would ‘take references’ from U.S. talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely.”
Critics said the TVB show, hosted by comedian Johnson Lee Sze-chit, reflected the lack of creativity in the city’s TV productions – and even warned the alleged similarities in format and set designs could lead to legal action.
Sze U Tonight, which debuted on TVB Jade on Sunday, features Lee behind a desk interviewing celebrities sitting on a sofa, against the backdrop of Hong Kong’s skyline. It apparently bore a striking resemblance of the likes of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on NBC and Late Show with David Letterman on CBS.
Lee’s desk, complete with an old-fashioned microphone, a pencil holder full of pencils and a coffee mug, was said to look like Letterman’s. The show also has a live band, a signature of Letterman’s show.
“Sze U Tonight risked falling into copyright traps, but it will depend on whether the U.S. networks decide to take legal action.”
Sze U Tonight achieved 16 rating points on Sunday – an equivalent to a TV audience of more than a million, accounting for a 93 per cent share. A TVB spokesman said Lee had already announced that his show would “take references” from US talk shows. But Lee insisted the show did not copy US shows entirely as it featured local content.
The South China Morning Post contacted NBC but the broadcaster has yet to comment on allegations its show has been copied.
Barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung said it was common for TV stations to customise foreign shows. ATV screened quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? while TVB broadcast The Weakest Link in the 1990s. But ATV and TVB acquired the rights from foreign stations which had originally broadcast them overseas.
Mainland China has also acquired the rights to foreign shows, such as South Korea’s Running Man and Dad! Where Are We Going?
However, it is understood that TVB did not acquire the rights to any of the US talk shows for the production of Sze U Tonight.
Luk said Sze U Tonight risked falling into copyright traps, but it will depend on whether the US networks decide to take legal action.
“It is a civil dispute. It all depends on whether the party being copied will….(read more)