Chapter 230: No One is Optimistic!
Wang Xiong finished reading the program’s proposal patiently.
Zhang Ye, who was sitting opposite him, said, “A Talk-Show is a transliteration of talk show. As for why it’s called this, yeah, it’s just a name I came up with randomly. It mainly uses current affairs and is presented as a segment to the audience. For example, songs, movies, or a hot topic in society… All these can be used as material and made into an interesting segment to tickle the audience’s funny bones. Yes, simply speaking, that’s how it is.”
Wang Xiong looked at him, as if to confirm that this was not a joke. After being sure that Zhang Ye was serious, he was speechless. “Isn’t that a lecture-type program then? At most, you’re adding properties of a news report and presenting it to the audience with some current affairs?”
Zhang Ye waved his hands, knowing that he did not understand, “It’s not a lecture or a new program. Actually, this program’s core and selling point is about being funny. The main motive is to make everyone feel relaxed. As for the usage of current affairs and news in the talk show, their authenticity is not really that important. Any rumors or online gossip can also be used. Whether it is speculation or twisting of facts, it does not matter at all. What we care about is how funny it is.”
“Then it’s like a variety show? A few hosts will keep making funny pranks and tease the invited guests to achieve a funny effect?” Wang Xiong asked.
Zhang Ye shook his head, “It’s not that either. It will be me alone hosting, different from the traditional variety shows that you are talking about. I don’t even need any invited guests, nor any outside help. Just give me a few dozen audience members and it will be good. There will not be any pranks or games, just people purely listening to me speak.”
“Just you alone speaking?”
“Listening to you tell jokes?”
“Then isn’t that just a mono crosstalk?”
“It’s not that either. A mono crosstalk has a single theme. A talk show basically doesn’t need a theme. Even if there were a theme, it’s mainly just a directional theme. It’s not clear cut. It does not even need an opening or an ending; the segments can be presented as is. That’s very different from a mono crosstalk.”
Zhang Ye’s previous world had a very famous talk show host who once said that when he first did a talk show program, he did not give up on crosstalking. As his familiarity with talk show hosting deepened, he went back to doing crosstalks. It had become a mess during a performance. Only after he adjusted to doing both and changed some techniques was he able to do both talk shows and crosstalking. From this, it could be be said that these two performance arts had unique concepts that specifically catered to their own audiences.
Wang Xiong said, “Maybe I am inexperienced, but I’ve never heard of such a program before. Are there similar programs in foreign countries?”
Zhang Ye replied, “Not yet.”
“Do you mean that this an original type of program created by you?” Wang Xiong said as he touched his forehead.
Zhang Ye nodded, “Yes. I have the confidence that I can make this program good.”
Wang Xiong looked down at the program proposal again. After being silent for a long time, he said to him, “Little Zhang, it’s not that I don’t trust your standards, but this sort of program style is too different and new. Do you think the audience can accept it? In any case, after reading this proposal, I am unable to accept it completely. Having a lot of joke segments together, could this support the program as a whole? It’s impossible. How can it be so simple! There were cases of such programs in the past which told short stories and jokes. But it has been tried and tested and these programs have too many limitations. They can not hold the audience; it just doesn’t have that sort of attraction. Telling jokes is still okay and telling them occasionally like variety shows is rather good, but to tell them constantly with the whole episode spent telling jokes… How do you expect the audience to watch that? Just half an episode would annoy them.”
Zhang Ye had a wry smile, “Leader, like I said, a talk show is not purely about telling jokes. It incorporates other artistic forms and artistic charms.”
“I can’t approve this program proposal.” Wang Xiong rejected.
Zhang Ye immediately said, “I’ve really been preparing this for a long time and I have the confidence and ability to make it…..”
Wang Xiong interrupted him. He was very sure of his own judgment, and he said, “If it were such a kind of program, you might as well continue your historical lectures. Even though there will be some limitations due to the audience demographics, at least that won’t go wrong. This talk show that you are now talking about is really too obscure. It won’t become popular.”
Zhang Ye instead replied, “It will definitely become popular!”
Wang Xiong looked at him, “Why don’t you change it to something else?”
“I insist on this program.” Zhang Ye was determined, “Maybe you don’t feel what I feel because you have never seen a talk show’s style and audience, therefore you cannot accept it. But that’s okay; I can try it for a few episodes. Let’s see how the program works out. If it really can’t be accepted and the audience does not approve of it, you can axe the program.”
Wang Xiong frowned, “You are so confident?”
“Yes,” Zhang Ye replied calmly, “I’ve never felt this confident before!”
Wang Xiong had seen many hosts or program producers having their proposals rejected before. The programs that they came up with were definitely what they liked best and felt would become popular. Every time Wang Xiong rejected them, they would most definitely argue with reasoning, their emotions in an upheaval. They would keep telling Wang Xiong why and what’s good about their program, speaking agitatedly and anxiously. That showed that they were in denial, but Zhang Ye’s reaction made Wang Xiong look at him another time. Because he was not agitated, but instead rather calm. He only simply told Wang Xiong — His program would definitely make it.
Slapping his palm on the proposal, Wang Xiong said softly, “What about this? You are not a rookie in terms of program and advertising planning, and you have produced some dazzling results. This was why the company dared to let you develop your own program. If you are indignant about it, I can submit the proposal to the higher-ups. You can return and wait for the news.”
“Alright. Thank you, Director Wang.” Zhang Ye did not say anything more before opening the door and leaving.
The moment that he left, Wang Xiong brought the document to his superiors. The WebTV department’s core was its web programs. It was the most important aspect of their department, so for such a new program’s decision and approval, he and a few Leaders were personally responsible for it.
Zhang Ye did not return to his office immediately and instead went to the bathroom. After rinsing his mouth and washing his face, he looked at his reflection in the mirror. His heart felt somewhat tangled in knots.
What if they did not approve it?
What if they believed that a talk show would not make it?
Few people had the guts to do a completely new program as they would think that if such a program could become popular, why would other television stations not think of it? Their ideologies were very conservative, so they were instinctively reluctant about new things. The more they worked, the more conservative they became. However, in this world, only Zhang Ye himself knew that the artistic format known as talk shows would definitely become popular, and it would be so popular that it would sweep both foreign and domestic markets. Some people would not even be able to sleep if they did not watch a talk show on a weekend night!
But how could he tell them that?
How could he tell them that he was from another world, and in that world of his, talk shows were extremely popular? That this art form had already been affirmed by the market?
Who would believe that!?
And he could not say it either!
Ten minutes later, Zhang Ye returned to the office from the bathroom.
Ah Qian came towards him and said, “Teacher Zhang, I was just looking for you. Just now the Director’s secretary told me to inform you that you should go up to her office. Maybe it’s about your program proposal.”
“Alright.” Zhang Ye went over.
Outside the door, he knocked.
Feng Guiqin’s voice called out from inside, “Come in.”
Zhang Ye pushed the door open and saw five people on the guest sofa. They were huddled around a table, looking at Zhang Ye’s proposal. There was Feng Guiqin, the Head Director, Wang Xiong and some others that Zhang Ye did not know. They were likely Departmental Leaders.
“Little Zhang, take a seat.” Feng Guiqin pointed to a small couch by the side. She then whipped out the document, “Is this your new program?”
Zhang Ye sat still, “Yes.”
Feng Guiqin observed the people by her sides, “What do you guys think?”
A middle-aged man said, “Honestly, I’m quite disappointed. I can’t see any core selling points or attractive power for this so-called talk show. We paid a high salary to invite Zhang Ye here, mainly because of his program planning ability and eloquence. However, this proposal is too pointless. I don’t see a need to develop it.”
Wang Xiong instead helped speak up for Zhang Ye, “Old Gu, it’s not as bad as you said. It’s just not that spectacular.”
Old Gu said, “But it is too far from what I was anticipating. Look at ‘Lecture Room’; that was one of the best history lecturing programs I have ever seen.”
Another male in his thirties nudged his glasses and threw down the proposal in his hands, “The higher the expectations, the greater the disappointment. I am also not optimistic about this talk show. What’s the point of a program that just tells jokes? A few people might think that it’s not bad after a cursory scan, but it would not be able to maintain their attention for the long-term. It could end up with many of the audience members not even paying attention. Isn’t this just plagiarizing online jokes? What technical content would there be? The copyright itself is a problem. If someone manages to accuse us of plagiarism, and we go to court, what do we do about the negative influence?”
Zhang Ye explained, “It’s not plagiarism. My segments are definitely new.”
Old Gu said, “How many new segments can you alone come up with? How many episodes can you do it for? Besides, let’s ignore the problem. Your program itself has a flaw.”
The male in his thirties said, “The crux of the issue is what is the key attraction of this program? There are no hunks, nor are you using babes. Just you alone telling jokes? Can’t the audience just go to a compilation of jokes on the internet? Why would they listen to your program? Am I right, Zhang Ye?”
You even asked me ‘am I right’?
Right, your great grandpa!
You guys just echo each other and disapprove of it completely!
Finally, the person said, “Are we right?”
Zhang Ye was irritated. He said a phrase embedded deep in his memory. It was Director Feng Xiaogang’s words who used it against his Leaders who kept criticizing him when they came to check on a gala’s programming. Zhang Ye said to the two, “The opinions of the Leaders, I definitely heard it and would definitely enforce it, but if you have to make me say that what you say is right, then that is impossible! You cannot deny the basic judgment I have as an artist!”
Old Gu frowned, “You’re feeling resentful?”
“Alright, cut it out.” Feng Guiqin said, “Although I’m not optimistic about such a program without any precedent, it is because I am unable to tell if this program is good or bad. As it is a first, the entire world does not have any experience with such a program. In my opinion, we can let Little Zhang have a go at it. However, it is limited to one episode. Let’s record one episode before we discuss this any further. If the viewership count does not hit 500,000, then sorry, the program will definitely be axed.”
Old Gu said, “Director, there’s no need to try it, right?
The male said, “Besides, it is a waste of resources. Setting up the stage and the advertisements all cost money.”
Feng Guiqin said, “That’s why we are only trying out one episode. We must give youngsters who dare to experiment a chance after all. Let’s settle on this. Little Zhang, we are awaiting your results?”
Zhang Ye was quite touched. He never expected the boss to agree to it, “Don’t worry. I will not disappoint you!”
As long as he could produce the program, he would be able to open everyone’s eyes, letting them know what a talk show really was!