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Fox Networks Group Aims High With Asian Series ‘Trading Floor’

Variety logo Variety 7/4/2017 Vivienne Chow
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Fox Networks Group is aiming to reach 1 billion views around the world with “Trading Floor,” its first high-end original miniseries in Asia, set against the backdrop of the financial wheeling and dealing in the region.

Cora Yim, head of Chinese entertainment and Hong Kong chief for Fox Networks Group, said the five-part thriller revolving around the greed and scheming behind the stock market would be a draw for Asian viewers fascinated by the world of high finance and by drama.

She said the group has more than 10 million subscribers across Asia outside China, and the partnership with Tencent’s Penguin Pictures, one of the studio operations under Chinese digital giant Tencent, would help boost the number of views of the show to 1 billion.

The show is produced by Andy Lau and directed by KK Wong, director and producer of the hit Hong Kong show “The Election”, and stars an ensemble of Chinese-speaking actors including Francis Ng from Hong Kong, Taiwanese heartthrob Joseph Chang and mainland Chinese actress Yu Nan.

But the show wasn’t created only for Chinese viewers, said Yim. “A story about the financial market in Hong Kong can be identified with by a lot of Asians in the region,” she said.

“Trading Floor” is expected to premiere on SCM, Fox Networks’ Asia-wide Chinese movie channel, and to be made available to subscribers on a day-and-date basis on Fox+, the group’s new OTT platform. Mainland Chinese viewers will be able to watch the show on Tencent Video on a day-and-date basis.

Yim said there have been talks on making the show available for second run on local free-to-air TV channels in the region.

The story of “Trading Floor” spans two decades from 1997 to 2017, the first 20 years of Hong Kong after its handover from Britain to China. The show has recently wrapped shooting in Malaysia, where locations and sets portraying an older Hong Kong were available.

Speaking from the set in Malaysia, lead actor Ng, who plays the role of an economics professor, said a five-part miniseries would be a new storytelling format to Asian audiences who have been used to TV series consisting of 20 or more episodes.

Taiwanese actor Chang, who plays a disciple of Ng’s character, said this was his first role in a miniseries. Compared to film, he said, a miniseries offers more room for storytelling.

Other international players such as Netflix and HBO have begun producing original content in Asia. HBO Asia’s first Chinese-language original series, “The Teenage Psychic,” broke viewership records viewership when it aired on the PTS network in Taiwan in April. Netflix also commissioned its first South Korean original series, “Love Alarm,” to be released in 2018.

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