Pitting host against host
Dee Hsu leads the pack among Taiwan’s TV show comperes
October 31, 2010
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TAIWAN is known for churning out weird and wacky variety programmes, some of which have gained a following regionally.
The shows’ comperes have also become household names both in and outside of Taiwan.
They include showbiz veterans Piggo Liang and Pai Ping Ping, who appeal to older viewers, and younger ones like Dee Hsu, who keep themselves up-to-date on the latest trends in fashion and popculture.
Here’s the lowdown on who’s leading thepack…
1. Here Comes Kangxi
Hosts: Dee Hsu, 32, and Kevin Tsai, 48
Appearance fee: Hsu makes NT$120,000 (S$5,000) per episode
Target viewers: Adults aged 35 years and younger
Fame outside Taiwan: Five stars
Influence: Five stars
Since the show aired in January 2004, Hsu has interviewed Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, and former Taiwanese vice-presidents Annette Lu and Lien Chan – something no other Taiwanese variety show host has done.
Hsu is a talented presenter who is able to discuss any topic. Known for her outspoken and straightforward ways, Hsu has rubbed shoulders with many artistes from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Recently, when Hsu interviewed Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau, she spontaneously sat on his lap and stroked his legs.
Another unforgettable moment was when Hsu threw herself into the arms of actor Geoffrey Gao. Not only did that episode generate high ratings for Here Comes Kangxi, it also increased Gao’s fame.
As for Tsai, his confession of his homosexuality has earned him support from Taiwan’s gaycommunity.
2. Variety Big Brother
Host: Chang Fei, 58
Appearance Fee: NT$250,000 (S$10,000) per hour
Target Viewers: Adults aged 35 and above
Fame Outside Taiwan: Four stars
Influence: Four stars
Although Chang has been in showbiz for 40 years, Variety Big Brother is his most important vehicle todate.
He has been hosting the show for eight years, and although its viewership has dipped over the years, Variety Big Brother remains a popular avenue for up-and-coming singers to gain exposure.
Chang’s hosting style differs from other male hosts in that he does not tease female celebrities or criticise other artistes, preferring to put his guests at ease.
This has made the show palatable to wannabes who need positive publicity.
In the middle of this year, Piggo Liang’s concert in Kaohsiung wasn’t sold out.
But strangely, after appearing on Variety Big Brother, ticket sales skyrocketed and 700 tickets were sold immediately after Liang’s interview wasaired.
3. Piggo Club
Hosts: Piggo Liang, 63, and Rene Hou, 33
Appearance Fee: Liang makes NT$200,000 (S$8,000) per hour
Target Viewers: Adults aged 45 and above
Fame Outside Taiwan: Three stars
Influence: Three stars
Piggo Club has broken viewership records even though it has been on the small screen for less than two years.
The show also enabled Liang and Hou to win the Best Variety Show Hosts awards at the Golden Bell Awards last week.
The award marked a major milestone for Liang after he had disappeared from the small screen for over a decade because he was on the run from hiscreditors.
Back when he debuted, he exercised more restraint. But he soon realised that to gain a following, he had to keep up with the times.
Once Liang learnt the game, he wasted no time in getting celebrities like singer A-mei to guest on his show, and his gimmicks paid off.
What makes Liang stand out is his ability to connect with his Taiwanese viewers, opting for shorts and a unique hairstyle that have endeared him to viewers.