Friday, January 15, 2010

Beyond the Realm TVB's Most Watched Series in 2009

Two lavish historical costume dramas were Hong Kong TVB's most watched series in 2009. Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宫心计), set during 9th century Tang Dynasty, was the most popular TV series of the year with an average index rating of 34, and a total audience of 2.26 million viewers. In second place was Rosy Business (巾幗梟雄), a drama about a family business during the Qing Dynasty in the 19th century. It averaged 33 in the ratings, drawing in a total of 2.11 million watchers.

Beyond the Realm of Conscience (covered in more detail in this earlier post) ran for 33 episodes in October and November and peaked at a record-equalling 50 rating in its final episode. Set inside the emperor's imperial household, the show's viewing figures rivaled that of TVB's biggest ever hit series, the 2005 Korean drama Jewel in the Palace (on which Beyond the Realm is loosely based) and another series set in the business world, Moonlight Resonance (2008). The series starred Charmaine Sheh (佘诗曼, pinyin: Shé Shīmàn) and Tavia Yeung (杨怡, pinyin: Yáng Yí) as two rival palace maids who "graduate" to concubines, and Kevin Cheng (郑嘉颖, pinyin: Zhéng Jiāyǐng) and Moses Chan (陈豪, pinyin: Chén Háo) played the love interests. The series was directed by Fong Chun Chiu, who also was one of four directors at the helm of the Rosy Business series.

Rosy Business (see my earlier post) may have been pipped by Beyond the Realm in the popularity stakes, but was the bigger winner at the TVB Anniversary Awards held in December. It won six awards including Best Series, Best Actor (Wayne Lai 黎耀祥: Lí Yàoxiáng) and Best Actress (Sheren Tang 邓萃雯, pinyin: Dèng Cuìwén). It also dominated the Ming Pao Awards, although without competition from Beyond the Realm which was released too late to be eligible.

Just behind Rosy Business in the ratings rankings was the contemporary action drama Burning Flame 3 (烈火雄心3), a sequel of sorts to two very successful earlier series about the lives and loves of a team of firefighters. Total audience figures for the series were 2.10 million, and it averaged 33 in the ratings. Two comedy series rounded out the top five in the rankings: You're Hired (絕代商骄) was number four in the rankings, averaging 32 points, and the action comedy D.I.E Again (古靈精探B) averaged 31.

Source for the rankings is the excellent 幸而城 Fortunate City blog which has the top ten highest ranking series. The Asian Fanantics forum also has a post with all the 2009 series' ratings figures.

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