Jay Chou's 'Pandamen' tanks in Taiwan

Source: Channel News Asia

TAIPEI: Singer Jay Chou's maiden attempt at directing a television drama suffered poor ratings after it debuted on Friday in Taiwan.

"Pandaman", which Chou had earlier described as "cool", is a science fiction action drama about two superheroes from differing backgrounds who share a fascination with pandas.

The 30-year-old singer-director even expressed that he was confident the 110 million Taiwan dollars (about S$5.5million) production would be a success. However, the show's poor ratings indicate his confidence may have been misplaced.

"Pandamen", which aired on CTS, one of the four major television stations in Taiwan, attracted the least number of viewers among television shows in the same 10 pm timeslot. Chou's "Pandamen" only managed to garner 0.77 in ratings, compared to shows like the talent contest "One Million Star" (2.18) and idol dramas "K.O. 3an Guo" (1.53) and "Lucky Days" (0.79).

Viewers complained that "Pandamen" had a childish, convoluted plot that was hard to follow and pointed out that the show seemed to cater specifically for Mainland audiences as the cast often delivered their lines in Mainland-accented Mandarin.

Chou, who recently appeared in the film "The Treasure Hunter", brushed off these complaints and wrote on his official website that he "did not need high ratings". He insisted that the show was a success as "it represents a new generation of heroes" and "was a historic moment".

CTS officials also backed him and pointed out that "Pandamen" was the highest-rated show on its 10 pm slot in nearly a year.

The drama's poor showing in Taiwan was preceded by its dismal results when it first aired in Guangzhou, China. "Pandamen" was shown for three days on Guangzhou Television in late January.

Guangzhou Television reportedly paid an astronomical sum for the broadcast rights to the show, but "Pandamen" only managed to attract about 5,000 viewers on its third day, making it the lowest-rated show in the station's history.

At that time, many believed that complaints of a messy plot were due to heavy-handed Chinese censors cutting out crucial scenes for depicting gunplay.

However, "Pandamen" aired completely uncut in Taiwan.

Chou, who plays a police commissioner and appears for just two and a half minutes on the show, will reportedly attend a meet-the-fans session at Huashan Cultural Park on February 27, in an attempt to resuscitate the flat-lining show.

- CNA/ha

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