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Posted: Sun., Feb. 16, 2003, 6:00am PT
 
Satcaster Chua plays a new game
'Judge,' 'Everybody' represent friendlier fare
 
By WENDY KAN

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HONG KONG -- Maverick satcaster Robert Chua, who is well known in the Far East as a squeaky clean program purveyor, is putting his own twist on reality TV.

The producer and founder of Chinese Entertainment Television (CETV) is launching a batch of gameshow formats for international audiences.

"I believe in healthy, socially responsible programs," says the Hong Kong-based Singaporean. "There are too many game shows like 'The Weakest Link' that set out to humiliate contestants. And I don't believe in that."

His "Entrepreneur Game," for example, pits two teams who compete to sell the same products with the winners taking home their profits; "You Be the Judge" focuses on domestic disputes and civil feuds, which are resolved by viewers' votes; and "Everyone Wins" is a trivia game that also allows home viewers to win prizes.Snatching sales

Chua's formats are finding buyers and audiences.

"Entrepreneur Game" and "You Be the Judge" has sold to Singapore, with Canadian distribber Distraction acquiring exclusive international rights (excluding Asia) to the latter.

"Everyone Wins" has sold to Singapore, Malaysia, Turkey, China and the Middle East, with Action Time licensing outside Asia.

It started airing live on Jan. 1 in Shanghai and now runs nightly in primetime where it is the most successful show on Shanghai Media Group's Culture Channel.

Up next: "Phone-in Karaoke," in which callers sing songs and viewers vote on each song via mobile phone text-messages. The key to most of Chua's gameshows is home audience interaction, allowing them to vote or win.

"I like to empower audiences to make decisions and be involved," says Chua.

This is the man who -- among other things -- created Hong Kong's longest-running variety show "Enjoy Yourself Tonight" and produced the territory's first Miss Hong Kong pageant.

Why game shows? "My fort?is entertainment," he says. "I can't see doing dramas; for me, they don't involve the same kind of creativity."
 

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