Universe continues to expand into TV

Company now brainstorming for third series

HONG KONG — Producer-distrib Universe Intl. Holdings is expanding its foray into television to keep up with the increasing demand for content from China.

It will shoot its second TV series, “Magic Chef,” this year and plans to unveil a new series each year.

The latest skein is about a cook who suddenly acquires the power to communicate with food and stars Dicky Cheung, Francis Ng and Lo Ka Leung– a trio Universe refers to as “the Golden Triangle” due to their star power.

The series, which will use computer-generated graphics to depict talking food, will be shot in Hong Kong, China, Macau and Japan for a 2005 release in the Asia Pacific market.

Meanwhile, “Kung Fu Soccer,” Universe’s debut TV series, is in post-production and is tentatively set to be released in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia this summer. Company is also in negotiations to sell the show in the U.S., according to Universe chief operating officer Alvin Lam.

Series stars Dicky Cheung, Canto-pop singer Joey Yung and veteran film actors Anthony Wong (“Infernal Affairs”) and Sandra Ng (“Golden Chicken”). Special appearances by Chapman To (“Men Suddenly in Black”) and pop stars Twins and Boy’z, are also on the slate.

“There’s an incredible demand for TV series in China,” Lam says.

The series will run on pay TV first and terrestrial TV later, according to Universe distribution manager Koris Ha.

Hong Kong-based Universe, which teams with Hong Kong production company One Dollar Prods to produce its TV series, is now brainstorming stories for a third series, Ha says.

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