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November 25, 2009

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Home » Feature » Events and TV

Late-night vibe: celebrity talk, tunes and lotsa laughs

SHANGHAI will have its very own late-night TV talk show attracting A-list celebrities such as Oscar winners Ben Kingsley and Edward Norton and beamed to millions of viewers in 57 countries and regions across Asia and the Middle East.

Filming for all 17 episodes of the second season of "Asia Uncut" will begin in early December (first shooting on December 2) before a live studio audience in Zhabei District.

It will be screened on satellite TV station Star World next year and negotiations are underway with local networks to air the show.

Screening dates are to be fixed.

Interviews will appear on the show's Website,

The whole "Asia Uncut" experience is designed to be a cool night out in Shanghai and the show depends on the energy of the studio audience. Hot Chinese bands are lined up, so is a regular sex columnist, and producers are seeking more personalities and acts.

Entertainment industry veteran Jon Niermann hosts the show produced by local Fly Films, which delivered the popular International Channel Shanghai reality TV hit "Shanghai Rush."

The audience will get a chance to see stars up close and personal. To promote the show, 120 tickets for each show will be given away. They include admission to a pre-show cocktail party.

"You can have free food, free drinks and a free show and you get to see your favorite Hollywood celebrity," Niermann says.

"Asia Uncut's" first season was shot in Singapore and featured Hollywood stars such as Brendan Fraser and Ethan Hawke and glam metal rockers Motley Crue, British crooner James Blunt and basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

The show also showcases Asian and local stars Maggie Q, Wayne Lin, Vanness Wu and Karena Lam.

Fly Films Director Eric Ransdell says the talk/music/comedy show, which will include skits and segments filmed on the streets of Shanghai, depends on an enthusiastic live audience for its atmosphere.

"We want to turn this into a cool night out in Shanghai, so you can grab a friend or grab a date because the audience is fundamental to this thing. The audience is what gives these kinds of shows their energy," Ransdell says.

Along with Hollywood and Chinese stars, the show will feature some of China's hottest indie and alternate rock bands, including Beijing acts New Pants and Carsick Cars as well as local band Cold Fairyland.

Also providing music will be a house band led by accomplished Shanghai jazz musician Troy Crocker and featuring a line-up of well-known local musicians.

The local feel will continue with popular sex-advice columnist Matsume Kai making a regular appearance.

It is understood the show is looking for other interesting Shanghai personalities.

Shanghai's instantly recognizable skyline and towering skyscrapers are featured in both the set design and opening credits.

The show will provide a regular English-speaking insight into the city to audiences across Asia in the lead up to World Expo 2010 Shanghai.

"Expo was also a big factor in deciding to move the show here," Ransdell says.

"Shanghai is already the most happening city in Asia and the center of gravity in the development of Asia and China. Expo is just going to increase the interest in Shanghai."

Niermann has extensive experience in the entertainment industry in his current role as head of computer game giant EA in Asia. He is also past president and managing director of Walt Disney's Asia Pacific arm.

Now also in front of the camera, the Shanghai-based television host says he moved the show to Shanghai to lift its production values and give it a new, slicker, more stylish look.

As well as garnering top-line stars like Kingsley and Norton, they have also attracted Hollywood veterans such as Tom Arnold. They hope the live show will provide a format for visiting stars to reach an audience across Asia.

"When I was at Disney I was always frustrated that there wasn't a show like this for our stars to appear when they visited," Niermann says.

For domestic Chinese stars, the show provides one of few platforms for reaching an English-speaking audience across Asia, says Niermann.

Episodes will be filmed beginning on December 2 and continuing through April.

Actor Arnold be in the studio for filming on December 10 and Norton will be there on December 15. Kingsley is expected to appear on the January 7 shooting of the show.

Those wanting to book a ticket to these or any other episodes can contact

For more information, visit


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