Inside the ‘Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet’ crossover to TV

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s showtime with Chen Biyu, Marcus Chin, Mark Lee and Dennis Chew

The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet hosts: Chen Biyu, Marcus Chin, Mark Lee, Dennis Chew
The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet hosts: Chen Biyu, Marcus Chin, Mark Lee, Dennis Chew
07 Apr 2017

The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet hosts: Chen Biyu, Marcus Chin, Mark Lee, Dennis Chew

Photos: Dion Tang, Joanna Goh
Videos: Vina Chia


Mondays just got a whole lot better with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet TV show, a 13-episode TV extension of the highly-popular Chinese morning radio programme in our lives. It’s the perfect antidote to counter work-related stress and is just what we need to unwind and fight the pesky blues after a long day in the office. Five episodes have aired so far, with another eight to go before its first season ends.

Hosted by veteran radio and TV personalities Chen Biyu, Marcus Chin, Mark Lee and Dennis Chew - together they form ‘The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet - the 45-minute-long variety show is laugh-a-minute funny. There’s a bit of everything – acting, singing, dancing, hosting, and lots of off-scripted gags, including running jokes about Marcus’ past relationships and Biyu’s mysterious absence from the first two episodes.

The show is divided into several key segments which, according to research writers Liang Xue Hui and Wong Eng Hong, are tailored to showcase the different talents of its four hosts, from their eloquence to their singing and dancing capabilities—or lack thereof. It even has a debate session which will see two teams of celebrity guests, led by the hosts, square off on various trending topics.

The show’s refreshing format has worked in its favour. Apart from garnering positive feedback from viewers, its ratings have been climbing steadily since its debut episode too, said Executive Producer Glen Lim, during a phone interview with Toggle. “It’s performing better than your average variety programme, plus it is doing well as compared to previous programmes in the same time belt,” he shared.

Wherein lies the appeal of these hosts and the show? The answer lies in the quartet’s comfortable and easy chemistry with one another. 

(Continued on next page: Marcus' rich love life experience comes under spotlight)

The hosts having a discussion with the writers of the show
The hosts having a discussion with the writers of the show
07 Apr 2017

The hosts having a discussion with the writers of the show

After working together for close to three years, they have found the winning formula and right balance between Mark’s witty zingers, Dennis’ cheeky jokes, Marcus’ snide remarks and Biyu’s sense and sensibility.

For fans of the quartet’s morning radio show, it’s like hearing them banter on the airwaves but with an even better—and extended—sensory experience.

They even do a spot of acting as “visuals” work best for TV, said Xue Hui, and because “this is something you cannot do on radio which can be done on TV.”

According to EP Glen, roughly 30 percent of the lines said by the four hosts are ad-libbed, while the remaining 70 percent falls under scripted content.

By scripted, we don’t mean to say they read lines off a piece of paper or a teleprompter. Instead, the hosts are given a rundown of topics and talking points (brainstormed from an earlier meeting) for specific segments minutes before each show is filmed. They take a couple of moments to digest it and have free rein to develop the conversation between themselves and their guests.

As far as jokes go, we’re told the hosts “know their limits” and will draw a line when it comes to trading barbs and joshing one another. But that didn’t stop them from poking fun at Marcus non-stop for his colourful and not-so-private personal life (the two-time divorcee was once in a May-December relationship with a woman 32 years younger than him) – all done in good fun.

We speak to Biyu, Marcus, Mark and Dennis and look at what makes this show tick. Read on for more!

#1 Spilling celebrity secrets (and untold stories)
#1 Spilling celebrity secrets (and untold stories)
07 Apr 2017

#1 Spilling celebrity secrets (and untold stories)

Unlike their radio segment ‘Salad Days and Pickles’ (or ‘Ku Gua Ku Gua Xiao Gua’) which only features celebrity guests, the TV extension is opened to both celebrities and ordinary folks from all walks of life. There is one caveat though, the producers and hosts are looking to feature guests with meaningful stories to tell. “We must be able to learn something from them,” said Mark, adding jokingly that they are not a “promotional vehicle” like The Sheng Shiong Show.

Apart from dispensing meaningful life lessons from their interviews, the show is also a gold mine of secrets. We picked up little nuggets of information from the celebrities during their talkshow or debate sessions with the hosts, like how Fiona Xie ran away from New York—and an engagement—because she encountered family problems and was not ready for marriage. She left in such a hurry and wanted to quickly escape from the reality of things that she left all her belongings and luggage in New York. Oh, and according to Fiona, as far as she can remember, she has “never been single.”

#2 Their no-holds-barred jokes
#2 Their no-holds-barred jokes
07 Apr 2017

#2 Their no-holds-barred jokes

While Marcus gets poked fun at for his rich love life experiences, the rest of the hosts are not spared either. Mark gets mocked for his less-than-perfect Mandarin enunciation and flubs, Dennis is teased for his shorter-than-average stature and Biyu gets ragged by her co-hosts for taking a fancy to younger men and for her initial apprehension towards appearing on national television (back story: she was missing from the first two episodes of the show as she was overseas, but the boys joked that she was camera shy and uncomfortable appearing on TV).

#3 The cheesy song-and-dance performances
#3 The cheesy song-and-dance performances
07 Apr 2017

#3 The cheesy song-and-dance performances

The four hosts open every show with a song and dance performance -- it’s like a glorified version of Golden Age, for the lack of a better description, but with more oomph and fun. They even have a live band – The Travellers band – playing along with them. According to Dennis, they finished filming all their musical performances in one day’s worth of work. “We rehearsed the songs four to five times before recording the segment, so you can imagine – it felt like we held three concerts in a row.”

Their efforts to entertain paid off. According to Dennis, they received feedback from viewers who hope to see more of their song and dance performances – like, maybe, at the end of the show too. While there are no concrete plans to make adjustments to the current format of the show, who knows what may happen when more viewers demand for it?

Fans, you know what to do.

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

Just another day of filming: the hosts pick up their outfits when they report for work.

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

Dennis reading the rundown and talking points for the segment they'll be filming later.

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

A cup of hot drink and some biscuits are all Mark needs to curb hunger pangs during filming.

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

Marcus "the breakfast king" not only feeds his co-hosts during their morning radio show, he makes sure their rest room is filled with snacks. 

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

Behind-the-scenes with The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

Biyu has a quiet moment to herself before filming begins.

The zany hosts of The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
The zany hosts of The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet
07 Apr 2017

The zany hosts of The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet

WATCH: The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet wants to film a movie together
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The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet TV show airs Mondays, 8pm on Channel 8. Watch past episodes on Toggle.
Tune in to The Love 97.2 Breakfast Quartet on weekdays from 7am to 10am.

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