China’s TV ‘police’ pull plug on commercials during period dramas

JISHOU, HUNAN — China’s TV networks are saturated with historical dramas, with settings ranging from the Tang Dynasty to the Japanese Occupation and the Communist Revolution. They are surprisingly popular among viewers, but, as in the West, the Internet (free movies!) beckons to those tired of the same old same old. So, China’s version of the FCC has mandated that, beginning Jan. 1, costume dramas will no longer be interrupted by commercials, which are often as dully repetitive as the shows they sponsor. The hope, apparently, is that viewers will sit glued to their sets and not wander away to watch Hong Kong and Korean soapies, Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, or, worse yet, read the news about China from abroad. The ban on commercials follows another directive a few months ago to eliminate American Idol-like talent contests like Super Girl and Super Boy, which have been much more popular than the state-approved “ain’t we great?” period pieces. [Speaking of the Super Boy show, one of my juniors was a contestant last year, but was eliminated finally. If you want to check his singing out, here’s a link of him learning he advanced to the next round and singing, “Any Man ...

Chinese authorities pull the plug on Hunan TV talent shows

JISHOU, HUNAN — One of the most popular TV shows on Hunan Satellite TV (HSTV) have been a succession of American Idol-style talent shows collectively called “Super Girl” and “Super Boy” competitions. But no longer: the national media regulatory agency has told HSTV to cease production of the shows, claiming the network exceeded the time limit imposed for such shows. “We received notification from the administration that we cannot make selective TV trials with mass involvement of individuals in the year 2012”, Li Hao, deputy editor-in-chief and spokesman of the channel, diplomatically told the China Daily. In other words, viewers can no longer call in and vote for their favorite performers. That might be too democratic. “Hunan Satellite Television will obey the State regulator’s decision and will not hold similar talent shows next year. Instead, the channel will air programs that promote moral ethics and public safety and provide practical information for housework,” Li said. In other words, we were told to produce the same old, mind-numbingly boring crap that China Central TV (CCTV) broadcasts already, in between patriotic movies about the Revolution and the Japanese Occupation. Hunan TV has a reputation in China of being more “edgy” and contemporary ...
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