China TV Grows Racy, and Gets a Chaperon
Popular reality television programming has seen a sensational rise in China. However, the New York Times extensively covers the Chinese regulators attempt to overhaul reality TV programming. Shows such as “If You Are The One” （非诚勿扰）have had a change in both participants as well as content.
The show, “If You Are the One,” broke ratings records in the first half of 2010. More than 50 million people tuned in. The sauciest contestants became sensations — one aspiring actress famously rejected a man offering a bicycle ride by saying, “I’d rather cry in a BMW.” The show attracted huge interest from Chinese overseas; some students on American campuses even filmed their own versions. It increased the nation’s cultural influence, which China’s leaders crave.
But reality television proved too real for the censors. Disturbed by the program’s revealing portrait of Chinese youth and the spread of copycat shows, they threatened to cancel it. Producers raced to overhaul the show. They brought on older contestants and added a third host, a matronly professor from the provincial Communist Party school. “We’ve had more restrictions on expressions on the show, to eliminate remarks that could have negative social impact,” the wiry Mr. Wang, 45, said one morning as dozens of screens flickered behind him in a control room here in Jiangsu Province.
Then regulators formulated a sweeping policy that takes effect on Sunday and effectively wipes out scores of entertainment shows on prime-time television. The authorities evidently determined that trends inspired by “If You Are the One” and a popular talent show, “Super Girl,” had gone too far, and they responded with a policy to curb what they call “excessive entertainment.”
The television series, “When Heaven Burns,” broadcast by Hong Kong’s TVB, was blocked by Communist authorities on Dec. 27. Veiled references to the Tiananmen massacre of 1989, and a banner called for the “total disintegration” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the background of one shot may have been behind the decision.
Tsang Sing-ming, TVB’s external affairs assistant controller, told The Epoch Times that they were informed by the company’s agent in Shanghai that 11 mainland video streaming sites have received orders from China’s State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) to stop broadcasting the program.