Upstart From Chinese Province Masters the Art of TV Titillation – David Barboza

28Hunan.1842 From The New York Times:

They called it “The Mongolian Cow Sour Yogurt Contest,” and for much of the year, this “American Idol” knockoff was one of the hottest shows on Chinese television.

By the time it ended in August, more than 400 million viewers had tuned in, making it one of the most-watched shows in China’s television history and creating another blockbuster hit for a group of daring television producers here at Hunan in south central Hunan Province.

No one really knows why a search for a new female pop star gripped much of the nation. But analysts here say that in addition to capturing the pulse of the nation’s increasingly trendy youth, the producers allowed people to do something quite remarkable in China: cast their own vote, albeit for a pop idol.

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