“CCTV Spring Festival Gala,” a more than four-hour showcase of comedy skits, music and dance, has become a lounge room fixture for hundreds of millions of Chinese since the first edition beamed in the 1980s. Lunar New Year starts on January 26.
The show has also become an object of derision for much of the younger generation, poking fun at presenters’ gaffes and the sometimes shoddy production quality, something of an annual sport among China’s soaring Internet population.
China Central Television (CCTV), its producer and state-controlled broadcaster that beams the show on at least three different channels, cops especially raw criticism.
One critic of the show is wedding photographer Shi Mengqi, who plans to broadcast an alternative Spring Festival Gala, which he is calling “Shanzhai (copycat) Spring Festival Gala Party” on his website, China Countryside Television (www.ccstv.cn). From the Hollywood Reporter:
…For 36-year-old Shi, the son of peasants from Sichuan Province, the Spring Festival is a grass roots celebration and not about state accomplishments. It’s about individuals and will feature more than performers from around China, including amateur singers dancing monks and a man who pedals a bicycle with his hands.
Shi told The Wall Street Journal his show’s message was: “If you can do it, then I can as well.”
Shi, who could not be reached for comment, has promoted plans for the program online for a year. He will bring it off with handheld cameras and computers sponsored by friends, individuals and organizations interested in his idea, the China Daily reported.
He has not yet accepted any offers by TV stations to broadcast his show, but he has partnered with Tencent, China’s biggest online instant messaging provider.