This may come as a surprise for many, but the crazy-popular, females-only singing contest, ‘Super Girl’ (快乐女声), has been pulled off the air permanently after the show bid farewell with its finale last Friday!
The cancellation comes after officials from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) ordered the show to end its run. SARFT accused Hunan Satellite Television (HST), the show’s organiser, to have exceeded the time limit – from a few minutes in some cases to a whopping 90 minutes on this season’s first episode (aired in July). The ‘time limit’ is a cap on the amount of screen time programs like ‘Super Girl’ takes up as officials stated in 2007, after making changes to talent shows’ regulations, that such shows had a
brainwashing power bad influence on youths.
The ‘Super Girl’ competition was considered by authorities to be unsettling years ago, and not just because its 2005 winner was the rather boyish-looking Li Yuchun. The show was off the air from 2006 to 2009 after it scared the daylights out of authorities, due apparently to the program encouraging viewers to actually vote for the show’s winner.
HST has announced that this “low culture” show will be replaced with
mindnumbingly dull educational programs about housework, among other morally improving topics. So, in other words, it’s another attempt to make TV in China as boring as possible.
HST has also decided that they won’t be broadcasting similar talent shows next year: “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, confirmed to China Daily.
A researcher at the Communication University of China thinks the time limit is simply an excuse for censoring content SARFT doesn’t like: “There would have been other excuses even if the TV station did not make the shows that long… I believe the reason that forced the administration to ‘regulate’ this program is that some television hosts in the program made inappropriate comments and some did not dress properly,” Jin said.
However, Jeremy Goldkorn, founder of Danwei.com, thinks that the issue isn’t about the content, but rather the success of HST, a provincial station – “I think it’s more about clamping down on the uppity provincial station – making sure they don’t have a runaway hit that puts [state broadcaster] CCTV to shame. I think CCTV is very wary when any provincial station has a breakaway hit and SARFT and CCTV are very close.”