The country’s state broadcasting regulator issued a new policy Friday banning satellite channels from producing any more singing contests.
It echoes the enforced demise of “Super Girl,” a singing contest for female contestants which became a phenomenon in China in 2004.
That was blamed by commentators on official discomfort at Western-style audience voting.
On its official website, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) posted a notice saying shows that had already been produced but not yet aired should be “postponed”.
Freedom House‘s Madeline Earp told NBC that SARFT has a history of spoiling the Chinese viewers’ favourite shows:
In 2012 it was Korean and Japanese dramas that were extremely popular. They say that they want to increase diversity of programming, to improve the moral tone. But I think they’ve identified that since satellite TV has become more popular in China, the media has become more diverse. This is a real threat to the state media and CCTV, so they are trying to manipulate what is available during prime-time programming…. So it’s a control mechanism.
The Voice of China has proved hugely popular with audiences, attracting foreign talent such as Adam Lambert, despite unsavoury rumours that the production company was stiffing contestants for as much as 80 percent of their winnings.