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The show doctor is in CCTV gala (2)

By Xiong Yuqing (Global Times)

10:46, July 16, 2013

Limited 'opening up'

In past years, only a few print media representatives were invited to the news conference for the CCTV Spring Festival Gala, according to a report on But this year, a wide range of media journalists and editors were invited to witness the first "outsider" of CCTV to head the gala team, which is seen as an sign for CCTV Spring Festival Gala to "really" open up to the public.

The idea of "opening up to the public to hold the gala" was first mentioned in 1995, when 32 local television stations recommended programs to CCTV. In 2007, the selection range was widened, and a series of relative cultural departments took part.

However, the result of "opening up" was quite limited. Though the talent shows from provincial TV stations have been popular for over seven years, the singers coming out from such programs, such as Zhang Liangying from Super Girl in 2005 and James Lin from One Million Stars in 2007, were invited by CCTV for the first time in 2012 to perform in the Gala.

Some topical singers from the hot talent shows of 2012, like Ping An from The Voice of China, were recommended by provincial TV stations to CCTV Spring Festival Gala by attending another talent show held by CCTV.

Outsiders revolution

Liu Qibao, the head of the Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the CPC, stressed on June 8 this year that the CCTV Spring Festival Gala is a national project held by CCTV, which needs to encourage a wide range of people to take part.

"The wisdom and power of the whole society should be utilized to make the Gala meet audience's expectations," said Hu Zhanfan, head of CCTV.

A report on said that 60.2 percent of those surveyed support Feng to be the director of the Spring Festival Gala, expecting him to bring passion and surprise back to the stage.

Besides Feng, Zhao Benshan, a well-known comedian, will be deputy general director in charge of the Gala's comedy programming, according to CCTV. Two members from Kaixin Mahua, a folk comedy group who performed at the 2013 Gala, are also appointed as part of the gala team.

"One of the problems in recent years is the weakness of language programs, and that is one of the causes of people's criticism," Zhang Yiwu, a critic from Peking University, told Global Times. Zhang said he thinks that Feng and Zhao can correct this weakness in the program because they both have decades of success creating comedic language programs.

Challenge for Feng

Though Feng is renowned as a film director, none of his experience so far directly relates to heading a TV gala or variety program. For many years, he has been relied upon to deliver laughs at the cinema during the Spring Festival holiday season. And he previously wrote scripts for sketch comedies performed at New Year galas in the 1990s.

"It was CCTV who was brave enough, not me, to make this decision," Feng said at the news conference on Friday. Feng added he would "with gratefulness" ask for ideas from people who are enthusiastic and experienced at running the Spring Festival Gala.

"I will select performances based on the audience's point of view and interests," Feng said, "People hate hypocritical and shallow performances. I will try my best to solve the problem. The Spring Festival Gala will be sincere, warm, inspiring and entertaining.

"We also hope that comedians will write what they want to express most and what is funniest. Do not self-censor and self-castrate. We also hope that censors will show mercy!"

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