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Eyeing 'Zhen Huan'

By  Lu Qianwen (Global Times)

09:04, January 31, 2013

Related: Will Americans be fans of Chinese TV drama? [more]

Popularity of mainland TV operas in Taiwan indicates industry shift

Some 10 years ago, the TV opera market in Taiwan was still largely occupied by its local production and several from South Korea. TV opera series made in those two places were popular for their quality scripts, emphasis on detail and strong casts of actors.

Based on those advantages, they not only conquered the audience of Taiwan, but also many other Asian regions including the Chinese mainland, where audiences grew fanatical about their favorite shows like Meteor Garden, Lavender, Blue Ghost and Dae Jang Geum.

But now, an interesting reversal has emerged in recent years. Mainland TV operas have become frequent presentations on Taiwan's television stations. Local broadcasters including TTV, CTV and CTS have all broadcast mainland TV series during prime time.

Crossing the Straits

Probably none of those popular Chinese TV dramas in recent years have been so sweeping as one from last year, Legend of Zhen Huan. Not only has it been re-broadcast several or even dozens of times in the mainland, but also in Taiwan.

With an average audience rating reaching 2.81 in Taiwan, it not only beats all other TV dramas in the region, but some very popular local entertainment shows like Kang Xi Is Coming.

Influenced by the drama, there are girls in Taiwan getting plastic surgery to have "Zhen Huan eyes," like the leading actress in the drama.

But Legend of Zhen Huan is only one of the mainland shows whose popularity has spread from the mainland to Taiwan in recent years. Kang Xi Dynasty, produced in 2001, was well received in Taiwan with its audience rating reaching 2.8 then. The copyright fee amounted to around $50,000 per episode, a record for any mainland TV drama. Even Legend of Zhen Huan failed to surpass the mark.

A version of the Three Kingdoms, directed by Gao Xixi that aired in 2010, was also a hit in Taiwan, with its audience rating beating out all other contemporary local TV dramas by breaking 3.0 on the scale. Also Treading On Thin Ice, a 2011 TV drama starring mainland actress Liu Shishi and Taiwan actor Nicky Wu, earned those two lots of new fans in Taiwan when it was broadcast there.
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