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Talent TV shows still all the rage

By Xu Wei (Shanghai Daily)

08:37, March 11, 2013

(China Daily)

TV talent discovery shows are hot and much better than earlier, trashy star-making contests. But critics say there's not much originality in TV entertainment. Xu Wei reports.

Talent discovery shows such as "The Voice" and "China's Got Talent," based on successful foreign formats, are hugely popular on prime-time television and more talent "reality" shows are planned. Dancing and kung fu are up next.

These are the second-generation of star-making shows - the first were sensationally popular, often tasteless, and generated enthusiasm with live audience SMS votes in prime time. They - along with some often-vulgar dating shows - were ordered to stop or clean up, become more uplifting and end mass voting.

In September 2007, the broadcasting watchdog required the star-making shows to be removed from the prime time from 7:30pm to 10:30pm.

These new talent "discovery" shows are usually aired at 9pm and 10pm on weekends.

Even China Central Television (CCTV) is trying to innovate and enliven its programming, which is largely social and educational, with talent and soft entertainment shows.

On the evening of April 14, CCTV-1 will launch a weekly original dance reality competition, "Dancing My Life." It will run for more than two months.

"As an old brand of China's television, we are now bringing more encouraging and creative programs to the screen," says Qian Wei, director of CCTV-1. "We're eager to cooperate with veteran domestic and foreign producers to make our programs appealing to younger audience."

The show is partly inspired by ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." It will feature a Chinese celebrity and a "grassroots" dancer as a team.

"Sharing their enthusiasm for dance, they will learn from each other and cooperate in an amusing way," says producer Jin Lei. Twelve teams will perform a range of dance styles, including ballroom, Latin, jazz and hip-hop.

"There will also be heartwarming displays of emotional stories behind their dance," Jin says.

Stars on the invite list include Hong Kong singer and actress Cecilia Cheung, mainland TV host Sa Beining and award-winning mainland actress Liu Xiaoqing. In each episode, performances will be judged by a jury panel and a celebrity comedian observer.

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