Jan 8, 2008
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China's 'Top Model' to air - after hours : official media

Jan 8, 2008

BEIJING, Jan 8, 2008 (AFP) - China's version of the popular US reality show "America's Next Top Model" will debut this weekend, but only after prime time as part of new rules against "immoral" entertainment, state media said Tuesday, January 8th.

Presenters and contestants of Chinese TV show "Happy Boy"
Photo : Liu Jin/AFP

Sichuan Satellite TV, producers of "China's Next Top Model", will air the first of 10 weekly installments nationwide on Sunday night at 10:30pm, Xinhua news agency reported.

The time slot was chosen to comply with an October government directive banning reality shows from the prime time period of 7:30-10:30 pm, it said.

Like its US inspiration, the show will follow a group of prospective models as they vie for the favour of judges, airing profiles of individual contestants and how they "worked to overcome obstacles in their lives," Xinhua quoted producers as saying.

Officials last year moved to rein in "uninspiring and immoral" reality shows, which have mushroomed in China amid popular demand for something other than the typically puritanical fare available on state-controlled media.

The ruling Communist Party's censors particularly targetted China's version of "American Idol", after the final of the previous year's version of the show attracted 400 million viewers -- roughly a third of the population.

Contestants on "Happy Boy", as the show was called, were ordered not to cry or scream, and sing only "healthy and ethically inspiring" songs, among other requirements.

"No weirdness, no vulgarity, no low taste," the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television told the organisers of "Happy Boy".

Aside from the ban on prime time appearances, the government outlawed a blood-spattered genre of reality shows in which patients underwent sex-change operations and cosmetic surgery live on television.

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