Coverage added to annual gala show

BEIJING – As China struggled to dig its way out of the worst blizzards in 50 years, leaving millions stranded around the country, China Central Television said that it would include the crisis in its annual gala skein to celebrate Chinese New Year, the country’s most popular TV show.

“The ice and snow disaster is hogging most of the headlines in the news, and we will definitely put it in this year’s gala,” Zhu Tong, the director of CCTV’s art department, told a news briefing.

For over 20 years, the skein which airs on the eve of Lunar New Year, which this year falls on February 7, is watched by most of China’s 1.3 billion people and is usually a mixed bag of warblers, laffers and ethnic dancing.

This year CCTV has sent reporters and editors to snow-hit regions to “collect first-hand material” to produce some “heart-warming stories of triumph over disaster,” Zhu said.

Chinese New Year is the only time of year that China’s 200 million migrant workers get to go home and see their families, but this year’s bad weather has crashed the transport infrastructure and scores of millions of workers have been unable to make it home.

“We will use poems and singing, with background video footage of people combating the snow, to demonstrate the high level of attention and caring of Chinese authorities, the efforts of local governments and the military, and touching stories of a helping society,” Zhu said.

The snow has even covered Shanghai although too late for helmer Chen Kaige, who is shooting a biopic of the Peking Opera star Mei Lanfang there and only weeks ago was forced to resort to expensive snow generators to re-create a snowy, 1930’s Broadway scene.

Shooting has moved indoors on that project, while other pics being shot in Shanghai, including Florian Gallenberger’s movie about the Massacre of Nanking in 1937, “John Rabe,” has also been affected.

Hunan Television announced the cancellation of its Chinese New Year’s gala on Thursday due to the blizzard.

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