Chatshows, talent shows, reality skeins outlawed

China has banned light entertainment skeins — such as talent shows, gamers, chatshows and reality series — from satellite TV.

Beginning in January, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television will nix programs it deems “vulgar” or “overly entertaining” on the country’s 34 satcasters. It wants them replaced by news and cultural programming.

The order also bans viewership surveys and the use of ratings as the sole criteria for whether to broadcast a show.

The news shocked satcasters. Hunan TV said it would adjust its programming to focus on “morality, housekeeping and public welfare.”

The crackdown comes after this month’s meeting of the Communist Party’s Central Committee set the broad agenda for policymakers and focused heavily on culture.

The government also said in a communique published in the People’s Daily that it would strengthen controls of online social media and instant messaging tools, the clearest acknowledgment yet from the leadership that services like Weibo, which are similar to the banned Twitter, are having a major impact on society.

The government has been increasingly nervous about the thriving microblogs and the ease with which they sidestep censorship and government control. There were 195 million microblog users registered at the end of June.

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