China axes 88 popular TV shows

Entertainment programs down by two-thirds

BEIJING — China’s campaign to cut “excessive entertainment” and skeins of “low taste” on satellite TV has been a success, with the number of such shows down by two-thirds, according to the country’s media watchdog.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television ordered satcasters in late October to cut back on light entertainment skeins, including dating and talent shows, and programs featuring “emotional stories,” in favor of fare that “promote traditional virtues and socialist core values.”

As a result of the order, SARFT calculates that the number of entertainment shows aired in primetime each week has dropped from 126 to 38, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

Among the big name casualties are the hugely popularSuper Girl” talent show, which censors said was “too long,” although the dating show, Jiangsu Satellite’s “If You Are the One” survived the ax.

This show has had a charmed life — it escaped being cut last year after one contestant, the Beijing model Ma Nuo, said she would “rather cry in the back of a BMW” than ride on a boy’s bicycle.

These campaigns aimed at reinforcing socialist values and cutting vulgar content come with such regularity these days that it’s increasingly difficult to tell when the old ones end and the new campaigns get going. But the figures showing such a cut in the number of entertainment skeins on satellite TV show that the overall environment remains tough, especially heading into a period when the senior leadership is preparing to hand over the reins of power.

The news comes a day after reports that President Hu Jintao had warned that Western culture was out to attack China.

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