China morality cops cancel shows

'Idol'-style reality show 'Super Girl' yanked

China’s broadcasting watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and TV, has banned two popular reality and talent skeins for poor moral standards.

SARFT cancelled “Super Girl,” the hugely popular equivalent of “American Idol,” after it broke a cap on broadcasting time imposed by authorities to discourage young viewers from spending too much time watching it.

The broadcaster, Hunan Satellite Television, will not be allowed to screen “TV talent shows with mass participation” next year, the channel’s spokesman Li Hao told local media.

“Instead, the channel will air programs that promote moral ethics, public safety and provide practical information for housework,” Li said.

Super Girl” peaked in the 2004-05 season, when more than 400 million people watched the finale and the winner, Li Yuchun, became a national celebrity.

SARFT has also banned the movie channel of Shijiazhuang TV in north China’s Hebei province after its “Emotional Codes” talkshow “misrepresented events, magnified family conflict and depicted disrespect toward an elderly parent” in the pursuit of ratings.

The TV show “magnified distorted ethics and moral values” and “caused extremely negative social effects.”

Producers said the offending scene, showing a son treating his father disrespectfully and threatening to take him to court over money, had been scripted. But SARFT didn’t see this as an adequate defense.

China’s TV companies are tightly state-controlled and must adhere to tough rules on morality as well as strict political guidelines.

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