AFP - Saturday, September 22
BEIJING (AFP) - - China has ordered strict curbs on "American Idol"-style TV shows, including a ban on voting via the Internet, telephone or text messages, state media reported Saturday.
The rules also say participants must be healthy and mature, while hosts of the reality TV programmes should not flirt with each other or be nasty.
Such talent shows have become hugely popular in China, with new programmes based on the same basic concept proliferating on TV channels right across the vast nation.
Inviting the public to cast votes had been seen by some observers as, in a small way, education in democratic procedures.
But when the latest rules from the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television take effect October 1, only the studio audience will be allowed to vote, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Also, the shows will no longer be broadcast during prime time evening hours between 7:30 pm and 10:30 pm, Xinhua said, presumably a measure meant to curb the viewership.
It appeared one reason for the crackdown was a view that participants were negative role models for the young.
"TV stations must select qualified candidates who show characteristics such as perseverance, maturity, confidence, and health," Xinhua quoted the rules as saying.
"The hairstyle, dress and remarks of candidates should accord with aesthetic values of the general public."
The rules also warned hosts against "flirting with each other," and making "inflammatory or sensational remarks," according to Xinhua.
Comment by me: But another aspect is that these shows are hard for the State Ministry of Radio, TV and Film and for the Party Central Committee Ministry of Propaganda to fully control due to the aspect of democratic vote by ordinary people inherent in their design. I believe that the régime sees them as a potential threat to the established order under leadership of the Party, if entertainment continued to develop along these "wild" lines.