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China has declared victory in its war against lowbrow television after forcing channels to axe more than two-thirds of their prime time light entertainment shows and replace them with news broadcasts. |
An order to curb "excessive entertainment" on television came into force on Jan 1. In response, the number of scheduled entertainment programmes has dipped sharply from 126 a week to just 38, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.
Each of China's 34 satellite television channels is now limited to an hour and a half of light entertainment programming between 7.30pm and 10pm. In addition, the regulations now require at least two half-hour news bulletins a night.
Instead of game shows, song-and-dance performances, soap operas and dating competitions, satellite channels are now broadcasting "programmes that promote traditional virtues and socialist core values," said the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) in a statement.
Xinhua added that "vulgar" and "low taste" broadcasting was being removed from the schedules, in the latest example of government interference in China's private sector.
However, supporters said China has produced relatively few good books, television shows or films in recent years, instead churning out endless low-budget and lowbrow content.
Sarft said that the country's smash hit shows, such as If You Are The One, a dating show, would still air at the weekend.
In September, the makers of Super Girl, China's version of Pop Idol, said it would be cancelled under the new rules. In its heyday, Super Girl attracted as many as 400 million viewers.
Rules have also limited the number of advertisements that channels can show during television dramas and movies, a move that viewers greeted with enthusiasm, but which television executives complained would deprive them of resources to create content.