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"Super Girl"-style Contests to Be Shortened
    2007-02-27 11:16:35     CRIENGLISH.com

China's broadcasting authority has decided to impose a new time limit to some reality pop contests like "Super Girl", "My Hero" and "Dream China". The authority demanded such TV-propped contest run for no more than two and a half months.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television ( or SARFT) made the decision in response to another heated round of three such major contests this year. All of these shows were broadcast on TV last year over a lengthy period of more than four months and snatched huge amount of money by inviting millions of viewers' mobile messages.

Pop contest organizers have voiced their compliance with this decision so far although there seems to be an obvious worry over the new official rein. An official with Shanghai Media Group, also organizer of "My Hero", a reality TV show featuring young men, said they will abide by the policy made by SARFT. Shortening broadcast time, they claim, will not affect the course of their contest. The official adds they have submitted their bid for this year's "My Hero" to SARFT and if approved, the contest will start as early as the end of next month.

Director of "Dream China", another pop singing contest held by China Central Television, said that two and a half months is indeed short, but that they will follow the official dictation. It is equal and therefore fair.

Meanwhile, Hunan TV, the organizer of the most popular "Super Girl" singing contest say they haven't received a word about the broadcast time limit yet.

Reality pop TV contests became a hit in China in recent years, starting with the "Super Girl" singing contest in early 2004. Further contests were quite popular last year. According to QQ.com, "Super Girls" for instance, hooked about 67 million watchers to its six finalists competitions last year.

Such contests, however, were also criticized for trying to raise audience ratings and bag huge SMS fees by deliberately prolonging competitions. The longer the competitions, observers say, the bigger the crowd of audiences is enticed to vote for contestants by texting short messages through their cell phones. 

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