Culture\Film and TV

Remake, remodel

By Wang Kaihao | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-02 07:44

Remake, remodel

Celebrated performers (from left) Wang Zijian, Tang Wei and Pan Yueming will see their talk shows or drama series broadcast on Youku in 2018. The streaming website just announced its long list of upcoming programs in Shanghai. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Language kings

Compared with xiaopin, which are short comedy skits, talk shows are a relatively late starter in China. However, Youku is producing another variety show called Yan Wang De Dan Sheng (which roughly translates as "Birth of a King in Language") that will be screened online next year.

The show will bring together what Youku says are the top 10 professional talkers in China. Gao Xiaosong, a popular musician-turned online program anchor, and Feng Xiaogang, one of China's top film directors, who is known for his outspoken remarks, will be hosts of the show.

Other online video platforms have already introduced talk shows.

Roast, a program inviting celebrated actors or singers to make fun of each other in the form of a talk show, premiered in 2016 on Tencent, another of the major Chinese online video platforms, and it has won a huge fan base.

"The most popular TV variety shows in China are about singing and dancing, and comedy was considered marginal," says Ye Feng, head of the Shanghai-based independent program developer Fun Factory. His studio is the behind-the-scenes team of Roast and the upcoming SNL China.

However, he says the lack of an established model means there is more room for uniquely Chinese elements.

"Talk shows have a long tradition in the United States. But after we add some Chinese elements, they become a fresh and exciting genre for Chinese viewers, as they play with the language in an unprecedented way," he says.

Consequently, he says the style of SNL China will be more down-to-earth for Chinese viewers.

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