Updated: 2013-01-21 09:47
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
Long Mei, director and producer of one of the country's most popular TV shows Happy Camp, is pleased with her team's success after 16 years of continuous efforts. Zou Hong / China Daily
Variety-show director Long Mei has taken her creation a long way, cajoling stars - and fans - on stage for the ride, Liu Wei reports.
Long Mei's show was so popular that when David Beckham came to China for a short stay of six hours, he gave one of those hours to it.
Since the day Happy Camp was launched in 1997, Long has been the director and producer for the variety show, which boasts tens of millions of viewers every weekend.
Sixteen years ago, China's small screens were dominated by news broadcasts and what people call wanhui, or stage shows featuring hosts who read out what the next act would be.
But it was also a time when people started to enjoy the benefits of the reform and opening-up, leading a better material life and craving more entertainment.
Long's employer, Hunan Satellite TV in Central China, sensed the need earlier than many other networks. A team was built to create entertaining content every weekend.
Long and her team watched many variety shows from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and Western countries before they presented Happy Camp. The early episodes, featuring stars who played games and made mistakes like ordinary people, were an immediate hit.