Updated: 2013-01-21 09:47
By Liu Wei (China Daily)
"I feel pround that my show, without sex or politics, still makes people laugh." Long Mei, TV director and producer.
"It was a time when people thought stars were perfect. So when they saw that their icons playing games and falling onto the stage by mistake, they found the show very refreshing," Long says.
Producing the first episode, Long had to explain to the actors and their agents what kind of show it was and promised that their image would not be damaged. But soon the variety program became a smash hit, and stars were lining up to be part of it.
Even David Beckham.
In 2007 the English soccer star came to China for the commercial campaign of a mobile-phone brand. The company was eager to cooperate with Happy Camp.
Long and her team designed more than 10 proposals and sent them to England with videos of their previous episodes.
When the show was staged, they invited Huang Jianxiang, a popular soccer commentator known for his excellent spoken English, as Beckham's interpreter. One of the games involved 10 cute little girls and Beckham, father of three boys.
"We knew Beckham never joined such shows before, so we did quite a lot of research," Long recalls. "We prepared many more proposals than the show's length could afford for him to choose. We knew he is a caring father, and he and Victoria Beckham wanted a baby girl."
The show stunned both other TV networks and viewers when they saw Beckham playing games with the girls and demonstrating his soccer skills for local fans.
Few knew that only one year earlier, Long almost lost her show.
In 2005, Happy Camp experienced a drastic decrease in audience. Many stars had shown up and played games, some for many times. Viewers wanted something new.
"At first people did not know what kind of show it is," Long says. "But in 2005 they knew too well."
The show confronted the challenge by inviting audience members in the studio to come up and play games with their idols.
The reform saved the day, and it alerted the team to the importance of innovation and staying fresh.