Replicating K-pop

Updated: 2015-03-19 07:53

By Han Bingbin(China Daily)

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Replicating K-pop

A scene from the popular reality TV show adapted movie, Where Are We Going, Dad? 2. [Photo/CFP]

Chinese TV stations are importing South Korean program formats to viewers'delight, but limits on the number of foreign shows suggests joint productions will become the new trend. Han Bingbin reports.

The second season of Running Man-the most popular reality TV show in China last year-was forced to reschedule a recent shoot in Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, after thousands of fans clogged the International Financial Center's shopping mall.

The droves came because seven celebrities were scheduled to compete in a "name-tag ripping race"-the show's final and most popular game.

The celebrities, including actor Deng Chao and model-turned-actress Angelababy, have enjoyed surging fame over the past half year.

The show's success has out-paced expectations and taken Chinese reality TV to a new level. Yet the show is actually an authorized remake of South Korea's Running Man, and the Chinese version is produced with South Korean expertise.

Licensing overseas program formats-mostly from Britain and the Netherlands-has been a trend in China since 2012. Chinese TV stations buy so many every year that format broker Legend Media's creative director Peng Kan says: "They practically buy out what these countries offer." So, they are increasingly looking to South Korea for formats.

In 2013, the phenomenal success of Hunan TV's Where Are We Going, Dad?-then, one of only two South Korea-originated shows on Chinese television-led to a proliferation of Korean program-for-mat purchases.

Chinese stations licensed more than 10 last year. Most were outdoor-themed reality shows.

"South Korean programing concepts have proven more successful in China," Peng says. "They promote warmth and harmony, even in competitive games, which accords with mainstream Chinese values. Geographic proximity makes it more convenient and cost-effective for the original team to participate in the production of Chinese versions."

About 50 people on the 200-member production team of China's Running Man are South Koreans.

Their responsibilities range from preliminary planning to post-production.

South Korea is expected to eventually overtake London as the world's TV innovation center and largest format exporter. Its formats are sold to several countries, including the United States and the Netherlands.

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