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Not super but happy boys as watchdog cleans up idol show
2007-04-07 06:14:02 Shanghai Daily

SHANGHAI, Apr. 7 -- China's broadcasting watchdog has issued a list of rules to uphold high moral standards on a sequel for the popular TV talent contest "Super Voice Girls," a Chinese version of American Idol.

"Happy Boys Voice" should include only "healthy and ethically inspiring" songs and try to avoid "gossip" about the contestants and scenes of fans screaming and wailing, or losing contestants in tears, said the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

In a notice to the broadcaster in central China's Hunan Province, the SARFT said the entire talent show should "maintain a happy atmosphere," calling scenes of wailing and screaming "low taste."

The watchdog restricted the nationwide broadcast of "Happy Boys Voice" from May 1 to July 15 and banned the word "Super" from the original title.

The SARFT also set a minimum age for contestants at 18 and decreed their hairstyles, clothes, fashion accessories, language and manners should be in line with mainstream values.

"No weirdness, no vulgarity, no low taste," the notice said.

It also banned scandal-dogged or controversial artists as judges and prohibited judges from mocking or humiliating contestants. Judges were ordered to refrain from "showing off in order to gain popularity."

The show hosts were encouraged to focus on inspiring stories about contestants rather than indulge in displays of "low taste."

The SARFT also banned contestants from outside the Chinese mainland, but gave no reason.

Hunan TV President Ouyang Changlin said the station would abide by the SARFT rules and advocate a spirit of "braveness, creativity and moral inspiration" in the program.

Ouyang denied the new rules would have a negative effect on ratings.

"The SARFT started to guide the 'Super Girls' in 2005 by setting rules for us, and the ratings stayed high," he said, adding the company would make some innovations to the form and procedure of the show in accordance with the rules. He didn't provide details.

Hunan TV's "Super Voice Girls" drew 400 million viewers for the finale of its four-month run in 2005 and helped contestants gain nationwide celebrity.

But "Super Girls" also drew criticism for promoting "vulgarity" and discouraging youth from living life practically by providing instant fame.

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