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We think it's impressive when American Idol gets nearly forty-million viewers, but Super Girl, the Chinese talent competition that is basically the same thing except only with female contestants, had a viewership of four-hundred million at its peak. Pretty impressive, right? Of course, that didn't matter much in the end, because the Chinese government has just forced the show to shut down.
What could be so offensive about the wailing of wannabe pop stars, besides the wailing? According to the Financial Times, "State media said SARFT was punishing the broadcaster because the show had frequently overrun its allotted time slot."
Haha, that's cute, China. What's the real reason?
Super Girl, China’s version of Pop Idol, is to be dropped from television schedules in spite of attracting 400m viewers at its peak, following government pressure on a programme that some officials saw as subversive because the audience voting too closely represented Western-style democracy.
Li Hao, deputy editor and spokesman of Hunan Satellite TV, which broadcast the show, was quoted as saying the changes were under disciplinary measures by the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television, and the broadcaster would soon launch new programming on morals, security and housework instead.
Oh, China. Don't you realize that people care more about voting for American Idol than they do about voting in actual political elections? This could have been a real asset for you in your tireless fight against democracy! As Alexis de Tocqueville once said, "Reality TV breeds complacency." (I was going to fact-check that, but then I remembered I had an episode of Project Runway to watch.)