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The Evolving Landscape of Entertainment TV in China: A 20-Year Review

2017 UK-China Media and Cultural Studies Association Biennial Conference

11th April 2017, University of East Anglia, Norwich

The television industry in China has experienced a process of marketisation, diversification, de-ideologisation, and entertainmentisation ever since media reforms of the late 1970s. Resulting from the combined pressure of continued media censorship and the rise of media rating systems, entertainment TV, a politically safe and profitable genre, has become a new avenue to boost ratings and increase advertising revenues. A well-known example of the ‘gold rush’ for Chinese entertainment TV is Happy Camp that debuted on Hunan Satellite TV (HSTV) in July 1997, which heralded the dawn of a mass entertainment era. In the following years, A range of genres flourished, such as game shows Lucky 52, reality show Perfect Holiday, entertainment talk show Super Interview, talent shows Dream China, dating programme If You are the One, etc. The rise of digital media offers further channels for audience/user engagement, participation and interactivity, and enhances the multi-screen viewing experience. This success, however, has not been welcomed by everyone. While the government endorses the marketization of television industry through entertainment programmes at the same time it issued an order limiting TV channel from broadcasting too much entertainment programs since July 2011. From within the academic community concern has been raised about the originality of TV production in China. Scholars comment that the current entertainment TV shows rely heavily on importing or cloning the Western formats, and such ‘localisation’ practice does not foster the creativity within the Chinese TV industry.

2017 marks the 20th year of the popularisation of entertainment TV in China. This conference aims to offer a platform for researchers in media and cultural studies to share insights about the history and future of entertainment TV in China and foster research networks. We would like to draw contributions concerning, but not limited to, the following topics:

• The political economy of entertainment TV in China: the interplay between the state, the market, and the public;

• Genre, format, and spectacle in entertainment TV in China;

• Audience studies and Fandom Studies of entertainment TV;

• Digital media and entertainment TV;

• Gender, Sexualities, and Popular Culture;

• Entertainment TV franchise, localisation of content and creativity;

• Globalisation and the preservation of Chinese cultural identities;

• Censorship, regulations and journalism;

• New approaches and methodologies in researching entertainment TV.

Invited speakers include Dr. Malcolm Mclaughlin, Dr. Sanna Inthorn, Dr. Yan Wu, Dr. Jinghan Zeng, Dr. Patricia Prieto-Blanco, Po-Han Lee, and Tianyang Zhou.

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