Several mainland television networks have confirmed they intend to go ahead with their talent shows despite a ban on the nation's most high-profile show, Hunan TV's Happy Girls.
At the end of Friday's Happy Girls season finale, Hunan TV spokesman Li Hao confirmed reports that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (Sarft) had ordered the network not to air its grass-roots talent show next year. Sarft cited regulations limiting the number of hours that talent shows can air per week.
Happy Girls has been running for seven years and is China's most lucrative talent show, though its popularity has waned in recent seasons due to competition from rival networks.
Formerly called Super Girls, the show has given rise to several superstars, including Li Yuchun and Zhang Liangying, and spawned copycats across the country.
The ban came after weeks of speculation about an across-the-board crackdown by Sarft targeting TV programmes that resort to scandals, controversy and even scams to boost ratings.
A spokesman for Qinghai TV yesterday insisted the network would air its season finale of Blossoming Flowers, featuring female singing contestants, this month and that the show would return next year.
Zhejiang TV was not available for comment, but a programme manager was quoted in the Beijing Times as saying that whether the network's We Are the Music returns next year would be purely a marketing decision.