Candidates for TV talent contests are now required to exceed the age of 18, and official approval will be obligatory for contests organized specially for youngsters below 18, announced the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television yesterday.
"We used to impose an age limit of 16, according to international conventions, as youngsters at this age have been capable of self-determination," said Ha Wen, producer of the blockbuster TV talent contest "Dreaming China." "We will however follow the new limit and will seek approval for promising candidates under 18."
"Super Girls," another TV talent contest, had no age limit when it became a smash hit last year. "We'll consider the age limit for this year's show, which will be targeted mainly at college students," said Hunan Satellite TV station that produces the program.
The administration also said that while such TV contests are encouraged, they should not prevail over other programs on TV and that producers of such contests should provide classiness in the candidates' costumes, hairstyles and decorations.
"Super Girl", a TV singing contest involving text message votes by the public, was the country's most popular TV program last summer. Independent research suggested 10 percent of Chinese households watched all or some of the competition, a massive figure considering the country's population of 1.3 billion.
(Shanghai Daily March 14, 2006)