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Chinese version of 'America's Next Top Model' set to debut
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A cable television station in southwest China will debut the country's answer to "America's Next Top Model" on Sunday.

Sichuan Cable TV was producing the first season of the domestic equivalent of the popular US show. It would be known as "China's Next Top Model", producers of the program said in Shanghai.

Among the backers of the reality program where judges choose prospective models from a group of contestants over several weeks, were American giant CBS Paramount, China eWorld Interactive Co. and Sichuan TV.

The first season of the hour-long program airs at 10:30 p.m. for 10 week. In addition to the contest and catwalk, the shows also featured the stories behind each of the 10 contestants, particularly about how they worked to overcome obstacles in their lives, said executive producer David Tumaroff.

China was the 14th global market to license a version of the American program. In its nine seasons stateside, it had drawn tens of millions of viewers.

Following "Super Girls", the Chinese answer to "American Idol" that was a hit for Hunan TV in 2006, many domestic stations have staged similar reality shows.

Yet, in October, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television ordered a ban of such shows from prime-time broadcast between 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m..

The order came shortly after the administration banned the Chongqing TV program "the First Heartthrob" for its "vulgar content" and "bad taste".

The move was also seen as a warning to domestic TV stations competing for public attention with copycat shows that lacked creativity.
(Xinhua News Agency January 8, 2008)

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