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Chinese 'Ugly Betty' comes
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China's Hunan Television, which brought its American Idol copycat Super Girl to an astonishing success, has chosen "Ugly Betty," an award-winning American comedy drama, to help continue its importing-culture endeavor.

The broadcaster on Monday confirmed rampant rumors that suggest it will create a Chinese version of "Ugly Betty," the Information Times reported on Tuesday.

The newspaper quoted Chen Xiaodong, producer of the upcoming drama, as saying that Hunan Television has acquired the rights to re-produce the telenovela hit, and Chinese actress for the protagonist, Betty Suarez, has already been chosen.

Chen, however declined to talk more about the actress, only saying she is a new face and has potential in acting. Bigger stars are likely to cameo in the show, he added.

"Ugly Betty," portraying the life of an unglamorous woman, premiered on ABC in the United States in 2006, and won three awards at the following year's Primetime Emmy Awards. With its overwhelming success, several other countries have aired the show or yielded their own adaptations.

Chen Xiaodong says some modifications on the storyline are necessary to fit the Chinese audience. The playwright team is being led by Sheng Heyu, writer of Feng Xiaogang's hit film "The Banquet."

The Chinese adaptation boasts a budget of 150 million yuan (US$21 million). Shooting is slated to begin next month. It will have five seasons, or a total of 400 episodes.

(CRI March 11, 2008)

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