Chinese Reality TV- A Case Study of GDTV’s The Great Challenge for Survival
Luo, W. (2011). Chinese Reality TV- A Case Study of GDTV’s The Great Challenge for Survival (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5352
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5352
The emergence of reality programming has a parallel development with Chinese television media at the beginning of this century. This study of Chinese “Reality TV” is based on a case study of a pioneer Chinese reality production, namely The Great Challenge for Survivor (GDTV, 2000-2006). The general concern of this thesis is an examination of the localizing of popular foreign outdoor survival formats (the Japanese top-rating Airway Boys and the international format Survivor) within a Chinese context. The study of this subject consists of field research into a major Party-state owned television broadcaster and a comparative analysis of the six broadcast seasons of the selected example. The research outcome presented here highlights some distinctive Chinese patterns in the outdoor survival reality strand prevailing early in this century and articulates the complex roles that a nationalized television station was required to play in the industrialized reform era. By recognizing the GDTV crew’s continuous efforts to improve production quality and to satisfy their assumed audiences’ needs, the thesis further addresses some key factors of the specific institutional system and broad media environment shaping local reality programme makers' decision making. Facing a “special television zone” in China, the local producer’s continuous modification of their reality programming was on the cutting edge of commercialization and globalization in the early 2000s. The production of the studied case was an exploratory enterprise which involved a set of negotiations, arguments and compromises while dealing with a range of issues which emerged in such areas as the cultural landscape, social environment, political discourse and economic power. To a large extent, the manifested transition taking place in this studied local production mirrors unprecedented social and economic changes occurring in contemporary China.
University of Waikato
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