CCTV New Year‘s Gala

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TheCCTV New Year‘s Gala (Chinese: 中国中央电视台春节联欢晚会;pinyin: Zhōngguó zhōngyāng diànshìtái chūnjié liánhuān wǎnhuì) is arguably the premier mainland Chinese television event of the year. It is an evening gala of the drama, dance, and song, which is broadcast on the eve ofChinese New Year, live onCCTV-1, and by satellite onCCTV-4 andCCTV-9. Because it is viewed by an estimated 700 million people on New Year‘s Eve every year, the CCTV New Year‘s Gala has become a cultural phenomenon beginning in the early 1990s in mainland China, and since then has become a necessity of New Year‘s nights.
1 History and significance2 Synopsis and features3 Eminent performers3.1 Guest appearances
4 See also5 References6 External links
[edit] History and significance
The first CCTV New Year‘s Gala was held in 1982. It was the successor to Beijing Television‘s irregular New Year‘s Eve broadcasts, dating back as far as 1956. In the 1982 show, a unique andlive New Year-related stage was set up at CCTV in Beijing, with performers in the arts, drama, dance, and song from all over the country. In 1983, the first annual Chinese New Year Celebration Evening Gala was held, and for every year since then at the turn of the Lunar New Year, the program begins at 8:00PM and lasts until roughly 12:30AM on the first day of the New Year. The program has become increasingly more expensive every year, and tends to be set on grander stages each time. The evolution of the New Year‘s Gala is almost representative of China‘s technological growth since 1983, with a significantly new look every five years or so. Research commissioned by China Television Research (CTR) in 2007 indicated that an estimated 93.6% of families watched the Gala on television.
The program has received extremely large audiences, which have grown significantly over the years. The CCTV New Year‘s Gala is currently the most watched annual Arts and Performance event anywhere in the world, and as such, its importance has reached over to political, economic, and ethical territory. As the Eve of Chinese New Year is a time where the family gathers, the typical situation involves a large 3-generation family gathered in front of their TV set while making dumplings for the first New Year‘s meal. The Gala adds a mood of celebration in the house as people laugh, discuss and enjoy the performance. It has become an ingrained tradition on Mainland China to watch the New Year‘s Gala on New Year‘s Eve, and the audience numbers over 700 million people (est.).
Rural areas that previously been unfamiliar with concepts such as television often holds great gatherings on New Year‘s Eve to watch the program. The CCP Government has often emphasized rural areas being able to receive the New Year‘s Eve Gala as a progress in their economic development.
In recent years, however, scandals and controversy arising from the gala has been brought to light. DirectorZhao An, who directed seven Galas before 2003, was sentenced to ten years in prison by a Beijing Court after it was made known that he had been involved with corruption in the programming. Because of the prestigious nature of the Gala and its potential to elevate someone to fame overnight, performers have made numerous personal or monetary sacrifices just to have an appearance on the Gala. In addition, the increase in commercialism in recent Gala productions have gathered criticism from the Chinese public. In 2007 the five-second countdown commercial at eight cost ¥5.75 millionRMB ($750,000 US) (Midea Group [zh:美的集团] sponsored the 8:00 countdown). In 2007 the gala was criticized on online Chinese forums, where it was labeled as lacking creativity and novelty.[1]
Other TV stations, some of which have gained prominence in recent years‘ Gala performances in their own right (notablyHunan TV) try to avoid the time clash between their New Year‘s gala with CCTV‘s by arranging them on the day before or after the New Year‘s Eve.[2]
The 2007 New Year‘s Gala also became infamous for its so-called "dark three minutes", where the six hosts,Zhu Jun,Zhou Tao,Li Yong,Dong Qing,Zhang Zequn andLiu Fangfei collectively got their lines wrong, setting the trigger to three minutes of chaos seen by hundreds of millions of people. Zhang Zequn was the first to read his lines incorrectly, obviously reciting the wrongchunlian, although the audience still applauded. Li Yong then mentioned the transition from the year bingxu (year of the dog) to dinghai (year of the pig) and a greeting to "mother comrades across the country" before being cut off by Zhu Jun‘s loud "The New Year is almost here!" Liu Fangfei, who was relatively new to the gala, then read a line that was obviously incomplete, and for a few seconds afterwards there was dead airtime. Zhou Tao tried following it up, only to be interrupted by Li Yong. Zhou then gave Li Yong an annoyed stare, obviously visible as the camera was focused on her. Zhu Jun then interrupted Li Yong again, only to be interrupted by Zhou Tao before the ten-second countdown began.[3] Host Zhang Zequn has since then apologized on his CCTV blog. The three minutes of mismanagement, along with the general dullness of the programming led some Chinese online forums to criticize the 2007 Gala as "the worst in 20 years", citingZhao Benshan‘s skit as the only bright point.
[edit] Synopsis and features
Although the show has evolved greatly since its creation, the basis by which the Gala is formed upon has remained largely consistent. The makers of the Gala tries to target all demographic groups, including programs obviously directed at a specific intended audience. The Gala has a few basic components that accompany it every year.
The show has four hosts, most of whom are CCTV regular programming hosts. There are an additional two hosts for the mobile hot-lines.
Skits (小品) has a focus oncomedy. They tend to portray typical New Year situations in all walks of life, and more or less reflects on society. Skits use enoughstage props to rally its message. While always funny, these usually attempt to convey a message such as unity, respect for the elderly, or education.
Xiangsheng (相声), the closest English equivalent of which is probablyStand-up comedy, also focuses on the element of comedy. It usually involves two people who feed off each other in what seems to be a conversation discussing a certain topic, but in other times could also be the basis for a skit without props.
Song andDance (歌舞) are regular occurrences, occupying every third or fourth program.Music of many genres are played, from traditional folk songs, to more modern, Chinese pop music. Every year, there will be a series of ethnic-related songs quickly fading in and out in succession (联唱), representing China‘s major minority ethnic groups, theMongols,Manchus,Hui,Tibetans,Uyghurs,Miao,Zhuang etc. Most songs are accompanied by dances, although there are also always dance performances without singing.
Acrobatics (杂技) is also a regular feature. During most years, there will bemagic tricks (魔术) at some point during the night, often involving non-Chinese magicians.
The emphasis on traditional Chinese arts performances likeChinese Opera (戏剧) has decreased over the years, with only a few appearances in recent years, mostly crammed into no more than 10 minutes of airtime. This was partly because CCTV-3 runs a simultaneous broadcast of a New Year‘s Gala entirely in Chinese opera performances. The categories featurePeking Opera,Yue Opera,Henan Opera, andSichuan Opera.
Since the early 1990s, the Gala has also contained subtle political enhancements. In at least one program every year, the Communist Party leaders are glorified in one way or another, to the background of a song. Displayed every year are images ofMao Zedong,Deng Xiaoping,Jiang Zemin, andHu Jintao. In recent years the entire line-up ofPolitburo Standing Committee members are displayed. A certain stress has been put onChinese reunification for many years. National unity is also constantly put into the mix. In recent years, a feature for every provincial TV station has been inserted to reflect regional differences and interests. Programming always includes performers fromHong Kong,Macau, andTaiwan, usually in songs, and their affiliation with any of these entities is always displayed on screen. In recent years, however, this trend has disappeared. Every year a performer from Taiwan will stress a message of "we‘re all Chinese".
In recent years hosts have also become part of the program, participating in xiangsheng or in skits.
Live phone and mobile lines open up every year during the hours of the Gala for the choosing of the audience‘s favourite program during the night. In recent years the numbers have been 168-99-999, and 160-996-996.
Seconds before midnight, the hosts lead a countdown to New Year‘s, ending with the knocking of the bell. Around an hour after midnight, the program ends withCan‘t Forget Tonight (难忘今宵).
[edit] Eminent performers
As the program is watched by more Chinese than any other, a performance in the New Year‘s Gala could propel a relatively unknown name into household talk and national celebrity overnight. The following people are often associated with the Gala:
Zhao Benshan;Gao Xiumin ;Fan Wei - skitsSong Dandan;Guo Da &Cai Ming - skitsChen Peisi ;Zhu Shimao - skitsFeng Gong andNiu Qun - xiangshengJiang Kun - xiangshengZhou Tao ;Zhu Jun;Ni Ping;Zhao Zhongxiang;Sang Yan;Wang Xiaoya;Li Yong - hostsCai Ming ;Guo Da - skitsDashan (stage name of Canadian Mark Rowswell), gained his fame through the GalaSong Zuying,Peng Liyuan; folk singers
[edit] Guest appearances
These performers have made appearances at the Gala:
S.H.E,Fei Yu-Ching,Jay Chou,Zhang Ziyi (2008) 2008 also featured a poem dedicated to the victims of the2008 Chinese winter storms with it read out loud to the audience by eminent performers, includingLi Ruiying,Kang Hui,Pu Cunxin,Wang Gang,Chen Daoming,Jiang Wen,Han Lei,Wei Wei andZhang GuoliAngela Chang,Jolin Tsai,David Tao (2007)Lin Junjie (2006)Jackie Chan (2005)Joey Yung (2005; 2007)Cui Yongyuan (1998, 2006)Andy LauRuby LinFei Xiang (1987)
[edit] See also
Dick Clark‘s New Year‘s Rockin‘ Eve
[edit] References
^Meizhou Daily: Is the Gala good? So many opinions.^CCTV gala gets mixed reactions^Chunwan screw-ups: Viewpoints and analysis: 春晚名嘴集体掌了自己嘴 孔庆东博客炮轰春晚
Pinyin converted withCozyChinese
[edit] External links
CCTV Official Website for the GalaBehind the Scenes: The CCTV New Year‘s GalaNew Year‘s Gala: Compilation of Songs from Baidu
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Categories:China Central Television |Chinese New Year |Chinese television