Taiwan Tunes Out of TV

Low investment and lax regulations threaten the long-term survival of the domestic television industry.

The News Lens
Date: 2016/10/05
By: Matthew Fulco

In January, the celebrated Taiwanese talk show Here Comes Kangxi went off the air after 12 seasons.

Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

Driven by the witty banter between hosts Dee Hsu “Little S” (徐熙娣) and Kevin Tsai (蔡康永), the program was one of the most popular talk shows in Taiwan during its time on the air. It had more than a million Facebook fans and won numerous Golden Bell Awards – the Taiwanese Emmys. Here Comes Kangxi also gained a strong following in China and Hong Kong over the years, making its hosts household names throughout Greater China.

Twelve seasons is a long time for any television program, but there’s more to the show going off the air than that timespan. It’s the latest chapter in the long-term decline of Taiwan’s television sector, which has been steadily losing its producers, hosts, actors, and viewers – in many cases to China. “There’s a bit of a brain drain occurring,” says Ming-Yeh Rawnsley (蔡明燁), a professor at the Centre of Taiwan Studies at London’s School of Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS). The trend dates to the early 2000s, but has accelerated in recent years, she adds.

In October 2015, Taiwanese media reported that China’s Hunan TV had plans to make Kevin Tsai a top host at the station, for whom he was co-hosting the talk show U Can Bibi. Tsai reportedly is paid NT$20 million to host two episodes a week. As a result, he can earn more in one season working for Hunan TV than he did in a dozen years hosting Here Comes Kangxi.     [FULL  STORY]

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