China to Limit TV Dramas to 40 Episodes
After months of consideration, China’s media regulators have finally decided on shortening the length of Chinese television dramas.
The National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA), the main agency that overlooks the country’s broadcasting entities, announced this month that several new regulations have been placed on television dramas, effectively immediately. One regulation is that television dramas are not allowed to exceed 40 episodes. Another regulation puts a limit on how much actors can be paid for their roles.
Over the years, the Chinese television industry has seen a jump in television dramas with exceedingly long lengths, averaging at least 50 episodes per show. Most of these extra episodes act as filler to fill up the runtime.
Regulators hope that this new restriction will help improve the quality of TV dramas.
A discussion on shortening television drama lengths was first put on the table in September 2019, when an insider leaked to the press that the agency was considering on shortening drama lengths to 40 episodes.
Netizens are divided over the new regulations, though many support the new rule. Despite long dramas such as the 73-episode The Story of Minglan <知否？知否？应是绿肥红瘦> and the 70-episode Story of Yanxi Palace <延禧攻略> have found success in the last few years, length was never a contributor to a drama’s popularity. Hit series like 1998’s My Fair Princess <還珠格格> had only 24 episodes and 2011’s Scarlet Heart <步步惊心> had only 35.
The new regulation, which will be put into action immediately, may affect dramas that are already in production or waiting for broadcast this year, including Huang Xiaoming’s (黄晓明) Winter Begonia <鬓边不是海棠红>, Zanilia Zhao’s (赵丽颖) Legend of Fei <有翡>, and Yang Mi’s (杨幂) Thank You Doctor <谢谢你医生>, all with over 40 episodes.
This article is written by Addy for JayneStars.com.