China video site: US TV show ban not policy change

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 28, 2014 at 7:39 am •  Published: April 28, 2014
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BEIJING (AP) — The boss of a Chinese online video site said Monday he believes the sudden banning of four American TV shows does not represent a wider trend, though it's unclear why the shows were targeted.

The government's broadcast regulator issued a surprise order last week to online streaming companies to stop showing sitcom "The Big Bang Theory," political and legal drama "The Good Wife," crime drama "NCIS" and legal drama "The Practice." The first two are particularly popular with the young online audience.

"Give me back Sheldon," referring to the socially inept physicist on "The Big Bang Theory," was a popular refrain among social media users angry at the show's disappearance. Other users said the bans still wouldn't make them go back to watching surreal wartime dramas on state television.

"I believe it's a stand-alone event and it does not represent the policy trend or change toward American TV shows," Charles Zhang, Soho CEO and founder, said on a conference call.

Nasdaq-listed Sohu, which was the first Chinese online video site to license American TV shows, had rights to show two of the programs.

Zhang said Monday he had no explanation for the order and no comment on the possible reason. He said he didn't know if the ban will be temporary or permanent.

Adding to the mystery, a media and translation agency said Monday it was subtitling "The Big Bang Theory" for the state broadcaster, China Central Television.

An employee of Beijing-based CBM said they were translating the show and would return it to CCTV with captions in Chinese. The employee only gave his surname, Li, and referred to a statement posted on the company's website earlier this month that said the translation of "The Big Bang Theory" was under way and would be shown soon on CCTV.

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