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Hit drama seeks new home on an American TV channel

Updated: 2013-03-25 10:02
By Liu Yuhan in New York (China Daily)

Hit drama seeks new home on an American TV channel

The Legend of Zhen Huan features Chen Jianbin and Sun Li playing Emperor Yong Zheng and his concubine Zhen Huan. Provided to China Daily

A popular Chinese TV drama is seeking a US channel to air its English-language version of the show and increase its audience for the saga of love and intrigue in imperial China.

Cao Ping, producer of The Legend of Zhen Huan, says several cable channels have expressed interest.

The Legend of Zhen Huan, about the machinations of an emperor's concubines during the Qing Dynasty (16441911) has been a hit in China since it debuted in 2012.

In addition to the Chinese mainland, where it earned a 10 percent share of the TV-watching audience in its time slot, the show has drawn big audiences in Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan. In one month, it racked up 2.4 billion views on various online platforms.

"We have not decided which channel will show the English version in the US, but the collaboration will not be limited to American channels. We want it to be global," Cao says.

The producer says a production company in the United States with a number of Asian-Americans on its staff will re-edit the 76 episodes into six miniseries-like installments and update the soundtrack. Additionally, some of the scenes will be reshot with the original cast members and dubbed into English, rather than use subtitles.

After its initial run, The Legend of Zhen Huan was shown on some US-based Chinese-language cable channels. One was SinoVision, which serves about 1 million Chinese-speaking viewers in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

"It was such a success, and it was among the highest-rated TV dramas we've imported from the Chinese mainland," says Xiang Lingling, from SinoVision's programming department.

"We got phone calls from people who missed an episode and asked for updates, and from those who requested information for costumes. We even got an American asking for subtitles."

Hit drama seeks new home on an American TV channel

Hit drama seeks new home on an American TV channel

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