Survival shows will soon be a thing of the past now that iQiyi and other platforms have announced they will be cancelling its upcoming lineup of survival reality shows. With the industry trying to clean up its act after so many scandals as of late and with the platform’s very own milk pouring incident fresh on people’s minds, iQiyi – producer of the popular Youth With You series, has already declared its own plans to move away from its survival show voting model.
In a recent symposium held by the China Television Artists Association to discuss illegal and unethical actions pervading the industry with regards to fandom culture, flow stars, yin yang contracts and pay gaps, iQIYI CEO Gong Yu who is also the director of the China Television Artists Association declared that “iQiyi and other platforms have always insisted on drawing a clear line against unhealthy industry trends, unfair pay gaps and tax evasion. Idol talent shows and off-site voting will also be cancelled in the next few years.” The move goes hand in hand with the government’s own efforts to clean up fandom culture which has increasingly grown toxic as evidenced in the recent fan wars that saw Weibo imposing a large scale ban on several fan accounts this week.
You may remember that the third season of iQiyi’s Youth With You ended on a sour note after the show was unceremoniously pulled off air. Turns out it was the now infamous clip that caught fans dumping perfectly good but unwanted milk they’ve purchased for the sole purpose of getting the QR codes to vote for their favourite idols which ultimately caused the show’s demise. It’s behaviour like this that the move hopes to address. Likewise, building a voting model that’s highly dependent on “high traffic” popularity also poses a risk on developing “real” talent, particularly for trainees who are highly capable and train hard, but whose opportunities are cut short because they’re not popular enough.
iQiyi’s Youth With You and Tencent’s Chuang 2021 series served as a great venue in providing young rookies a stage to shine that cancelling it seems to be a bit counterproductive and sad really. However, an overhaul of the process does sound necessary. With the industry still a long way from fixing any of its problems soon, the question remains whether this spells the end of talent shows. It’ll definitely be interesting to see its evolution though if they do decide to bring it back.