It is estimated that over 50 cultural shows featuring ancient Chinese poetry, historical artifacts, old handicraft and celebrity letters were aired on TV and online in 2017. Most of them won high acclaim from audiences.
Compared with star-studded reality shows with copyrights purchased from abroad, cultural shows are more original because they feature unique Chinese aspects. At a time when the former is losing popularity, the latter, based on China's 5,000 years of history, has a great opportunity for development.
In order to attract audiences, these cultural shows have created dazzling stage effects and invited big names from different spheres to participate. But the charm of traditional culture is the essential ingredient for their success.
More young people are drawn to such shows. For instance, the majority audience for China Central Television's National Treasures is between the ages of 20 and 25. The 27-episode series showcased 27 historical artifacts from nine museums across China and presented the story behind each item in a short stage performance.
Tian Chuan, producer of The Legacy of China, a show promoting Peking Opera launched in March on Beijing TV, said his program doesn't target middle-aged and elderly people who already know about opera.
The shows have tapped into the contemporary relevance of traditional culture in order to promote its dissemination. Emotions such as the aspiration for a better life, love for one's family and country and awe of life are still relevant today.
A China Central Television's program where songs written from ancient Chinese poetry are performed by people from different walks of life is also striking a chord with young audiences.
(This is an edited excerpt of an article published in Oriental Outlook on April 26)