Youku's reality shows streaming to new heights

Xu Wei
Following the debut of "Go! Streamers," a variety show to foster the country's celebrity livestreamers and support homegrown brands, Youku has announced several new variety shows.
Xu Wei

Following the debut of “Go! Streamers,” a variety show to foster the country’s celebrity livestreamers and support homegrown brands, streaming platform Youku recently announced several new variety shows. Two original reality shows — “Shine! Super Brothers” and “Asia Super Young” — are creating a lot of buzz.

“Shine! Super Brothers,” which will air on Youku and Dragon TV in December, brings together 21 male celebrities from different generations to compete on stage. Among them will be members of the well-known pop bands “Little Tiger” and “Fahrenheit,” a musician known as the “piano prince,” young heartthrobs, crosstalk comedians and social media stars.

A live audience of 300 women will judge contestant’s song and dance performances, and determine which of the “brothers” will become members of a new super band that will tour China next spring. 

According to Jin Lei, the show’s chief director, the live audience will range in age from teenagers to women in their late 30s. From their own perspectives and aesthetics, they will witness the endeavors, growth and dreams of the “brothers” and select the ones who impress them most. 

“The 21 male stars of different ages and cultural backgrounds have one thing in common — bravely breaking stereotyped images and exploring untapped potential and new possibilities for their lives and careers,” said Jin. “Some of them have witnessed the development of China’s entertainment industry over several decades but still have the courage to make changes. Many are curious to know how women of different ages perceive them.”

Youkus reality shows streaming to new heights
Ti Gong

Director Jin Lei engages with the audience at Youku’s latest release-plan meeting.

In addition to singing and dancing, contestants will also take part in some outdoor sports challenges and racing games, so as to add some dramatic intensity of this show.

“Asia Super Young” is another major Youku production expected to draw a large audience. The show will feature heartthrobs between the ages of 18 and 24 from across Asia — including China, Japan, South Korea and Thailand — taking part in vocal, street dance and rap competitions. The winners will be members of a new idol band. 

Chinese hip-hop icon Gai, whose real name is Zhou Yan, will be the show’s rap mentor. He said he will encourage contestants to express themselves with new performance styles.

Contestants are also required to sing songs in a language different from their native tongue to present a fuse culture on the stage. So far, the show’s overseas copyrights have been sold to the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Thailand. 

Lu Wei, the show’s chief director, said a new company will be created to franchise the idol band that emerges and tap into its huge market potential.

“Members of the band will have many lucrative opportunities, including movies, television, music and advertising,” Lu said. “They will also have the chance to be image ambassadors for local cultural events in Asia.

The show is expected to debut on Youku and major Asian broadcasting and streaming platforms in January. 

Over the years, Youku has heavily invested in variety shows and produced an array of hits, including “Street Dance of China” and “Mars Intelligence Agency.” A franchise chain has been developed for these shows to nurture fans and promote Asian pop-culture fashion.

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