Adviser calls for safer TV reality shows

Ke Jiayun
Shows requiring participants to face challenges that could be dangerous or are extremely difficult should be assessed before filming, city's top political advisory body is told. 
Ke Jiayun

TV reality shows requiring participants to survive in the wild or face challenges involving great difficulty or danger should undergo a safety assessment first before being filmed, according to a proposal by local adviser Yao Jianjian at the ongoing annual session of city's top political advisory body.

Yao said reality shows were booming in China. Dragon TV's “Go Fighting!,” a show where people complete missions at a landmark to win, had proved very popular with young people. Zhejiang Satellite TV and Hunan Satellite TV introduced South Korean shows “Running Man” and “Where Are We Going, Dad," which both won a favorable reception.

However, to attract the audience, the activities in these shows were getting more and more dangerous, he said. What participants were being asked to do were no longer simple items such as jogging, diving and outward bound activities but triathlons and wildness survival.

One tragedy was the death of Taiwanese-Canadian model-actor Godfrey Gao. On November 27 last year, the 35-year-old collapsed when filming “Chase Me,” a reality series produced by Zhejiang Satellite TV which pits celebrities against amateur contestants in a variety of outdoor physical challenges, such as climbing high buildings, endurance races and rope-gliding. It was later announced that he had died from sudden heart failure.

Yao says several factors led to security problems. There was not enough supervision given to the filming of reality shows and no specified standards set for these shows' security evaluation and management. The participants were also mainly pop stars, actors and models instead of professionals and were people with often not enough related safety knowledge and awareness.

He is suggesting setting up a system of safety assessment and strict rules for such reality shows with those failing tests prohibited from filming.

A safety responsibility system should also be established to make it clear who should which responsibility. Medics, security teams and facilities should be provided at the scene in case of emergencies.

Producers, entertainment companies and actors should all be trained in basic security knowledge and skills with more professionals being introduced into the shows.

Actors should receive health checks before participating in challenging sports activities.

Related certificates are needed as well as tough supervision, according to Yao’s proposal.

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