From the People’s Daily app.
And this is Story in the Story.
It is not often that Chinese television producers work with African media companies to produce any kind of program, let alone a dating show, but that is exactly what has happened and it has turned out to be quite a hit.
"Hello Mr Right" is a blind dating TV show in Kenya that is produced by Chinese digital television provider TopStar, a subsidiary of StarTimes. The Beijing-based company is now a media group with 10 million subscribers across 30 countries in Africa.
The company has a large base of young viewers and media networks across Africa. The company gave technical support for filming and production.
This is the first time a Chinese company cooperated with African local television stations to create a dating program.
"Hello Mr Right" will premiere in Kenya soon, after successful runs in Zambia.
The show presented some challengers for the Chinese TV providers, however, including addressing concerns about production in culturally conservative Africa.
Today’s Story in the Story looks at why the Chinese dating show becomes a hit in African countries.
A woman and a man find their match in the show "Hello Mr Right" in Kenya. (Photo: GT)
The show follows a simple format. Eight women stand in an arc, each behind a podium. A single man comes on the stage. A video clip introduces his background such as his occupation, interests, job, what he is looking for in a mate, and dating history.
Specially designed for Africa, men and women are given an opportunity both in the auditions and shooting to show off their talents with a dance or a song to warm things up. Women can decide if the man is ‘date-worthy' by keeping a light on or turning it off.
The hosts, content planning team and male and female guests are all from Africa. "We hope it to be a show grown in Africa, and for Africans," said Zhao Chengxu, the producer of the Chinese production team.
Zhao acknowledges that religious and cultural differences had to be taken into account. For this reason, "The Chinese production team provided support and guidance only at the technical level, leaving the local partners space to develop the content."
"We can only give suggestions such as 'simplify the program format,' because an overly complex process makes it harder for the audience to understand in the very first season," said Zhao.
The show, in cooperation with the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), was launched in Zambia earlier this year. A total of 25 male and 40 female guests from Lusaka, Livingston, Ndola, and Kitway participated, with a dream of finding their true love.
(File Photo: Web)
Deiz Nandako, a 21-year-old student at University of Nairobi, and Godfred Wafula, a 25-year-old restaurant waiter, had never imagined they could be shot by Cupid's arrow during the filming of "Hello Mr Right".
Nandako was full of anxiety and skepticism before the show.
"When I went there, there were so many beautiful ladies. I thought there is no chance for me. But at the end of the day, I was the one who was chosen, and I just thank God for that," she said.
Wafula quickly interrupted during the phone interview to reassure her. "Yes, I saw a lot of beautiful ladies as she said, but one thing caught my attention, her appreciation for what I do," he said.
"Africans fall in love and get married at a younger age than Chinese. Many young people in their early 20s participated in the auditions. The show is a new way for them to make friends and find potential dates," said Zhao.
Three Chinese appeared on the program in Zambia. They are all employees of Chinese companies based in Africa. Oscar, 28, came to work in Zambia in 2016. This Chinese man was looking forward to meeting some suitable African girls, or more new friends, to explore Zambian culture together.
He fired up the audience in the program with a performance of a Chinese Peking Opera selection. "I am not good at singing or dancing like other participants, I just wish to show my own characteristics," he said.
"Many were fascinated by the Chinese opera. They left messages for me, showing their curiosity and desire to know more about Chinese culture. That made me feel proud and satisfied, though I failed to find a girl on the show."
Brian Mulamba, the host of "Hello Mr Right" in Zambia, appreciates the bringing in of many Chinese advanced techniques and resources. "China's media and broadcasting industries are more mature than Zambia's, so this helps us to know the latest changes and trends for broadcasting and television," he said.
Since its debut in Zambia, the show has set a new record for the channel's best ratings. It received 3.11 percent of the audience in Uganda and 2.58 percent in Nigeria.
(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon, and Da Hang. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Global Times.)