- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Hundreds of millions of viewers tuned in Sunday evening for the annual Chinese New Year television gala presented by China Central Television (CCTV), despite the show missing one of its mainstays and top stars.
Veteran actor Zhao Benshan, 53, whose comedy pieces with actress Song Dandan were an annual and anticipated part of China’s biggest TV event, announced earlier this week he would not participate due to health reasons.
Even without Zhao, the show went on, and featured local star power including singers Faye Wong, American-born Wang Lee-hom and Chinese piano virtuoso Yundi Li.
Part Super Bowl, part Yule Log and part nationalist rally, the four-hour variety program provides the backdrop and entertainment for the Chinese New Year — called Spring Festival locally — traditional dinner, eaten during the final hours of the lunar year. The show is statecaster CCTV’s most watched annual program, with advertising preceding the show — the gala is aired live and commercial-free — racking up millions of yuan in revenue.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Justin Roiland Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed by Orange County District Attorney
The Stories Behind Whitney Houston’s Unreleased Gospel Songs: “She Left Healing Music for the World”
Mindy Kaling, Bruce Springsteen, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Among Honorees of White House’s National Medals of Arts
Ed Sheeran Goes on Intimate Journey in New Disney+ Docuseries ‘Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All’
Mark Twain Prize
Adam Sandler’s Starry Friends Toast His Comic Legacy as He Receives Mark Twain Humor Prize