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He’s produced or directed three Academy Award shows, two Olympics opening ceremonies, several Super Bowl halftime shows and the Obama Inaugural Celebration in Washington, D.C., in 2009. Now he’s going to China — and he’s hoping to bring some of Hollywood with him.
Veteran live-show producer Don Mischer has signed on to oversee a revamp of China’s Huading Awards, a vote-based show that honors top Chinese talent in athletics and entertainment.
Established in 2007 by Beijing-based media company Global Talents Media Group, the Huading Awards are held several times throughout the year at various Chinese locations, feting stars in all fields. Mischer is currently prepping an event to be held in Macau in October, which will celebrate talent from film, TV, dance and music, according to an interview he gave to the Wall Street Journal blog China Real Time Report. Mischer said he then plans to work with Global Talents to bring the Huading show to Los Angeles in May 2014.
One of Hollywood’s most experienced hands at producing televised gala events, Mischer said it was the freedom of the China project that attracted him.
“Most television has become kind of bottom-line business, where it’s profits and commercials that make the difference,” he told the Journal. “Now I have an opportunity to work on a project I can take real pride in.”
He also said he expects to lure some Hollywood talent over for the Macau show but added that it’s too early to reveal prospective or planned appearances.
“Everyone — movie stars and musical artists — in L.A. that I work with wants to establish a connection with their fans in China,” Mischer said. “You now find a lot of American films have premieres in China, like Iron Man, even before we can watch them in America.”
On July 12 in Beijing, Global Talents unveiled details of its plans to upgrade the awards show, saying it intends to bring the Huading Awards to South Korea, Singapore, the U.K., Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, South Africa, Switzerland, Spain, Brazil, Italy and Japan over the course of the next decade.
It won’t be Mischer’s first time working in the booming Chinese entertainment sector. In 1997, he produced the handover ceremony celebrating the official return of Hong Kong to China from British colonial rule — a highly significant occasion for the Chinese government, and a credit that no doubt puts the producer in good stead with the country’s ruling elite.
Live shows and spectacles have garnered a wildly uneven reputation in China. The Spring Festival gala produced by CCTV during the Chinese Lunar New Year usually runs upwards of four hours. It’s the most watched event on the Chinese broadcasting calendar, but in recent years many viewers have taken to social media to complain of being bored.
The 2008 Beijing Olympics ceremony, meanwhile, is regarded globally as one of the most awe-inspiring live events ever mounted.
Professional admiration appears to also be part of Mischer’s eastward endeavor. “I don’t think there would ever be an opening ceremony done again that would have the skill and the precision that the Beijing 2008 opening ceremony had,” he said. “Beijing was really committed to this.”
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