'Saturday Night Live' Format Comes to China, Seeks Local Comedians

Sohu CEO Charles Zhang P
Clifford Coonan

The video site already streams the U.S. version, but 'Saturday Night Live China' will be tailored to Chinese audiences.

Online video site Sohu.com is teaming up with Lorne Michaels' Broadway Video Entertainment to bring the Saturday Night Live format to China and will recruit comedians across the country in coming months.

China's online viewership is exploding, with 60 percent of the audience using smartphones and tablets to watch, and finding content to meet burgeoning demand has led to streaming sites getting into production, often by buying formats.

"SNL, which combines the best elements of live music and sketch comedy, will be a refreshing new option for Chinese viewers," Sohu said in a statement.

The deal is the latest in a series of deals by Sohu offering legitimate content on the online TV and movie market in China, which is the world's largest Internet market with 649 million users.