Chinese Reality Television Rules Would Destroy American TV

China's guidelines for reality shows would keep American favorites off the air. 


The Chinese government’s Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television has released a new circular that draws the foul lines for the people’s reality programming. Showrunners are directed to avoid “vulgar behavior, vanity, and money worship” and encouraged to reinforce healthy, socialist values. The tone of shows, according to Beijing, should be inspiring right from the cold open, deeply moralistic, and never divisive. Essentially, China’s reality shows can’t do any of the things American reality shows do every week.

Reading the circular, it’s impossible to not wonder whether a single U.S. show could pass this litmus test. We started going through the list and, well, the answer might surprise you.

But it probably won’t.

Duck Dynasty

No Peking Duck.


Whatever you think of the Robertson clan’s values, the simple fact that the show is about a business and, therefore capitalism, which would keep it from the airwaves. Of all the reality stars, it feels like Duck Dynasty’s would most consider this an achievement.

American Idol

You can still rock in America. 


The kid’s pursuit of fame and fortune would fly in the face of the Chinese dictum, and the ban on celebrities who’ve ever used drugs would eliminate most pop star singing coaches.

19 Kids and Counting

Nope nope nope nope nope.



The Bachelor

Too hot for China. 


Maybe if every season ended with a state-mandated wedding? This one fails on vanity and lust.

Antiques Roadshow

Making money on dead relatives’ stuff is the most capitalist thing a 50-year-old adjunct professor can do.

Man vs. Wild

Great bamboo usage. Makes the cut.

Related Tags