China all set to make 'Friends'

BEIJING: The sitcom Friends may be in its last season but Joey and the gang are all set to be introduced to the worlds largest television audience.


The Chinese state broadcaster, China Central Television, will begin broadcasting the popular NBC sitcom next year. A report in the Beijing Star Daily newspaper has stated that in Chinese, the show will be called Laoyouji meaning "Old Friends' Story." In India the show airs on Zee English and Star World.

The report adds that the show is already popular in China. Pirates are making a killing of counterfeit DVDs of various Friends seasons. They cost less than $6 and sell well along with fake copies of Hollywood blockbusters.

CCTV has already experienced enormous success with HBO's war miniseries Band of Brothers. Besides Friends CCTV had reviewed 24 (airs in India on AXN) and The West Wing (airs in India on Zee English). However due to the delicate political environment of those shows the broadcaster is expected to refuse them.

Another report in the Beijing Youth Daily indicates that CCTV reaches over 84 per cent of the total population of China. Importing popular foreign television shows is one of many CCTV strategies to boost ratings among younger audiences.

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