It’s no secret that South Korean television dramas have long been popular in China. Now, remade versions of Korean reality TV shows are also becoming immensely successful in the Middle Empire.
China’s Hunan TV earlier this month debuted Baba qu naer?, a remake of South Korean TV network MBC’s hit reality show Where are we going, Dad?, and has since become one of the most popular shows in the country both in ratings and following on social media.
The official account of the show on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, currently has more than a million followers and has logged nine million comments after just three shows broadcast. The three episodes also garnered almost five million views on Tudou, China’s answer to YouTube.
“A number of Korean dramas and entertainment programs have been embraced in China because they don’t conflict with Chinese culture and values,” Zang Zhi, a Chinese television director, told the South China Morning Post. “Japan exports a lot of cultural content, but Chinese viewers want sentimentality in entertainment programs and Japanese programs don’t have that warmth.”
In Baba qu naer?, five of China’s top celebrity dads spend 72 hours with their young children, competing various missions, such as cooking and finding ingredients for food in the countryside. The star-studded cast on the show includes actors Tian Liang, Jimmy Lin and Guo Tao, model Zhang Liang and director Wang Yuelun.
One reason the show has become successful is because Chinese celebrities are usually known for keeping their personal lives and family private. In the show, viewers can see “precious father-child moments and glimpses of famous dads disciplining their children.”
In 2003, Golden Bell Challenge became the first Korean reality show made into a Chinese version. But it wasn’t until last year when Hunan TV’s I Am a Singer, another remake, kicked off the popularity of Korean reality shows in China.
Chinese TV networks plan on expanding their importing and remaking of Korean shows, as Superstar China, a remake of Korea’s Superstar K, debuted earlier this year, while season 2 of I Am a Singer is scheduled for next year.