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  • 1. MEDC 5360 Commonly found barriers when adapting foreign TV shows in VN MEDC 5360DEC 3, 2011 IN THIS ISSUEI-Introductionby Ken Bui Nowadays, International Communication Research Methoddeals a lot with flow of media content,especially entertainment from one country The report hand picks two world famousto another. The early success of globalization Western franchises which has been a provedand initial forming of global village gives success with so many awards and fanssome people a tempted conclusion that the around the world: America’s Idol and American Idolworld is moving towards a uni-culture where America’s Next Top Model to have an in-  Concept: Search for the stars!everybody speaks and enjoys the same depth observation to their common“language”. This is not always the case. The troublesome journey when being adapted to  Awards: Won 6 Primetime Emmys.report herein provides a look in the Vietnam market. Another 34 wins & 92 nominationsadaptation process of famous TV shows from The data to support comes from  Seasons: 11the West to the East (Vietnam) in an effort toillustrate the challenging road to connect to Source #1: Format review. Show formats are  Show status in Vietnam: Season 3world audience nowadays audited for areas of modifications that couldVietnam media market is in its booming explain the positive and negative fanstage as a result of globalization. This was feedbacksmarked by the development of cable TV andemerging show business. People in Vietnam Source #2: Collecting public feedback, thisnow have daily access to Western TV shows. include press information and also individualAfter a while, it is a fact that not every viewers’ opinion (via web survey)foreign show is a guaranteed success. Somewins, some loses miserably. Depending on Report Structureperspective, some frequent questions areasked: What could stop the power of The report is followed by the formatWestern cultural imperialism? What does it America’s Next Top Modeltake to be successful in todays  Original Show review  Concept: Become the next “it” girlentertainment market? No matter what side  Adapted Show reviewreaders belong to, the report could lend  Evaluation  Awards Won 5 and 25 nominations a useful insight by identifying “ commonly u  Seasons : 18found barriers when adapting foreign TVshows” in Vietnam market.  Show status in Vietnam: Season 2
  • 2. II-Original show reviewAmerican Idol Show essence: “It takes only one day to change your lives” American Idol is all about a journey of self- realization and transformation. In a way, American Idol has a two in one offer- the dramatic function of a soap opera and realistic function of a reality show. Let’s have a look at past 10 American Idol. Excerpt from American Idol’s official website: Before AMERICAN IDOL, Lee DeWyze worked as a paint store clerk in Mt. Prospect, moved onto the final Hollywood round. If the Following each performance episode, a IL. Kris Allen was a college student from performance was not up to par, the results show airs that reveals the breakdown Conway, AR. David Cook tended bar in Blue contestant would have one more chance to of the voting publics decision. The most Springs, MO. Chris Daughtry was a service impress the judges before the final round. popular contestants are not typically advisor at a car dealership in Greensboro, For the first time, contestants were allowed revealed (although they have been in very NC. Carrie Underwood lived on a farm in to perform with a musical instrument if they rare cases), but the bottom three least Checotah, OK. Jennifer Hudson was a cruise so desired. popular contestants are typically called to ship performer from Chicago, IL. Kelly the center of the stage. From the bottom Clarkson was a waitress from Dallas, TX. Semifinals three, the bottom two are revealed, until finally the contestant who received the Format From season four to seven, the semifinals lowest amount of votes is eliminated from were cut down to twenty-four contestants the competition. A montage of the Hollywood Ticket Round: who were divided by gender in order to contestants experience is played and they ensure an equal division in the top twelve. give their final performance. Idols tour some key cities and offer tickets to The men and women would sing on Hollywood (next round) for qualified hopefuls sequential nights and the bottom two would be eliminated from each group on the results show until the top twelve finalists were left. In the finale, one remaining contestant is declared the winner. The winner is **Note: announced at the following results show. The winner receives a one million (US) dollar In season eight, the semifinals will go back to record deal with a major label, and is the basic form of the first three seasons. managed by American Idol-related 19 There will be thirty-six semifinalists who are Management. In some cases, other finalists then divided into three semifinal groups. The have also been signed by the shows three finalists with the highest number of management company (who has first option Americas votes, one male, one female and to sign contestants) and received record the next top vote getter, will advance to the deals with its major label partner. finals. The Wildcard round will also return with the judges choosing three previously Hollywood (Theater) Round: eliminated contestants to advance to the finals. The contestants perform on different days, with dramatic eliminations by the judges on Finals each day. In the finals, each finalist performed a song Starting in the 2008 season, the structure of weekly theme (two songs in later rounds) at the Hollywood round was revamped. There CBS Television City in Los Angeles in front of were no longer musical group rounds (the a live studio audience. Themes have included group round was reintroduced in the 2009 Motown, disco, big band music, and season); rather, the contestants would sing Billboard #1 hits. .the finalists have a chance on the first day and if the judges felt the to work with that artist in preparing their performance was adequate, the contestant performances.
  • 3. ONLINE VOTING plays a key role HIGHLIGHTS in successful adaptation of Idol franchiseMCRyan Secreast, famous DJ/anchor for Fox, has beenMC for Idols since season 1. He fits the profile listed in Key success factor According to Fremantle Medias formatformat bible bible, the Idol franchise contains four The majority of factors which form the core value essential components of the show lie in its personnel, which are, the MC, judge and contestants - A specific look in set design, color, logos, sequence of events, role of 1- The MC host(s) and judges, lighting and camera angles, et cetera Below are role of MC define in the Bible: The perfect host for Idol should be slightly - Contracting audience members/ more interesting than vanilla…Fashionable contestants for the actual TV but not like he’s trying to upstage anyone. program Funny but not necessarily a comedian. Confident but not necessarily cocky. He - Basing the elimination of should be like a good child; speak when contestants on telephone vote spoken to and recognize his place in the family. This show is first and foremost - Interactive online forumJudges about the singers and then about theFrom Season 1-6, Idols have a judge panel of 3 including judges, and maybe if we’re lucky after that,Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson. Since and we have time, it should be about theseason 8, the format introduces the fourth judge to add host (as quoted in Gillis, 2003; emphasis inmore spice to the show. the original) 2- The Judges The judges’ panel is carefully picked to play their designed role. There are three (four) judges with different characters and functions. One female judge will provide comfort, the other provides technical AE is known for its daring contestants.. feedback but neutral, and the final one is super critical and harsh. The most difficultSeason 9, marks the retirement of Paola. one usually is the lead judge (Simon CowellSeason 11 says good bye to Simon to welcome a whole Season 1-10)new band of judges that includes Jennifer Lopez, Rockstar Steven Tyler and Ellen Degenerous 3- The contestants They are the utmost stars of the show, nothing should change this. The contestants should reflect the mission of the show-telling a compelling story of transformation, overcoming obstacles and come home a changed person … who never stop pushing the envelope
  • 4. Critics against American Idol II-Original show review America’s Next Top ModelAlthough the Idol series success is longlived, it doesn’t mean it did not receiveany critics at all industry experts. In addition to the regular judges, usually there is a specialAmong the frequent anti-comments are guest judge related to that weeksthe followings. This point out what Show Essence: theme. Contestants are sometimesAmerican Idol is missing given a final challenge in some area of Americas Next Top Model chronicles the transformation of everyday young modeling such as posing, runwayShould base more on vocal talents: women into potentially fierce walking, selling a product, or choosing supermodels. Fourteen participants will an appropriate outfit or makeup toAmerican Idol did not judge on singing live together and vie for the incredible satisfy a given situation. Eachtalent alone, but based on the contestants photo, or videocontestant’s overall entertainment grand prize: an opportunity to be managed by Wilhelmina Models, a performance, is then shown andabilities fashion spread in Seventeen magazines, evaluated by the panel. After all photos and a $100,000 contract with Cover Girl have been evaluated, the contestantsProfessional coaches/judges: Cosmetics leave the room and the judges deliberateOne of the complaints in regard to the The show’s famous slogan: Are youAmerican Idol judges was that they Key success factors ready to be on TOP?weren’t always professional singersthemselves Format  A powerful host: the show is hosted by Tyra Bank, theBlind auditions Each "Cycle" of the show consists of 9– creator and executive producer 18 episodes and starts with 10–25 herself. As a big name in worldIn order to ensure that the contestants contestants. In each episode one stage, Tyra’s fame lendsare judged on voice alone during the contestant is eliminated, though in rare credibility to the showauditions, in other shows, the judges sit cases there may be a double elimination  A “bitch” character amongwith their backs to the stage and make or no elimination at all, based on the contestants: the rule of 13their selections without ever actually consensus of the judging panel young girls living together is theseeing the contestant. set up for a drama-packed Each episode usually begins with the scenario where contrastingLess wacko contestants receiving training in an area personality come to climax concurrent with the weeks theme  Internal scandals as seeds forAmerican Idol was well known for social media buzz: the show is Each episode, which covers the events ofsharing some of its audition scenes with full of gossip which created roughly one week of real time, is usuallythose who were seeking lime-light flames for free publicity, associated with a theme in the world ofwithout any true talent to back it up attracting more young viewers modeling, such as dealing with the press in interviews, selling a commercialDual competition Critics against ANTM product, appearing in a runway show, or visiting prospective employers in "go Despite its continued success withAmerican Idol limited its contestants to sees". Each episode typically features a season 18 on the way, ANTM receivedsolo acts fashion challenge. quite harsh critics. Below are someCurrent stars outstanding comments The next segment is usually a photoThis was something American Idol never shoot, Performance in each weeks ANTM "hasnt exactly produced anyhad. The argument is Paola Abdul and photo or video shoot is typically weighed actual supermodels." (Allure Magazine)Steven Tyler was way over their prime. quite heavily in the final judging, photo shoot or commercial, critique of each "always espousing empowerment and contestants performance by the judging female strength and then forcing the panel, and the elimination of one or contestants into embarrassing scenarios more contestants far outside the realm of real-life modeling." (Yahoos "Shine" lifestyle The final segment of each episode website) involves judging by a panel of fashion
  • 5. VN IDOL RECAP III-Vietnam adaptation review Trio Judges Season 1 Vietnam Idol In this part, we look into problems that arise Anh tended to throw provocative during the adaptation of the show format comments on a frequent basis, which in a into the local context way steal the attention away from the show. Rather than building him a1- “Unentertaining” lame performances confident and elegant figure, Phan Anh chose to become somewhat a seasoned Audience constantly experience feeling rock star which goes against the show of being embarrassed rather than spirit in the first place entertained. Most Hollywood ticket Left to right, SIu Black, Tuan Khanh, Ha Dung round performance are just pure lame, There is no comparison with original not “cute”, which kills audience’s version’s MC, Ryan Seacrest in terms of Trio Judges season 2 attention to the show very early professionalism or appropriateness2- Controversial comments from Judges 4- Lack of powerful “wow” performance Even when we got to Theater and Final In all three seasons, judge panel never rounds, audience can’t feel satisfied with stop receiving harsh critics from public, the actual acclaimed “transformation” who believe they never before seen such from the Idols themselves. Considering to kind of comment before. Among popular many other singing contest at the same critics includes time and in the past, the performance really fall short Thanh: 10/09/2010 07:19:30 PM 5- Online voting irregularities Họ không nhận ra nhiều lời nói của họ thể hiện sự thiếu suy nghĩ, không tôn trọng Right on the first season, audience has Left to right, Manh Tuan, S.Black, Ho Hoai Anh bản thân họ (lack of self respect for raised questions about the fairness of the themselves and for contestants..) show. It happens with the accusation of Trio Judges season 3 Myhuong: false counting. This request an BGK Lớn hết rồi... mà cứ như trẻ con... emergency audit by Nhận xét thì lại thiếu tôn trọng thí sinh ... A public auditor from the Singaporean Theo tôi BGK như zậy là ko xứng auditing firm Paul Hooi & Co during the đ|ng....Cần xem lại c|i th|i độ của Grand Finale mình đấy....Mỗi lần xem là tôi bực BGK ghê đấy...(they are adults but acting like 6- New Media fail to catch up buzz chidren, they are not qualified for being judges, they need to reconsider their 7- Change of TV broadcast channel season attitudes) after season This is a sign of a problematic show. The What happen in Vietnam Idol, which show struggles to find itself a stable audience never saw in American Idol is, channel for airing. First season was aired Left to right, Quoc Trung, Siu Black, NQ Dung they changed judge panel every season. on HTV7, the next one on HTV9, and the The only person that maintains the role is latest season was shown on VTV6. Host Siu Black. She was presumed to play the Notably, the channel resilience and role of the much loved Paula Abdul. Siu prestige also descend in that order. Black is a singer herself and famous for having a strong personality but somehow in the show she plays the comforting judge role dz3- Malfunctioning host Despite what we know early about how a Master of Ceremony should perform in Idol series, a supporting role rather than the shining star himself. Vietnam Idol proves the opposite. MC season 2, Phan Phan Anh
  • 6. progress claims three girlsIII-Vietnam adaptation review mentioned earlier would pay about $714.000 (15 billions VND) due toVietnam’s Next Top Model contract violation which is supposed to be the Not only the contestant but the main objective judge themselves can’t keep When being adapted to Vietnam, America’s secrets as well. first season head Next Top Model travel even bumpier road. judge Hà Anh has showed the Protested feedback includes They earn the “golden hour” but receive one intention to file lawsuit regarding comment from Judge Do Manh of the harshest critics from public in recent her privacy of tweeting online Cuong towards contestant Nguyen years since the booming of game show and Hoang Oanh upon her leaving the reality format Aside from information leaking, the show for accused cheating in her resume other common abuse found in the Below are some recaps of the troubles faced show is contestants’ fake identity by production team and background. The original show “I am so disappointed with contestant Hoang Oanh..she is about finding pure beauty who 1. Recruitment failure desires to become successful in this behaved like an uneducated..she thought she is Number 1…I hereby super competitive profession they Right in the first seasons, the show announce she will not ever gain a never experience before. However, has to cope with serious casting when adapting to Vietnam, the issue. The original judge panel position in my shows..Consider this a warning…I never say this before, show attracts a great deal of under includes Singer/international model the radar models who wants and hope not to ever have to say this Nathan Lee, international female again..” another boost into their current model Elizabeth Thủy Tiên and fashion career. Producers and judge did a designer Hoàng Ngân. They were terrible job of scanning shooting halfway through the show 4. Concerns about judge’s contestant’s profiles, which lead to before being trashed and replaced by eligibility belated disqualification which total new panels. This delayed the Given the profession’s upset audience and made the show launch of Vietnam Next Top model and completive nature, a huge messy creates a negative impression from amount of concern regarding audience judge’s validity has been shown. 2. Conflicts among judges and Aside from Ha Anh, a well show producers known Vietkieu Model, who has It was later revealed the solid experience in catwalk in departure of the former judges New York, London,etc, the was not based on mutual other judges from season 1 consent. The producers accuse does not gain trust from Nathan Lee for unprofessional contestants given their behaviors and inappropriate background conducts towards show host Duc Hai, replacement judge is Elizabeth Thuy Tien purely known for his role in In his defense Nathan Lee told Xuan Lan- Vietnam’s Tyra Banks some TV series, not for his press he just hold different modeling career perspective about how the Huy Vo, the second show should be executed, replacement judge was found which lead to their unresolvable out later to only be a student conflict Fashion Design Institute at the time of production 3. Inappropriate comments from Judges 5. Contest violation Vietnam Next Top Model Another never before seen launched 2 years after incidence in Vietnam Game American Idol but soon catch show business was again visible up in terms of negative public During filming finallists Hoàng feedback towards its judge Oanh, Thùy Dương and Phương panel. There is a belief the show Nghi are faced with a lawsuit from is trying to show personality of producers for spoiling and leaking the judges, not the contestants, elimination order of unaired Season 2 judges episodes. The lawsuit in its
  • 7. are more susceptive to feedback and 4. New Media failed to catchIV-Common barriers criticism from panel as well as TV audience. In a way, this is deeply rooted in culture of up to boost the public awareness Vietnam and Asia as a whole When it comes to art, when the performer is Idols and America Next Top Models own 1. TV show Judges is a new not at his or her best state of mind, the end their success to huge online fans and buzz result is not satisfactory to everybody and non-nature Job with created from social network. Sadly these Vietnamese activities were not maximized in the context of Vietnam. Although one of the fastest Nguyen Quang Dung, one of 3. Show mission failed to growing country in terms of internet users, season 3, Vietnam Idol judge translate into local social network only find its home in Vietnam answered a paper about his context in last 12 months. People in Vietnam use refection on the show and the role Internet mostly for news search and online of judge as a whole. He said One of the key successes and also the chat. essence of American Idol is the story of a solo “nobody get rich being a TV show hero who overcome obstacle to become It might take a while before these shows can judge, but more often than not, famous, changing his life. really have a reality fan base as big as home most of them, including myself go country. through “near-death experience..” Vietnam has similar stories about hero leave town conquer his own deeds and come home “(Vietnamese) still not yet consider a changed man, making his village proud this a real job…that’s why we can’t preempt the accidents it brings However, it does not work that way for about. I start to refuse being a Vietnam Idol because singing up until now judge on TV show because the was never consider a “prestige” profession in more I got into it; the more I realize local tradition. It might take a while to it should be studied as a profession, change this mindset, but it definitely explains a very hard one to master…” why Vietnam Idol fail to connect with viewers deeply on a personal and emotional level like The judges related American Idol did in the US. accidents/scandals does not only happen in one show but appear To be fair, people watch Vietnam Idol for the across almost any big franchise visual and audio value of it only, which make that includes a judge panel. Idol in Vietnam become mundane like any Moreover, among those who got other entertainment show. This is not the booed, there are big names in the case with the original proud format local show business, who was Similarly, America’s Next Top Model fas a previously known and respected for famous slogan that summarize its core their speech of wisdom. message “ Do you want to be on top?” Aside from Thần tượng Việt Nam (Vietnam Idol), Người mẫu Việt Compared to Idol series, America’s Next Top Nam (Vietnam next top model), model face even a bigger trouble since it Bước nhảy ho{n vũ (Dancing with challenges most of society values the stars), Cặp đôi ho{n hảo (Just the two of us). Are shows that Somehow the show essence created itself a attract public and their overt huge disadvantage to find affinity and attention towards judges approval from local audience who is still Only 36% respondents’ visit social network compared comment. In fact, Brilliant Artist, foreign to behind the scenes lives of models. to 94% who does news reading and 92% searching Tran Tien was forced to quit the Additionally, the audience also feels show under public rage regarding (Cimigo’s Vietnam net citizens report 2011) alienated with the cut-throat environment his comment in the show regarding illustrated in the show (which is true to a dance by Top Model Thu Phuong. original format). Most participants come He actually said “ I love your ass to from country side, where most the be more sexy..” traditional values are kept and maintained. This explains the confusion as well as 2. Contestant failed to let go disapproval of public towards seeing their to offer relaxed and country fellow “mistreating” each other for a profession that society does not consider entertaining performance very “decent”. Compared to original formats, it is apparent that local contestants seem more self-conscious in front of camera. They
  • 8. EVALUATIONWhen putting the above four factors into close examination, aside from exception of social buzz which is technology-related, it stands to reason that these barriers could be traced back to culture. As defined in many previous materials,Culture is an organized group of ideas, habits and conditioned responding shared by members of a society.(Linton, 1956)or like Parsons and Shils (1951) has pointed out “culture is composed of a set of values norms and symbols that guideindividual behaviors”Since American Idol and next top model has a lot to do with self-presentation in front of public, in a way, it requires localcontestant doing something against their learned behaviors, which are controlled manners upon a group of outsiders.When this happens, the viewers can sense the uncomfortable too, because Vietnamese culture said that it’s rude to letother people continue their embarrassing acts without stopping them.Secondly, one of the highlighted values of Vietnam is its solidarity which helps Vietnamese overcome the devastating warsagainst imperials like America, China and France. However, shows like America’s NeXT Top model the way they producedit, forces views to see a total contrast of that belief, promoting instead individualism, selfishness via stories about country sgirls fighting over being models, which is not considered a decent job according to contemporary social valuesWhile we can see how difficult it is being contestants on the show, it’s much harder for a local to play “judge” role in thisreality show. Vietnamese as an Asian culture show respect for people in daily communication. In critics, unlike Westerners,Vietnamese try to get to the point without hurting others’ feelings. On the other hands, the key success factor of western-based reality is the heating conversation when Judges sabotages and sometimes makes fun of contestant’s awkwardmoments. Imagine pressure a judge has to go through. First, consider how to break the news to lousy contestants whodeserve to leave without being rude. Second, think of ways to deal with tough contestants who ready to fight back withjudge’s comments. Last, defend themselves when their fellow judges hold a contrasting point of view. Since Vietnamesesociety is pretty about maintaining solidarity and relationship, respect and honor, it’s tough to be on a hot seat and judgepeople. In most of the cases, the judges are the ones who are judged by the publicAs Lord David Putnam (1998) film maker and British Junior Minister of Education argued in an introduction speech aboutaudiovisual industry as an important component of a nation’s culture“Stories ...are among the principal means by which societies transmit their values and beliefs, from generation togeneration, and community to communityMismatched stories are another factor that decides American Idol and Next Top Model’s failure in Vietnam culture market.Next Top Model famous slogan- “Are you ready to be on Top” does not translate well in Vietnam context. At aconservative society that values hard working and fairness, the aggressive attitude brought by the show received angryfeedbacks as a results. In the case of American Idol, the original show try to sell a universally friendly theme, a hero withdisadvantaged background overcome obstacles to become a start, making his country/hometown proud. However, it doesnot work well in Vietnam because singing does not deem to be such an honorable career and more importantlyVietnamese does not have a single hero culture, they promote solidary and strength of team as a whole, not individualism.In conclusion, cross culture media products happen more and more everyday as a direct result of globalization that enablesfaster international communication flow. TV shows are among important components in that pipeline of communication.While some TV shows are globally famous and welcomed almost everywhere, some shows received resistance whenadapted to local settings. The common barriers have a lot to do with cultures; mostly it comes down to differences invalues, norms and stories. Since the reality TV is the way to go for near future because of its strong relation to TV viewers,some practical lessons could be learned from adaptation process, which is, better recruitment of local talent that fits showprofile, better guidelines for judges and TV host and better translation of show mission to incorporate local stories.
  • 9. AppendixCampell, Richard (2010). Media and Culture Bedford/St. MartinR.Kamalipour Yahya (2007) Global Communication, Thomson WadsworthLoch, Karen (2010) Toward a theory-based measurement of Culture, Journal of Global Information ManagementBaltruschat, Boris (2007) Reality TV formats: The Case of Canadian Idols, Canadian Journal of CommunicationCimigo (2011) Internet Usage and Development in Vietnam , 2011 Vietnam Netcitizens Report05/17/2011. "10 reasons The Voice is better than American Idol". http://www.cabletvproviders.net/blog/2011/10-reasons-the-voice-is-better-than-american-idol/11/23/2011. "About Us". http://www.americanidol.com/09/10/2010. "Judges of Vietnam Idols under public attack..again". http://laodong.com.vn/Tin-tuc/VietNam-Idol-2010-Giam-khao-lai-bi-danh/1243110/18/2010. "Contestants are not impressed of judges in Vietnam’s next top model".http://2sao.vn/p0c1000n20101018080755203/thi-sinh-khong-phuc-ban-giam-khao-vietnam%E2%80%99s-next-top-model.vnn01/20/2011. "Review of continuous scandals from Vietnam’s next top model". http://laodong.com.vn/Tin-tuc/VietNam-Idol-2010-Giam-khao-lai-bi-danh/1243101/20/2011. "Musician Tuan Khanh judges the judges of “Just the two of us-vietnam version".http://www.zing.vn/news/nhac-viet-nam/tuan-khanh-boc-me-giam-khao-cap-doi-hoan-hao/a135314.html11/11/2011. "Judges on reality TV should be considered a real profession". http://megafun.vn/tin-tuc/nghe-thuat/hau-truong/201111/Giam-khao-phai-la-mot-nghe-170625/

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