Top international stories of the week


NBC sketch show Saturday Night Live is to be remade in Chinese for online platform Youku Tudou.

SNL China will serve as the flagship entertainment show in the Alibaba Group-owned portal’s 2017/18 fall and winter schedule.

The format was slated for a Chinese debut following a 2015 deal between SNL boss Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment and digital platform Sohu, but the deal later fell through.  

Michael Edelstein, president of NBC Universal International Studios, told Broadcast that the Chinese remake is still in the early stages of development, adding that Youku was “the perfect partner.”

“As always, the show will be true to its format with some additional twists to keep it fresh and culturally relevant for the local audience,” he said.

Given the extent of SNL’s political satire, it remains unclear how Youku will adhere to China’s strict censorship laws, but Edelstein noted that the format will be made “relevant and suitable for a variety of audiences.”

“With Youku as a home, we are confident that SNL China will be innovative and entertaining, whilst still being culturally sensitive and respectful,” he said.

Edelstein added the success of the NBC series on digital platforms meant the Youku deal made sense.

“Much of SNL’s content is watched online by audiences worldwide. As a leader in the digital space, Youku has the expertise to generate and maintain a hit.”

Since debuting in 1975, SNL has been one of the longest-running shows in the US and is to wrap its 42nd season in May.

The show – which has been localised in ten territories, including France and Spain – has enjoyed its best ratings performance since 1994, with the US election and Donald Trump’s presidency serving as a boon for ratings.


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Spider Network

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