China’s media watchdog has lifted the ban on the American television comedy series, “The Big Bang Theory,” according to a report Friday. The announcement will make the show the first foreign TV series to be streamed online under the country’s new media restrictions.
After being pulled from websites last May, the series will begin streaming on Sohu TV’s online service, according to a company press release that said July 22, the show’s eighth season will be made exclusively available on its site. The news is welcomed by the country’s millions of fans. After eight seasons, the CBS comedy has reached iconic popularity in China. At the time of the ban in April last year, episodes of the show posted online had been viewed 1.4 billion times, according to a report by the New Yorker in 2014.
The ban targeted several television programs that were popular in China, many of which was foreign, as part of a greater effort set in motion by President Xi Jinping to sanitize the Internet from pornography, violence, rumor-mongering and other “harmful” influences. Somehow, the show’s content, which usually stays in pretty G-rated territory, attracted the attention of China’s media censors and was pulled.
— Mental Floss UK (@mentalflossuk) June 29, 2015
Sohu TV will add “The Big Bang Theory” to its growing catalogue of American television shows available on its site through licensing deals. Talk shows “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and “Conan” were also available on the website, the Global Times reports.
The State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) is the Chinese government body responsible for reviewing all content that airs on TV, in the theaters and online to see of it is suitable for all audiences. Because the country does not have an official rating system the way the U.S. and other countries do, each medium is reviewed on case by case basis against an ambiguous scale.