Kangsi Coming, one of Taiwan’s longest airing variety talk shows, has finally gone off the air. On October 16, Kevin Tsai announced he was quitting the show to make some changes in his life. His co-host Dee Hsu announced she would quit if Tsai left.
The show began airing in 2004 and quickly became one of the island’s most popular. Its name was both a mash-up of the hosts’ names and a nod to the Qing Dynasty’s most popular emperor.
Kangsi Coming followed the popular model of pairing a quiet and direct male host who asked serious questions with a sexy and unruly female host out to embarrass the show’s guests. The show regularly drew pop stars such as Jay Chou, Jolin Cai and the members of S.H.E, as well as politicians such as Ma Ying-jeou.
The chemistry between Tsai and Hsu won Kangsi many fans – even on the Chinese mainland. People say that the whole 1980s generation grew up with Kangsi.
While that may be an exaggeration, there’s no question the show had a dramatic influence on Chinese variety shows. Numerous local stations copied the format: some went as far as asking their hosts to adopt Taiwanese accents.
But the super show is bowing out after years of success.
Chen Guanting, a former producer of Kangsi and other variety shows in Taiwan, told Tencent Entertainment that format is on its way out. A lack of new ideas and program settings and shrinking budgets kept variety shows from evolving with the times. Chen said the Kangsi studio was never changed or redesigned from the day the program first aired.
Chen said he is planning to cooperate with some mainland entertainment companies to transfer his focus as many celebrities have come from Taiwan to the mainland to further their careers.
Wu Zongxian, the island’s former king of variety shows, broke his contract with a TV station to relocate to the mainland. Ella Chen of S.H.E recently joined an online show hosted by Hua Shao, the famous host of Voice of China.
TV shows on the mainland receive higher ratings than Taiwan-made shows due to the sheer number of eyes available. Voice of China, Dad Where Are We Going, I Am a Singer and other mainland-produced reality shows have excelled at attracting viewers throughout the Sinosphere.
Several days after Kevin Tsai and Dee Hsu announced their plans to quit Kangsi, the program’s director said the show would end when they left. Now most of the fans are reviewing old episodes and guessing who will be Kangsi’s final guest.