CCTV New Year's Gala - Synopsis and Features

Synopsis and Features

Although the show has evolved greatly since its creation, the basis by which the Gala is formed upon has remained largely consistent. The makers of the Gala tries to target all demographic groups, including programs obviously directed at a specific intended audience. The Gala has a few basic components that accompany it every year.

The show has four hosts, most of whom are CCTV regular programming hosts. There are an additional two hosts for the mobile hot-lines.

Skits (小品) has a focus on comedy. They tend to portray typical New Year situations in all walks of life, and often reflects on society as a form of social commentary. Skits use enough stage props to rally its message. While always funny, these usually attempt to convey a message such as unity, respect for the elderly, or education.

Xiangsheng (相声), the closest English equivalent of which is probably Stand-up comedy, also focuses on the element of comedy. It usually involves two people who feed off each other in what seems to be a conversation discussing a certain topic, but in other times could also be the basis for a skit without props.

Song and dance (歌舞) are regular performances, occupying every third or fourth program. Music of many genres are played, from traditional folk songs, to more modern, Chinese pop music. Every year, there will be a series of ethnic-related songs quickly fading in and out in succession (联唱), representing China's major minority ethnic groups, the Mongols, Manchus, Hui, Tibetans, Uyghurs, Miao, Zhuang etc. Most songs are accompanied by dances, although there are also always dance performances without singing.

Acrobatics (杂技) are also a regular feature. During most years, there will be magic tricks (魔术) at some point during the night, often involving foreign magicians.

The emphasis on traditional Chinese arts performances such as Chinese Opera (戏剧) has decreased over the years, with only a few appearances in recent years, mostly crammed into no more than 10 minutes of airtime. Since 2006 this segment has been placed after the midnight mark, when there are fewer viewers. This was also partly because CCTV-3 runs a simultaneous broadcast of a New Year's Gala entirely in Chinese opera performances. The categories feature Peking opera, Cantonese opera, Henan opera, and Sichuan opera.

In recent years hosts have also become part of the program, participating in xiangsheng or in skits. In addition, various allusions to hosts occur throughout the night.

Live phone and mobile lines open up every year during the hours of the Gala for the choosing of the audience's favourite program during the night. In recent years the numbers have been 168-99-999, and 160-996-996. The ultimate favourite programs are revealed at the CCTV Lantern Festival Gala, held 15 days later.

Seconds before midnight, the hosts lead a countdown to New Year's, ending with the knocking of the bell. Around an hour after midnight, the program ends with the song Can't Forget Tonight (难忘今宵).

The clock appears in (1986-present), confetti in (1984; 1990; 1991; 1992; 1993; 1995; 1996; 1997-present) and balloons in (1996-present).

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