State broadcaster China Central Television will radically revamp its flagship news programmes from next year, media said Wednesday, as authorities try to lure viewers away from racier shows.
China Central Television (CCTV), the government's broadcast mouthpiece, announced the changes to its news programmes "News Network" and "Focus" late Tuesday, Sina News said on its website.
"News Network", CCTV's main daily news show, "will be completely revamped, with changes to its title, studio and other aspects of its packaging," Sina said.
"Focus", a daily current affairs show highlighting social problems, will "increase its reporting of public opinion", it said.
A spokeswoman for CCTV said she was not aware of the changes when contacted by AFP.
The facelift signals that authorities are trying to increase the appeal of CCTV to a younger audience more attracted to fluffier but vastly more popular provincial content.
The government has previously tried to strong-arm viewers into watching their shows by ordering problematic programmes to be taken off the air.
The latest casualty was "Super Girl" -- China's answer to US smash hit "American Idol" -- which had hundreds of millions of viewers before authorities pulled the plug on it, the official Xinhua news agency said Saturday.
Instead, "programmes that promote moral ethics, public safety and provide practical information for housework" would be broadcast in its place.
In January, southwestern megacity Chongqing ordered its Chongqing Satellite Television channel to replace popular sitcoms with programmes featuring Communist-era songs and classic revolutionary stories, state media reported.