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BEIJING - China Central Television (CCTV) has cut heavily its cast for the annual Mid-Autumn Festival gala, while major local TV stations have canceled shows.
State TV will also abandon fireworks during this year's festival that will fall on September 19, according to a Tuesday statement from the broadcaster.
The 22-year-old gala will move to a stadium in the city of Meizhou, south China's Guangdong Province, saving costs by streamlining theatrical designs and employing ordinary performers to replace pop stars, according to the statement.
Jiangsu TV, Zhejiang TV and Hunan TV announced earlier that they will not have a gala for the festival, responding to the central authorities' frugality order.
Shows used to attract high viewing figures with extravagant stage designs and a luxuriant cast, comprising of popular stars in the country.
The publicity department of the Communist Party of China (CPC), along with other departments, has repeatedly ordered broadcasters to restrict gala expenses and arrangements. It is an extension of the Party's move to eliminate the four "evil winds" of formalism, bureaucracy, hedonism and extravagance.
Many people have applauded the cost-cutting exercise while some are worried that the galas may not be worth watching.
"It will spur the TV producers to focus more on the forms and content of TV programs rather than only depend on big stars to attract the audience, which is conducive to the sustainable, healthy development of the TV industry," said Qiu Hongwei from the Zhejiang TV program center.
Efforts to curb extravagance in galas have impacted the performing arts market.
Earnings and the number of performances of some artistic troupes and companies, theatrical design companies in particular, dropped sharply, Culture Minister Cai Wu said last week, citing the Report on China's Performing Market 2013.