China’s version of “Saturday Night Live” has been pulled down from streaming giant Youku, only weeks after making its debut.
Youku has removed the three full-length episodes of the show from its platform, although a few stray clips remain up. The show was set to air its latest episode this past Saturday, but it never went to air.
“SNL China” said on Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter) it was “trying to become better and worthy of your expectations,” and promised viewers would “laugh big” the next time it aired. When that’ll be is unknown.
Alibaba, Youku’s parent company, did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.
The removal of “SNL China” comes only weeks after the Chinese government said it would crack down on “excessive entertainment and advocating wrong inclinations — such as money worship, hedonism, quick success, and instant benefits — will be firmly prohibited to build a healthy and clean entertainment environment.”
There were also signs the show — which has thrived on skewering politicians for more than 40 years in the U.S. — wasn’t resonating in China with its more apolitical stance, wary of angering the rigid Communist government. The American “SNL” carries a rating of 9.2 out of 10 on Douban, a Chinese social network, while its domestic version only scores a 4.9, according to the New York Times.
Whether by government intervention or audience indifference, it looks like viewers may have said their last “buh-bye” to China’s version of “SNL.”