'Saturday Night Live' episodes legally available online in China

By Daniel S Levine,

Saturday Night Live will soon be making Chinese audiences laugh as hard as American audiences thanks to a legal venture from Sohu Video. Sohu Chairman and CEO Charles Zhang officially announced the news in Beijing today, noting that recent laws against piracy should start opening the floodgates for American television in China.

Each new episode from SNL’s 39th season will be up the Monday after they air in the U.S., notes The Associated Press. Each episode will be available with English subtitles and a guide to help Chinese audiences understand the SNL writing team’s pop culture references will be out on the following Saturday.

Zhang said that although the show frequently covers political topics - some sensitive in China - he doesn’t think the site will get into trouble. “Things that are controversial in America are probably not controversial in China,” he said. “And this talk show is in the spirit of fun and humor. I don’t think there will be any problem.”

He even suggested that if SNL takes off in China, it could inspire domestic comedy sketch shows.

The Hollywood Reporter notes that Zhang also stressed that recent laws to protect copyright will likely inspire more American studios to let their shows be added to the Internet in China. Mob City will soon be available through Soho Video, while Modern Family and The Walking Dead are already available.

“American TV shows account for one fifth of total clicks we're getting, and I'm really confident that we will be able to attract the attention of younger viewers,” Zhang said.

image: NBC


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