Li Yong (television host)
|Li Yong (李咏)|
|Nationality||People's Republic of China|
|Education||Beijing Broadcasting Institute|
|Net worth||CNY500 million|
|Spouse(s)||Ha Wen (m. 1992)|
|Children||Fatima Li (b. 2002)|
Li Yong (simplified Chinese: 李咏; traditional Chinese: 李詠; pinyin: Lĭ Yŏng; born May 1968) is a leading host on China Central Television (CCTV). He is known for being the host of the CCTV programs Lucky 52, Super 6+1, and various editions of the CCTV New Year's Gala. He is known for his unorthodox presentation skills and flamboyant outfits.
Li's family originated from Shandong, but he was born and raised in Urumqi, Xinjiang, in the far-west part of China. As a child, he was interested in painting. He excelled in the National College Entrance Examination and planned to become an actor. From 1987 he studied radio at the then Beijing Broadcasting Institute, where he began dating Ha Wen. The two subsequently married; Ha has both produced Li's programmes for CCTV and been his publicist. Li is a member of the Communist Party of China. After graduating, he joined CCTV's in 1991 as a choreographer. While he has also worked in news, he has made his name in light entertainment. He now lives in central Beijing and the couple have a daughter born in 2002. 
Since 2001, he has been one the six main hosts of the CCTV New Year's Gala, which has a regular audience estimated at several hundred million people each year. He is often used in on-screen and printed promotional material as the public face of CCTV.
Li was launched to fame by Lucky 52, a CCTV-2 gameshow with audience figures around 50 million. Based on a British gameshow format (possibly Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). The show aired on Saturdays at 6:55pm. The last air was 25 October 2008 and its repeats, as Li has announced/CCTV has announced that Lucky 52 will go off air.
He then added Super 6+1, another gameshow broadcast on CCTV-2 on weekend evenings after Xinwen Lianbo. A spin-off talent competition named Chinese Dream was aired during the October 2005 National Holiday, as CCTV attempted to respond to the success of rival Hunan TV's Super Girl. Despite the support of SARFT, which was alleged to have clamped down on rival programmes, the programme was considered a relatively failure and was folded back into Super 6+1.
The World Brand Laboratory has recognized Li as the top TV host in China since their ranking began in 2004. His worth to CCTV is currently estimated at ¥500 million (at 2007 rates, £33m or US$66m). The 2005 ranking described him as unconventional, "humorous and intelligent".
He is known for his flamboyant image and his looks, which have been described as unconventional and even ugly. His on-screen dress is often formal men's attire with such modifications as sequins and brightly coloured linings. His hair is longer than is conventional for Chinese men of his age and status. The 2005 ranking noted his tendency to laugh in front of the camera, at his own jokes.
In September 2006, Li appeared in an advertising campaign for Sunyard product of the Zhejiang Shiyou Timber Co. Ltd. The CCTV editorial committee omitted him from their "top ten" list for 2006, perhaps suggesting diminishing support within the organization's management. The original incident later prompted an investigation by CCTV's disciplinary inspection department, on the grounds that it breached SARFT guidelines. Ha denied that Li had endorsed the product, while admitting that he had attended a corporate publicity event for the produce.
On 12 January 2007, Li implied Shaanxi citizens were "lazy" on Lucky 52, prompting criticism on China's influential bulletin boards. He subsequently apologized on his blog. In the 2007 CCTV New Year's Gala, Li and other hosts made a series of mistakes just before midnight, giving rise to the infamous "Black Three Minutes".
The mounting pressure led to rumours in September 2007 that Li had resigned from CCTV. They were denied by Lucky 52. He did resign a year later, and the show has gone off air since 25 October 2008, leaving millions of Chinese fans of Lucky 52 behind.
- Wen Wei Po: Enthusiasm Unleashed in the Studio (via Google Translate)
- CCTV: Li Yong
- Jim Yardley (New York Times): A TV 'King' Pushes the Limits, Flashily but Gently
- (Chinese) english.eastday.com
- I'm a CPC member, how come the underground king? 李咏：我是中共党员国家干部，哪来的江湖老大 2005-11-29
- Li Yong: I wish the five-year-old Princess Dou happy birthday! (via Google Translate)
- Jeremy Goldkorn (Danwei) CCTV talent show seeks foreigners with China knowledge
- See Mandarin Wikipedia article
- (Chinese) Chinese most valuable TV hosts awarded
- CCTV’s Li Yong | Sinosplice: Life in China
- A TV 'King' Pushes the Limits, Flashily but Gently - New York Times
- Danwei: Li Yong vs Shaanxi
- Wuhan Man Changes Face for Li Yong - china.org.cn
- Sohu: The Black Three Minutes at the 2007 CCTV New Year's Gala
- Yahoo! China: Li Yong leaving Lucky 52 is rumour only.