A group of three talk show hosts have recently decided to revive a celebrity gossip show with a new name after it was suspended by authorities for purportedly offensive content.
The show, produced by Monday Morning Ltd. Co. and broadcast on YouTube, is now called “Những Kẻ Ít Lời” which literally means “taciturn people,” an antonym to its original name “Những Kẻ Lắm Lời” which means “talkative people.”
VJ Thuy Minh, one of the three hosts of the show whose English name is ‘Bitches in Town,” on Wednesday wrote a post on her Facebook, indicating that she had sent an explanation of the show to the officials who suspended it.
The explanation was accepted and “Bitches in Town” can continue if the show’s producers want, she said.
However, Minh said the production team decided to change the format of the show, releasing a trailer promoting it with a new name in Vietnamese while retaining the English name.
“For our 43,000 subscribers on YouTube, we have decided to come back with a new name and a new format of sitcom,” Minh said in the trailer.
Three hosts of the show are seen in an episode. Photo: Bitches in Town
On November 25, the Ministry of Information and Telecommunications sent a dispatch to ask Monday Morning Ltd. Co. to cease producing the show.
According to the dispatch, “Bitches in Town” subjectively commented on people’s private life by using offensive words and causing public outrage.
The ministry also required that the producers withdraw from YouTube some episodes that met with the strongest criticism. Before the suspension, “Bitches in Town” had aired 22 episodes on the video-sharing site.
In each episode, three hosts including VJ Thuy Minh, stylist Le Minh Ngoc and writer Nguyen Ngoc Thach, talk about local celebrities on a variety of topics including the way they dress, their dating habits and their scandals.
After its debut, the show earned more than 43,000 subscribers and the videos received from 50,000 to more than 200,000 views.
However, it also came under fire because the hosts used words deemed offensive while gossiping about and laughing at celebrities.
Some quotes from the show considered unacceptable to many people include “Ho Vinh Khoa [a singer – actor] should only take off his clothes for people to see, he should not sing.”
Another comment on star singer My Tam was “after years she’s still confident to dress ugly, and she’s very staunch and has never thought that her costumes are ugly.”
The show also dissected a love affair between a local A-list singer with a rich man who is married.
One episode even made a joke of Vietnamese historical figures.
Miss Vietnam 2012 Dang Thu Thao is one of the opponents of the show.
The 24-year-old beauty wrote a post on her Facebook, saying “Please stop the show! Don't hurt others by 'your bad language’.”
Dong Nhi, a singer who was laughed at by the show for a dress she once wore, complained that while she did not feel sad being decried for her dress, “together I hope we could make the scandalous show business more clean and friendly.”
She added that people can talk about each other that way if they are hanging out together or at a friend’s party, but it should be carefully considered before being shown to the public because the majority of the viewers are young people.
Model Ha Anh also got involved in the story by writing a long post on her Facebook page, mentioning the opinion of her British fiancé, who said in his country that kind of entertainment is called trash TV which nobody cares about.
Hosts of the shows are reporters, stylists and E-list celebrities, he added, saying such shows are broadcast at daylight for people who do not have a job to watch.
Singer Dong Nhi, an artist who was laughed at by the show's hosts for her dress. Photo: By courtesy of Dong Nhi
Reckless rather than tasteless
Besides being slammed by the public, the show has also received support from those who said they prefer a show where people speak the frank truth.
Local film director Phan Xi Ne said the main host VJ Thuy Minh made a praiseworthy but reckless decision to change the attitude of “A bad compromise is better than a good lawsuit" in local talk shows.
“The show has its personality, and not everyone likes it,” he wrote on his social network page. “But to me, I’d rather watch a reckless than a tasteless show full of clichés and nonsensical words.”