China's Global Kungfu Star Competition
On March 30th 2006, A new reality show called K-Star was announced in China, a joint production by Shaolin Temple and Shenzhen Media Group. It's aim, to search for potential Kungfu stars globally to find a new spokesperson of Chinese Kungfu for new generations. As Peter Hsiao, a spokesperson for K-Star described it, "The Shaolin Temple has an open position on really taking their heritage, through the special form of this television platform, to communicate their message of the unity of movement and emotion. Their participation has really made it unique."
The first season of K-STAR or 功夫之星 began in April of 2006, garnering an estimated 300 million viewers and over 100,000 applicants from six Chinese cities and Five International venues.
After more than half a year of televised eliminations and a special closed door training session at the Shaolin Temple from September 1-9, eighteen competitors made it to the world final, which was televised on October 1st 2006 in a four-hour live broadcast judged by action star and former Beijing Wushu Team Member Jacky Wu Jing (Sha Po Lang, Tai Chi Master, Legend of Zu) Director Stanley Tong (The Myth, Martial Law, Mr. Magoo) and Director Wang Xiaoshuai (Frozen). First place went to China's Gu Shangwei, Second to a nineteen year old Philip Sahagun and third to China's Xue Jiangtao.
It was reported that K-Star's fifteen million yuan investment yielded a twenty million yuan return (or about $793,000 USD profit). Additionally Shaolin Shenzhen Radio allegedly donated 100 Million yuan to the Buddhism Research Fund.