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Iran's state TV woos audiences with American-style shows

Iranian versions of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" and "America's Got Talent" are now on state TV, but seem to draw more criticism than ratings.

Alarmed by losing viewers to home videos or online broadcasts, Iranian state TV has found a not-so-original way to keep Iranians interested: copycatting popular Western shows. The controversial move has brought both praise and criticism.

In recent years, state TV has lost many of its viewers for different reasons. The public broadcaster, controlled fully by hard-liners, is often accused of not being objective in its coverage of political, social and economic news, with constant railings against Reformists and moderates. Entertainment shows are almost nonexistent and popular hosts often risk falling under the axe of the management.

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