Foreign television series must be capped at a total of 50 episodes and the running time for an imported series must not exceed 25% of the total time a given channel dedicates to broadcasting such shows, the official China Daily reported.
Most foreign television series shown on Chinese channels are from Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand and India.
Local TV channels are not allowed to show too many shows from one particular region, the regulator says, without explaining further.
US-made shows are highly popular, but mostly watched online or via pirated DVDs which are widely and cheaply available on the streets.
According to the announcement by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, Chinese stations are prohibited from airing foreign series between 19:00 and 22:00, and must not “intensively” broadcast shows from just one country.
Foreign shows also have to be approved before they are aired and cannot have violent or vulgar content. Stations that violate the new rules face “severe punishments”, the newspaper reported.