The revival of Terawaki, the “first partner”… “X-Day” for the end of “Partners” is being whispered.
The latest series of the popular TV drama “Partners” began airing in October this year. This season marks the return of Terawaki Yasufumi (60), who was the first “partner” of the series. The first episode of the season marked a return to its roots, recording an average household viewer rating of 17.3%.
While this is a great success in general terms, it is not necessarily a reassuring figure for a national drama that is now in its 22nd year.
In the mid-2010s, it was quite common for the ratings for an episode to exceed 20%. However, in recent years, the ratings have often dropped to the 11% range. The ratings this time are not low by any means, but the production team must have expected the ratings to exceed 20% for the first time in a long time since the return of Mr. Terawaki, the first-generation partner of the series, was a major topic. Considering this, it is a sad figure. The second episode dropped to 15.4%, and depending on future developments, the ratings may drop even further.
The popularity of “Partners” is seriously declining, with the series broadcast last year recording an average rating of 11.0%, the lowest in the last 10 years. The renewal of the production staff, including the departure in 2016 of Seiji Izumi, 76, who had directed the series since season 1, is said to be a contributing factor. Amid such circumstances, whispers of “Partners” drawing to a close have begun to circulate. A senior entertainment industry executive reveals.
Mr. Mizutani (Yutaka Mizutani, 70), the lead actor, has reached his 70th birthday and is seriously considering how to deal with his work. It is not likely to be the current series, but there is a good chance that it will end with the next series, which will be broadcast as early as next fall. A movie, which used to be released every two years, has not been produced since 2017. So there is talk of bringing the curtain down on the work with a theater version for the first time in a long time.”
Mr. Terawaki’s return this time is said to be a milestone for that purpose.
Mizutani has been struggling with the timing of the end of “Partners” for several years. He has discussed the timing with the show’s staff many times. It is said that Mr. Mizutani’s decision to bring back Mr. Terawaki this time was based on his desire to ‘team up with Terawaki again in the end. In fact, at the end of last year, Mr. Mizutani called him directly and made an offer. He even held a dinner meeting with Mr. Terawaki, and they were able to re-cast him.
The “Partners” series has always been at the top of the list since its inception in 2000. We hope to see the two actors in action for as long as possible. ……
Photo： Kyodo News