Behind the popularity of Sho Sakurai’s “Occupy the Great Hospital”, a “leak theory” & Kusanagi’s real value being reevaluated… Winter drama “Filming Secrets” revealed!
Entertainment Special Report
Winter dramas are characterized by the lack of standouts such as “silent” (Fuji TV), which broke the record for the most views in the history of commercial TV dramas in terms of both single episodes and total number of episodes missed.
A commercial TV executive cited “obstruction” by an unexpected person as one of the reasons.
It is fresh in our minds that Takuya Kimura (50) appeared on information programs and variety shows to promote his movie “Legend & Butterfly,” which was released at the end of January, but behind the scenes there was a halo of “Is a movie funded by another station (TV Asahi) taking priority over the promotion of our drama? and a harrumph ensued. Of course it is important to promote winter dramas, but none of them could resist the temptation of having Kim Taku in their productions.
Even without the backup of a promotional campaign, films that became popular through SNS and word-of-mouth have recorded good sales through real-time distribution and missed distribution.
Among winter dramas, “Daihyoin Sukyo” and “Brush Up Life” (both from NTV) finished in a one-two finish.
The two dramas were both broadcast on NTV. “How did they collect a large number of military drones and firearms and bring them into the hospital? Why is Sho Sakurai (41), the lead actor, okay with falling from a building? Why is he not surprised when his daughter, whom he is supposed to have protected, is kidnapped?
A mid-level broadcaster believes that the reason “Occupy the Great Hospital” is doing so well despite the fact that it had the scent of a bad drama is because “the production staff’s advertising maneuvering worked.
The group of masked ogres who occupy the hospital were kept completely secret, not even in the script. Even on the set, they were so thorough as to refer to the actors as “Mr. Peach Demon” without calling them by their names. And yet, the members of the group were identified on the Internet before the first episode aired. We see this as a leak by the production staff. Otherwise, there is no way they could have even targeted Yosuke Omizu (40) of the comedy duo “Lover Girl,” who is not publicly associated with actors.”
In addition to the support of viewers who enjoy looking for rough edges and watchers who like to consider the drama, “Zuwen, zuwen! (Not at all!)” Sakurai’s over-the-top dialogue had a big impact on elementary and junior high school students, and the drama has been in the top spot in core viewer ratings (ratings among men and women aged 13-49) since the first episode.
In contrast to the dynamic “Occupy the Great Hospital,” “Brush Up Your Life” is a low-key production with many scenes shot on the same sets, but the script by Bakarhythm (47) is excellent. The casting is also exquisite, and the conversational drama among the three leads, Sakura Ando (37), Haruka Kinami (37), and Kaho (31), does not feel long or drawn out, even though it is lengthy. It is a time-leap story, but it successfully reuses past Nippon TV content such as “Ie Sell Onna”. At a time when Showa and Heisei retro are attracting the attention of young people, Nippon TV’s decision to air this drama is a sensible one,” said a senior executive at a production company.
In third place in both real-time and missed distribution was “Yugure ni, Te wo Tsunagu” (TBS), written by Eriko Kitagawa. The first episode of the series was well received with 2.6 million views. The core viewer rating was also second overall, but the numbers have since dropped. Writer Kumao Oyama said, “Hiroko came to Tokyo from Miyazaki.
Suzu Hirose (24), who moved to Tokyo from Miyazaki, surprised us with her wild childishness, just like in “Inokapeta Taisho. Even in Showa-era dramas, it is quite rare to see such a country character modeled so well.”
The aforementioned broadcaster analyzes that the reason for the failure of the drama is “the use of a great writer.
The script for “silent” was written by Miku Ubukata, who was in her 20s when she made her drama series debut, and was realistic in terms of Generation Z values, such as the characters wearing the same clothes, their financial sense, and their view of love that does not harm others. I suspect that younger viewers were sensitive to these differences and stayed away.”
Down 13.5 million views from the special demand
The follow-up to “silent” was “Ninja ni Marriage is Difficult” (Fuji), starring Nanao (34), but it is struggling because “viewers who liked the careful script and direction did not get along with the ridiculous drama by the same author as “Lupin’s Daughter”” (Mr. Oyama).
The Tsuki 9 drama “The School of Themis – Legal Youth White Paper” (Fuji) is also struggling, with some saying that “Keiko Kitagawa (36) is not being utilized to her full potential.
The drama is so short on development because of all the conversation in the classroom that one might think it was a drama to cut costs. As for Tsuki 9, although it successfully broke away from the former romantic drama slot, it has since become too much biased toward legal and medical dramas, and I feel that viewers have grown tired of the conservative aspects of the series. There have been successful dramas such as “Not to be Called a Mystery,” so I think it is important to improve the quality of the drama itself rather than focusing on the genre,” said Mr. Oyama.
In January, Fuji’s number of missed broadcasts was down 13.5 million compared to December last year, when the demand for “silent” was booming. While suffering from the backlash, “War of the Traps” (Fuji) is struggling. In the same slot as “Elpis: Hope or Disaster,” which drew protests from within Fuji for its depiction of taboos in the TV industry, this time it is taking on a political taboo.
This time, the series is taking on a political taboo, making fun of the “drilling incident” involving 49-year-old Obuchi Yuko, a member of the Diet. Moreover, it stars Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (48), who is making his first appearance in a commercial TV drama series in six years. In this drama, he plays both a “good guy” and a cold-hearted avenger at the same time, and it seems as if the time he spent away from television has been put to good use in his new role. I feel that this role will be a turning point for actor Kusanagi on TV.
TBS topped all stations in January in the aforementioned missed distribution, thanks to “It Would Have Been Better if I Told You a Million Times” (TBS), featuring Mao Inoue (36) and Takeru Sato (33), which marked 3 million views in its first episode.
It is a love story with a fantasy setting and is sometimes said to resemble the movie “Ghost: The Phantom of New York,” but rather than just a romantic drama, it is a drama that appeals to messages such as, “The current daily life is not normal” and “Can you say goodbye to your loved ones” after the COVID-19 crisis. The drama is more than just a romantic drama. In addition to the excellent lead cast of Mao Inoue, Takeru Sato, and Kenichi Matsuyama (37), Naoko Adachi’s script is meticulously written, and the direction has a very good balance between slow and fast,” said Oyama.
Speaking of love stories, “On a Starry Night” (TV Asahi) is also doing well, recording 2.8 million views. Mr. Oyama continues.
I was surprised when Takumi Kitamura (25) kissed Yuriko Yoshitaka (34), whom he had never met before, in the first episode, but I was even more surprised that a large number of female viewers supported it. Of course, there are some who are negative about it, but I guess there are a certain number of people who are attracted to the protagonist who is gung-ho about the person he likes and yet is a cute, sunny guy.
TV Asahi’s “On a Starry Night” and “Inspector Outsider” are doing well in the distribution market,” according to a senior executive of a private TV station.
The combination of Hidetoshi Nishijima (51), Gaku Hamada (34) and Hisashi Kimura is the same as my number one drama of 2009, “The Chef is a Detective” (TV Tokyo). It is reminiscent of “Bayside Shakedown” in that there is a lot of play and a lot of information. It is also clever to have Moeka Kamishiraishi (23), who has appeared in morning dramas before and is well-liked by middle-aged and older viewers, as the heroine, and to have Yuka (42), Maho Nonami (42), and Neru Nagahama (24) as regular female cast members,” said Kitagawa.
(TBS), which has produced a number of masterpieces, “shows the anguish of TV people,” says an executive of a commercial broadcaster.
The main character is a black market doctor named “Masked Doctors,” and the show is trying to be both a social drama and a human drama at the same time, but the plot is too far-fetched, and it feels too adventurous. While some of the direction is typical of Yukihiko Tsutsumi, with Satoshi Tsumabuki (42) and Tatsuya Fujiwara (40) in the cast, the numbers are to be expected. In order for a drama to break out in terms of viewer ratings, it is necessary for the drama to either make the world think “I have to watch it” by creating a buzz like “silent” or become a social phenomenon like “Hanzawa Naoki,” and I have the impression that the bar is getting higher and higher. On the other hand, solid, high-quality dramas need to be evaluated in terms of distribution and subsequent development as well, making it difficult to see the measure of success,” said a commercial TV executive.
Core viewer ratings and distribution – the diversification of tactics has increased the complexity of the drama wars in Reiwa.
From the March 17, 2023 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Kenji Sugawara (Ando & Noro, Yoshitaka & Kitamura) Yusuke Kondo (Tsumabuki, Nanao, Hirose)