I will start working in the nursing care industry in the spring.
It’s graduation season. Although it may sound like a new departure, in the TV industry, “graduation” often means “getting fired. This spring, however, something unusual is happening in the TV industry.
Until a short time ago, the TV industry had a talent shortage. The shortage of human resources was particularly acute for directors. Perhaps due to the harsh working conditions depicted in cartoons and TV dramas, there were very few people to fill positions, and the turnover rate was high. All stations were struggling to secure directors. However, one after another, female directors in their 30s are “graduating” from TV stations. In some cases, they were fired. In some cases, they have been fired, while in others, they have voluntarily changed jobs,” said a producer at a production company.
Until two or three years ago, TV stations were desperate to attract female viewers that would please their clients. This is why “female directors who understand women’s feelings” would have been valued at all stations, but… what exactly is happening?
First of all, the status of assistant directors (ADs), which used to be the hardest job in the TV industry, has improved. I think that image has taken root in the minds of many. But that was a long time ago. Reiwa’s ADs are different. However, the ADs at 2025 are different. The situation has changed drastically since the reform of the working style has made it impossible to impose long working hours on young people.
I think most ADs work short hours and go home before the directors. The number of college students working part-time as ADs has also increased. In the past, ADs were so busy that they almost always wore clean clothes and shaggy hair. But now they are wearing tight makeup and nail polish. Power-harassing directors who yell and give unreasonable orders have been weeded out, and the working environment is actually very good,” said a director of a commercial TV station.
It is said that 80% of ADs are now women. Furthermore, a producer at a key station laments, “More and more girls are becoming ADs not because they want to be directors, but because they want to meet Johnny’s. They get dressed up, go to the TV station, and go home during the time when the trains are running. If they are lucky, they can even meet their favorite celebrities and idols. …… has become an attractive job.
The burden on directors and producers in their thirties and older is increasing because they are not able to give work to younger ADs. They are exhausted by the work left unfinished by the ADs,” said a source from a production company.
The reality that TV stations are not making the best use of their human resources is also adding to the problem. The following are the stories of two female directors who left commercial TV stations this spring. Both are in their 30s.
In an information program, a male producer would ask a female staff member, “What’s popular right now? But I was hardly ever asked. The program reflected the judgment of the fashionable 20-something ADs as to what was and was not in vogue. When I was unfaithful because it wasn’t interesting, I was forced to “graduate” this spring.
I was sent to the station from a production company, but the station’s producer said, ‘I want a younger girl,’ so I was sent back to the production company. That was a shock to me and I developed an age complex, so I decided to change careers in the nursing care industry, where people older than me were working.
With the emphasis on core viewer ratings (individual viewer ratings among men and women aged 13-49), all TV stations are making great efforts to “find younger viewers. In this context, the stations are trying to reflect the voices of the many “ADs in their 20s. However, as a result, the opinions of directors in their 30s are not taken into account, and the workload is only increasing. One female director, unable to stand such a working environment, “graduated” from the company herself. Another female director complained of dissatisfaction and was fired, saying, “There are many young female ADs, so let’s let them graduate. This seemed to be the true nature of the mysterious phenomenon.
Reporting and writing： Aida Pudding
A broadcaster who has been drifting between the worlds of television and radio for more than 15 years.
Photography： Ippei Hara, Yusuke Kondo, Takero Yuzuru