Kantele’s “Man in the Middle” Reveals Drama Strategy: Fuji Affiliate But “I Sympathize with TV TOKYO! | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kantele’s “Man in the Middle” Reveals Drama Strategy: Fuji Affiliate But “I Sympathize with TV TOKYO!

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Kantele-produced drama slot “Tuesday Drama Eleven” was newly established on Tuesday nights at 11pm. Yuki Sakurai (Kantele) stars in “Host Inheritance”, the opening film of the new frame.

In the recent drama industry, Kantele (Kansai Television) has attracted the most attention. Regarding the praise from viewers and industry peers for its “bold” and “aggressive” approach, Hideyuki Kawanishi, deputy director of the Tokyo Production Department of Kansai Television’s Production Bureau, says, “We don’t intend to be aggressive; we are just making what we want to make. The only words that come out are self-deprecating ones, such as, “Because he is a wild samurai,” “Weak people fight in their own weak way,” and “Tokyo is away from home.

Many dramas produced by Kantele have received high acclaim, including “Elpis: Hope or Disaster” (’22), which cut into a “taboo” in the TV industry. (Started in October, 2010. The following “Elpis” was aired in October 2010, and it was a hit. The subsequent broadcast of “War of the Trap” also attracted attention as the return of Kusanagi Tsuyoshi (48) to terrestrial drama productions, and the “Kantele of Drama” has been gaining ground. In addition to lead actor Yuki Sakurai (36), Shohei Miura (34), popular young actors Yuki Yagi (26) and Ryuya Miyasei (19) are currently appearing in the new drama slot “Tuesday Drama Eleven. Why does such a kantele treat itself as “weak”?

Not many people are aware of this, but television is governed by the Broadcasting Law, which is administered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. The terrestrial broadcasting business is based on an area-by-area licensing system, and broadcasting is basically based on the locality of each area. Kantele is a broadcaster in the Kansai area, centering on Osaka, and it is important for us to broadcast Kansai local news and other information,” said Kawanishi.

In our own broadcasting area, it is at the discretion of the station what to broadcast in all slots. If a program slot is a field, the station can decide what vegetables and fruits to grow in each field. If the viewers don’t think, ‘the produce from that field looks delicious,’ they won’t watch the program. Of course, we want to distribute the vegetables and fruits we produce not only locally but also nationwide.

But of course, the amount of fields that can be cultivated by a local station on a national network is smaller than that of a key station. There are four drama slots in the Fuji Television affiliate GP band, of which Kantele’s field is only the Monday night 10:00 p.m. slot. With only one drama per season, we can only compete four times a year, so we have to contend with a lack of economies of scale in terms of casting and budget negotiations.

In television, the “core stations” are the key stations in Tokyo, which are the main affiliated stations, followed by the semi-key stations in Osaka and Nagoya, and Kantele is a semi-key station. The difference in scale between key stations and quasi-key stations is significant. Incidentally, in terms of the number of employees, Fuji Television has about twice as many employees as Kantele.

Even when it comes to viewership ratings, the news broadcasts are always clipped from the Kanto region. For us, Osaka is our hometown, and Tokyo is our home away from home. The shooting location is different from Fuji Television, which has a set built in a studio in the bay area and can shoot for three months straight. There is a studio we can use in Tokyo called Lemon Studio, but we can’t leave the set there because we also shoot variety shows. ……

When Kawanishi spoke of the lack of manpower and budget, I pointed out that a key station other than the affiliate came to mind. He laughed and said, “TV Tokyo is a key station and is in a different position, but I feel sympathy for their attitude of competing with wisdom and ideas (laughs).

Kawanishi said. “The weak fight in their own weak way.” is a line that Toru Washizu, the main character played by Kusanagi in “War of the Traps,” repeatedly uttered in order to fight against an enemy with immense power. Kantele, which cannot compete with key stations in terms of scale, has a level of “one of a kind experience” that is rarely heard at other stations, which is the reason behind the production of high-profile productions.

Kusanagi Tsuyoshi’s much talked-about return to the lead role in a terrestrial drama series, “War of the Traps,” was produced by Kantele as a whole.

What surprised me the most was that “even technical staff such as cameramen and lighting engineers come from Osaka to Tokyo to work on drama productions” on an irregular basis. Even key stations often outsource a significant portion of their production to production companies in order to keep production costs down. This is quite a large undertaking, even when considering the cost of having their own staff stay in Tokyo.

The people who send their colleagues away from Osaka for three to four months say to them, ‘Good luck! It creates a sense of unity among the staff, and it is a great way to pass on the techniques and other aspects of Canteleism.

This sense of unity was also demonstrated in the production of “Elpis. The newsroom scene in the film was shot on the actual Kantele newsroom, which would not have been possible under normal circumstances because of the large amount of confidential information.

The shooting of “Elpis” was basically in Tokyo, but we also filmed in Kansai for about 10 days, including at the head office. As with any station on the news floor, we usually don’t get permission to film dramas because we never know what might happen, such as in response to a sudden incident. However, Kantele has a company-wide culture that encourages us. Otherwise, it would not happen that the news bureau would cooperate and allow filming on the news floor, albeit with conditions.

The launch of dramas before the COVID-19 crisis was also unique: “Producers from other dramas would come. It’s not just one or two. It’s not just one or two, it’s a full lineup. Even the managers of the actors are surprised. They are surprised,” he says with a laugh. It is understandable if one or two producers involved in other productions show up. However, I have never heard of a “lineup” of unrelated producers.

I think it’s because they are very conscious of the fact that they want people to become fans of Kantele,” he says. In the past few years, the number of drama productions in late-night slots and for distribution has increased, and companies are competing with each other not only for performers but also for staff. Terrestrial broadcasting has the advantage of being recognized by many people, but there are also people who flow to distributed productions where the conditions are better. In order to work with the right people, it is necessary to make an effort to actively create opportunities to meet them, such as by visiting the production site.

Regarding the current state of Kantele, which has received much attention and recognition in the drama industry, he says sincerely, “I believe that Kantele’s current reputation is due to the achievements of our predecessors and the spirit of challenge we have inherited.

The turning point came in 2005, when producer Keiichi Shigematsu worked on “Ganbatte Ikimasshoi. It was with this film that we were able to produce a nationally televised drama with our own staff, including director Miyake Yoshishige. In terms of challenges, the following year was “The Man Who Couldn’t Get Married,” produced by Kazuhisa Ando. Hiroshi Abe (58), now one of Japan’s leading actors, was selected for the lead role in “At Home Dad” in 2004. Some questioned the “man who can’t get married” theme, but as a result, the “novelty” of the show was well received by viewers.

Epoch-making works include “GTO” starring Takashi Sorimachi (49), which aired in 1998, and the “Boku Series Trilogy” (“Boku no Ikiru Michi”, “Boku to Kanojo to Kanojo no Ikiru Michi”, and “Boku no Aruku Michi”), starring Kusanagi. All of them are dramas that we tried to create something that no other station has.

In recent years, the company has brought in former TBS producer Ayumi Sano to work on the “Elpis” project, and for the new drama slot “Tuesday Drama Eleven,” the first drama to be produced by producer Yujin Mikata, who had never produced a drama before, the company decided to compete with an original work.

Mr. Mikata, who has long been in charge of variety programs such as “Seven Rules,” said, “Dramas differ from variety programs, which are based on logic, such as pretense and punchlines, in the way of thinking that should be prioritized. I have been working on variety shows for a long time, so I am now experiencing the feeling of ‘creating emotionally rather than logically. I have been working in variety production for a long time, so there is a lot I don’t know about drama production. I was in a state of ‘what’s that?’ in all of them (laughs). (laughs).

Avalanche” Blu-ray & DVD BOX is now on sale. (Released by: Kantele, Distributed by: Pony Canyon ©2022 Kantele/Tri-Stone Pictures)

Outside staff such as directors and scriptwriters have also been used, including Michito Fujii, director of “Avalanche” starring Go Ayano (41) and others, Masatoshi Nakamura, scriptwriter of “Host Inheritance”, and Ryohei Kamide, former producer of TV Tokyo who worked on the closing film for “Elpis”. Many of these appointments are strange.

Another example of a popular creator is Yuji Sakamoto’s original screenplay “Soyada Toako and Her Three Ex-husbands,” a high quality work that adults can enjoy because of its excellent conversational drama that makes you feel between the lines. However, given the tendency these days to seek “easy to understand” and to use expository scenes and dialogue, I was also surprised by his attitude in creating a drama that gracefully strips away such elements.

I was surprised to see how he was able to cut out such things without any hesitation. “At the planning meeting, I saw him say things like, ‘This is a story from my own experience,’ or ‘My parents’ and I was a little impressed. I was a little impressed (laughs). (Laughs) But such projects tend to reflect the “personality” of the individual producer. I have come to realize that if you reflect your personal experiences and feelings, you can create something unique.

Since there are only four dramas a year in the GP zone, we do not limit the concept so that the image of the slot is not fixed. This is why we can come up with projects that have a lot of freedom and diversity. In addition to the use of actors and staff, what to leave out and what to discard in a production is left to the discretion and taste of the producer, with “individuality” as an important factor, and everyone supports the producer. I think this culture is the foundation of Kantele’s current productions.

A unique project that values the perspective based on the producer’s personal experience. An environment that encourages freedom and diversity, and facilitates cooperation within the company. A culture that seeks “something unique” and proactively takes on new challenges. Some people may feel that this is a matter of course, but it is surprisingly difficult to prioritize “novelty” over “solidity” when results are demanded. In order to keep up with the demand for results, it is necessary to have some standards and convictions.

It is not easy to move from the standard or formula of a drama to “What about this? Is this okay? I think that dramas that are not standard or formulaic have “newness” and “interest. Because there are so many dramas out there, viewers feel a sense of exhaustion for “something new” without a sense of déjà vu. Therefore, I think that as long as they can feel the “newness,” they are fine with it.

Elpis” Blu-ray & DVD BOX to be released on May 26, 2023 (Released by: Kantele, Distributed by: Happinet Media Marketing, Inc. ©Kantele)

In addition to traditional household viewership ratings, television results are now measured by a variety of other metrics, including individual viewership ratings for the “core demographic,” the number of recorded viewings, and the number of views on Tver and other distribution platforms. Of course viewership ratings are important. In the past, we were always told that if the ratings failed twice, we would be fired (laughs),” laughs Kawanishi.

It’s ‘buzz’. Unlike ratings and views, it cannot be quantified, but ‘buzz’ can be expressed in a variety of ways. For example, a new product becomes a topic of conversation because it is “new,” or a product becomes a topic of conversation because it is “interesting. Elements that become a topic of conversation can lead to numbers. Kenta Kodera, the head of the production bureau, has given us a major policy, saying, “Just make something that is topical,” and “Aim for quality that rivals that of distribution. With such an axis in place, we can spotlight creators who excel in something or who have bold plans, and it is very easy to do.

In many cases, when people are lost in fear of failure, they are tempted to rely on past achievements and conventions. Although not in the TV industry, one apparel company combined patterns and designs that had sold well in the past, resulting in the question, “Who would buy it?” I once encountered a situation where a company combined a pattern and design that had sold well in the past, resulting in a product that I thought “Who would buy it? As expected, the product did not sell as well as it could have refreshed. The standard is strong, but it is difficult to create a new hit if you continue to be stuck in the past.

Today’s viewers are watching movies on the same screen (device) or watching foreign distributed productions with plenty of budget. The quality of TV dramas of the past, which were shot in multiple shots with many studio cameras, would be perceived as cheap. The good old myth that ‘this kind of picture gets the numbers’ is no longer valid. I think there is a demand for works with high-quality images that do not give a sense of deja vu.

One of his main axes is “just make something interesting.” In the drama “Rationally Impossible: The Unraveling of Detective Ryoko Kamisuiru,” which airs every Monday night at 10 p.m., lead actor Yuki Amami (55), with her flashy disguises and comedienne act, and her serious partner Kohei Matsushita (36), have a good tempo, and the scenes that make the audience want to react and laugh are The film is interspersed with scenes that make viewers laugh and laugh. Kawanishi said, “This work has a different flow from “Trap War” and “Elpis,” and you can feel the variations in it. I am sure you will enjoy everyone’s favorite Amami,” he said confidently.

Rationally Impossible: The Unraveling of Detective Ryoko Kamizuru” airing on Monday nights at 10 pm.

Directed by Michio Mitsuno, who also directed the popular drama “BOSS” starring Amami. In the second episode, the conversation between Sei Shiraishi (24), who plays the role of Kumi Isama (Genma Kumi), and Amami, “What should I call you? I guess it’s BOSS, isn’t it?” Many viewers were excited to hear “BOSS wa nai yo. The scriptwriter, Nonji Nemoto, also wrote the script for “Hakozume: Tatakau! (NTV), as well as the popular scriptwriter for “Paripi Komei” (Fuji TV) starring Osamu Mukai, which will air this fall. He has a reputation for dialogue and development that will delight drama-loving viewers, who are drawn into the drama.

In the first episode, when the poster is coming off the screen, Amami says, ‘Oh no! (Laughs.) It’s refreshing to see such a clean and simple direction. It’s in the realm of traditional entertainment, like the variety show “What’s in the Box? I think it’s good to have a kind of essential fun in a classic goofy routine, or a kind of ‘you win by making people laugh’ kind of thing.

Host Inheritance” airing on Tuesday nights at 11 p.m.

On the other hand, the new “Tuesday Drama Eleven” series “Host Inheritance” showed great potential as well as Kantele’s typical challenges.

The story is about the main character, office worker Kumiko Motohashi, played by Yuki Sakurai, who suddenly becomes the owner of a host club run by her uncle. The second episode was the story of host Musashi Kisaragi, played by EXIT’s Hiroki Kanekon (32), who was stabbed by a customer, resulting in a trial and other flare-ups. There is a reason why I was very concerned that the third episode, in which Kumiko dresses up as a man and experiences being a host, was not aired first in order for viewers unfamiliar with the host industry to understand the story.

In fact, after the second episode aired, an employee of a host club in Kabukicho was arrested for abetting prostitution against a customer, although in the real world the circumstances of the incident were quite different. Although the news broke two days after the broadcast, it is assumed that the culprit was taken into custody before the second episode aired. The timing was so exquisite that a fellow writer and I were talking about how coincidental it was that a work that “has it all” would happen. Mr. Mikata, the producer in charge of the project, said, “We had a lot of discussions about whether episode 2 or episode 3 should be broadcast first.

In conventional TV dramas, the third episode, which introduces the audience to the world of hosts, would be broadcast first. But in this drama, I wanted to show the world of hosts in a fun way, and say, “Isn’t that nice? I don’t want to show the world of hosts in a fun way and make people want to become one. We wanted to depict the real aspects of the host industry, so we decided to put the trial episode first. Kumiko’s growth, the various values of the characters, and Shohei Miura’s (Naoki) heart-rending dialogue make this a work that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

The Thursday late-night “EDGE” slot on terrestrial television, which is only broadcast locally in the Kansai region, also has a number of notable works, such as “Informer,” which is ranked high in the Netflix rankings. Zenra-Meshi,” currently airing and starring Shori Kondo (29) and Yutaro (24), is another work that combines gourmet food and boys’ love (BL), and has gained a highly enthusiastic fan base.

Although Tver and other TV stations offer a good viewing environment, it is difficult to publicize local broadcasts because they are “away” from the national TV market. The drama industry is crowded with a host of rivalries, such as drama distribution and late-night drama productions. Kantele, which calls itself “the weak one,” is expected to achieve success by “fighting in its own weak way.

  • Interview and text Miho Kuwata Photo courtesy of Kansai Telecasting Corporation

Photo Gallery6 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles