Network Navigating Downtown DX Cancellation Amid Matsumoto Hitoshi’s Ongoing Legal Battle | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Network Navigating Downtown DX Cancellation Amid Matsumoto Hitoshi’s Ongoing Legal Battle

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Downtown’s Hitoshi Matsumoto says he wants to return to comedy. ……

Following allegations of sexual misconduct reported in Weekly Bunshun, Hitoshi Matsumoto of “Downtown” is currently embroiled in legal battles with Bungeishunju Ltd. and others. Several months have passed since the initial report at the end of last year, and it has become commonplace in the television industry for Matsumoto to be absent.


During the first oral argument held on March 28th, Matsumoto’s side demanded that Weekly Bunshun provide the full names (stage names) and personal information such as addresses, dates of birth, mobile phone numbers, LINE accounts, and even photos that could identify “Ako” and “Bko.” They argued that without this information,

“It’s unclear what the truth is.”

In response, Weekly Bunshun’s lawyers expressed their astonishment, saying,

“This is unprecedented.”

“If he didn’t do it, there’s no need to identify anyone.”

Thus, a full-scale war ensued. The next hearing will take place online on June 5th.

“If he claims he’s completely innocent, neither of sexual misconduct nor infidelity, there’s absolutely no need for such a long hiatus. However, sponsors have been dropping out one after another, and he didn’t want to be expelled from the entertainment industry, so he decided to ‘focus on the trial’ and suspend his activities. In fact, it seems he spent time overseas after filing the lawsuit, so he should generally have plenty of free time.” (Women’s magazine reporter)

On the other hand, “senior in self-restraint” Ken Watanabe of “Anjash” is currently hosting “WATABET ~ Sore, Ore no dakara ne? ~” as a solo MC for the first time in four years, which is being exclusively streamed on DMM TV from the 12th. Although he has yet to fully return to terrestrial television, his work is steadily increasing. Recently, he has been able to turn the turmoil into laughter, showing adeptness in handling self-deprecating humor.

Before the suspension, Matsumoto had six regular programs on key stations in Tokyo. Even now, some programs stubbornly retain the “Downtown” brand.

These include “Wednesday’s Downtown” (TBS), “Downtown DX” (produced by Yomiuri TV, aired on NTV), and “Downtown no Gaki no Tsukai ya Arahende!!” (NTV). Many other regular programs have either changed names or replaced the MC, effectively erasing any traces of Matsumoto.

“‘Wednesday’s Downtown’ was popular not solely due to Matsumoto’s abilities but also because of the content expertise of director Kenta Fuji. It’s undeniable that the show can continue without Matsumoto, but there are also programs quietly considering cancellation behind the scenes.” (Television industry insider)

Downtown is undoubtedly at the top of the comedy world. Therefore, it wasn’t easy for networks, particularly Yoshimoto Kogyo, to simply end their programs. 

“In fact, there are secret plans to end ‘Downtown DX.’ Yomiuri TV, which produces the program, along with affiliate stations, is soliciting new projects for the ‘Platinum Night’ slot. They plan to try out interesting new concepts as late-night specials first and, if successful, replace DX with them. It’s unlikely the program will sustain until Matsumoto returns after the protracted trial. It’s highly probable it will be canceled at a convenient time.” (Same television industry insider)

Matsumoto expressed a desire to return to comedy as soon as possible before the initial trial. Will there still be a place for him after the trial ends?

  • PHOTO Yasuko Sakaguchi

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