Backlash Against Downtown’s Show, Challenges of Reiwa TV and Why They Persist | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Backlash Against Downtown’s Show, Challenges of Reiwa TV and Why They Persist

The staff saw it! Behind the Scenes of Weekly TV

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In Degawa, Tanaka, Okamura’s Small 3′ (Fuji TV), Degawa (center) and others prepare for location shoots. They are all known for their friendly demeanor and skill in fan service.

The location shoots for TV Tokyo’s popular variety show “Degawa Tetsuro Can I Get Recharged?” have been plagued by troubles and are causing uproar.


“This March, a regular person visiting a famous spot in Wakayama Prefecture posted on social media that they were yelled at by a man who seemed to be staff, saying ‘Don’t come if you’re just chasing after him!’ When they looked around, they saw Degawa Tetsuro (60) filming. In April, children who heard rumors of a nighttime shoot in Tottori Prefecture swarmed the scene. A woman believed to be a local resident shouted on video posted on social media, ‘There are kids here too, so go home early!’ This has also sparked controversy.” (Entertainment reporter for a sports newspaper) 

All of these incidents have drawn criticism towards the show’s staff, despite Degawa himself smiling and providing fan service or sincerely apologizing. However, a production company director laments, “It’s become tough to conduct shoots authentically in this era.”

“To cut production costs, the number of staff members has been reduced, leading producers and directors to handle onlookers themselves quite often. Because they are in positions of authority, there are cases where they might come off as high-handed towards onlookers. Additionally, it’s due to the widespread use of social media. There has always been a segment of the population that dislikes TV shoots or celebrities, but with the advent of smartphones, these people can now capture scenes on-site, edit them, and post them on social media to criticize.”

In the past, for programs where celebrities walked around town or travel shows, known as “street walks” or “travel programs,” permissions were usually obtained in advance from places like shops they visited. However, to avoid predictable outcomes, more shows now only secure minimal permissions such as road use permits to maintain authenticity.


“Even today, when filming in restricted areas like shopping districts, we obtain prior permissions. However, if we disclose the names of talents coming for the shoot, it attracts onlookers and weakens the natural reactions of people in shops. Therefore, we often only provide TV station names and general content descriptions. Despite this, with the spread of information on social media, sometimes the filming locations get overcrowded, causing inconvenience to the hosts. ‘Can I Charge My Battery?’ covers a wide range during its shoots, and since they reportedly visit places without appointments, it’s more prone to troubles.” (broadcast writer)

Before broadcast, staff often hold up signs saying “Please refrain from filming” to prevent spoilers from being uploaded online, but there are limits to how effective this can be.

“That’s why we’re careful about casting for location shoots. We avoid talents who might get upset if secretly filmed. It’s not just about the individuals; it affects the program’s image.” (network producer)

Nevertheless, insiders unanimously agree that “street walk” location shoots won’t disappear.

“It’s a staple content. Unless there’s a major event like the pandemic, it will continue. Social media posts from people encountering the shoots can also promote the program. It feels like in the Reiwa era, viewers and producers are coexisting.” (broadcast writer) 

For both talents and staff, humility is essential for the survival of location-based TV shows in today’s era.

From the June 7-14, 2024 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Yusuke Kondo

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