Shinobu Sakagami’s “Viking” ends in wave of TV talent restructuring | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Shinobu Sakagami’s “Viking” ends in wave of TV talent restructuring

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When “Viking” started in ’14, Sakagami was the MC only on Mondays, but her tongue was so popular that she was promoted to the belt. Last year, the show’s broadcast slot was expanded. ……

It has been announced that “Viking More” (Fuji TV), an information program with Shinobu Sakagami (54) as the MC, will end next spring.

It is said that the reason for ending the program is that Sakagami asked to be removed from the program in order to focus on animal protection activities, but there is no doubt that the upper management of Fuji had become bitter about Sakagami’s high salary and many complaints about his tongue. It is said that the new program has not been decided yet, but since they have restructured the big names, they will probably appoint reasonable talents in their 40s or younger as MCs.

In a previous article in this series, I wrote that the big names of impersonators are being downsized from the terrestrial broadcasting industry, but recently, mid-career talents are also being targeted, and even veteran staff members are being beaten down.

In the past few years, stations have begun to focus on casting shows that are popular with the younger generation, based on core viewership ratings (viewership ratings for men and women aged 13-49). It is still fresh in our memories that big-name hosts such as Yuko Ando (63) and Tomoaki Ogura (74) have been restructured one after another, but in fact, talents in their 50s are also beginning to be weeded out.

In addition to the core viewership ratings, how many times a show can be viewed on video sites or through missed broadcasts is also considered important these days, but neither the big names nor the 50-something talents have been able to generate any numbers. The projects of the veteran staff are also not popular on the streaming sites, so the staff is being rejuvenated,” said a producer of a key station.

The “seventh generation of comedy” gained popularity when the year changed to 2024, but with the introduction of core viewership ratings and the decrease in production costs due to the new Covid-19, a drastic review of program production is rapidly underway.

Although production costs have dropped to one-third to one-fourth of what they were during the bubble era, big-name celebrities and veteran staff have been able to survive because of their past achievements and merits. However, with the introduction of core ratings, they now have a reason to restructure.

Last fall, TV Asahi started a late-night variety slot called “Barabara Daisakusen” with young directors and young talents, and other stations are also making efforts to train young staff. Other stations are also making efforts to develop young staff. Young directors are using talents and staff of the same generation, so I have the impression that the TV industry has been rejuvenated at a rapid pace in the past few years.

At the end of November, Fuji Television announced that it would be accepting voluntary retirement applications from employees who are over 50 years old and have been with the company for at least 10 years. The younger generation doesn’t take well to talents with a poisonous tongue. Sakagami was facing a headwind,” said the producer mentioned above.

Sakagami’s second break came at a time when celebrities with a tongue like Hiroyuki Ariyoshi (47) and Matsuko Deluxe (49) were popular. The fact that he was able to ride the boom was a big factor. The other two have shifted their style to a milder one in accordance with the times, but Sakagami was not able to successfully change his direction from a tongue-in-cheek character.

The fact that Takahiko Fujii (50), the “conscience of Nippon TV,” came in first in the “Favorite Male Announcer Ranking” is symbolic, but nowadays, freshness and sincerity are in demand. In this day and age, freshness and sincerity are in demand, and the bigwigs who sell their tongue will be weeded out.

It seems that the TV industry in Japan will become a complete meritocracy.

From “FRIDAY” December 31, 2021 issue

  • Photography Sota Shima

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