Popular ‘80s Game Show “Takeshi’s Castle” Returns on Amazon Prime | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Popular ‘80s Game Show “Takeshi’s Castle” Returns on Amazon Prime

The staff saw it! Weekly TV's Uraside

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With his regular appearances dwindling, “Beat” Takeshi Kitano has shifted to live and video streaming services. “Takeshi’s Castle” is set to return on Amazon Prime in 2023.

The popular variety show “Old Enough!” (NTV), which began airing in 1991, is attracting attention around the world.

“It has been aired in Europe since the 2000s, but in March of this year, a digest version was broadcasted on Netflix to 190 countries around the world, and people were impressed with how “safe” Japan is! This is what is known as “overseas sales” (program sales), and with the establishment of video distribution sites, “Old Enough!” and other unexpected programs have also become a hot topic on the Internet.

“The increasing number of sales which utilizes in-house produced programs and content has long been a money-maker for TV stations, but with the rise of video distribution, it is beginning to make even greater profits,” said a producer at a key station.

There are two types of sales: one is to broadcast the original version as it is, and the other is to sell the format for local production.

“TBS series “Takeshi’s Castle”, which was popular in the late 1980s, will be revived next year on Amazon Prime Video next year. It will be produced by TBS again, and the cast will be completely renewed except for Beat Takeshi (75). In preparation for this summer’s recording, the station’s SASUKE team will be working at TBS’s Midoriyama Studio City. It is expected to be even more spectacular than the original version. The production cost is also extraordinary,” said a TBS insider.

Local stations are putting even more effort into sales of their programs than key stations. The previous article in this series was about the entry of nationally known TV personalities into local TV programs as a result of the “TVer” service, which allows viewers to catch up with programs they missed. 

A director of a production company pointed out, “The survival of local TV stations depends on the sales of their programs. Key stations, whose budgets have been severely cut in the wake of the TV recession, are increasingly buying programs from local stations to fill their slots at a lower price. As more and more programs are offered to video distribution services, local stations have begun to use nationally recognized talent and staff in anticipation of sales on the airwaves. The gap is beginning to widen between those stations that are making large profits from the sales of their programs and those that are unable to produce programs that can be sold through the sales of their programs.”

Reported in this series on the departure of talented TV personnel to ABEMA and other Internet-based media, but the exodus to local stations has begun as well.

“Key stations have a higher profile than local stations, but they are bound by compliance regulations, which makes it difficult for them to come up with projects. On the other hand, local stations have a higher degree of freedom, and some of them actively use young talent, so although the fees are not high, those with excellent talents are beginning to flow to local stations.”

While TV stations are finding a way to take advantage of the popularity, a producer at a key station laments that “the production sites are not benefiting much”

“The content business division is responsible for sales, so the production staff below the general producer level are basically unaware of it. Sales do not go to the department in charge of production either. I don’t hear about any increase in production costs or staff salaries for former programs that made high profits. Production costs are going down, so I would like to see them raise production costs, at least for programs that are doing well in sales.”

While giving back to the field will be an issue for the future, there is no doubt that the probability of survival will increase for those stations that are able to master the sales promotion.

From the June 24 and July 1, 2022 issues of FRIDAY

  • Photographed by Kojiro Yamada

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