The producers and the general manager talk about the show at every production meeting. As an ideal TV program, it is attracting a lot of attention in the industry.
(A mid-level employee at a key station) “There is a program that all TV people are raving about right now. It is “Human Commentary: Omo Umaii Ten” (Nippon Television Network Corporation). The concept of the program is to have the staff search all over Japan in order to discover “omowamai stores that are too good to be true,” and since it began airing in April 2021, it has recorded an average household viewership rating of 13.3%. Hiromi (57) serves as MC and Eiji Kotoge (46) of “Baikingu” fame facilitates the search, introducing community-based stores that offer overwhelming volume and overpriced service.
Omo Umai Ten (Omo Umai Shop)” has an outstanding reputation in the industry as well as high viewership ratings. Behind the overwhelming support from TV people are “three particulars” that cannot be found in conventional program production.
The first reason is the program’s structure. The program director and assistant directors conduct the interviews with cameras in hand, without using celebrities as location performers, a method that is said to be unique among programs produced by key stations.
The idea of not using celebrities as reporters is unthinkable at a key station. Since the program is in the prime time slot, there are popular personalities on other programs. In such a situation, if only staff members appear on location, there is a risk that viewers will change the channel.
The program is produced by “Audrey-san, there is someone I would like you to meet” (Chukyo TV). (Chukyo TV). ODO-Deeply” is a popular talk show featuring ordinary people with quirks, and perhaps because of their expertise, they know how to bring out the fun in ordinary people. It’s not easy for other stations to do it because they are too scared to try (laughs)” (source from a production company).
There are other benefits to not relying on celebrities.
Depending on the scale of the program, at least 10 to 15 people, including staff and performers, accompany the gourmet food program on location, but from what I have seen in the program, it appears that “Omo Umai Ten” has three to four people on location, including the staff who conduct the interviews. However, from the program, it appears that “Omoumai Ten” is being filmed by three or four people, including the staff conducting the interviews. This allows them to keep production costs down significantly. Another advantage is that since it is a small-group location shoot, it is easier to get interviews even with the COVID-19 crisis,” said the aforementioned production company official.
The second reason is the training of young staff. Basically, young station staff members conduct interviews as directors, but it is rare for them to be given the responsibility of directing an entire location. A producer of a variety show at a key station reveals, “The most attractive point is that it helps them develop a sense of responsibility and encourages their growth.
Normally, a producer or experienced director will always go to the location to handle any problems, so young people alone are never in charge of a location. However, in the case of “Omoumaiiten,” even children as young as in their second year are going out to the field to cover the event. Moreover, they are very good at bringing out the real faces of the store owners and employees. That is not something that can be taught. I think they grow up fast because they are able to interview as the general manager of the site. Training young people is an issue for my program as well, so I’m learning a lot from them.”
The last reason is the unique social networking strategy.
In recent years, it has become common for variety shows and information programs to advertise on SNS, but ‘Omo Umai Ten’ was one of the first to utilize TikTok for its advertising. The fact that we are able to effectively reach the teen demographic (men and women aged 13-19) and F1 demographic (women aged 20-34), which key stations have become aware of in recent years, has led to high viewership ratings.
In addition, on Twitter, the staff members who conducted the interviews are increasingly updating their names and behind-the-scenes stories. In this way, we try to build a fan base for individual staff members. Popular staff members have become the topic of conversation, with articles compiled on the Internet,” said an ad agency official.
With this unique strategy, even the industry insiders are saying, “This is good! Omoumaii Ten” has been making people in the industry say, “Delicious! It seems that its rapid progress will continue.
Photo： Yoshio Tsunoda/Afro (Hiromi), Shu Nishihara (Obama)