Fuji TV gets criticised for putting Risk no Kamisama head on with NTV’s Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai … Summer has been a bruising season for Fuji TV. At last count, all its dramas have fallen to single digit viewership ratings with the exception of Koinaka which will only kick off on Monday. Risk no Kamisama, which marks Tsutsumi Shinichi’s return to a leading role with Fuji TV for the first time in 16 years after hit dramas like Pure and Yamato Nadeshiko in the late 1990s, has been battered since it started airing on 8 July. It managed just 7% in viewership ratings in the first episode compared to 14.7% for the second season of NTV’s Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai. The gap between the two dramas didn’t narrow very much in the second episode. However, feedback on the drama has mostly been good with viewers expressing dismay about the viewership ratings despite the interesting content and calling for a stop to measuring the drama by ratings. This has caused an outcry questioning why Risk no Kamisama had to go head on with Hanasaki Mai ga Damattenai. Netizens have pointed to the irony of the title of the drama and how the inability to manage risk led to the drubbing. Fuji TV’s lack of crisis management ability has become a hot topic. Some industry insiders have also said the network itself is in need of a god of risk and viewership ratings are not the only problem. Interestingly, a recent article noted that Risk no Kamisama would have been a natural fit for Fuji TV’s Thursday 10 pm slot which has dealt with many dramas of the social genre. But Tantei no Tantei was given the slot to prevent Kitagawa Keiko’s image from being associated with a flop since there are no competing dramas from the other networks. The first episode was brisk and rather entertaining in a simplistic way. It was really about Toda Erika’s character as it followed her swift transformation from golden girl (she doesn’t make a convincing multi-linguist) to scapegoat. The god of risk himself made little impression. In fact, Tsutsumi didn’t have to do much other than to deliver lines like “A crisis is a chance”. I’ve a sneaking suspicion that all that acting talent have may go to waste in a drama that will probably be trotting out all the textbook crisis scenarios for our characters to tackle.
Koinaka a “guaranteed bomb”? … Fuji TV’s Geku has yet to air, but it has already been hit with tremendous negativity. Netizens have deemed the acting skills of the two leads, Fukushi Sota and Honda Tsubasa, beneath the level of a Geku. People within the entertainment industry are apparently calling Fuji TV “too foolhardy”. There is allegedly talk within the network that it will be a “guaranteed bomb” and a mood of resignation regarding the choice of Honda Tsubasa as Koinaka’s heroine too. One TV magazine writer observed that Koinaka would appeal to teens and might have been better in the late night slot than golden hour. While Fukushi and scriptwriter Kuwamura Sayaka had a hit movie with Strobe Edge which premiered in March this year, Strobe Edge is based on a very popular manga. Koinaka is an original production and Kuwamura does not have solid credentials yet. Noting that last season’s Yokoso, Wagaya e which was adapted from Ikeido Jun’s novel of the same name and starred Arashi’s Aiba Masaki in the lead had barely kept its two digit viewership rating, the writer believes there is a high likelihood that the combination of two the young leads will pull in a one digit viewership rating for the first episode. According to a source close to the network, if the leading actor is young, the actor or actress who plays opposite him will usually be someone who can act well and be the backbone of the drama. But this line-up is completely dependent upon Fukushi. So what is Fuji TV thinking? Someone familiar with dramas disclosed that Fuji TV has commenced not-so-secret discussions on scrapping its Monday 9 pm drama slot. In his remarks at a regular briefing in April, the president of Fuji TV had said the sluggish viewership ratings for the new programmes are “an extremely uphill battle” and “dramas are the primary cause of this situation”. The insider says responsibility is being pushed around within the network and staff are stunned that Tsubasa is being entrusted with the fate of Fuji TV’s golden hour which has produced a string of hit dramas in the past. It is being whispered that a live variety talk show will take the place of the drama slot.