WorldScreenings: TV Asahi


It has been an exciting year for TV Asahi, as one of the main broadcasters of the Tokyo Olympics. Outside of its home territory of Japan, TV Asahi has made steady progress in the international market over the last year. “New interests and deals have been made, and we are now starting to feel the momentum,” says Motoko Nakai, director of international business.

“Ever since the Olympics, TV ratings and domestic ad sales are improving, and we’re extremely excited with our new drama lineups for this October season,” Nakai continues. Among them, the seventh season of the top-performing medical drama Doctor-X recently ***Image***returned. “We’re happy to report that it has already largely outsold its previous seasons,” Nakai adds.

In the entertainment arena, TV Asahi’s wacky format No.1 Chicken has been sold to the U.S. and started to stream worldwide as a YouTube original series. The company has closed a couple of distribution deals with multinational format companies as well. TV Asahi has prepared three brand-new entertainment formats for the season—all of which are game shows. Splatter! is a physical game show that challenges contestants to avoid being splattered by colorful paints and powder. In Ninja vs Camera, ninja teams have to break into an evil lord’s manor in order to retrieve the keys to the treasure. Sneak n Shop is a new take on a drone show; this one taking place in a big shop. The contestants have to try to avoid being captured by the drone cameras and sneakily pick up and bring back as many goods from the store as possible.

With an eye to drama remakes, Nakai says that there’s “definitely more interest in our series than before, and we are in discussions for various series.” A Hong Kong broadcaster remade the drama series Ossan’s Love, which became an early summer hit in the region. New offerings include Tower of Justice, a story of power and corruption within the police system, and If I’d kissed her, a romantic comedy about a young man whose girlfriend’s soul is suddenly trapped in a middle-aged man’s body. TV Asahi’s latest series, The Words They Speak, is a horror show about the strange power of words that are uttered unintentionally but cause devastating consequences. It is directed by J-horror veteran Masayuki Ochiai.

There’s also a wealth of animation from TV Asahi available to international buyers. “The animation market in Japan is extremely diverse and ever-growing, targeting kids, family, teens and adults,” Nakai says. “TV Asahi used to be the first stop for the kids’ and family properties like Doraemon and Shin chan, but we are now trying to fully expand the horizons into anime as well.”

TV Asahi is aiming to deliver “truly original and interesting” anime series from its NUMAnimation time slot. This winter, it is launching Salaryman’s Club, an action-oriented sports anime series about badminton as a competitive sport. It tells the story of men trying to balance work and a badminton career and to overcome the trauma from the past. TV Asahi is also focusing on sales for its co-produced series Barangay 143, which is about basketball.

Drama and variety shows remain the bread and butter of the TV Asahi catalog though. “We are proud to bring the strongest titles to the market this season, with exceptional storylines, casting and quality, to hopefully win the best seat in the ratings,” Nakai says.

See TV Asahi’s Fall 2021 Showcase here.