Fuji TV’s Ryuji Komiya

Japanese game shows have carved a niche all their own within the format market, with outside-the-box concepts that have the ability to make noise in a schedule. Ryuji Komiya, head of formats at Fuji Television Network, talks to TV Formats about what’s trending in game shows from Japan.

TV FORMATS: How is the current demand for game shows in the marketplace?
KOMIYA: In Japan, game shows are not in great demand, unlike in other parts of the world, but that doesn’t mean that we do not have any game shows in prime time, access prime and daytime. Although we do not have many weekly regular game shows, we do have seasonal game shows that are broadcast once every four months. The participants of the game shows in Japan are celebrities, so I think the audience does not want to see the celebrities in challenging games every ***Image***week, but rather the current schedule of broadcasts brings more attention.

TV FORMATS: What sets the game shows that are popular today apart from the traditional game show?
KOMIYA: Unlike traditional game shows, the current game shows can be made without a huge set. For example, our popular game shows such as Run for Money, Water Fortressand $$$ Mansion—Can You Keep the Cash? were filmed in an existing environment and stories were added to the game to make the rules more exciting.

One of our new game shows, broadcast in 2021, is $$$ Mansion—Can You Keep the Cash? It has self-contained episodes with teams of two members competing against each other. It’s an original mix of an escape game concept and online challenges in an exciting TV show.

TV FORMATS: Is there more of a demand for game shows in prime time, access prime or daytime?
KOMIYA: The demand for game shows is coming in prime time still, as it is something that can be watched by everyone in the family. But in Japan, the demand is on weekends rather than weekdays.

TV FORMATS: What are some advantages that broadcasters can derive from having a successful game show as a staple in their schedules?
KOMIYA: In Japan, as the participants of the game shows are celebrities, the stars can use this [as an opportunity] to advertise the drama series or other programs aired by the broadcasters on these game shows.

TV FORMATS: Where do you see the most significant opportunities for game-show formats as you look ahead?
KOMIYA: Game shows are still watched on TV screens, not on mobile. So, we look forward to creating game-show formats that can fit in prime time on TV but [that require spending] less money and still look great and are fun to watch.