TV Asahi Brings the Best from Japan to the World

Apr 1st, 2024

TV Asahi’s formats business kicked off in early 2000, and the last two decades have been marked by a string of successes. The flagship show Ranking the Stars, for one, has traveled to more than ten countries. The local version in the Netherlands, in particular, has performed exceptionally well and has broadcast 18 seasons since 2006. The sports game format Beat the Champions, meanwhile, has been commissioned in several Asian countries, including China and Mongolia.


“We are known for our simple, visual, original and unique challenge formats with a twist,” says Setsuko Yoda, head of format sales and development in the international business department at TV Asahi. For example, in Trick House, contestants are invited to a house filled with surprising tricks. Their heart rates are measured, and they must remain calm during the game. Otherwise, they’re disqualified. The first adaptation was broadcast in Norway last fall. In 31 Legged Race, multiple groups of kids compete with their legs tied together. A three-legged race is common in schools in Japan, but this show has been upgraded to 30 kids taking part. The format has been adapted in multiple Asian countries, such as Vietnam, China and Thailand.

“We believe that our uniqueness is generated in our corporate structure, as we have a dedicated and well-experienced in-house production department that produces most of our entertainment shows and dramas that are delivered directly to the harsh eyes of our mass audience,” Yoda says.

There are two unscripted formats, Horror House and Doorbuster, and one scripted format, Great Gift, new to the lineup. Horror House mixes an escape room challenge with horror elements. Doorbuster is a game show that tests memory and agility. Great Gift is a medical mystery swirling with hospital authority.

TV Asahi also has a new animation project, Gregory Horror Show -Save Our Souls-, a collaboration with Naomi Iwata (Pecola). The plan is to develop it into a 26×22-minute animated series for 8- to 12-year-olds. TV Asahi is currently seeking co-producers and co-financers for the project.

In the way of drama, Ossan’s Love tops the list. The series gained popularity in Japan and other Asian countries and made a comeback this January after six years. “This is a pure love story between three men and became a social phenomenon in Japan when season one aired in 2018,” says Yoda. “This series works very well as a finished tape and as a format.” A Hong Kong version was produced and aired on ViuTV in 2021, and the show will be produced in Thailand by GMMTV.

“Viewers tend to look for comfortable drama these days,” Yoda says. “Whether it’s a romance or a suspense genre, dramas with an ending that makes viewers refreshed and feel good work today in the Asian market.”

TV Asahi’s new period series With You I Bloom: Shinsengumi gets underway in April. It is based on a manga written by legendary Japanese cartoonist Osamu Tezuka. The story follows the revenge of a beautiful young man whose father was killed. Friendship and betrayal intertwine as he seeks justice. Yoda calls it “a new type of period drama that combines sword-fighting performances and an amazing sword dance that has never been seen before in Japanese historical dramas.”

These titles, and more, are coming to the global market straight from a content powerhouse in Japan. Indeed, TV Asahi ranked first in individual ratings for all day and prime time in 2023. “We are one of the most powerful entertainment production houses in Japan,” says Yoda. “We have exciting ideas and fresh innovations, and our shows are very popular in Japan, with great records.”

TV Asahi is also now actively collaborating with overseas productions. For example, it developed a game competition format, Celebrity Fight Club, with Youngest Media. This format is based on TV Asahi’s classic game show Challengers on Fire, which has been updated with a new spin by Youngest.

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