There’s been a flurry of good news for TV Asahi as of late, as its formats continue to travel the world. For one, its young-skewed format Trick House has been adapted for a local version to broadcast this fall on the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK in a deal with Banijay. “We are very excited to be working with NRK, which also broadcast the hit series SKAM,” says Miyuki Nakasone, head of formats and remakes at TV Asahi.
Trick House is set in a house of horrors where ten young men wear heart rate monitors on their arms and compete to see how many pranks and frightening experiences the owner can play on them without their heart rate going up. One of the contestants, however, is a mole, who tricks and disturbs the other players.
In further bright spots, TV Asahi’s top-selling format Ranking the Stars has reached 18 seasons in the Netherlands. And its scripted format 7 Secretaries is being prepared for an adapted version to air in the U.S.
TV Asahi has a strong new lineup for MIPTV as well. Particular highlights include the cooking format Recipe Roulette and the scripted format On a Starry Night.
The uniqueness of the Recipe Roulette format is “the unexpected ‘lottery sensation’ brought into a cooking competition,” says Nakasone. In the format, two teams are made up of three people, each with different cooking skills and experience—namely good cooks and bad cooks. The team members are supposed to take turns cooking a given dish. The show consists of three rounds, and in each, the teams prepare an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert, resulting in a full-course meal. No recipes or instructions are included. The cooking time of the good and bad cooks is determined by the roulette wheel. At the end of the show, the teams will be judged by food experts, and the better team wins.
“During the pandemic, people have become more interested in home cooking,” Nakasone says. “This show is not only fun to watch, but also makes you want to get in the kitchen with your friends and family.”
Meanwhile, On a Starry Night features a May-December romance between a man who was born deaf and lost his parents in an accident at a young age but is not pessimistic and enjoys his life, and a woman who is a doctor with no disabilities but is traumatized by her past experience of causing the death of a patient due to malpractice. While she is an obstetrician/gynecologist who brings life into the world every day, his profession is one of confronting death: cleaning out people’s houses after they die alone.
“This is the memorable first series of our newly launched women’s drama slot this spring, and it broke all ratings records on TV Asahi’s catch-up streamer,” says Nakasone.
Along with the love story, the various incidents that occur at the places of life and death where the protagonists work drive the plot forward. “In addition to the fact that the entire series is filled with rich conversations in sign language and deals with the universal theme of diversity, we believe that this kind of story, which heals the hearts of people weary from the pandemic, is what is needed in today’s world,” Nakasone says.
With the easing of Japan’s Covid-19 restrictions, TV Asahi has been able to deliver fresh new formats. It has also positioned itself as a strong co-development partner and is open for collaboration. “TV Asahi has multiple platforms under its umbrella, in addition to terrestrial BS and CS stations, and when we collaborate with overseas production companies, there is no shortage of outlets to broadcast and distribute our work,” says Nakasone.
“In addition, we have many young and talented creators within the company, and we have established a training system whereby their creative ideas are first broadcast in the late-night slot as a test and then moved up a slot to prime time if they are successful in terms of ratings,” Nakasone continues.
“Our talented producers are always looking forward to ambitious co-development opportunities with overseas companies, and we are very open to working with foreign production and distribution companies.”
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