Daily Archives: January 3, 2008

The Numbers Are In

We reported yesterday on the various “Kohaku” highlights on New Year’s Eve, and now the official audience figures are in. The second half of the show, always more popular than the first, managed a slight improvement on last year’s record low of 37.6% but was still the second-lowest ever at 39.5%. Remember that this is in comparison to the show’s heyday when over 80% of households nationwide tuned in. Admittedly, the nations public network hasn’t seen a figure over 80% since 1972, and the 50% barrier was broken in 1989, the first year of the current Heisei Era. And with NHK being a non-commercial network, the figures are more a matter of pride than a financial concern. But with a battered reputation, pride is about all NHK has left and some very big names, including top rock names B’z and Yazawa Eikichi, had been bandied about for the latest show and when they failed to sign up, the worst was feared. In the end, the decision to focus more on the songs and some free publicity surrounding a few of the celebrities on the show probably saved the ratings from hitting an all-time low.

Meanwhile, on the other networks: “K-1 Premium 2007” on TBS got an audience of 14.7%; NTV’s comedy-variety show “Downtown no Gaki Tsukai ya Arahende!!” managed 12.4%; “Yoiko Mujinto ¥0 Seikatsu” pulled in 11.8%; and “Hustle Matsuri 2007” on TV Tokyo struggled to get 4%. But Fuji TV had the worst time, managing a mere 3.2% for its drama “Ichiokubun no Ichi no Otoko”.

• Young Johnny’s idol singer Uchi Hiroki (21) is to make his TV comeback, two years and seven months after he was punished for underage drinking. He will appear in the Fuji TV drama “Isshun no Kaze ni Nare”, which will air over four nights from February 25. Formerly a member of the groups Kanjani8 and NEWS, Uchi returned to the stage last summer for the musical starring Johnny’s veterans Shonentai. As with Kusano Hiroyuki (19), who was also caught indulging in the booze, he is now a solo performer.