TOKYO — “The X-Files” will return to the land of the rising sun in December with a regular weekly broadcast on satcaster BS Asahi. It ended its three-year run in 1998 as the only U.S. program in a regular primetime spot on a Japanese web.
BS Asahi, one of the new satcasting stations that will take to the air in December and the satcasting arm of TV Asahi, will broadcast “The X-Files” in a high definition format in its primetime lineup. There are no plans at present to bring it back to the terrestrial network.
The series will start from the fifth season and is billed as a major feature for the broadcaster, which is trying to build a core audience of company workers in their 30s and 40s.
The sci-fi thriller was an anomaly for U.S. programming in Japan in that it had strong ratings and a loyal following during its run on Japanese TV.
It was the first major U.S. series to succeed in Japan in almost a decade, while other notable syndicated series such as “The Cosby Show” and “Dallas” never caught on with Japanese viewers.
When the “X-Files” first hit Japan, it was the No. 1 rated show in its time slot and had an average rating of 14.9% for its first season. Ratings for the show started to slip after that, and the series had ratings of about 10% in its final season.
BS Asahi is looking at other TV product from U.S. webs and Hollywood studios that can be broadcast in HDTV and will help attract its desired core audience.
There are no foreign programs in the regular primetime lineups of the major Japanese terrestrial networks and foreign programming makes up less than 1% of all programming in Japan.