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Fuji TV bows international arm

Focus will be on co-prod'n deals for formats

TOKYO — Fuji TV, the leading pic producer among Japan’s five terrestrial networks, has announced the launch of a division dedicated to international sales and co-productions.

The Worldwide Production and Sales Division will bring together Fuji’s international program sales and special projects teams under one corporate umbrella. A key focus will be international co-prod and co-development deals based on Fuji’s reality formats and scripted programming.

The division will be headed by Akihiro Arai, a veteran producer of Fuji’s entertainment shows, including the long-running ratings winner “SMAPxSMAP,” starring the the members of the pop group SMAP, and “Warawtte Iitomo!” (It’s All Right to Laugh), an iconic daytime show whose host, Tamori (real name, Kazuyoshi Morita), set a Guinness World Record in 2002 for longevity as a live-show host. Now in its 28th season, the show — and Tamori — have passed the 7,000 episode mark.

Commenting on his appointment, Arai said: “During my years producing entertainment shows, I had been involved first-hand in developing hundreds of original formats… I welcome wholeheartedly the chance to tap into the wealth of ideas and know-how I’ve accumulated over the years to open doors to new business opportunities on a worldwide level.”

Among the most successful internationally of Fuji’s formats to date are the “Iron Chef” cooking show and the “Hole in the Wall” gameshow.

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