How much do the Japanese love to watch the adventures of Team Gibbs? The Fox Japan channel is about to find out with its plan for a 10-day marathon of 234 episodes of “NCIS.”
The stunt should qualify the show for a slot in the Guinness World Records book as the longest uninterrupted transmission of a TV series, according to CBS. The marathon of segs from the show’s first 10 seasons will lead into the launch of the show’s current 11th season on Fox Japan in February.
The marathon is set to begin at 11 p.m. local time on Dec. 29 and conclude at 5 p.m. on Jan. 8. The New Year’s frame is the major winter holiday in Japan and coincides with school vacations, religious observances and other festive events.
The timing of the marathon is a little surprising, given the rising tension in Japan toward the heavy U.S. military presence stationed on the island nation since the end of WWII.
But just as in the U.S., “NCIS” defies gravity with its enduring popularity. The series starring Mark Harmon as the head of a naval investigative unit has been high among primetime’s most-watched dramas since its inception in 2003.
“NCIS” is also a model of TV cell division. The series was born as a spinoff of another long-running military drama, “JAG.” “NCIS” then begat the successful spinoff “NCIS: Los Angeles” in 2009 and is expected to yield another New Orleans-based sibling series next fall.
“Ten full days of ‘NCIS,’ ” exec producer Gary Glasberg enthused. “I wish the cast and crew could be in Japan to witness this extraordinary accomplishment. What a wonderful gift to ring in the New Year.”
Fox Japan is part of the Fox Intl. Channels group. The “NCIS” stunt is a sign of that group stepping up its local and global marketing efforts to gain market share in its key regions.