NHK Declines to Renew Contracts with STARTO ENTERTAINMENT

Today, NHK announced that their new music program on BSP4K, “New Gene!”, will end in March. The show debuted in January as the replacement to “The Shonen Club.” The news was announced in a regular press conference by Director General of Media Yamana Hiroo. He also revealed that eight other shows starring STARTO talents on NHK BS, E TV, and Radio 1 will end.

“Our stance at this time is to not sign new contracts with talents from SMILE-UP. / STARTO ENTERTAINMENT,” Yamana said. It was explained that talent from the company will no longer appear on the network from April onwards. There is a chance though that rebroadcasts and voice appearances by the talents may air.

At the same press conference, NHK Chairman Inaba Nobuo complained about the company’s response to the Johnny Kitagawa sexual abuse scandal, saying that “it’s a little slow compared to what we expected.”

Shows that will be affected by this directive include “New York” (hosted by A.B.C-Z‘s Fumito Kawai), “Premise!” (hosted by King & Prince), “Value no Shinjitsu” (hosted by SixTONES), “Kotoba ni Dekinai” (hosted by WEST.‘s Akito Kiriyama), “Tomadoi Shakai Hito no Bizword Koza” (hosted by King & Prince’s Ren Nagase), “Sekai Sunrise Tour” (hosted by WEST.‘s Junta Nakama), “STUDY! Bokutachi to Minna no Radio” (hosted by A.B.C-Z), and “Radirer! Saturday” (hosted by Hey! Say! JUMP‘s Hikaru Yaotome and Kei Inoo).

STARTO and NHK have had a tense relationship in light of the scandal. The company’s talents did not appear on the “74th NHK Kohaku Uta Gassen”, a show that resulted in a ratings disaster for the network. NHK has also not been fond of the company’s Jr. program having other outlets, such as social media, given that “The Shonen Club” was created for the express purpose of being the sole venue for Jr. talent. The company has also been working more and more with other networks and building its social media presence, in an effort to bring about a newer Japanese entertainment industry, as was spoken of by president Atsushi Fukuda. This has left NHK and its more traditional ways left out.

NHK’s announcement comes in spite of an increase in job offers overall for STARTO talents, including a new Aoki CM deal for Naniwa Danshi and Snow Man’s Ren Meguro recent inauguration as Fendi’s first-ever Japanese male ambassador.


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