NHK aligns with Lineup for non-Asian sales | Deals | News | Rapid TV News
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Independent international distribution company Lineup Industries and NHK Enterprises, the distribution arm of Japanese broadcaster NHK, have announced a partnership to drive the global exploitation of NHK’s slate of formats.
chiko press 28Sep2020
Aiming to take advantage of what it calls its “affinity” for factual content, Lineup Industries will advise on and bring the Japanese public broadcaster’s formats to Western territories with a focus on Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

NHK/NHK Enterprises and Lineup Industries originally began collaborating with the successful Japanese adaptation of Radio Gaga, described as a “uniquely touching” format which follows a hyper-local, intimate radio station, now in its third season on NHK. The first formats to headline the new partnership will be The Late Night Show with Nitty & Gritty; 72 Hours; and Chiko’s Challenge (pictured).

Going into its fifth season on NHK, The Late Night Show with Nitty & Gritty celebrates underground and little-known-but-rumoured ways of life through a candid talk show using puppets. From the incomprehensible "work" hours of an online game addict, the secretive life of an ex-Yakuza, to the rituals of a multiple lottery winner, the series uses puppets as a way to free guests to speak their minds and shine a light onto the weird, the dark, and the niche.

72 Hours is a documentary format that captures the real stories of ordinary people who come and go at a specific location during a three-day period. The format is designed to tell stories that NHK says neither mainstream documentaries nor news programmes can. Since its first broadcast on NHK’s main channel in 2006, the series now runs weekly with almost 300 episodes filmed. Tencent has successfully posted a Chinese version gaining nearly 300 million views.

Chiko’s Challenge is a co-viewing comedy show which challenges celebrities with child-like questions which are often surprisingly difficult to answer. The quizmaster is an “eternal 5-year-old” character named Chiko. She is half CGI, half costume with a voice of a famous male comedian. Chiko challenges the celebrity panel with questions like “Why is it slippery on ice?” “Why do grandpas have long eyebrows?” It is currently one of the biggest studio entertainment shows in Japan.

“We are absolutely excited to be able to team up with Lineup Industries,” Junko Ogawa, executive controller-general, content distribution department of NHK Enterprises. “The adaptation of Radio Gaga has not only been a great hit for NHK but has helped us offer warmth, compassion, and laughter to NHK’s audience, which is an important element for its factual entertainment. We believe Lineup Industries and NHK share similar sensibilities and, we hope the partnership will let us connect with more companies that may take interest in our wonderful content.”

In a joint statement, Ed Louwerse and Julian Curtis, co-founders of Lineup Industries, added: “Although many Japanese formats can seem puzzling to audiences outside of Asia, they are often only a few small tweaks away from captivating Western viewers. NHK has an extensive library of standout, innovative formats that we believe can be successfully adapted for local markets, while still respecting and retaining the core creative elements that made the original so special. We look forward to working with the talented team at NHK and NHK Enterprises to maximise the international potential of their formats.”