SMAPXSMAP is rumored to be ending this spring. The reason being that ratings have dipped and it costs too much to produce the show. The decision about ending the show was pretty set at around June last year.
Part of the reason is because Fuji’s programming management changed hands last yr, and also because SMAP’s manager doesn’t really get along with Julie. Julie is said to be the one to take over after Johnny dies. And Julie didn’t think SMAP would sell, but Iijima (SMAP’s manager) managed to make them the biggest idol group in Japan. With SMAP on the decline lately, Iijima’s power in the company is also on the wane.
In its wake will be replaced by a 2hr Johnny’s program. They’re thinking either Kanjani8 or Arashi for that slot. (With rumors of VS Arashi ending soon… maybe it’ll be Arashi?) Since both groups have heavy support from Julie.