Yukie Nakama, the 30-year-old “queen of viewer ratings”’ has been chosen again to host the annual NHK “Kohaku Utagassen” program this year. Yet despite the actress’ popularity, her new TV drama is not faring too well. The TV Asahi series titled “Untouchable,” which began airing this month, is suffering unbelievably low ratings for the queen.
In the series, Nakama plays a tabloid news reporter who does just about anything from trespassing and shooting undercover photos in search of a scoop, solving crimes and mysteries at the same time. The new TV drama was promoted at a media conference held in early October as a story with a “well thought out plot” and Nakama herself emphasized how excited she was to play the lead role.
In spite of the advertisement, the rating for the first show was 11.6%, falling to 9.7% and 6.2% by the third episode in the Kanto area. According to a source working at TV Asahi’s production department, “The ratings are so poor that ordinarily we would consider canceling it altogether, midseason or not. But it’s just not possible, considering Nakama’s contribution to the success of ‘TRICK’ (which aired in 2000), and while plans are under way for a third movie version of this story. Under the circumstances, there’s no way we can do anything that would offend her. In fact, any talk about TV viewer ratings is practically a taboo now.”
Thus, any mention of ratings has become the “untouchable” topic among the “Untouchable” staff. How ironic. TV Asahi’s public relations department stated they had nothing to say about measures to improve the ratings.
A program crew member says that Nakama’s commitment as the lead actress extends to memorizing all the lines in the script, including those of her co-actors. Let’s just hope that her effort will be rewarded.