In June, EXILE members USA, MAKIDAI, and MATSU announced they were leaving the group by the end of the year. On August 7, EXILE appeared on Music Station. This episode was one of the last times these original members of EXILE would be on the show. During this episode, EXILE performed their new single “24karats GOLD SOUL “, followed by their 2011 hit “Rising Sun.” This did not result in a ratings hit though.
The August 7 episode of Music Station brought in a 6.7% rating. This is the show’s lowest rating of the year. The guests that week were KANA-BOON, Kanjani8, Yuzu, Hanaoka Natsumi, EXILE, and THE King ALL STARS. EXILE was the biggest act on the show, so they are getting the blame for the episode being a ratings flop. Normally, a low rated episode of Music Station gets a rating of 7% – 8%.
This is not the only area on television where EXILE is facing difficulty. TAKAHIRO’s drama “Wild Heroes” didn’t do well, and now AKIRA’s drama “HEAT” is suffering an even worse fate.
The 6th episode of “HEAT”, which aired on August 11, brought in a 2.8% rating. This is the lowest rating for a primetime show this century, with the exception of shows that air on TV Tokyo. “HEAT” premiered with a 6.6% rating, falling to 3.9% with its second episode.
A reason for the failure of “HEAT” is that it doesn’t seem realistic. Viewers say that AKIRA doesn’t match the character of an elite businessman. Also, the plot of an elite businessman joining a fire brigade to secretly uncover information to help his real estate business seems absurd.
“HEAT” bears similarities to the drama that held its time slot before it, “Tatakau! Shoten Girl”, which starred AKB48’s Mayu Watanabe. Both dramas star members of popular groups. Both dramas may also become movies, in spite of low ratings. The reason for this is because both groups have large numbers of fans who will pay money to see a movie starring them. This is different from a drama, where anyone can watch it on television for free. As CM revenue plateaus, television stations are looking for new non-broadcasting revenue, and movies based on dramas look to be the ticket.
EXILE has a close relationship with Fuji TV. Fuji TV’s variety show “Viking” is seen as a successor to its variety shows “EXILE Casino JP” and “Waratte Iitomo!” During the show’s first season, TAKAHIRO served as a host for the show. NAOTO (who is also in Sandaime J Soul Brothers) is currently a host on the show. His groupmate Mendy Sekiguchi (who is also in GENERATIONS) appears regularly on the show, as does E-girls / Dream member Ami.
The reason for this push on television is pressure from LDH. LDH was persistent in sending people to Fuji TV in an effort to build a strong relationship. Fuji TV fell easily for this. This is a problem for them because they continue to use LDH members even though they result in a loss of viewership and bad ratings. Only fans tune into this programs, people who aren’t fans generally avoid them. This is quite an unusual practice. Fuji TV continues to do this due to pressure from LDH. Fuji TV wants to move away from this practice, but they can’t due to said pressure.