The recent economic downturn is hitting not only ordinary working people but also stars in the showbiz industry. Many famous TV personalities and comedians now have to drop their appearance fee.
TV personality Monta Mino will leave NTV's “Omoikkiri TV” at the end of March after 20 years. One showbiz insider says, “Monta Mino is lucky because he still has his daily morning infotainment program on TBS, 'Asazuba.' His weekly salary is 5 million yen. On the other hand, freelance announcer Akira Fukuzawa will be leaving a TBS infotainment program soon, but he will have a tough time finding new programs that will pay him what he was getting."
The abolition of appearance fees is one of the biggest issues for every TV station. An employee of a Tokyo-based TV station says, “In the past, we couldn't lower a celebrity's appearance fee once we increased it, which was common sense. But now, producers have started offering 'discounts.' If a celebrity or agent refuses the offer, producers will just seek a replacement. There are plenty around. That is also going to be the case with big stars.”
A TV producer says, “A few years ago, we used to pay at least 30,000 yen even to unknown talent. But now, we pay just 10,000 yen to two celebrities for a couple of three-hour jobs. Many of them, especially younger ones, want to appear on TV even if they are not paid.”
TV drama production is much more costly than variety programs. One episode costs at least 40 million yen. In such tough economic times, actors and actresses have to accept reduced or no appearance fees for a network to stay in the black.
One TV drama producer says, “This year, lots of actresses have taken 30-40% cuts in their appearance fees. I heard that even the No.1 actress, Yukie Nakama, is not an exception. But she is still a lucky person because her drama 'Gokusen' is going to made into a film, for which she will get paid big money.”
Analysts say that the celebrities who do best in a recession are those who have good popularity ratings among sponsors.
Gossip reporter Toshio Ishikawa says, “The TV industry is now suffering from decreasing ad revenue. TV producers will definitely favor stars who are acceptable for sponsors. I think actress Aoi Miyazaki of NHK's drama 'Atsuhime' and Ryoko Hirosue of the Oscar-winning film 'Okuribito' (Departures) would be ideal. Their career in NHK dramas and Oscar are their strength.” (Translated by Taro Fujimoto)© Japan Today