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Monday, May 05, 2014

Odagiri Jo saying "No" to leading roles in primetime dramas?

Found this interesting article from Real Live which talks about Odagiri Jo apparently saying "No" to leading roles in primetime dramas as what he declared during a recent press conference of his Spring 2014 drama, "Reverse Edge ~ Okawabata Tanteisha". Although it sounded like he was joking then, it seems like there is some truth to that after all.

In a nutshell, here's what the article had to say about Odagiri's conscious choice to avoid taking on leading roles in primetime dramas:

Odagiri was initially scheduled to be co-leads with Ueno Juri in the TBS Spring 2014 drama "Arisu no Toge". However, he asked to be lowered to a supporting role. According to an entertainment agency's insider, his decision was largely due to the trauma he suffered in 2012 when his drama "Kazoku no Uta" registered very low ratings and had to be shortened by three episodes. Since then, Odagiri would only take on leading roles if they are in movies or late-night dramas.

In actual fact, "Arisu no Toge" got off to a pretty good start at 14.2%. Although it dropped to 11.9% for its second episode, that was actually a normal trend because most dramas would suffer a fall in ratings in the second episode and anything between two and three percent was acceptable. However, there is still a likelihood that the drama might head into single-digit territory if things do not pick up from the third episode onwards. As such, no matter what happens to this drama, Odagiri would not be blamed for the results so in this sense, his choice to turn down the leading role is a smart move.

Although Odagiri is not really the type of actor who shines in supporting roles, if the drama in which he plays a supporting role does well, he can earn some credit in having contributed to its success. On the other hand, if the drama becomes a flop, he won't be liable for it. In the current TV drama landscape where it's extremely difficult to get high ratings, Odagiri's choice would allow him to concentrate on his acting rather than be affected by the movement of the drama's ratings. In a way, the timing of his choice would be appropriate to prolong the length of his career.

I don't think there's anything wrong with Odagiri's strategy of avoiding leading roles in primetime dramas but somehow, this article gives off a slightly negative vibe as if he's doing it for the sake of not wanting to take responsibility for the ratings. Luckily, the last paragraph wraps up the story by offering an alternative view on this issue and I tend to believe this argument about Odagiri wanting to concentrate on his acting rather than be affected by the controversy over ratings which are affected by various factors, not just the cast. 

Of course, I think it also works commercially for him because ditching the label of an actor who can't bring in ratings is definitely better in the long run. Odagiri's name had been mentioned constantly over the past few years as a symbol of an actor who could only churn out low ratings whenever the media talked about "Kazoku no Uta" or to draw comparisons with this drama and the lowest-rated drama of a particular season and it was only until last autumn when Kawaguchi Haruna took over that position with "Otto no Kanojo" (against her own will, of course). Even for Odagiri who has been in the business for some time, there is no doubt he would have been affected by that constant teasing and reminders of that undesirable title so wanting to prove himself but not exposing himself to unnecessary risk is definitely a move he must take in order to ensure the continuation of his career. Like what I mentioned previously in the article about TV stations selecting the same few strong actors to act in their dramas, the advertisers want assured returns on their investments. They would surely be less willing to invest in a drama if the lead actor has been stuck with the label of being unable to pull in viewers. That's why it's absolutely crucial for Odagiri to get people to forget what happened and allow him to move further and upwards in this line of business..

1 comment:

chan said...

Thanks for an excellent analysis article.Please Allow for approval to be translated language of my country.