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Thursday, August 18, 2016

"SMAPxSMAP" to end its run within this year

Following the impending disbandment of SMAP, their signature variety programme "SMAPxSMAP" shown on FujiTV will also be ending its run within this year. FujiTV and Kansai TV which produce this programme, announced on 17 August that they have assessed the likelihood of the show continuing its run beyond the group's disbandment which is seen to be impossible. As such, the programme's last broadcast will be on 26 December which marks the end of its 20 years and 9 months' run since it started on 15 April 1996.

"SMAPxSMAP" has an average rating of 18.3% based on its 903 episodes to date with the highest of 34.2% marked on 14 January 2002 when Inagaki Goro returned to the show after the suspension due to his traffic offence. The show has already two to three weeks' worth of content already recorded so the next scheduled recording on 24th and 25th August may go ahead as planned. However, due to the difficulty of gathering all five members to appear at the same time, the production crew will try to expand the length of the individual segments and conduct recording separately with the members.

FujiTV also disclosed that since news of the group heading their separate ways came out on 14 August, they have been flooded with about 5,800 messages from viewers on the programme's official website up to 6pm on 17 August which were largely calls to ask for the continuation of the show.

On the other hand, some SMAP fans are organising a 25-anniversary event on their own to be held at Seibuen Amusement Park on 9 September which was where the group had held their debut event. Up to 11pm on 17 August, more than 3,800 people had signed the petition on Change.org. However, negotiations with Seibuen are still in progress so it is not known yet if the event can proceed as planned. Fans are also snapping up the CDs of SMAP as seen from the sales ranking of major retailers like Amazon. The single "Sekai ni hitotsu dake no Hana" is currently No.1 on Amazon Japan with the best hits album "Smap Vest" placed at No.2.

Sources: Nikkansports / Sanspo

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