TBS Program Catalog

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Tokyo Broadcasting System Television’s International Program Sales


Since the 1960s, TBS has been proactively engaged in international program sales. We have provided dramas, variety programs, program formats, animated programs, documentaries, and movies to every corner of the globe, establishing a record of success that includes all genres and spans more than half a century. TBS has sold tens of thousands of episodes of more than a thousand programs in over 160 countries across five continents. TBS’s business partners include NBC Universal (USA), Disney/ABC (USA), BBC (UK), TF1 (France), CCTV (China), Globo (Brazil), TVB (Hong Kong), and many other major terrestrial broadcasters and entertainment companies.

America’s Funniest Home Videos Continues Its Historic Run

In partnership with TBS’s exclusive format and variety program agent, Bellon Entertainment, TBS began program format sales in the 1980s and has since become a major global player in this field. TBS brought to the world the most successful Japanese format to date, America's Funniest Home Videos (AFV), the American version of the TBS variety program Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan. Continuing to air on the ABC Network in the US after 24 years, AFV is the longest-running entertainment program in the network's six decades-plus history. The producer of AFV received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2007, and the program became a permanent part of the entertainment collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in 2009. AFV was the first program based on a Japanese format to receive honors of this kind. Exported to nearly 100 countries so far, the AFV format started the worldwide boom in television programs featuring audience-submitted videos and is considered a forerunner to YouTube and other online video sites.

Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan Included in “The Wit’s Top 50 Series”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of MIPTV (Cannes, France), the world’s largest TV market, the Wit (World Information Tracking) compiled in 2013 “The Wit’s Top 50 Series,” a list of programs that have contributed to the history of television and had a global impact. For each year in the period 1963 to 2012, the list features one distinctive program and includes a description and a video clip. Selected for the year 1986, Fun TV with Kato-chan and Ken-chan joins Star Trek (1966), Columbo (1968), and other famous programs, including dramas, quiz shows, and variety programs which have entertained audiences around the globe over the years.

Takeshi's Castle Celebrates 10 Years on the Air in UK with New Six-Part Series

In 2013, the TBS variety program Takeshi's Castle celebrated its 10th year on the air in the UK with a new six-part series partly filmed in Japan during a visit to Tokyo by the UK program producer. Broadcast in Japan from 1986 to 1990, the original Takeshi's Castle was a highly popular viewer-participation entertainment program. In each episode, a volunteer army of viewers would storm the castle, which Count Takeshi defended with a series of wacky obstacles. The combination of exciting battles and hilarious mishaps has made Takeshi's Castle a worldwide favorite, and the program and its format have been sold in a total of 159 countries and territories.

Digital Streaming of TBS Animated Programs Grows Rapidly

Animated programs continue to enjoy explosive growth in the digital world. Every year, TBS offers some eight new animated series via streaming, every episode of which goes out to many regions of the world just a few days after it is broadcast in Japan. In 2013, Love, Chunibyo and Other Delusions! and My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU have been particularly successful in international markets. Hot topics among animation fans in Japan and around the world, the latest series in the Rozen Maiden franchise, Rozen Maiden Zurückspulen, and the upcoming action-packed Kyokai no Kanata have the potential to become new TBS hits.

TBS Movies Make Waves Worldwide

TBS produces about a dozen feature films a year and promotes them proactively in international markets. In 2013, REAL, directed by the renowned Kiyoshi Kurosawa, was an entry in the International Competition of the 66th Locarno International Film Festival and attracted considerable attention from overseas buyers. LIBRARY WARS brought a best-selling series of novels to life as a motion picture, while ATARU took a television drama series that has earned high ratings and scaled it up for the big screen. In this way, TBS is leveraging hot existing content to produce movies that make waves.

Drama Series Win Fans

Throughout the year, dramas are at the heart of TBS's program lineup. Ending in March 2013, Tonbi (Black Kite) earned an average rating of 15.5% across its 10 episodes, while its final episode logged an average rating of 20.3%, the best in its time slot. Taking place over a 30-year period, Tonbi (Black Kite) is the story of a widower who, in his own awkward way, does his best to love and raise his son. TBS has sold this drama to television stations in Asia, North America, and Europe. Beginning in July 2013, NAOKI HANZAWA is the story of a man who joins a large bank as a loan officer and fights the good fight against characters inside and outside his bank, dealing with conspiracy and intrigue. The drama has been a huge success, grabbing the attention of a much wider audience than anticipated. The first episode earned an average rating of 19.4%, and the fifth episode scored an amazing 29.0%.

TBS Maintains Leadership in Documentary Production and Sales

TBS has been successful in selling its high-quality documentaries worldwide. Since 1996, TBS has been producing THE WORLD HERITAGE with the official approval of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. In addition to being recognized for excellence by the World Heritage Committee, the program has won several awards internationally and been well received in overseas markets. In June 2013, leading the way internationally in 4K programming, broadcast satellite channel BS-TBS began regular monthly presentations of The World Heritage 4K Premium Edition HD Version. TBS also offers a lineup of over 300 HD episodes of THE WORLD HERITAGE and has sold the program in the US, China, Russia, and other countries. In addition to THE WORLD HERITAGE, TBS has sold hundreds of documentaries in markets around the world.


Entertainment programs from Japan are more and more recognized and increasing in popularity worldwide, and the Japanese government is working to promote the export of Japanese cultural content. In this positive environment, TBS is working with renewed determination to develop overseas versions of its program formats, increase revenue from program sales, explore all modes of content distribution including digital, and further build on its long-standing strength as a leading provider of quality content worldwide.

SASUKE Grows in Popularity Worldwide!

SASUKE, the TBS sports entertainment television series and format, continues to break into new markets and expand its fanbase at a record pace. Long popular in the US as Ninja Warrior®, the show is currently shown on all five continents and in 157 countries and territories. As the original show continues to gain popularity, local versions of the program are also winning new fans around the globe.

SASUKE first aired on TBS in autumn 1997. Since then, TBS has presented the show mainly in the form of biannual specials. The first US version of SASUKE, known as Ninja Warrior, went on the air on the G4 cable television network (now known as Esquire network) in October 2006 in a late-night time slot but moved up to a prime time slot in March 2007. The network's SASUKE-based specials and marathon broadcasts have always enjoyed very high ratings, and Ninja Warrior soon became one of its signature programs.

American Ninja Warrior, the SASUKE spin off featuring all American athletes, was first produced in 2009. In August 2011, the third season finale was presented by NBC, making American Ninja Warrior the first live-action Japanese-content-based television program to air in prime time on a major US terrestrial television network.

In its fourth season in 2012, American Ninja Warrior featured qualifying rounds in three major US cities and a championship finale on the Las Vegas strip featuring a specially constructed, full-scale set that recreated the original obstacle course built in Japan. Over the course of 10 weeks in summer 2012, G4 and NBC both aired the show in prime time—an unprecedented collaboration between a cable network and a terrestrial television network.

In 2013, the fifth season of American Ninja Warrior got off to an exciting start with qualifying rounds held in four major US cities. This program has gone beyond the sports and fitness fan demographic, grabbing attention across the United States, and is now one of the most popular television shows of any genre currently on the air.

As the popularity of SASUKE grows around the world, local versions of the program have appeared in other countries. The Malaysian government contributed its support for the production of SASUKE Malaysia in 2011 as part of its anti-obesity campaign, and SASUKE Singapore production began in 2012.

Building on the popularity of SASUKE in Asia, the Sasuke ASEAN Open Cup 2013 will be held in November 2013 in Malaysia. This large-scale international event is endorsed by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan as part of the celebration of the 40th year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation. The event will bring SASUKE excitement to even more Asian markets. SASUKE content is now being produced in the US and several countries in Asia, while plans for production in Europe are moving forward.

With the program's popularity continuing to accelerate, the whole world is wondering just how high SASUKE fever will climb!


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