By Makoto Hoshino / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff WriterOn April 16, TV Tokyo began broadcasting a new drama series called “Headhunter,” airing on Mondays at 10 p.m. It is the first program in a new time slot designated “Drama Biz,” which focuses on business dramas.
The company created the slot amid a reorganization of its programs in April. The broadcaster, which has a track record of success with late night dramas, intends to compete with other dramas in that time slot.
“It’s hard for a 50-year-old man to play a starring role in a drama series,” said lead actor Yosuke Eguchi. In “Headhunter,” Eguchi plays Kurosawa — a headhunting maverick in the career change industry. “I took on this role because I thought it would suit me, as I’ve done a variety of roles,” he said confidently.
In general, headhunters convince people to change companies at the request of the company that wants to hire the person. Kurosawa’s unconventional approach is to figure out people’s mind-set — above and beyond business — and pressure them into choosing the new company.
Although Kurosawa’s background is mysterious, Eguchi analyzes the character this way: “He made some mistakes in the past, and has restarted his life after throwing away everything.”
The script is excellent, based on extensive research. Eguchi has been very particular about his appearance and got a perm to emphasize the character’s wild nature.
“Characters are important in a drama series,” he said. “There are certainly no headhunters who wander a city in a black turtleneck and coat,” he said laughing. “I hope people will overlook a little lie used to make the drama fun entertainment.”
Eguchi has been the host in a TV Tokyo business documentary series called “Dawn of Gaia” since 2010. He realized that the themes of the program have changed over the past eight years from an organizational theory of companies to work styles for individuals. It can be said that the drama grew out of thoughts about that change.
“I want to speak my part briskly to indicate things like what is valued amid the changing times. I want to express the joy and strength in work,” he said.
Hideki Inada, the producer of “Headhunter,” used to produce dramas for the Fuji TV network, such as “Unfair” and “Legal High!!” at production company Kyodo Television. He was headhunted by TV Tokyo in April 2016 to beef up its drama producing division.
TV Tokyo very much wanted to launch a drama series that could satisfy mature viewers.
After discussions in which Inada took part, the company decided to create the new time slot “Drama Biz,” in which TV Tokyo would take advantage of its strength in business and economic reports, and encourage working people.
Kyodo Television has also produced “Headhunter” and Mamoru Hoshi, a long-time trusted partner of Inada, was assigned as director.