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Sunday, April 4, 2004

CHANNEL SURF

"News Station" becomes "Hodo Station" on TV Asahi and more

On March 26, TV Asahi's nightly news program, "News Station," ended after 18 1/2 years and 4,795 programs. Host Hiroshi Kume wrapped up the record run with a toast.

In truth, "News Station" is not leaving. It is simply being recycled with a new host. Because Kume was with the program from the beginning and was directly responsible for its success, his decision to leave last year made the show's producers decide to change the name to "Hodo Station," which means pretty much the same as "News Station."

"Hodo Station" makes its premiere April 5 at 9:54 p.m. The new host is Ichiro Furutachi, who, like Kume in 1985, has no previous experience in news. He started out as a sports announcer for Nippon TV, specializing in professional wrestling. His main strengths are his huge vocabulary and razor-sharp wit. Kume often said that he had to learn how to be a newscaster as he went along. Furutachi, who has a reputation for biting cynicism and even arrogant self-confidence, will certainly uphold the show's reputation for making news entertaining. The producers say that the new version will retain about 70 percent of "News Station" 's content, and that the aim is "honest news" and an inquiring attitude.

Thirty percent of all deaths in Japan are caused by cancer. On Tuesday night at 8 p.m., TV Asahi will present a special program about the latest advances in cancer detection and treatment called "Seven Things To Do So You Won't Die from Cancer."

Early detection is still considered the most important factor in fighting cancer, and the program will present new research on signs that indicate the presence of cancer. Since 30 percent of all cancer cases in Japan are linked to cigarettes, the program will present new evidence that links secondhand smoke to cancer.

Among the new technologies employed in fighting cancer is the "IT scalpel," which allows surgeons to "burn" away tumors in the lungs and liver without having to cut open the body. The scalpel uses radio waves.

Princess Tenko, who is trying to shake rumors that she was somehow engaged to be married to the son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, continues along the rocky road to reviving her career as an A-list magician on Nippon TV's "The Special" next Saturday at 7 p.m.

Tenko's powers of prestidigitation will be pitted against The Masked Magician, a silent, anonymous American magician who has become a hit in Japan with his series of TV specials where he revealed some of the secrets of the magic trade. He and Tenko will reveal a few more and then try to outdo each other with some huge magic tricks. The Masked Magician, for instance, will attempt to make NTV's new Shiodome headquarters disappear completely.



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