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Sunday, Dec. 19, 2004

CHANNEL SURF

TBS's "The Plan to Rescue Santa Claus" and more

Ryoko Yonekura returns to the airwaves as Arisa, the housewife-witch patterned after Samantha of the old U.S. sitcom "Bewitched," for a special Christmas show. In "The Plan to Rescue Santa Claus" (TBS, Tue., 9 p.m.), Arisa and her daughter, Tsubasa, return to the world of mortals and husband Joji after a five-year stay in the land of witches, where Tsubasa received her education.

In the meantime, Joji's boss, Suzuki (Naoto Takenaka), has grown despondent because his wife has left him. Tsubasa returns to regular schools for mortals and tries to rekindle her friendship with Suzuki's son, Shotaro, but the boy claims he doesn't remember Tsubasa.

Shotaro also says he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, and when Tsubasa informs her busybody grandmother of this, the old lady decides to produce the real Santa Claus as proof that he does exist, using magic "that can only be utilized on Christmas Eve."


A more traditionally bittersweet Christmas tale will be broadcast Christmas Eve on NHK-G at 7:30 p.m. In "Santa Has Landed," Yu Yoshizawa plays So, a young man whose lifelong dream has been to fly airplanes. However, So has failed his pilot's license test five times. Disappointed, he visits the island of Niijima and, pretending he is a qualified pilot, makes the acquaintance of a little boy named Kota (Kenta Suga), whose father was once a pilot but lost his job when the airline he worked for underwent restructuring. Later, his parents divorced and his father left the island.

Kota's father now lives in Tokyo, but a year earlier he disguised himself as Santa Claus so that he could visit Kota in secret. At the time, Kota did not let on that he recognized his father, and this year he is looking forward to a return visit.


All five members of SMAP will celebrate Christmas with their own original two-hour fantasy on Christmas night with "The Tiger, the Lion and the Five Men" (Fuji, 9 p.m.).

Two young brothers, Leo and Toranosuke, arrive in a strange town on Christmas Eve. The first person they meet is the local policeman (Masahiro Nakai) who is patrolling the town and trying to catch two thieves who work as a team, Aji (Takuya Kimura) and Oto (Shingo Katori). They also meet the president of the town's department store, Junior (Goro Inagaki), as well as a famous curry chef (Tsuyoshi Kusanagi).

The "heartwarming program" will feature singing and dancing, as well as cameo appearances by famous musicians and actors. However, there has been no indication so far as to whether or not SMAP will use the special show to debut their new single, which reportedly was written by Eric Clapton.



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