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Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005

CHANNEL SURF

"The Background of His Excellency President Bush" on TBS and more

TBS will present one of the stranger variety-show combinations of recent memory on Wednesday at 9 p.m. Tetsuya Chikushi is the respected veteran print journalist who helms the network's nightly news program. He'll be be co-hosting a program with the ubiquitous comedy duo Bakusho Mondai called "The Background of His Excellency President Bush," which threatens to reveal "10 secrets" about the re-elected American president "that have never been discussed publicly."

Considering the amount of press the leader of the free world receives on a given day, it's unlikely that these "secrets" are very secret. Among the topics explored are a secret society that George W. Bush belongs to, the truth behind his famous "axis of evil" speech and behind-the-scenes anecdotes related to his election campaign. They will also look at the 15 key people who shape his image and write his speeches.


In the wake of the success of Nihon TV's Saturday night entrepreneurs show, "Okuman no Kokoro (The Heart of a Billionaire)," TBS has put together "The Patent Hunter" (Fri ., 8:55 p.m.), a special program about individuals whose creative ideas have made them rich.

These inventors, it should be noted, do not belong to companies. They are mostly free spirits who spend long years working on their ideas and trying to market them by themselves. Many, in fact, tend to be housewives who recognize a need in their everyday lives and then try to address that need. The inventions discussed and analyzed mostly cover what could be termed domestic fields: beauty, health, dieting, housework, pets. The show will also run down the ten most successful inventions in terms of sales.


More than two years ago, the pop group Tokio built a solar-powered van from scratch on their weekly show "The Tetsuwan Dash" (Nihon TV, Sun., 6:55 p.m.), and have since driven the vehicle in turns around the entire archipelago of Japan (minus Okinawa) but limiting themselves to only coastal roads. They drive all day until the solar storage cell runs out and then continue after the cell is recharged by the sun.

On Jan. 30, the white mini-van, which Tokio has dubbed Dankichi (Heat), will finally arrive in Nagasaki prefecture after having navigated the northeast coast of Honshu, the entire coastline of Hokkaido, and the length of the Japan Sea coast.

On the same program, two members of the group, Shigeru Joshima and Tatsuya Yamaguchi, will each drive a conventional car from somewhere in the center of Tokyo to a designated place in Yokohama, competing to see who will arrive first. The only rule is that the drivers can only proceed straight or make right turns. No left turns are allowed. Also competing will be some veteran taxi drivers, who may know something about "alternate routes."



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