Japanese Original Series Heads to FilmRise Through Exclusive Fuji Deal

FilmRise has struck an exclusive deal with Japan’s Fuji Television Network for the iconic Japanese culinary competition series, “The Iron Chef.”

The New York-headquartered studio and streaming network made the deal with Fuji’s distribution arm, Fuji Creative Corporation. The pact, which spans 7 seasons, covers all SVOD and AVOD rights for domestic and international, and includes the FilmRise Streaming Network.

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“Iron Chef” first launched on Fuji in 1993. No expense was spared, with chefs allowed seemingly limitless supplies of the most exotic, expensive gourmet ingredients.

The competition, hosted by Chairman Kaga, introduces a “secret ingredient” that the challenger and the chosen Iron Chef has to incorporate into every dish. Each chef presents his or her dishes to a panel of 3-4 judges who rate the dishes to crown a winner. All the competitions take place in a specially designed, atmospheric “kitchen stadium.”

The original show aired across 290 episodes and ran in Japan until 1999. The format was adapted in a host of countries, including the U.S. where “Iron Chef: America” on Food Network helped make chef Bobby Flay a household name. (As revealed by Variety, Flay and the network are parting after 27 years.)

Other versions of the show include “Iron Chef: Israel,” “Iron Chef: U.K.,” “Iron Chef: Australia,” “Iron Chef: Thailand,” “Iron Chef: Indonesia,” “Iron Chef: Vietnam” and “Iron Chef: Canada.”

Revealing the deal on Monday, Max Einhorn, senior VP of acquisitions and co-productions for FilmRise, called “Iron Chef” the “true godfather of the modern cooking competition format.”

“As the originator of the secret-ingredient showdown and standard-setter for theatrics and drama, it’s easy to see why an entire American network reinvented itself after seeing the passion for ‘Iron Chef’. We look forward to offering it to old and new fans to stream around the world.”

Masaru Akiyama, senior manager at Fuji Television Network, noted that “Iron Chef” inspired eight international editions, and became a cult favorite in the U.S. since debuting Stateside in 1999.

“By partnering with FilmRise and plugging into their streaming network, we will be able to seamlessly reach our loyal fans and create new fans for the series around the globe,” said Akiyama.

The deal was negotiated by Jonitha Keymoore at FilmRise and Francois Grosjean at Fuji Creative Corporation.

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Rebecca R. Ammons

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