SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, Jan. 6) - A film crew from Hokkaido Broadcasting Corp. is on a five-day visit in the Northern Marianas to film the 2,000th episode of the TV show "Noriyuki No Talk De Hokkaido."

Called the "Marianas Special," the episode will feature the CNMI as a "winter getaway" for the Japanese.

The 2,000th episode will be aired in Japan on Commonwealth Day, Jan. 9, and is expected to draw an estimated 4 million viewers, Gov. Juan N. Babauta said.

"We will expect a big boost in our tourism with the airing (of the show)," he added.

The network is Hokkaido’s leading television company located on Japan’s second largest island. "Marianas Special" will be a 40-minute, 10-day show, the governor said.

The filming will cost the CNMI $140,000. The Office of Insular Affairs provided the CNMI government a $30,000 grant and several private businesses contributed for the rest of the expenses, the governor said.

Television star Noriyuki Sato was accompanied by his crew when he arrived on Saipan last Thursday.

Sato’s television show is the number one morning program in Hokkaido and the neighboring Aomori prefecture, commanding a 40 percent market viewership share, and averaging 2.2 million regular viewers daily, the governor said.

The CNMI has provided five vacation packages for 10 lucky viewers. Sato will award one of these packages each day during the airing of "Marianas Special."

The winners will receive round-trip tickets for two and a double occupancy hotel room for three nights and four days in the CNMI.

Highlights of the show will include the Saipan Street Market, various hotels, resorts, scenic beaches, golf courses, shopping on Saipan, the Bird Island Lookout, the Grotto and Tinian.

January 7, 2003

For additional reports from the Marianas Variety, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/ Marianas Variety.

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