SMAP makes final appearance on signature variety show before breakup

Kyodo

SMAP made its final appearance as a group Monday ahead of its planned breakup Saturday, on the final episode of the pop act’s signature variety show.

The final episode of “SMAP×SMAP,” a show that featured SMAP’s members singing, cooking and performing comedy, was made into an expanded five-hour version and broadcast on Fuji TV.

The group’s members — Masahiro Nakai, Takuya Kimura, Goro Inagaki, Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and Shingo Katori — opted to make their last appearance on the show and turned down a request from NHK to appear on its year-end music program, “Kohaku Uta Gassen,” on Saturday.

The final show mainly compiled famous scenes from past episodes and the members did not appear live on the program.

“SMAP×SMAP,” which started in April 1996 and has been broadcast every Monday night by Fuji TV, has remained popular, often referred to by fans as “Suma Suma.” American singer-songwriter Lady Gaga and Australian model Miranda Kerr were among the guests who appeared on the show earlier this year.

The show had 920 episodes in total and an average audience rating of 18.2 percent in eastern Japan and 16.7 percent in western Japan. Monday’s final episode had an audience rating of 23.1 percent in eastern Japan and 24.1 percent in western Japan.

SMAP released a greatest hits album Dec. 21, 10 days before the planned breakup.

The album, called “SMAP 25 Years,” consists of the top 50 songs chosen by fans through two weeks of online voting, out of the more than 400 the group released since their debut album in 1991. “Stay,” a 2006 hit, topped the list.