The best thing to do is… abolish it.”
This was the joking answer given by “entertainment godfather” Lee Kyung-kyu when Yoo Jae-seok, the main cast member of MBC’s “What Do You Do When You Play?” was asked for a solution to revive the program. The show, which has been airing every Saturday at 6:30 p.m. in prime time since July 2019, has been struggling with ratings that have been hovering below 5% since March, so it devoted an episode (aired on the 27th of last month, episode 187) to inviting Lee Kyung-kyu for advice.
Nevertheless, when the ratings for the last three episodes dropped to a low of 3%, the show announced a reorganization on the 6th, dropping regular members Jung Joon Ha and Shin Bong Sun and replacing PD Park Chang Hoon. This decision was met with harsh criticism from viewers, who said, “It’s better to abolish the show as Lee Kyung-kyu said,” and “It’s really a waste of airwaves these days.”
Meanwhile, “Kang Shimjang League,” SBS’s ambitious revival of the talk show “Kang Shimjang,” which ended 10 years ago, has also received a lukewarm response from the start. Kang Ho-dong and Lee Seung-ki reunited to serve as the main MCs and brought in interesting guests such as “The Glory” actresses Park Ji Ah and Heo Dong-won and Vietnam national soccer team coach Park Hang-seo, but the ratings have dropped for three consecutive episodes since its premiere, with the latest episode earning a dismal 2.2 percent.
2-3% even with Yoo Jae Suk and Kang Ho Dong…’old’ criticized
SBS revived the talk show “Kang Shimjang,” which was canceled in 2013, after 10 years as “Kang Shimjang League,” with the same two MCs, Kang Ho Dong and Lee Seung Gi, as hosts. Photo SBS
Even though the trend of entertainment has changed, it is a painful reality for the broadcasting industry that terrestrial programs centered on Korea’s most famous entertainers are being ignored. In order for TV shows to be loved, they need to attract viewers over the age of 50, but they also need to generate buzz among the younger generation, and the analysis suggests that they need to try to find a clever balance in this dilemma.
To summarize viewers’ criticisms of “What Do You Do When You Play?” and “Strong Hearted League,” they have one thing in common: they are old. Not only do they feature long-lived entertainers, but the programs themselves rely on them to recreate outdated formats.
For example, “What Do You Do When You Play?” was once a popular program that pioneered a new trend with Yoo Jae Suk acting as a “bukka” (secondary character) such as trot singer Yoo Yoo Seul and mixed-gender group Thought Three member Yoo Doo Rae Gon. However, since PD Kim Tae Ho left MBC early last year and the show changed directors and went from a one-man show with Yoo Jae Suk to a collective fixed-member show with Jung Joon Ha, Ha Ha, Shin Bong Sun, Miju, Lee Yi Kyung, and Park Jin Joo, the show has been struggling to find a clear direction. Recent episodes highlighting Miju and Lee Yi Kyung’s love story are considered to be a prime example of a contrived project that mimics past romance shows like “We Got Married.
SBS’s “Strong Heart League” has brought in actors Shim So Young from the drama “Model Taxi” and Heo Dong Won from “The Glory” as one-time guests, but they were consumed with gossipy stories like love stories rather than genuine topics about their acting or work. Photo SBS
“Strong Heart League” also added the “Team Kang Ho-dong vs Team Lee Seung-ki” matchup to the existing format, but the concept of having multiple performers talk about interesting topics is the same as it was a decade ago. On the contrary, the three additional co-hosts on each team make it difficult to focus on the guests’ stories, and the way the topics are presented like YouTube thumbnails (representative images) makes the stories seem forced and inflated, which doesn’t suit today’s sensibilities that value authenticity and reality.
Terrestrial producers know that the presence of a popular cast is no longer enough to draw attention to a program, but there are reasons why they cannot make drastic changes. Unlike OTT (online video service) and YouTube, the main age group that watches TV is the over-50s, who are unfamiliar with new faces and unconventional formats.
“Terrestrial entertainment is becoming increasingly distant from younger audiences”
Lee Kyung-kyu, who appeared on MBC’s “What Do You Do When You Play?” said, “TV is watched by older people,” but “word of mouth is generated by the 2049 viewers메이저사이트,” so it’s important for younger generations to give their opinions. Photo MBC YouTube
In fact, according to the ‘2022 Broadcasting Media Usage Behavior Survey’ released by the Korea Communications Commission, the percentage of teens using TV more than five days a week was 25.2% and 41.4%, less than half of those surveyed, while 90% of those in their 50s, 96.6% of those in their 60s, and 98.6% of those in their 70s and older used TV more frequently as they got older. “Every director wants to make a trendy show, but due to the nature of TV as a platform, we have no choice but to consider older viewers,” said a terrestrial entertainment PD. “Especially in terrestrial TV, there is a strong tendency to seek stability by repeating the same thing, as there are many past experiences where projects centered on a single star have been successful.” He also shared his concern that “a generation with segmented tastes is rapidly growing up, such as choosing their favorite solo creators through YouTube, and the gap between them and terrestrial entertainment is likely to grow.”
Even if one acknowledges the limitations of old media, which are more difficult to diversify than other platforms, it is pointed out that there should be a minimum attempt to keep up with changes. “In the case of terrestrial programs, there is definitely a reason why they can only stick to existing stars, such as the fact that viewers over 50 years old will leave if they radically introduce completely young and new entertainers,” said Kim Heon-sik, a pop culture critic. “Even if they use familiar faces, it is necessary to seek new relationships by mixing them with newcomers. For example, as ‘Earth Fun Room’ (tvN) did, it may be possible to utilize famous MCs in a way that subverts familiar authority.”