The “Planet” series might be the answer, with transparency being the key.
The prime of Mnet’s survival series “Produce 101”
“Produce 101” greeted the public in 2016 with the female version of the show and subsequently gave birth to I.O.I. Thanks to its initial success, Mnet carried with three seasons and even collaborated with Japanese show-makers to add a distinct flair to the program. All following versions (Produce 101 season 2, Produce48 and Produce X) garnered massive profits for producers with heightening popularity.
From this survival show, K-pop fans started to pay more attention to the “center” of a group, who rank first in these shows, earn many privileges, and is in charge of important parts of a song.
The show series give hopes to various contestants and trainees with aspirations to become famous and change their lives. Nonetheless, the outward glamor of the “Produce” series gradually withered away when the press exposed misconducts and cheating behind-the-scenes.
In November, 2020, producing director Ahn Joon Young admitted to vote manipulation in “Produce 48” and “Produce X 101” and later revealed that the two seasons of “Produce” were also manipulated to alter the results of the votes, leading to the cancelled activities of the active groups.
Afterwards, Produce could not air anymore. While the majority was satisfied with the exposure, show fans were saddened with the situations of such groups as I.O.I, WANNA ONE, IZ*ONE and X1.
Because of the overwhelming popularity of the “Produce” series, many survival shows such as “The Unit,” “Idol School,” “Under Nineteen,” “Boys24” surfaced but could not overcome the set status of “Produce.”
The chance for Mnet to bring back the once-popular idol group formation format
Following the unfornate end to Produce, Mnet created “Girls Planet 999” where a 9-member group including members from China, Korea and Japan formed a team. That was how Kep1er came to be.
While the success of Kep1er was not comparable to Produce-formed groups, the group still has a a more prospective future compared to groups from “The Unit” or “Idol School.” Therefore, a male version of the show is set to air in this February, based on the success of “Girls Planet” and of Kep1er, said Mnet.
The initial release of the theme song performance quickly caught attention with the diverse set of participants and appealing visuals. While the show gathers many contestants from neighboring countries, Vietnam also gained traction with two Vietnamese participants, one from Fantagio and the other a free contestant.
This male version is marked with better investment, notably with the dormitory being placed at the Daewoong Management Development Institute in Yongin, Gyeonggi-do. The dorm has the maximum capacity of 300 to 500 people with various amenities. Previously, “Girls Planet 999” was known for positively upgrading their dorm with separate beds and closets for each contestant. While these changes are noticeable, transparency is a high demand from the viewers to earn back their trust.