Park Min-young and Son Ye-jin tried their best, but JTBC fell into a swamp of sluggishness again. A JTBC drama is gradually losing viewers due to its slow development and frustrating atmosphere compared to other dramas.
JTBC’s dramas have been suffering from low ratings for the past year. Since “Undercover” in June last year, there has not been a single JTBC work that has exceeded the 5% ratings (Nielsen Korea national paid household standard). “IDOL” and “The One And Only” even reached the 0% rangel. The ratings seemed to drop sharply. The reason for the slump was the development method and material. Unlike “The World of the Married” and “Itaewon Class”, which hit a jackpot in viewer ratings and received attention for their refreshing directing, “Reflection of You” and “Lost” received good reviews in terms of the completeness of the works, but due to the heavy material and slow development method, the likes and dislikes were divided, and the viewers turned away from it.
Park Min-young and Son Ye-jin were the main characters who broke this long slump. “Forecasting Love and Weather”, which featured Park Min-young, Song Kang, Yoon Park, and Yura, unfolded a stimulating and thrilling romance, recording its highest viewership rating of 7.8% within two weeks of broadcasting, and then reached a stable 7% level until the end of the show.
“Thirty Nine”, starring Son Ye-jin, Jeon Mi-do and Kim Ji-hyun, was thought to face a huge crisis as it got involved in controversies over beautifying love affairs and hostesses from the beginning of its broadcast but ended up recording the highest rating of 8.1% thanks to sincere messages delivered through the story and the excellent performances of the cast actors. The fact that “Thirty Nine” was organized as a 12-episode drama and showed fast developments also contributed to its popularity. Since the length of the drama was not too long, the viewers were able to enjoy it from any time in the middle of its broadcast and watch all the other episodes on OTT platforms and reruns.
Expectations for the follow-up series were naturally raised higher as the two dramas, which aired around the same time, had performed so well. In particular, one work emphasizes the “womance (women’s romance)” topic, which has recently been seen more often on the small screen, and the other one is drawing keen attention as it is the new work by Park Hae-young, the famous writer of “Another Oh Hae-young” and “My Mister”.
However, both films are witnessing unexpected slumps, causing the viewers’ disappointment. The Wednesday-Thursday drama “Green Mothers’ Club” started with a rating of 2.5% in the first episode then rose to 3% in the second broadcast. However, it fell down to 2.5% again after the third episode was aired. Meanwhile, episodes 1 and 2 of “My Liberation Notes” gained low ratings of only 2.9% and 3%, respectively. The two dramas’ current viewership records are not even half of the previous series’ ratings.
If so, why are these two works being neglected? Viewers point out that the development speed is slow and the atmosphere is heavy. It is similar to the reason why JTBC’s dramas in the past fell into slump. Fortunately, “My Liberation Notes” is slowly securing a fixed audience. In the case of “Green Mothers’ Club”, the main character Lee Eun-pyo (played by Lee Yo-won) gradually took off the stuffy “sweet potato” aspect and was trying to unfold an exciting development. However, the drama got caught in the unexpected “Ilbe Storehouse controversy”. The silhouette used in the article “A bloody protest by an instructor” that “Green Mothers’ Club” Lee Eun-pyo saw was a photo made on Ilbe Storehouse to disparage and ridicule former President Roh Moo-hyun. JTBC said, “There was no specific intention. As soon as we recognize the relevant facts, we will edit the scene on all VOD services, reruns and SNS.” However, viewers’ disappointment was inevitably greater because the web entertainment show “Workman” was also criticized for the “Ilbe Storehouse controversy” earlier. As a result, “My Liberation Notes”, whose immersion level is increasing, suffered some damage.
The opportunity for a rebound came after a year, but JTBC missed that opportunity right in front of their eyes. People are focusing on how long the slump will last and how JTBC will be able to get out of this slump.