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The cruel and sad reality of idol drama: why they keep making it when the rating is only 0%?

Idol is a great drama topic, but many idol dramas are stuck to the 0% rating range.

The story behind the glamorous stars, the entertainment industry, and broadcasters is a great drama topic. In particular, dramas dealing with the joys and sorrows of K-pop idols have been constantly produced in Korea, regardless of whether it is a terrestrial or general channel. However, some works are humiliated by the extremely low viewer rating, then why do idol dramas continue to appear?

◆ With the popularity of K-pop by their side, but the low rating of 0-1% still continues

JTBC’s “Idol: The Coup”, which is currently airing, drew attention as former and current girl group members such as Hani (Ahn Hee-yeon), Cosmic Girls’ Exy (Choo So-jung), and Laboum Solbin, who are actors with an idol origin, decided to appear. Actor Kwak Si-yang, who showed an impressive villain acting in his previous SBS drama “Lovers of the Red Sky”, also joined. The drama tells the story of young people who choose to live with all their might for a dream that cannot be achieved only with effort and reality without hope.

Idol” contains the story of those who debuted as an idol group but could not easily succeed and the circumstances around them. Analysts say that unusual things of the entertainment industry in real life have been vividly depicted, including the sadness of the girl group Cotton Candy, who are practically pushed back as their junior group Mars succeeded while their group flops pathetically. Nevertheless, the drama’s ratings are low, going back and forth between 0.4 and 0.8%. Viewers don’t seem to be very interested in the drama, as already familiar faces appear as members of a virtual idol group.

The cruel and sad reality of idol drama

The drama “Let Me Be Your Knight” which airs every Sunday on SBS, also depicts a secret dating relationship of a world star idol group. The main story is about the romance of a resident doctor who has to secretly treat an idol member who is suffering from sleepwalking. The series’ cast is indeed full of actors who worked/are working as idols like U-Kiss member and actor Lee Joon-young, NU’EST Kim Jong-hyun, WANNA ONE member Yoon Ji-sung, and AB6IX member Kim Dong-hyun. The ratings are not bad, ranging from 1.6% to 2.1%.

The cruel and sad reality of idol drama

◆Successful stories and original webtoons in the past are useless. What supports them to continue the production?

Nevertheless, the failure of the so-called “idol drama” has continued for quite a long time. KBS2’s drama “Imitation”, which was aired for two months since May last year, ended with a low rating of 1% despite being made based on a famous webtoon about the idol worldview. This is a disappointing result even though it was joined with the passionate performances of many singers of different eras, such as Shim Eun-jin, Danny Ahn, SF9 Hwiyoung & Chani, I.O.I Lim Na-young, ATEEZ Jung Yoon-ho, Jongho, Seonghwa & San, Park Ji-yeon, Lee Joon-young, as well as actress Jung Ji-soo, who had shown impressive acting in ‘Parasite’.

The cruel and sad reality of idol drama

It’s not like there has been no drama that told the story of falling in love with a popular idol group’s member or the story of the idol trainees’ debut dream. The drama “You’re Beautiful”, which helped CNBLUE Jung Yong-hwa rise to stardom, tells about what happens when a woman dresses as a man and joins a famous band. Together with the appearance of Jang Geun-suk, Park Shin-hye, Lee Hong-ki, UEE and Kim Sung-ryeong, “You’re Beautiful” became a hit drama with its rating exceeding 10%, and its OSTs were loved a lot by audiences.

The cruel and sad reality of idol drama

Dream High” is the only drama that successfully depicted trainees’ stories ahead of their debut. This series, which takes place at an entertainment and arts high school, tells the dreams and love of young people, drawing enthusiastic responses from female fans. Kim Soo-hyun, who played the male lead at that time, has become a Hallyu top star, and Bae Yong-joon, the first-generation Hallyu actor, also appeared in this drama. In addition, Suzy, Ok Taek-yeon, Ham Eun-jung, Wooyoung, and IU also acted in this work and made hot topics after the broadcast of each episode.

The cruel and sad reality of idol drama

It is said that many broadcasters still attempt to produce dramas based on the “idol” material. However, things remain to be considered whether there is a high demand for that kind of drama from the perspective of viewers. A drama official said, “First of all, there are lots of idol group members who want to start their acting career. Idol dramas can be a gateway to begin acting without having much pressure of getting criticized”, speculating on why idol dramas continued to be produced. They also pointed out the reason for idol dramas’ poor performance, saying, “There is a tendency that no idol group member who is as famous as those of previous successful works appear. The difference between actual idol members and idol members in the drama is also a problem.”

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