These are the most representative works in South Korea over the past 20 years.
Recently, a website of South Korea compiled a list of TV dramas with the highest ratings of each TV station during the period from 2003 to the present. Some works achieved ratings of nearly 60%.
MBC: “Jewel in the Palace” (57.8%)
Slightly ahead with a 0.2% difference, MBC’s “Jewel in the Palace” has become the highest-rated television drama in Korea over the past 20 years. Until now, no work has been able to surpass this drama’s record. The series was produced with a budget of around 15 million dollars, but just from selling broadcasting rights, it has earned nearly 40 million dollars. It’s known that the broadcasting rights were sold to about 60 countries, a feat that very few Korean dramas have achieved.
SBS: “Lovers in Paris” (57.6%)
Released in 2004, starring Kim Jung Eun, Park Shin Yang, and Lee Dong Gun, “Lovers in Paris” was a massive production set in Paris, France, and South Korea. It achieved not only a near 60% rating but also won prestigious awards like the Daesang at the SBS Drama Awards and many other awards at the 41st Baeksang Arts Awards.
KBS: “King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo” (50.8%)
Representing KBS is “King of Baking, Kim Tak Goo,” which was aired in 2010 and led by the main actor Yoon Si Yoon. With its strong appeal, this drama’s broadcasting rights were sold to numerous countries.
JTBC: “World of Marriage” (28.3%)
Not only representing JTBC, “World of Marriage” also holds the record for the highest viewership rating in the history of all cable TV stations in Korea.
tvN: “Crash Landing on You” (21.7%)
Aired in 2019, “Crash Landing on You” is a classic of the romantic drama genre in the 2010s. It aired on the tvN channel and quickly dominated top ranking on Netflix in many Asian countries. Until now, the series is often remembered, partly thanks to the real-life happy ending of the main couple, Son Ye Jin and Hyun Bin.
ENA: “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” (17.5%)
This is a unique case in the history as a new cable TV station like ENA could produce a top-notch hit like “Extraordinary Attorney Woo.” To this day, this remains ENA’s only work with a rating exceeding 10%.
OCN: “The Uncanny Counter” (10.9%)
While the second season of this series aired on tvN, the first season was a hit on OCN with a remarkable rating of 10.9%. OCN, a relatively lesser-known cable TV station, achieved an outstanding achievement with this work. Even after three years, no other OCN drama has surpassed this record.