Korean drama extensions, bane or boom?

SBS will extend their dramas, “First Wives’ Club” by 20 episodes, “King and I” by 13 episodes. MBC will extend, “Yi San” by 16 episodes. KBS isn’t gonna let up either, extending “I Hate You, But It’s Fine” by 20 episodes.

From the above, it’s not hard to see that this drama extension war is getting fiercer and fiercer by the minute. In order for their next drama to be filmed smoothly in a relaxed enviroment, for the economic benefits, Korean television stations doesn’t really give a care about what the viewers feel. As long as the ratings are decent, they will push for a drama extention unconditionally.

The reasons they give are usually the standard answers. There’s still many things that need to be addressed and if they adhere to the original schedule, they wouldn’t be able to finish telling the story properly. This is kinda ridiculous and it isn’t hard to see that they were thinking along another line.

Regardless of what drama it is, as long as the ratings are over 20%, television stations will be having thoughts about extending the drama. They will first state that there is a possibility followed by discussions with the cast and production and then go ahead with the extension once negotiations are completed. They never once considered whether it’s necessary to extend the drama in the first place and of course doesn’t care about what the viewers think.

SBS “First Wives’ Club”is about some wives discovering that their husband’s hearts are with other women. But the storyline turned stale after the drama extension. After learning of their husbands’ betrayal, they take their revenge. This cliched story lacks novelty and thus loses it’s lustre over time.

KBS daily drama, “I Hate You, But It’s Fine” added many new plots in its drama extension which was totally unrelated to the original storyline. This made the storyline cumbersome and bored its viewers to death.

SBS saeguk drama, “King and I” forcibly added 13 episodes despite more than half of its original cast “dying off” and disappearing from the series, as the drama lost its initial lustre. MBC drama, “Yi San” since its extension has lost its original snappy pacing and is now considered cumbersome to follow.

If you look to the past, MBC “Goong/Princess Hours” was one good example of a good start but tainted by a poor ending thanks to its drama extension.

The production side feels that even if they extend the drama, viewers will still continue to follow and watch it. But they are unfortunately primarily concerned with the economic benefits which is why this drama extension war is just going to continue without abating.

But we can’t discount the reason that some television stations just wants to allocate more time for the next drama to film. In extending “Yi San”, they are giving the next drama ample time to film their scenes. Another reason is to avoid the new drama from competing with the incumbent ratings leader in the same timeslot. SBS decision to extend “King and I” was based on this reason.

In summary, television stations are not producing dramas based on what viewers want to see anymore. They are just concerned with reaping the economic benefits. Although the ratings for dramas aren’t as strong as they used to be thanks to the various entertainment options nowadays, but the television stations method of “making up the numbers” for their drama extensions is definitely one contributor to this.

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