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Declining Popularity of Variety Shows

Posted May. 25, 2004 21:27,   


There are signs that the variety shows of the three ground TV companies are on the decline. The existing shows are recording lowering popularity ratings, and newcomer shows with star MCs are not earning their expected popularity.

MBC’s “Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Won-hui’s Come on Over,” broadcast first on May 8 and every Saturday night at 10:30, and SBS’s “Kim Yong-man and Shin Dong-yup’s My Favorites,” broadcast first on May 4 and every Tuesday night at 11, started up their shows with popularity ratings around 12 percent (surveyed by TNS Media Korea) and are experiencing decline it its rating by 0.2 to 1.6 percent every week. Last week’s ratings were 10.7 percent and 10.8 percent respectively.

KBS2’s “Sunday is 101%,’ broadcast every Sunday at 5:50 p.m., has recruited five star members in early April, including Lee Kyoung-sil and Cho Hye-ryon, and has and created a new section called, “MC Great Crash- Five Heroines,” but their ratings have not showed much change.

MBC’s “Sunday Sunday Night,” broadcast every Sunday at 6 p.m., has dropped to the 9th most popular program last week with 20.8 percent from their second place showing in the previous week. Also, KBS2’s “Happy Together,” broadcast every Thursday night at 11, dropped to 16 percent last week. These are showing alarming signs.

In regard to the low ratings of variety shows, the production crew of the three broadcast companies analyzed that the problems lie in running out of new ideas and MCs. “It’s because each channel is repeating similarly formatted shows or games,” pointed out Chang Dong-wook, chief producer of entertainment at SBS.

One of KBS’s entertainment crew said, “Star MCs are appearing on multiple channels at the same time for years and laugh around only among themselves in shows, and now the viewers are turning around.”

Another cause of this decline is due to the entertainment sources available on the internet or mobile world newly pursued by teenagers or people in their 20s, who were the main viewers of these variety shows. Therefore, MBC’s Sunday Sunday Night’s “Brain Survivor” is focusing more and more on popularity from viewers in their 20s to 40s. “Viewers over their 20s prefer entertainment with information in it,” Chief Producer Chang of SBS points out. “’I like Sunday,’ broadcast every Sunday at 6 p.m., is opening up a section called ‘Medical Nonfiction’ with medical information starting May 30 because of this reason.”

Katherine Cho kathycho@donga.com