KBS has been losing to SBS in the Monday and Tuesday 22:00 ratings war since Fall 2016, and there is no relief in sight.
Since "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds", which made Park Bo-gum a breakout star in 2016, ended in mid-October, KBS has had a string of disappointments. The ratings hit was followed by "The Man In My House", which reached a high of 10% with its second episode before dipping so low that it failed to even rank after its sixth episode. Next came the flower boy saguek, "Hwarang", which fared better by consistently remaining just below 10%. Unfortunately, since taking over the Monday Tuesday time slot this week, "The Perfect Wife" starring Ko So-young and Yoon Sang-hyun, has failed to rank.
At the same time that "The Man In My House" was floundering, SBS built up an audience for "Dr. Romantic". The medical drama started with single digit ratings and rose to be number one in its time slot for over half of its episodes. In late January, "Defendant" starring Ji Sung, started with a solid 14.5% rating and has remained in the 20-something % range over the last few weeks.
SBS has obviously benefited from "Dr. Romantic" and "Defendant" having wide audience appeal. One can imagine men and women of all ages watching the medical and legal dramas. In contrast, the noona romance of "The Man In My House", the flower boys of "Hwarang", and the mature adult melodrama of "The Perfect Wife" have very targeted audiences. If KBS fails to attract that audience, then there is nowhere else to pick up the slack.
I hope the takeaway for KBS is not to move away from female-targeted dramas, but rather, to reassess their marketing. I have criticized the marketing of "Hwarang" in the past, and I would blame KBS for their failure to sell "The Perfect Wife". Check out the trailer below, and see if you can make sense of the hysterics. Not even my love of Sung Joon can provoke me to give this drama a try.
JK of Noonas Over Forks
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