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MBC TV Network Ponders Life After "Samsoon"

2005/07/25 Source

By Park Chung-a
Staff Reporter

For MBC television network, which had been struggling with low viewer ratings and bribery scandal, the huge success of "My Lovely Samsoon" - "My Name is Kim Sam-soon" gave the company a much-needed boost in confidence.

However, with the series over, the nation's leading TV network is facing the problem of filling the void.

"Although our new drama `Our Attitude in Facing Parting' will succeed `My Lovely Samsoon' - "My Name is Kim Sam-soon", we do not expect it will do a lot for viewer ratings", said an official from MBC, who asked to remain anonymous. "`My Lovely Samsoon'- "My Name is Kim Sam-soon" was just so unusually popular. Except for the daily drama `Be Strong, Geum-Soon!' all other dramas currently on air, including `Law & Love', have not attracted viewers despite favorable comments from experts".

SBS' upcoming Romantic Comedy drama "Princess LuLu" which will air from Aug. 3, is also part of MBC's worries. Its producer Son Jeong-hyeon directed last year's major summer hit "Lovers in Paris", which had more than 50 percent in viewer ratings. As the drama also stars Kim Jeong-eun, a heroine of "Lovers in Paris", it is naturally attracting enormous press even before the beginning of the drama.

"Our major worry is that this kind of situation could continue. MBC has recently been showing signs of improvement in general as management-labor relations have been stabilized and business is on the way to recovery. However, if TV programs keep failing to give good results, the administrative situation could get worse, as it did before", he said.

Meanwhile, Korea's largest conglomerate, Samsung, is likely to file a lawsuit against MBC, following reports based on a secretly taped conversation between the publisher of a leading daily newspaper and a Samsung executive about the use of slush funds for presidential candidates in 1997.

In addition, MBC has to deal with many critical issues by late this year such as consolidating 20 MBC branch companies across the nation into 11, and integrating labor unions. These plans are already running into harsh opposition.

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