Ranking 1st Place, Light and Shadow on Groundwave Dramas

In the first half of 2023, groundwave dramas revealed their light and shadow by riding roller coasters. This is because cable channels like tvN and ENA have launched wave attacks. Groundwave dramas continue to survive in the midst of a crisis that has been going on for years.


In the year's first half, works threatening groundwave (KBS, MBC, SBS) dramas poured into the home theater. In particular, JTBC caught both ratings and buzz with "Doctor Cha" and "The Good Bad Mother". As for ENA, it has been coming down with various works such as "Paper Moon", "Oh! Young-shim", "Delivery Man", and "Bo-ra! Deborah".

Despite the pouring of various dramas regardless of genre, the three groundwave broadcasters have continued to meet with viewers. In the midst of this, managing to survive by keeping the title of 'No. 1'.

The three groundwave broadcasters exuded the feeling of 'success', but if you look inside, the ratings (based on Nielsen Korea nationwide) are not so satisfying. Light and shadow co-existed for groundwave dramas for the first half of 2023.

◆ KBS 'ratings ranking No. 1', light and shadow

In the first half of this year, KBS presented Monday and Tuesday dramas, daily dramas (KBS 1TV, 2TV), and weekend dramas.

Monday-Tuesday dramas are "Brain Works", "Oasis - Drama", and "My Perfect Stranger". Daily dramas include KBS 2TV's "Vengeance of the Bride" (ended on March 9th), "Woman in a Veil", KBS 1TV's "The Love in Your Eyes" and "Apple of My Eye". The weekend drama, the flagship KBS drama, followed by "Three Bold Siblings" and "The Real Has Come!" are on air.

In the first half of this year, KBS dramas are doing well in each time slot. Monday-Tuesday is successful with "Oasis - Drama" recording the highest viewer rating of 9.7% (April 25th, episode 16). At the same time (10 PM), it topped the ratings of dramas and entertainment shows, reviving the energy of KBS' Monday-Tuesday drama.

In addition, "Brain Works" and "My Perfect Stranger" also won the title of 'No. 1 Monday and Tuesday drama ratings', but the ratings are regrettable. "Brain Works" had a maximum rating of 5.2% (1st episode, January 2nd), remaining in the 3-4% range during the broadcast. "My Perfect Stranger" took the title of 'No. 1 Monday and Tuesday drama while maintaining a steady viewer rating of 4%.

Except for "Oasis - Drama", last year's "Bloody Heart" (minimum 5.3%. episode 3), "Cafe Minamdang" (minimum 3.7%. episode 13), "The Law Cafe" (minimum 5.3%. episode 3), and "Curtain Call" (minimum 3.1%, episode 3) have been on the low side. Recently, "My Perfect Stranger" also has been doing well as the top Monday-Tuesday drama, but SBS's "Same Bed, Different Dreams 2: You Are My Destiny" and "Dolsing Fourmen", which overlap on Tuesday's broadcast time, have given up the top spot. As a result, it has a somewhat regrettable figure for being 'No.1 in ranking for Monday-Tuesday'.

KBS daily drama was the face of KBS. However, it is evaluated that this year is not as good as before. The "Woman in a Veil" and "Apple of My Eye" which began broadcasting in the first half of this year, have ratings in the early 10% range, plunging compared to their previous works. "Woman in a Veil" and "Apple of My Eye" have exceeded fifty episodes and are experiencing sluggish ratings with ratings in the early 10% range. The previous works of the two films recorded mid-10% ratings after the 50th episode. In particular, "Woman in a Veil" is being criticized by some viewers as the relationship and revenge development of the characters in the drama is intertwined with numerous crimes. There is also an evaluation from viewers that the somewhat sluggish play development of "Apple of My Eye" has reduced viewers' immersion. Although it is said to be the No. 1 daily drama viewer rating, the ratings and evaluations that have fallen compared to the previous work is a flaw.

KBS weekend drama is struggling with ratings. The weekend drama "The Real Has Come!" which began broadcasting in March, has been stagnant after recording 23.1% of viewership in the 10th episode (April 23rd). Saturday's broadcast is in the late 10% range and Sunday's broadcast is in the early 20% range. It is not far above the 20% viewer rating. In addition to the main roles such as Ahn Jae-hyun, Baek Jin-hee, Cha Joo-young, and Jung Eui-je, supporting actors such as Kang Bu-ja, Kim Hye-ok, Kim Chang-wan, Choi Ja-hye, Kim Sa-kwon, Yoo Jae-yi, and Ryu Jin are acting, but the slow development of the drama is not interesting viewers. The dramatic situations and love lines that will unfold in the future need to be developed quickly. If you look at the results of the ratings alone, it is a KBS weekend drama that ranks first in terrestrial ratings on Saturday and Sunday but has a coexistence of life and cancer due to the favorable response of viewers who are not as good as before.

Although the ratings were sluggish, KBS drama soothed the hearts of viewers by discovering new people. Choo Young-woo in "Oasis - Drama", Seo Ji-hye-I and Lee Won-jung in "My Perfect Stranger" and Jung Eui-jae in "The Real Has Come!" attracted viewers' attention.

◆ SBS Friday-Saturday SBS

SBS' drama in the first half of 2023 attracted viewers with Monday-Tuesday and Friday-Saturday dramas.

The achievements of SBS dramas shone in Friday and Saturday dramas this year. Starting with "Payback", "Taxi Driver 2" and "Dr. Romantic 3" were broadcast.

All SBS Friday-Saturday dramas that aired in the first half of this year exceeded 10% of viewership. "Payback" recorded its own highest ratings of 11.4% (11th episode, February 10th), and "Taxi Driver 2" recorded its own highest ratings of 21.0% (16th episode, April 15th). On top of that, in the case of "Dr. Romantic 3", its own highest viewer rating is 14.9% (14th episode, June 10th) as of June 15th. The ratings of "Dr. Romantic 3" once slowed down, but it has entered an upward trend again.

This rating record ranked first in terrestrial ratings during the same time on the same time. In particular, in the case of "Taxi Driver 2" starring Lee Je-hoon, Pyo Ye-jin, and Kim Eui-sung, it caught both ratings and word of mouth. In particular, in Friday's programming, which was full of entertainment programs, it reigned as the strongest viewer rating and showed off its drama power.

Amid the success of Friday-Saturday dramas, Monday-Tuesday dramas were sluggish.

"Trolley", which ended in February, has its highest viewer rating of 4.6% in the first episode (December 19th, 2022). After the first broadcast, it maintained a viewer rating of 3-4% and competed with KBS 2TV's "Brain Works" at the same time. The audience rating of the two works was 3-4%, and the gap was not large. "Trolley" also rose to the top of the Monday-Tuesday drama.

The follow-up to "Trolley", "The Secret Romantic Guesthouse" remained in the 3-4% range of viewership due to "Oasis - Drama". It also won first place in a competition with "My Perfect Stranger" by chance. The last episode (18th episode, May 16th) had the highest viewer rating of 5.0%. The sluggish ratings, which had fallen to the 3% range after halfway through the drama, were able to achieve a successful conclusion with a brief rebound in the last episode.

As such, SBS dramas stood out for the performance of Friday-Saturday dramas that caught Monday-Tuesday dramas. In addition to Lee Sun-kyun and Moon Chae-won, Lee Je-hoon, Pyo Ye-jin, Jang Hyuk-jin, Bae Yoo-ram, and Shin Jae-ha, special actors such as Shim So-young, Namkoong Min, Kim So-yeon, and Lee Young-ae (voice of multiple agency service guidance) drew attention. In addition to starring roles such as Han Suk-kyu, Ahn Hyo-seop, Lee Sung-kyung, and Kim Min-jae-I, "Dr. Romantic 3" was also loved by viewers, including new faces such as Yoon Na-moo and Lee Hong-nae. It was the first half of the year when it gained both box office and popularity.

◆ MBC slow progress due to competition

MBC presented daily dramas and Friday-Saturday dramas this year.

First of all, MBC's daily drama began broadcasting "Meant To Be" following the end of "Game of Witches" in April. Kim Yu-seok, Jeon Hye-yeon, Jung Woo-yeon, Seo Han-gyeol, Jin Ju-hyung, and Ko Eun-mi starred in "Meant To Be". The first episode (April 17th) started with 3.7%, and recorded its own highest viewer rating (as of June 15th) of 5.5% (April 25th). This is about 1% to 2% lower than the ratings of the previous "Game of Witches". It has recently recorded a 4% rating, and the fluctuation in ratings is not significant. It is the only daily drama organized among terrestrial broadcasters in the same time zone (7 PM). It also ranked first in viewership at the same time by competing with KBS 2TV's "2TV Live Information" and SBS' "Live Broadcast Today" at the same time.

While Friday-Saturday dramas have become the face of MBC dramas, their performance in the first half of this year was disappointing.

"Kokdu: Season of Deity" which began broadcasting in January, did not draw favorable responses from viewers until the end of March. After recording a 4.8% rating in the first episode (January 27th), the ratings fell to the 1% range. The last episode (16th March 24th) ended with 1.6%. At the same time (10 PM), SBS's "Payback" and "Taxi Driver 2" were pushed back in competition, and viewership was bitter.

"Joseon Attorney: A Morality" which was broadcast after "Kokdu: Season of Deity" also fell into a slump in ratings due to its competitors "Taxi Driver 2" and "Dr. Romantic 3". "Joseon Attorney: A Morality" recorded its own highest rating of 4.4% (8th episode. April 22nd), and struggled with ratings in the 2-3% range, but failed to rebound. Compared to the passionate performances of Woo Do-hwan and Kim Ji-yeon, the ratings remained disappointing.

For MBC's Friday-Saturday drama, which had been in a slump due to the power of its competition, the No. 1 position is far and away.

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