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They’re A-list for a reason


Jang Dong Gun

This isn’t too different from the Hollywood system of things, if you substitute “talk show circuit” for the Korean variety programming mentioned below. You know, if an actor or personality appears on Letterman, Conan, or any of the other late-night (or early-morning) programs, chances are they’re hawking something, whether it’s a new movie, new book, new fragrance, new vanity athletic shoe line, new healthy-cooking meat griller, whatever. And similarly, in Hollywood, the bigger the star, the rarer the appearances (and the bigger the deal when they do appear). So to the following, I say, (1) makes sense, and (2) DUH.

Active stars who don’t appear on variety shows…?

“I’m not close with Jang Dong Gun. Please talk with his management.” “Please ask Mr. Jang Dong Gun and get him to appear.” Those are the words of [host] Kang Ho Dong on MBC’s popular program Goldfish. Kang Ho Dong never fails to ask for Jang Dong Gun to appear whenever the opportunity arises or a star connected to him comes on the show. In truth, he’s said that PD Lim Jung Ah is negotiating to get Jang Dong Gun to appear.

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Jang Dong Gun’s absence from variety programs in today’s pop culture is unusual. These days, when an celebrity has a film coming out, it’s customary practice for them to promote them on the variety programs on each of the three major networks.

The reason is because variety show appearances have a rather large influence on the film industry. In some cases, such as with D War‘s Shim Hyung Rae, the appearance creates a huge marketing effect, while others, like Kim Tae Hee, fall short of expectations. However, it’s undeniable that appearing on these shows has an effect on movie promotion.

Criticism over actors needing to appear on these programs for film promotion is on the decline, and thus it’s becoming more common for them to appear around the time of a film’s release.

For this reason, these days even stars like Sol Kyung Gu, who rarely come out to variety shows, have been putting in appearances. However, despite the growing trend, there are some stars who still don’t. For instance, there’s the aforementioned Jang Dong Gun, who doesn’t make the program circuit even when he’s about to release a new movie.

There are others similar to Jang, such as Jeon Ji Hyun, Song Kang Ho, and Lee Byung Heon. After appearing in the drama Happy Together and stepping into the film world, Jeon has concentrated on her projects and promotion for her films without stepping foot onto these kinds of variety shows. With her upcoming movie The Man Who Was Superman opening on the 31st, she’s stuck to her pattern and stayed away from the programs.

The same goes for Song Kang Ho, Lee Byung Heon, Ahn Sung Ki and others. They do participate in interviews when entertainment news programs visit film sets, but they don’t seek out the shows on the broadcast networks.

The reason for this could be that these stars’ personalities don’t mesh with the characteristics of these variety shows, or that they feel that it’s burdensome to have to delve into telling stories, but depending merely on the film for success or shunning variety shows works against them.

Oh yeah? Sounds like sour (or bitter?) grapes to me.

Via My Daily

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....or the reason could be, they just don't want to.

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Hmm, I wonder if it's because they aren't "suited" to shows like that. I don't like watching a lot of people on American counterparts, simply because there is a forced air about things. Still, to not show up on any makes a person seem a bit... snooty?

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It could be they'd prefer that their work speak for itself rather than their "funny stories" on set...or some personal information about their private life that tabloids can use against them....just to promote a movie.

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maybe the stars don't wanna be on the show b/c they want to stand out. the top dogs or the top ones are that way. the mystery makes the audience more curious.

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Seriously, I thought the variety show circuit is best left for idol stars. Serious actors and actresses wouldnt seem to fit, nor should they have to appear on shows like Xman or Happy Sunday. Those that command high salaries and generate alot of buzz with their new projects don't need that extra publicity and it seems like it would be beneath them. Also, some of the actor's personalities wouldnt fit on those shows. For instance, could you see Joo Ji Hoon or Won Bin, or JDG for that matter, being the Xman?! Even Eric, who will appear on shows as part of Shinhwa, does not appear when he's acting. He's kind of quiet and not as talkative when he's on his own.

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I don't agree about the hollywood thing. No matter how big the star, whenever they have a new movie or cd out they ALWAYS go on the talk show circuit. The View, The late night shows etc. etc.
In Korea however The talkshows aren't just talking, they're essentially embarrassing themselves. i.e. getting blown in the face on yashimmanman, or swinging around on monkey bars on Xman.

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it could be due to shyness, or for the serious actors, a wish to maintain a sense of dignity... either way, i understand them... although it would be nice to see more of them & be able to get to know them better... the important thing is that they're serious about their work... i wouldn't want to see an actor like bae yong joon, for example, acting silly on xman... or would i? :)

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Big stars in America go through the talk-show circuit too, but they get to go to Oprah instead of Jimmy Kimmel and Carson Daly. Look at Will Smith, he's arguably the biggest star in the world right now and whenever he have a new movie out he goes on talk shows. Stars even go on talk shows to create buzz for their Oscar noms. I think it's written in their contract somewhere that they must go on talk shows to promote. There's usually a backlash against the actors if they back out unless they have a valid reason for not going. There's no stigma attach to going on talk shows, even politician and scientists do it when they have a new book out. But there' a huge stigma against making too many endorsement deals. A-listers, or respected actors/actresses usually only have one or two big endorsement contracts.

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I agree with Illdielaughing. Comparing American talk shows with Korean variety shows is like comparing coconuts and potatoes (ok fine, apples and oranges).

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"coconuts and potatoes" haha :D
So, are the K-variety shows the coconuts? reminds me of that song "you put the lion in the coconut"...

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id hafta agree that korean variety and american talk shows are far different. not unless they'd come out with a show that doesnt need the antics with the talk. just simple talk and maybe a game using brains? or such? but i bet that wouldnt draw audiences to watch those. i think the korean audiences like the variety show style cause it shows a humbler/human like quality to stars because it shows who can take clowning around, losing, doing silly things, and being blown in the face right? but to the other stars it maybe its not on their level or pride as well. so i can understand that. it also speaks for itself.

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Lol, I wouldn't put Joo Ji Hoon in the same category with Wonbin, Jang Dong Gun, Jeon Ji Hyun and Lee Byung Hun. Those stars are A-listers who've made huge box-office hits, while JJH is just a newbie with a popular idol tv drama. Idol stars have nothing to lose by appearing on variety shows as it makes them appear more accesible to the audience, and will help to establish their personas in viewers' minds. Unless of course, these idol stars have very slow wits or pretentious air to them, then avoiding variety shows would be preferable than exposing their dull personalities. For top stars like JDG, LBH and Song Kang Ho, they are already so established and audiences have a firm impression of their style. So it's up to them whether or not they want to do the talk show circuit. Most of them don't because they don't have to - their name attached to the movie project is enough to create buzz. The system is different in Hollywood, I think because in Hollywood select talk shows are seen as more respectable and have wider influence. There are high class talk shows like Oprah, Leto and Letterman and then there are those like Jerry Springer and Jimmy Kimmel. A-listers will never appear on the trashier talk shows, and usually Oprah gets A-listers to appear on her shows as a friendly favour, so that's a win-win situation for all - I promote my movie while you get higher ratings for your talk show when I appear. The powerful stars in Hollywood are close knit and scratch each other's backs.

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@ hjk

You can choose which is the potato...I have no preference. :)

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I've not been able to watch any korean tv shows that has the same format as oprah or jay leonard or any talk shows in the same format yet. I have seen xmen, or yashimanman(?) and though I find them cute and most often admire those matinee idols allowing themselves to be humiliated in some way or the other, but I don't blame the actors with big names not to engaged in those shows either to promote or just be visibile in those shows. I hope though and would like to see them on the news re their current activities whether shooting or beeing stalked by paparazzis. I think it's better to not always see them as oppose to not seeing them at all. If they already have a tv series running on TV, I think its okay to forget about plugging on variety shows. But if they only have a few movies slated to be shown for the year and no tv series at all, I think it's still good to have them on tv shows - variety or what have you. There's the consideration of their image, but it wouldn't hurt the variety shows to do something creative and ingenuine to match their guest status and still be comical (if it be a comic variety show). I'd say the one's who embarassed themselves mostly are those who accept the invitations of these variety shows when in fact they know what will be asked of them to do and they don't have the capability nor specific talent to show. Now, there's also the consideration wether the TV networks would want to guest these actors though, since its also a fact that even these actors are big stars it does not relate to big ratings having them on the show. I wonder, if actors get paid by the networks to guest in their shows to plug their projects or is it the producers of their movies/tv series that does so? Because that would mean then that they (tv networks) would rather not invite them 'cause it could be a not so profitable endeavor. Either way, I think it counts that the marketing arm/management of these talents to work on their guesting schedules and the network shows getting them to guest. As a fan, let's just keep partonizing their projects and pray hard that we see them on TV at the time when we're watching!.

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I love, love, LOVE Jeon JiHyun. One of the main reasons is that she sells through her talent (or lack thereof, as some people might say), never through promotions, and variety show appearances are absolutely unheard of. I love how she just does her thing and gets out as quickly as she can, and avoids the celebrity spotlight. She rarely does interviews and has a heavy veil over her private life. Whenever she makes a film, she always takes at least a year's worth of rest in between along with commercials, in order to ensure comfortable time for herself and the industry, instead of scrambling for every film offered in order to make more money. One of the many reasons why I respect her as an actress. A true gem.

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yes there is a pattern or expectation for "A-lister behavior", like maintaining mystery, dignity. but oftentimes it boils down to HOW a film is promoted, what media they decide to target. just cos these A-listers don't get on variety shows doesn't mean they aren't "whoring" themselves out to commercials, product endorsement, constant cycling of news items by their PR muscles in news media. all the A-listers named above have suffered flops in the last 2 years -- every single one of them (well K-films have been in recession since '06.) even if they still maintain the A-lister image from associating with the occasional blockbuster (or b/c no media has aggressively shot them down yet to create a "eww him/her again" backlash), none of which depend on just a single star anymore.

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p.s. maybe the biggest question is, what variety show in korean TV land has the power of influence like oprah, letterman, tonight show, that celebs absolutely must do to have a box-office hit? maybe they stars aren't on them b/c the ratings and exposure haven't proven their usefulness? because these stars certainly put in many hours for press conference, interacting with media on set of production, greeting audience who paid to see their movies in the theater, etc!

methinks the My Daily writer is putting in a few wons for their variety show friends:P

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Dear Ed,

You think "The Host" is a flop??? Since you used "all" hence including SKH.

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Dear Happygirl,

SKH "The Show Must Go On" is was a flop last year as the box office....

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Oh but A-List Stars like; Jang Dong Gun, Lee Byung Hyun, Jeon Ji Hyun, Lee Young Ae, Jeon Do Yeon all seemed to have 'embarassed' themselves on variety shows back in the 90s, and maybe becoz they still are not too big then. Watching them back then, is really an embarassment~ They were dancing and doing silly stuffs too back then, but it was funny. I dont think they can ever do that again now since theyve been around the biz for long I think they really should be seen as Seniors or as Seonbaes to be looked up to. And knowing korean media/critiques nowadays if they go out in a variety/talk show there's a big chance some things they say may hurt / damage thier career one way or another.. and those stars are known not even in Asia but internationally now too. I think it's also a precaution.

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