When MBC announced that Tamra the Island was getting cut and ending early, they pissed off fans and even spurred them to publish a large ad in a daily newspaper protesting the decision. (As I said before, the ratings are low but this is a mania drama, meaning that the fans it has amassed are passionate — and vocal.)
The ad, which appeared on September 3, took the broadcasting industry to task for its vice of kowtowing to ratings numbers. It was organized and signed by members of the fan cafes for actors Hwang Chan-bin (who plays William) and Lee Sun-ho (who plays Yan).
At the outset, the drama’s original plan was for 24 episodes (although the last report put the number at 20), so this late-game announcement certainly makes things difficult on the production, who spent a year filming the drama in advance. MBC has said that their action is not strictly a cutting of the series, since they had already negotiated a term prior to the drama’s premiere that allowed the station to alter the number of episodes depending on the situation. That seems to me like splitting hairs on the issue, as though they want to calm angry fans with a technicality.
Hwang Chan-bin, Lee Sun-ho
If that was their intent, it didn’t work, because viewers are continuing to voice their strong opposition, whether on internet message boards or by circulating petitions. The Tamra the Island message board, for instance, is filled with thousands of posts in protest.
Their statement in the newspaper read, “In these days where dramas are rampant with ‘makjang’ stories and dependent on big stars, Tamra the Island is a drama that provides a breath of fresh air. The broadcasting industry must end its habitual practice of snatching away dramas like this through early terminations based on the sole reason of low ratings.”
Their statement ended, “We have a right to see the drama that was made according to plan. Although we may be few, we viewers who love this drama have a right to see it. We hope you will honor the blood and sweat of the actors and staff who worked so hard and have a right to have their work acknowledged.”
Reportedly, there are other campaigns planning to take out more newspaper ads with similar protests.
As for main actor Im Joo-hwan, he posted a recent statement on the DC Inside gallery for Tamra with the title, “I’m Park Kyu!”
Im expressed his feelings about the news as “complicated and gloomy.” He added, “I ask for your increased warm praise and support. That will cheer up the Tamra the Island family, who have worked hard together for the past year.”
Personally, I don’t think the protests will do much good, and I don’t think MBC has much reason to relent and give back the cut episodes. (It would be great if they did, but I’m feeling pessimistic.) Still, it’s nice to see fans rally in such swift support against a practice that will ultimately only harm the industry, not help it.
The newspaper protest
- Tamra gets shortened to 16 episodes
- My Name Is: Seo Woo
- Western actors becoming more visible on Korean TV
- Tamra the Island: Episode 2
- Tamra the Island: Episode 1
- Tamra cast members refute dating rumors
- Strike Love’s chopped ending will get more development overseas