Drama Casting & News
Continued strike puts pressure on Dong Yi, Kim Suro, Playful Kiss
by | September 5, 2010 | 67 Comments

Tensions seem to be increasing between the Korean Broadcasting, Film, Performing Artists Union and MBC as the two sides continue negotiations regarding the strike that is endangering the futures of several MBC dramas.

The matter centers around unpaid wages to the cast and crew of dramas being made by outside production companies. KBS and SBS came to settlements with the union, which spared their productions the threat of strike by their cast and crew members. However, MBC has yet to come to such an agreement.

After a day of interrupted filming when its cast stood by the union stance and refused to participate, weekend drama Gloria is back to work.

However, Dong Yi‘s stopped production is going on four days now, and it remains unclear whether they will be able to air any episodes this week. The drama has not completed filming for the episodes scheduled to air on Monday and Tuesday, so it is likely that there will NOT be new episodes, and MBC is scrambling to find a Plan B. This drama has been filming in live-shoot for a while now and has no extra time to spare, so this delay has a pretty immediate effect on the production.

Dong Yi

The union expressed frustration with MBC, whose behavior it has called arrogant, saying that it is finding it difficult to come to an agreement with the broadcaster. Despite working through the weekend to hold talks, the sides are at an impasse and “it’s as difficult as ever to negotiate our points of view.”

One of the union’s reps stated that they have been lenient, and offered to settle if they could at least pay part of Dong Yi‘s outstanding wages rather than the full amount to date, but MBC is talking in circles and being disingenuous. (Dong Yi alone is responsible for 690 million won in unpaid wages, or almost $590,000.)

On the other hand, a rep from MBC’s drama department took a more cautious line (of course), saying that it’s not clear whether the broadcast will be delayed, and that they’re doing their best to negotiate in order to mitigate any negative effects on the broadcast.

Meanwhile, weekend drama Kim Suro has also stopped filming. The union plans to talk to the cast of Playful Kiss next to get them onboard with the union stance in refusing to film until the unpaid wage issue is solved.

Via Star News, Sports Seoul, Yonhap News


67 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. sorcente


    • 1.1 lavenderskye

      Seriously, that’s just childish! Who cares if you’re 1st to comment on a blog post?!

      I really hope it doesn’t affect filming for Playful Kiss (since that’s the only one I’m watching out of the ones mentioned), but also for the others.

      On another note, thanks JB & GF for your great recaps!

      • 1.1.1 sorcente

        ehehe dont get mad ๐Ÿ˜€ i care.

      • 1.1.2 chika

        i’m the eleven to comment..haha

      • 1.1.3 rob

        you should have just shut up! getting mad on something so small and unimportant is just stupid.It’s obvious that HE cares,so let him be. If he is happy that he is the first one commenting, why do you want to ruin his mood, i wonder !? sorry for my bad english

        • Sere

          Wellllllll, I don’t know if you’ve been here long, but the “first!” and “second” comments have never been looked favorably upon here. Unless there was something else in the comment, that is. Which there wasn’t in his? XD Just sayin’ ^^

          • lavenderskye

            I totally agree Sere! The first post didn’t say anything else, but “first!!!!!”

            @rob: You have no right to tell me to “shut up” and say I’m stupid. That’s just plain rude! Anyway, in the first place, I was not upset, merely pointing out that commenting with “first!!!!!” was not the most appropriate thing to do and yes, I did say it was “childish”…well, because it is. I don’t feel I was overly mean at all. On the other hand, you’re getting bent out of shape about what I said…you should calm down. That is all.

          • Sukispop

            It wasn’t too long ago, when someone posted a “First!” to a recap with no other comment than that. JB replied very nicely, basically saying that we don’t do that, here. So, I think JB’s stand on it is pretty clear.

            What I do find just a bit silly, is that some folks will jump to make the first comment, but will have nothing else to say. To me, it’s not a big deal…just sayin’….

          • sorcente

            yeah sorry all ๐Ÿ™‚ i was just nervous to type that ๐Ÿ˜€ yeah it can be called childish anyways i wont do it again.. ๐Ÿ™‚
            to comment for the post:
            i hope everything will get better because dong yi is surely great and playfull kiss is promising.. but i think it will be okay ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Sukispop


            that was nice of you…and, really, I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. I think the whole point with this comment section is for us to be able to voice our thoughts, opinions, counter points, and questions, relating to the article or recap at hand…

            …and to have fun while doing it.

            Have fun with this, and have a great day! =)

    • 1.2 mymayflower

      haahahhahahahahhahahah you crack me up hahhahaha.

  2. Jae In

    Second or not. If Dong Yi did not air for some date mean good news for Sungkyunkwan Scandal to show off. Well MBC deal it!!!

    • 2.1 anon

      it deserves atleast a 15% in my book.

      • 2.1.1 yen_nguyen

        SKKS attracts me, too. I like the way all characters appear impressively and all the guys are really HOT (especially Soong Joong Ki). The main girl is intelligent and loveable!

      • 2.1.2 melanie

        i agree! i just finished watching and the entire time i was like, how can this not receive higher ratings. but don’t forget, i’m not sure if its on the same time, but i am legend is already a pretty big hit so that can also be the problem why skks doesnt have high ratings.

        • anon

          for me i LOVE all three guys what to do ๐Ÿ™
          sung joon is like mr.darcy (need i say more? mr.D=*swoon*)

          yongha(songjoonki) is the most believable playboy ever, yes i pride myself as an independent strong woman/almost a woman but i turn into a sillyputty-ish puddle with the consistency of jello when he starts talking

          and the last guy/ burning inferno of hotness/vagabondish guy: BIDAM-lite <3 thats what i thought
          i still miss him, RIP hope you are in a good place wherethey serve you chicken everyday BIDEOK FOREVA

    • 2.2 Selli

      I agree. There’s something about Sunkyungkwan Scandal that is really compelling and alluring, at least to me! ^-^ The characters are likable, and the actors too : ) It would be nice for them to get higher ratings!

      • 2.2.1 jandoe

        i agree agree agree! SS didn’t get the ratings it ought to be getting but oh well, good dramas don’t factor on ratings alone to perform (though yeah, it’s definitely a good morale/effort boost sort of thing). but true enough maybe this strike will divert the spotlight onto SS ๐Ÿ˜€ (and personally, hurrah to that!)

      • 2.2.2 phoebe

        me too, I agree! The characters are all very interesting. The leading characters are even admirable, being so witty and smart. The story kinda has some mysterious element in it as well (perhaps being set in Joseon era has some attributes to this), I really like it. ๐Ÿ™‚
        I hope SKKS’s rating will get higher. It is a really promising drama.

      • 2.2.3 sansukini

        I also love SKS. I love the story line, I love the characters, it’s simply addictive. I’m really confuse why this series has such low ratings. I feel bad for Dong yi, but I’m really hoping the strike will divert people’s attention to Sungkyungkwan Scandal and boost it’s ratings.

    • 2.3 crysalide

      I won’t agree with you on this. With DongYi on a halt, Giant will surely take over. woot woot!

    • 2.4 Dara

      YAY, S-scandal sung joon!!! fighting!

  3. Leona

    Playful kiss is the only drama that can’t afford a strike …. or as well this move could help them to come back after Baker King ends… so they will compete with Fugitive for ratings….

    anyway MBC won’t care about Playful kiss that much

  4. Misa

    MBC is the most childish station I’ve ever read about. Not only with this issue but tons of issues ALONG with this one. I am surprised and impressed that this station has lasted so long with such an immature mentality on business.

    Someone should be sued by now. Geez.

  5. Nujume

    Well Playful Kiss has already shot 5 episodes so even if they do go on strike by the time they “run ou” of episodes the strike will most propably be over so it wont affect them that much. BUT for Dong Yi its really a pity to end this way… since it’s the final week and they have been 1st for a while now.

    • 5.1 Sere

      Is it the last week? I thought Dong-yi got an extension for an extra 13-14 eps?

      • 5.1.1 Nujume

        Oh really…. didn’t know that… YAAYYYY ๐Ÿ˜‰

        • Sere

          Well, I thought so, but you’re making me have all sorts of doubts. LOL I’m pretty sure Dong-yi and Life is beautiful, both dramas I’m watching, got extensions, both of about 13/14 eps. IIRC I read an article not long ago here about that and about the strike? Like LiB wasn’t going to get affected because the Union and SBS had reached an agreement whereas Dong-yi may have had some troubles and…all that has been comfirmed in this entry. XD

  6. bk

    maybe MBC is having a financial crisis that’s why they were not able to pay immediately unlike KBS and SBS.

    plus MBC is having a slump in their dramas since 2009. while KBS was really having a good year! SBS stays in the middle between the two.

  7. Dafnรฉ

    I’m soO upset about Dong YI !!! well, I liked playful kiss too but I wouldn’t really mind if their production was stopped…
    But Dong Yi !!! I’m so mad lol, I really like this drama, I watch its ep raw then with sub and sometimes when I can’t wait for the next one I watch them a third time !! (and I don’t usually do that, believe me!! )
    PLEASE, find an agreement MBC !!

  8. Jenju

    To be honest I don’t know too much about the differences between MBC, KBS and SBS. But I have noticed that MBC tends to be the most problematic or “bad-news-prone”

    Why is this? I mean there must be a legit reason, it just doesn’t make sense.

    • 8.1 yen_nguyen

      I think KBS and SBS are state stations and MBC is a private one.

      • 8.1.1 Alex

        I think MBC and KBS are the government stations and SBS is the private

  9. junaly

    i am only a teenager and have no understanding in these things. it sounds really serious. i hope everything works out and playful kiss will air on wed &thurs!

  10. 10 ole-ole

    MBC the killer of my Tamra the Island. I’ve very little sympathy for you.

    • 10.1 Oranges

      thats right, mbc. suck it.

  11. 11 all4movies

    Thanks for the update JB. I was just wondering how talks were going.

    Looks like MBC is playing hard ball, which sucks for Dong Yi.

    At least I can still watch Gloria and I am Legend.

  12. 12 Simmy

    Yikes, i hope Playful Kiss makes it out if this ok! They REALLY don’t need this.

  13. 13 kate09

    Ngeeekk…not Playful Kiss..pleazeee!!! talk to MBC, but don’t get the show to SSSSSTOOOPPPP!! I waited for this drama…Calling the big bosses of MBC!! GIVE THE WORKERS THEIR WELL EARNED MONEY…SO WE COULD GET ON WITH THE SHOW!!

  14. 14 Sukispop

    I won’t pretend to know anything about Korean television broadcasting company or independent television production company business practices…but it seems to me that at least one of the sides is not following through on their end of their business contract agreement(s), and the end result is that people have not been getting paid for the hard work they’ve been providing for what sounds like at least a few months. This work is their livelihood and how they get food on the table for their families. For some this may not not be a big deal(like some of the richer actors), but for many others this could prove to be a real hardship. Regardless of whom is right or wrong, I hope that they reach a resolution quickly.

    I haven’t been following any of the MBC dramas, so from a personal standpoint my viewing pleasure hasn’t been affected. But, for those of you who have been faithful followers of their programs, I hope that your wait won’t be a long one. Hang in there!

    • 14.1 Sukispop

      “For some this may not not be a big deal(like some of the richer actors),…”- one ‘not’ too many…sorry about that! LOL

    • 14.2 brookeeve

      I think it’s cool that the richer actors are striking alongside those that don’t get paid as well. It always puts a warm spot in my heart when people work together, even if it is something that doesn’t directly and immediately benefit all involved.

  15. 15 rheina

    gosh i hope Playful Kiss will not stop filming, just when I started to love the drama and anticipating the next episodes.. But i heard they have shot till episode 5 so they should be fine for the time being.
    But I also read an article that PK shooting wont be affected much because of the strike since the main casts are not part of the Labor Union?
    c’mon MBC.. is it so hard to settle this?

    • 15.1 Sukispop

      Hi rheina,

      I also hope that Playful Kiss won’t be affected much if this strike holds for awhile. I’m not following it(yet), but my daughter has started to. Yes, JB mentioned in her “Strike Looms” article that PK already has 5 episodes filmed, so if the strike is ended before long then things should be okay.

  16. 16 lixin64

    When you say that “Gloria” is back to work, does that mean that the union has negotiated it with MBC or that the cast is no longer onboard with the union stance?

    Anyway, it’s good to hear that one show, at least, won’t be affected anymore =]

  17. 17 melanie

    just wanted to point out that how unfair are of you being right now? you guys do not want playful kiss to be affected but think about the writers. even if the actors are not part of the union, it is still unfair for them to continue filming with the writers receiving unpaid wages. it is just like america, the actors actually respect the writers and they agree to stop filming. and i also understand from mbc’s view, they haven’t been successful in dramas, especially the expensive road n.1

    personally, im not hooked onto pk so it does not effect me. this just means that my girlfriend is a gumiho will increase its ratings by a little bit again. and with dong yi, never watched it but kinda upset for the viewers since there are only like 2 episodes left of the original run and to me, it seems like this is the only drama that mbc is earning from. but good news for scandal, hopefully ratings will increase.

    • 17.1 Sukispop

      Hi melanie,

      Points well taken, and I agree with you completely. When I wrote that I hoped that Playful Kiss wouldn’t be affected, I wasn’t giving favoritism to it over the other dramas at risk, or expressing that without regard to all of the writers and other production staff that have not been getting their hard earned pay. I’d previously voiced my concern about the situation in comment no. 14.

      But, yeah, I too hope that they reach a resolution, and do so very quickly for the sake of everyone whose hard work is involved in all this.

  18. 18 crysalide

    But on the other hand if playfull kiss stop production, they will let Kim Tak Gu & Gumiho finish airing thus will lesson the ratings competition. with kim tak gu i don’t think PK has a chance at all!

  19. 19 ck1Oz

    I don’t think anyone is defending the station.What I am wondering is how the stations have a leg to stand on?They are all professionals…you work you get paid.Why do they thinnk people would work for free?

    After having said that….whoa the tone of the first few posts..ouch.

    I like SS so far and wouldn’t go near Dong Yi too much suffering.I just wonder what a Joseon mother in law would be like in SS ๐Ÿ™‚ more evil?

  20. 20 chessy03

    MBC always have some financial problem..the fact that most of their tv program have low ratings doesnt help either..infinity challenge cast member have also tried to help them by lowering their casting fee a while back…my thought is that they are on the red right now with an astounding deficit…and soon will fold altogether..I mean bankcruptcy would be their next fate…I hope not…their programs were always cost alot to begin with…too much ambition on their part..with little to back them up…not really translated to ratings…kbs is ahead while sbs are second in terms of standing I think…

  21. 21 cinderella

    No! I really hope this gets settled…. I wouldn’t want anything to interrupt Playful Kiss!

  22. 22 elisa

    wtf mbc are idiots. ใ… -ใ…  dong yi is like one of your only dramas doing well right now why are you risking it especially when its so close to the end?

  23. 23 Purpleclouds

    Unions started out to help the weak, silent blue collars but has gotten so big here in the US and is sometimes down right scary. They are aggressive in telling people what to do, and rude to those who don’t see things their way. One time I went to visit a relative at a rehab center. This center is a small operation so its workers are not “unioned”. The union people stood outside with signs, and yelling to anyone going in/out. It’s pretty rude. When they yelled at me, “hey, you work here?” I didn’t answer and they started making fun of me but i did care, and just walked on. So “Union” can force its member to strike, it can close down small businesses who can’t afford the high demands made by them. O, sorry for the long rant.

    • 23.1 brookeeve

      I know what you are talking about. I’m was a member of a pretty big union, but when I was terminated for reasons that I had no control over the union wouldn’t help me out at all. There’s been a couple of people in my position that have the exact same problem, but if you don’t join the union you get treated even worse.

      I paid this union $2,400 in dues, and I got nothing in return. Now, I have to pay a lawyer to do the exact same thing that the union claimed it was going to do. Unions in America don’t really care about the worker at all.

    • 23.2 Misa

      I don’t even know why this is relevant. Yes, some unions can be pretty scary BUT have you see the reason of the issues with THIS union and MBC? They weren’t getting paid! For at least 2 years! Imagine you were a staff and not getting wages for 2 years? How are these people living!

      • 23.2.1 brookeeve

        You’re right, it’s not that relevant. This is just an issue that was close to me at the time. Sorry for posting unnecessary stuff.

  24. 24 Em

    OH BUMMER…! i hope everything gets resolved quick!

  25. 25 oh! tht! chick!

    oh bummer! MBC’s dramas are always well produced! they put in a lot of money and it shows in the production value…some of fav dramas come from the mbc stables!

    well that said its quite unfair to hold back wages, not cool at all…ppl need to put food on the table and hence they work…im completely behind the union on this one…. no wages = no work is the best approach at this point… hope this gets sorted out soon!

  26. 26 Rizzy

    I am also hoping that the Union Leaders and MBC Management will work things out soon. I have yet to watch Playful Kiss and Dong Yi and they look promising.

  27. 27 Qwenli

    I dont know, maybe MBC has cashflows issues meaning, they have been earning but outflow is equally big.

    I mean they have been having bad ratings with their wed/thu shows, so they may not be making money to cover their expense.

  28. 28 omo

    It’s clear to me that MBC is playing hardball because they are obviously in the red. They used to be my “favorite” broadcaster but they have fallen so behind. They’d better settle quickly because dragging this out just makes things worse which includes their reputation.

  29. 29 C

    NOOOOO!!!! Dong Yi!!!!!
    I’m going to go hide in a corner and cry… I LOVE saeguks… what am I going to do tomorrow morning?

  30. 30 charitee

    even though playful kiss is a little ahead of the game in terms of filmed episodes, i think it would really really hurt them if filming stops since playful kiss just started and their ratings aren’t doing so well right now. if they were to stop airing episodes for a couple of weeks, that’d be dangerous and could possibly make it really difficult for them to make a comeback with the ratings. let’s hope that things get figured out and that it won’t come to that for playful kiss…

  31. 31 bk

    Based on some news Dong Yi resumed its filming today and is now on a rush in filming episode 49 so they can air today.

    MBC paid only up to episode 50 for the meantime so they can air this week.

  32. 32 Anonymous

    Way to go MBC workers!!! Koreans don’t strike often enough and are exploited like these guys….
    I hope they get what they want, it’s too unfair to not be paid fo your work. MBC shouldn’t have any big problem paying the wages. They don’t only show dramas and have other means of getting money.
    At least they have a way of putting pressure by stopping the filming, even though it’s very sad for us…
    I’m all for the strikers! (it’s tradition for us)

    A french girl

  33. 33 florence


  34. 34 aworker

    They didn’t get paid for 2 years and now just decide to go on strike? They should change their union leaders. I know in some other country in Asia, workers will not get paid on time or sometimes the boss just delay their payments. But, I never think that happens in Korea too.

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