Hanbando’s blockbuster budget can’t make it a hit
Oy, another show gets the axe. Cable action-thriller Hanbando (Korean Peninsula) had boasted a sizable production budget (10 billion won, or roughly $9 million USD) and a name cast (Hwang Jung-min, Kim Jung-eun) with lots of notable veterans, but it hasn’t been enough to stir much interest, and ratings have remained low.
Those low numbers have led TV Chosun to cut the run down from a planned 24 episodes to 18, according to a rep from the station. The station informed the production team of the cut last week, which turned in the script for the final episode yesterday.
The drama premiered with a promising rating of 1.649%. (In the cable realm, anything over 1% is safe; below 1% is when you start splitting hairs, depending on what kind of show it is, when it airs, and what its expectations are.) And while Hanbando’s slide down to 0.798% (for its most recent episode) still leaves it higher than other cable shows that haven’t gotten cut, you can look at it in two ways: (1) It halved its already small audience, and (2) it also has one of cable’s largest budgets, in fact rivaling (and outstripping) the costs of some dramas on the big 3 broadcasters.
Honestly, I think the cable stations are being entirely too precipitate with their decisions, especially given the newness of much of the cable landscape to begin with. Some of these general-programming stations, including TV Chosun, are barely four months old, but they’re being held to standards established by people who have been on the air for decades.
I say this having no particular sadness for seeing Hanbando go — I was never intrigued by the spy-action-North-and-South plotline, and kaedejun’s coverage of Episodes 1-2 confirmed my initial impressions. But personal interest aside, this just seems like the most foolish type of knee-jerk reaction. Have a little patience, will you? We all know the cliched saying about marathons versus sprints; this is a case of taking one runner out of the race based on a bad first two steps.
That means Hanbando will wrap on April 3 with Episode 18.
- Hanbando / Korean Peninsula: Episodes 1-2
- Hwang Jung-min and Kim Jung-eun to star in Peninsula
- Han Ga-in and Hwang Jung-min to return to dramaland?
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- I Am Legend: Episodes 1-2
- Kim Jung-eun’s funky-classical look in Singles