Drama Casting & News
The Chaser cancels extension due to writer’s collapse
by | July 16, 2012 | 40 Comments

Eep! The live-shoot drama system strikes again. New Monday-Tuesday ratings leader The Chaser has been enjoying quite the run, starting as a critically-acclaimed underdog and rising to first place, eventually adding two episodes to its slate (one extra episode plus a special). But just as soon as the extension was finalized, there was an emergency on set.

Series writer Park Kyung-soo collapsed in the middle of writing the script for Episode 15 of the series, which if you can believe it–aired today. The production announced that they would be canceling the one-episode extension for the writer’s health, and will be airing two specials next week instead. But the question remains: What about tomorrow’s finale? He had planned a three-episode arc to wrap things up, but now they have to be crammed into one remaining episode. And is he even able to write? I know the show is tense, but that turned out to be nothing compared to the behind-the-scenes drama.

This is Park’s first big production as head writer, after being a junior writer on Song Ji-nah projects KAIST and Legend. So he’s got both pedigree and buzz, since The Chaser is kicking ass in the ratings and had a strong following from the start. (It premiered to stellar reviews as a dark, taut conspiracy thriller.) It’s just too bad that he worked himself into the ground. Who knows, perhaps the show will fare better to end with 16 episodes like it was originally intended. Let’s just hope it (and the crew) comes out in one piece.

The finale airs tomorrow on SBS, and two specials will air next week.

Via Joy News


40 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. xnopex

    holy crap. this poor guy. i seriously hope he pulls through. my brain is still blown at the fact the he wrote today’s script IN A DAY

    • 1.1 leonardswench

      Indeed — but undoubtedly, that pressure, placed on him by the SYSTEM as well as the EXECUTIVES and POWERS-THAT-BE is broken, and in direct violation of every international labor law in existence, is the direct cause of his collapse.

      How long with South Korea’s government turn a blind eye to the intimidation practices common in their corporate greed? It is the “little” people who suffer the most, the ones who won’t bow to the “system”, and the ones without power or influence who are at the bottom of the food chains. If they don’t put in the hours, there is someone ready to take their place … they need the money, the advancement that comes with putting in brutal hours, they don’t need the stigma of being a ‘troublemaker’, et cetera, and so they put in 2400 hours a year — http://www.forbes.com/2008/05/21/labor-market-workforce-lead-citizen-cx_po_0521countries.html

      Every exhausted make-up tech, electrician, script-reader, actor, writer …. there’s a limit to the number of working hours any employee is required to put in for a company with over 1,000 employees, almost every company in Korea violates those laws, and yet, ….. nothing happens.

      http://www.antislavery.org/english/slavery_today/forced_labour.aspx A careful read will reveal that they are skirting the laws and breaking the intent of the laws.

      Corporately, the South Koreans are not getting ahead, since their per-person production rate is still about half that of the U.S. http://smallbusiness.chron.com/average-workers-effective-productivity-rate-18220.html

      They may be working HARDER, but they are not working SMARTER. It’s a shame, because it’s hurting real people.

    • 1.2 Informantxgirl

      I know. I can barely eke out several emails in one day; he wrote an entire script? Ye gads, this man needs an IV drip stat.

  2. dduk

    UHHH can S.Korea PLEASE start to regulate the working hours for these poor people?! shooting a show almost LIVE isn’t good for anyone’s health!!

    for christ sake, Joo won is only getting 30mins of sleep each week!

    • 2.1 shiku

      I second this!!

    • 2.2 ~Feather~


    • 2.3 ~Feather~

      I hope he feels better soon! I still don’t understand why they opt for the live-shoot instead of doing a few episodes before the air date with a finished script. Incidents like this would become a lot fewer then.

  3. cv

    Just imagine the crew that had to be there along with the actors…. sometime no sleep equal bad health equal mistakes.
    Hope the writer is alright.

  4. Ivoire

    Oh WOW!!! Off to read…

    • 4.1 Ivoire

      Sooo sad… This is where I wished the fans would come together and demand better working conditions for their (beloved) actors/actresses and everyone involved and associated with dramas. Considering their consuming and buying powers, I am sure they could make a difference.

      • 4.1.1 zgznoona

        The problem is that in S Korea not only TV production companies work like that, regular companies overwork their employees as well.
        Also the excuse for doing the almost life production is to adapt to fans preferences during filming.
        Btw, I have yet to answer to your OT post, I will soon 😉

    • 4.2 zsa

      True…I think the broadcasting stations should be the ones taking up completed dramas to air, then only this craziness would stop…the dramas should be contracted and if it’s really difficult, at least 3/4 completed dramas so that there’s room for extension for successful ones…I’m surprised the actors still look so good with just few hours of sleep…

  5. Briggy(@subin70)

    I had no idea dad from City Hunter was in this drama.just saw the pic.I’m sorry about the writer.that’s so sad.hope he gets well soon.I’ll start watching this coz of City Hunter dad.sexy old man.I’d date him!!

  6. HeadsNo2

    The one thing that wows me more than the writers writing scripts the day-of is that the actors can memorize their lines all of two seconds before filming. That takes work.

    • 6.1 Ivoire

      That is indeed praise worthy, but they also have staff members helping them with their lines on the set. I have seen them on the BTS videos, I am sure that helps a lot.

    • 6.2 jen

      I just wonder how much better shows could be if the actors did have time to prepare and really get into and understand their characters better.

    • 6.3 zodd

      Helps out that majority of the actors in this show are veteran actors and not idols.

  7. linda

    Wish the writer all right. Again poor live shooting system.
    Hope they wrap up nicely at the finale.
    The chaser team fighting~~

  8. jyyjc

    Does Korea have any kind of union or whatever that’s equivalent to America’s screen actors guild?

  9. Noelle

    Oh dang. Wishing him a speedy recovery.

  10. 10 foraredrose

    D: Hope he gets well very soon!! And wow, I did not know that scripts were written that close to the deadline – just thought shooting was!!

  11. 11 Anne-So

    Having done a few years of theatre, I would never be able to understand how they do…. To me, work starts when you have memorized the lines, not in the midst of it…

  12. 12 Anne-So

    Having done a few years of theatre, I would never be able to understand how they do…. To me, work starts when you have memorized the lines, not in the midst of it…
    I remember how terrible was Baker Kim Tak Goo’s quality , now I understand why… Ppl must be really passionate to do such a work.

    • 12.1 random person

      Agree! It amazes me even more that the best actors can carry live shoots off with such convincing acting, when they’re not even sure of the entire plot, their future dialogues/scenes and are helped with getting the lines correct by the staff. How can one emote and express a character so convincingly, I am impressed (with the ones who succeed)!

  13. 13 SweetiePie54

    Wow. It always amazes how these shows get produced. It’s baffling that they are still shooting the episode the day it airs. I hope eventually the system changes.

  14. 14 jomo

    God bless ’em.
    Makes you wonder how many of these guys wish they could secretly write and hide scripts for the end then they pretend that they were listening to the director, actors and online voices make suggestions.

    “What? Make him die in a car crash?
    I was thinking the same thing, only, let’s have him graduate college in a time skip and become his own lawyer for the murder trial, non?”

  15. 15 Jess

    If there was ever a need for a picket, this is it.

    • 15.1 Ivoire

      Say it Jess!!!!

  16. 16 lenrasoon

    omg poor writter, i hope everything goes well for the crew and cast.

    • 16.1 lenrasoon


  17. 17 SS

    if you have not already seen this or similar, check it out

    Joowon and Park Ki Woong fighting each other, Not. More like fighting ZZZ monster.

    When I read Joowon saying that he slept like 30 minutes in a week, I thought there must be something amiss with the translation. How could any one function with that amount of sleep? No wonder he said he feels like he is having a ‘out-of-body’ experience!

    I think something needs to be done before a fatality shows up. I also shudder to think of the long term damage these people do to their bodies because although not immediate, it can have far reaching health consequences.

    • 17.1 Ivoire

      Thank you for the video! Very informative about the conditions under which these actors/actresses work (as well as the crew and staff).

  18. 18 Arhazivory

    This is bad. They really need to stop this.

  19. 19 Betty

    And then some people complain because actors/ actress’ ask higher and higher remuneration. I would to if I was to work for weeks at a time with crazy hours, working to the point of having little to no sleep and even eventually collapsing…

    • 19.1 bjharm

      indeed I read the actors are normaly paid a fixed amount, not by the hours they have to work. People like the lady from Myung Wol the Spy who tried to write into her contract that she would not have to work the normal 20 hours a week, then they just broke her contract and used peer pressure to force her to work the hours anyway. It the peer thing that keeps it going, the feeling as everyone else has to then how can I be seen to go against that..ie it is the normal way..

      • 19.1.1 bjharm

        that is 20 hours a day..lol

  20. 20 Maky

    Slavery!! Yes, they must stop this … but who will be the brave one to lead the fight??

    Wish the writer a speedy recovery.

    Perhaps after his recovery, he can write and film something to invoke all in the production industry and fans to fight the system!!

  21. 21 danni

    The live-shoot system always makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Really hope the writer gets the rest he needs and recovers well.

  22. 22 bd

    Really no wonder that Jeon Ji hyun has turned down TV project after project – but who can really blame her (granted, actresses who have gotten as big/popular as JJH such as Shin Min ah, who also is a CF queen, still choose to do TV dramas).

    Supposedly Gong Yoo and LMJ while fiming ‘Big’ would go 3 days w/o hardly any sleep.

  23. 23 rebecca34

    Is this why so many dramas get so bad in the middle or end. They get to spend adequate time writing and producing the first episodes and then lack of time and sleep and cooperate involvement of the creative process creeps in…..sometimes unions go to far but sometimes companies go to far too…..

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