There’s more trouble afoot in dramaland, with SBS’s historical drama The Great Seer being forced to shut down production on Saturday, December 8, when its cast refused to continue shooting.
The chair of the Korea Broadcast Actors Union issued a statement explaining that the drama, which began airing in October, has failed to pay a penny to its actors in the two months that it has been running. Until the production rectifies the situation, it stated that the actors will not film. Currently the drama has broadcast through Episode 18 of its scheduled 36.
Most of the cast of the show belongs to the union, including Ji Sung, Ji Jin-hee, Lee Yoon-ji, and Song Chang-eui. The union stated that the producers have been beset with serious problems and have ignored the repeated requests for payment, being too preoccupied with keeping itself afloat. The issue had also been raised with SBS, and the union had stated their stance on walking out last month, and threatened to boycott all outside productions in the future, given the constant recurrence of these issues in drama after drama (Faith was another recent example).
A rep with SBS stated that the three parties — outside production company, SBS, and the union — are engaged in deep negotiations and that this issue won’t affect its broadcast schedule.
Of course, they would say that, since nobody wants to entertain the idea of having no material to broadcast when Wednesday night rolls around. It’s looking very tight for the production, since they will have to scramble to make their December 12 and 13 episodes.
A source with an actor’s management confirmed that the cast’s dissatisfaction had been growing in recent days, and that in the days prior to the walkout the management had started receiving calls from the union to confirm membership statuses. “It was bound to erupt, and it finally did,” he added.
In response to the first wave of news, the producers scrambled to put out a statement of their own, in which they stated that it wasn’t quite true that “not a penny” had been paid, although it did acknowledge that they would issue payments this week. They are naturally keen on resuming filming, since not making broadcast can only exacerbate their problems.
The drama department head of SBS, Kim Young-sub, reported to the media the following day that the producers promised to take responsibility and resolve the payment issue. As a result, the cast resumed work on December 9 under the expectation that they will be paid by the 11th.
Oy. You know, every time I watch King of Dramas I laugh at the absurdity… until I remember that everything depicted on that show is stuff that actually happens in real life. Only in real life it’s less funny.
…though it does prompt the question: What would Anthony do?
- The Great Seer: Episode 1
- Stills and teaser for The Great Seer
- Ji Sung headlines The Great Seer
- Lee Yoon-ji joins The Great Seer, Go Soo leaves
- Kim So-yeon and Song Chang-eui join The Great Seer
- Continued strike puts pressure on Dong Yi, Kim Suro, Playful Kiss
- MBC’s Dong Yi also halts filming
- Filming halts on Gloria due to union strike
- Strike looms for ten MBC, SBS dramas