Sitcoms/Variety Shows
MBC cancels Mom, quits sitcoms for good
by | December 6, 2012 | 55 Comments

Whoa, this is a dramatic (and sudden!) step for MBC, which announced this week that they are not only cutting their daily sitcom What Is a Mom? (er, as in, What’s the Meaning of Moms Everywhere) but getting rid of their daily sitcoms entirely.

According to a senior representative with MBC, sitcoms have been on a continual downward trend, so they’ve decided not to continue with the format. It sounds so simple put that way, but it’s also a rather abrupt announcement that came without warning, even for the Mom show. It began in October and is a mere two months into its run; the rep stated that Mom was shaky from the start and merely decided to abolish its sitcoms faster than expected, leading to the early cancellation. Well that sounds like a back-asswards way of making a decision—or an excuse—doesn’t it? What rhetoric.

Apparently MBC did toss around the idea of getting rid of the daily format and creating a new timeslot on Mondays and Tuesdays, to air them twice a week like dramas (but in the sitcom hour, not cutting into drama hour). But ultimately that was a no-go.

Keep in mind that MBC has had some big hits in the sitcom realm, dating back to some of the first like Three Men, Three Women. They were home to the long-running Nonstop series, which had six seasons of its college campus setup, and three successful High Kicks. Admittedly the most recent crop has been pretty underwhelming (Standby and Mom had ratings in the 5% range), but it seems like a pretty dramatic decision to be making. Then again, MBC isn’t exactly known for patient, long-term-driven action is it?

In the absence of sitcom hour, MBC will eventually move up its nightly news hour from 9pm to 8pm and take over that slot. Meanwhile, in the immediate aftermath of What Is a Mom‘s cancellation, MBC is planning to air… nothing, yet. Yeesh. They actually cancelled the show before deciding whether it had anything to slot into that slot.

This means Mom gets all of A WEEK to wrap up its storylines; it’ll be pre-empted next Monday for election coverage, and will air its final episode on December 18. Originally given 120 episodes, now Episode 27 will be its last.

Via Star News, TV Report

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55 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ivoire

    Thanks for the news! I saw this this morning reported as well.

  2. adette

    whoaaa. a 90 episode cut? I… reallly feel bad for those writers. Damn.

    Also, WOW MBC, getting rid of sitcoms entirely? That’s insane…. or maybe it’s actually really intuitive and sitcoms aren’t popular on any station and MBC is the smart one to cut them before they begin to cost more than they’re worth. Hmmmm hmmm hmmmm.

    Korean sitcoms…. I don’t know how to feel about them. I feel like they’re dramas with shorter running time and larger casts, but not necessarily focused on situational comedy… which is the whole point of a sitcom. I could be wrong. I’m no expert in media… and also, I’m wrong a lot, lol. Korean sitcoms just always seem different than American ones do, to me….

    • 2.1 ~Feather~

      I get what your saying (typing?) about how the korean sitcom format doesn’t seem like the American ones. I feel like a sitcom is supposed to have an air of comedy about it, not too over the top but not too little either. I think that’s why I have no problem sitting down and watching a random episode of How I Met Your Mother or FRIENDS or The Big Bang Theory without feeling like I’m missing some important piece of information. With korean sitcoms, I feel like I have to watch all the episodes in order to understand where the story is headed and try to grasp the situation. Now, I can’t say that I have a valid opinion since I don’t really watch korean sitcoms, but I just thought to let you know that there is someone else who thinks like you too (so you might not be entirely wrong!) :P

      • 2.1.1 JO

        hmm. I would have to disagree. Of course there are some story archs that come into sitcoms, but often you can jump in without knowing anything about previous relationships etc. and still be able to follow the show.

  3. Selli

    Holy cow, that’s terrible for everyone involved in the “Mom” show. Sigh, MBC.

  4. Laurita

    Oh dear… I don’t watch that show, but such decision is really…

  5. Orion

    Less sitcoms which are missing the “com” part (from what I heard) and less live filming of 200 episodes is not a bad thing.

    Now if only Korean television in general would adopt some less crazy rules as well.

  6. Mystisith

    That’s what you call being axed! Wow!
    Now, I have to say: I’ve tried to watch K sitcoms. HK3 & Standby. It always felt like low-cost “underdramas” and I dropped them eventually: Funny not so funny. Shot almost entirely in studio with that artificial flavor. Also, simply put, the stories were uninteresting and time is precious. Some 20 eps weekly dramas appear long and slow to me so imagine what I could feel with sitcoms. That, and can laughter is giving me hives.
    I think the decision is cruel for the people working on that particular drama but business-wise, if the taste of the audience is changing, I can understand.

    • 6.1 Mystisith

      To be exhaustive: From I could see in the ratings, variety shows of all kind score better ratings and they are certainly less expensive and easier to produce. Sad but true reality.

    • 6.2 jomo

      For me, the deal breaker is the laugh track.

      It IS possible for me to wade through bad shows if there are good parts – Standby’s HAN SUK JIN! –
      unless for god knows what reason, there is a laughtrack.
      The weird thing about that is it isn’t always “on.”
      Really strange feeling when suddenly the laughs come out of nowhere.

      At least with the “filmed in front of a live studio audience,” you are set to hear some laughs some not throughout.

      • 6.2.1 javabeans

        The inconsistency is the worst. It’s like my other great big drama pet peeve: Phone conversations where you hear the other side… for ONE line, and then the line goes silent again because we’re back to pretending we can’t hear the call. Either we hear it or we don’t. Make up your mind, drama. Don’t be lazy and just flout logic because it’s easier.

        • 6.2.1.1 Fab

          Those phone conversations are só annoying. Unfortunately I’ve seen it countless times in several (good)dramas, I guess they think it works.

        • 6.2.1.2 thefunofit

          Dang, I actually think those are fun. I picture the author cackling maniacally behind the screen, pointing at us fools, cawing, “I rule this universe, b****es! Suck it!”
          I agree that logic fails of that sort are lazy writing to some extent, especially if overused or used as a patch to hold together an otherwise untenable dramatic scenario. It’s just, there aren’t a lot of ways to give an audience only half the story. King of Dramas, for example, has made a recurrent theme of the last-minute subversion, and has to find ever more creative ways to accomplish and vary that idea. Sometimes it has to stretch story logic, and use devices in the same vein as this one, to stick to what it feels to be its strong points.
          (Not saying this choice is a good thing, or even that this is what’s actually going on with this show. But I take my cues from its own commentary on the drama production process.)

          • 6.2.1.2.1 Sajen

            so I’m not the only one that likes those phone calls then

  7. ravens_nest

    I’ve only ever watched the three High Kick sitcoms and not consistently even then so I’m not mad that they’re cancelling sitcoms. I guess it’s just business. Still…isn’t this like cutting off your nose to spite your face? At least give the show and your network team a good 10 episode heads-up. Especially if MBC doesn’t have anything planned to fill the spot. It’d give them more time to come up with a replacement while giving the show a good chance to wrap everything up. This just doesn’t seem like smart business planning to me.

  8. addylovesbwood

    That’s a drastic move!! Not that I’ve ever invested any valuable time into sitcoms. If MBC feels the need to cut them that’s cool but more time should be given to wrap up currently airing dramas.

    Will it make the acting market more competitive? Will there be more dramas? What will happen to these sitcom actors?? I’m just so curious .

    • 8.1 Fab

      The same sitcom actors appear also in mini series, so I hope this won’t be affecting them too much.

      But hell, what a crappy move from MBC.

  9. cg

    I feel bad for the cast and crew of this drama :(

  10. 10 Daisy

    The third high kick didn’t do so well either

    • 10.1 javabeans

      It was mostly double digits. Lower than expected, but stable.

  11. 11 canxi

    I feel bad for the cast too. Also, no more High Kicks? This is a shame. I only watched High Kick 3 and really liked it, I was actually looking forward to the next installment. I feel like they just didn’t want to put the time and money into them anymore,lol. Makes sense I guess, a 16-20 episode flop seems better than a 126 episode flop.

  12. 12 lovepark

    Oof. Didn’t watch the show, but still feel bad for the cast and crew. Poor Na Moon-hee. You’re still my favorite grandmother!!

  13. 13 pumpkinattack

    Wow, that stinks!

    Thanks for the news.

  14. 14 lemonade candy

    awww~ poor them cast/production/writer

  15. 15 kdramapedia

    Wow. Quite an abrupt move there!

    I guess I understand since I only watched the original High Kick (which I LOVED) and Standby (which I dropped after less than 20 episodes). But it’s kinda hard for non-Koreans to watch since subs are slow and irregular, if at all.

    I do feel bad for the cast and crew though.

  16. 16 Rexy

    Yeesh. Terrible planning decision to just abruptly cancel a show without even having a backup plan to fill the empty time slot. My sympathy goes out to the cast and crew of that show.

  17. 17 rearwindow

    No more High Kicks? So sad. I recently discovered the sitcom format and LOVE it as an outlet for low-key long-form storytelling. I’ve never encountered anything like it, certainly not in the American television system. This is super sad.

    • 17.1 risa

      I’m quite sad about there being no more High Kicks, too. It took me 3-4 weeks of suffering through the laugh tracks before my brain finally learned to just filter them out, and then I just really grew to love and appreciate the series. I loved that no matter what was going on IRL or in crazy dramaland, I could always count on HK3 to either make me laugh, touch my heart, or both.

    • 17.2 asianromance

      maybe SBS or KBS or a cable channel will take on the High Kick series if there ends up being a 4th high kick.

      But man, what a rash decision with cancelling that sitcom. A one-week notice is a simultaneous slap in the face and kick in the groin.

  18. 18 Bakachild

    That’s a wacked out business decision to abruptly cut a show with nothing in the line-up to come behind it….Jesus MBC just calm down

  19. 19 Sajen

    sounds like they’re letting an infant less than 5 minutes old make their business decisions.

  20. 20 Biscuit

    Wait… does this mean there’s no more hope for a High Kick 4 or Nonstop ever making a comeback?

    NOOOO!!!!

  21. 21 ranisa

    What a drastic move. They could have let the drama end on a high note, or at least a decent one. But to just axe it when there is nothing to fill the slot, that’s like adding insult to injury. And what happens to actor contracts or the likes? Is it cheaper to end the drama than to pay fees for breach of contract?

  22. 22 christy

    Wow. File this in the WTFery books. Sad how little patience and will MBC actually has in trying to improve their television content. They’d rather cut their losses and be counter productive instead.

  23. 23 crazedlu

    WHOA.

    but i loved the third high kick. ~

    they killed it with boring stories and infuriating characters. guess i’ll just have to get over it.

  24. 24 Megan

    I saw a few episodes of that show and I have to admit it was underwhelming. There were no lovable characters you want to root for. A lot of them were just selfish/annoying (not in a funny way).

    The sitcom that I liked from MBC was the very first High kick. The second and third were more meaningful and that lessened the funny.

    It’s sad because I love the actress that plays “Mom” in this sitcom. She was the grandma in the first high kick.

  25. 25 Seda

    I guess Shut Up Family may be only surviving sitcom? Same timeslot competitor with What is mom until MBC changed it’s air date. The drama isn’t doing spectacular with ratings peaking once in a while but at least it’s running smoothly plus it’s better than What is Mom.

  26. 26 DayDreamer

    I don’t watch Korean sitcoms but damn. That’s rather mean of the channel, to put it lightly. And well, if it’s ending all sitcoms then it must have something greater planned or something else going on. I wonder what Anthony Kim has to say about this. ;)

    • 26.1 lenrasoon

      lmao i thought about Anthony too, but i think he doesn’t care about sitcoms since he loves his melodramas. ^^

      • 26.1.1 DayDreamer

        Lol. Yeah, you’re right. He wouldn’t even give it a thought.

  27. 27 Laeah

    I like sitcoms and family dramas!

  28. 28 Jaeyeon Kim

    This is not even surprising when the head of MBC, the King of Accomodation(숙박왕), is lower than trash. They fire their employees who stand up against their corruption like you throw away toilet paper and produce dramas and other products by subcontracting. Of coure it’s running under a deficit. This so called ‘public broadcasting system’ is simply a waste of human resources and hazard to the country.

  29. 29 Kes

    Is a sitcom the same thing as a daily drama? Like is daily drama just a more accurate name for the same thing when it isn’t comedy genre.

    Like, I’m watching 힘네요, 미스터 김! right now…I wouldn’t consider that a sitcom, but it is daily. Is MBC cutting shows like that too? ALL daily shows? Wow, that’s kinda extreme.

    sounds like when Disney decided ’2D animation is dead!’ because their latest movies had crappy box office totals…which was because the movies SUCKED, not because animation is over. Sigh.

    • 29.1 heayun

      I think daily dramas are a separate entity. Daily dramas are a hit with the ahjumma population (especially my mom and grandma, heh)…there’d definitely be a riot if those were cut.

      Anyways, cutting all sitcoms because of a few recent flops? Wow. Aw, this post brings back memories of the Nonstop series. Those were the good old days <3

      • 29.1.1 bjharm

        yes now there a good idea..just put on re runs of nonstop! Now that was a funny show, you didnt even need subs to laugh.
        As for the sitcom..well perhaps the smaller cable networks can benifet and fell in the gap.

  30. 30 Bu Young

    Noo! Kim Sae Ron! Ugh!

    I was thinking, does this mean no more high kicks? I really liked high kick! (second one especially)

  31. 31 Alyyy

    In a perfect world they would now air “Tamra the Island” and “What’s Up” in their entirety (meaning: the full length uncut episodes). I still mourn these sad dramas for the drastic cuts they suffered!

  32. 32 Appledumpling

    Nobody ever bought or enjoyed a single product that came from the talents of the mindless, money-grubbing “suits” who work upstairs and consider themselves to be the owners of their employees and the general public. Left up to these kinds of “geniuses”, the world would never have known The Beatles, Jackie Robinson, or Apple computers. I’m sorry for the cast, crew and fans of this show. Cutting down on it’s run may have been considered, but leaving a trail of blood after dropping a bomb in an unsuspecting room full of human beings with families to feed is a completely different circumstance. A pox on those who collectively share the guilt… :(

  33. 33 jc

    Nooo, no more High Kicks? I actually really like watching the whole everyday family interaction thing rather than drama all the time :c

  34. 34 Alvina

    I simply cannot fathom a world not only without High Kick-like dramas but all the KBS daily dramas that I so dearly love, etc…

    Let’s hope that MBC is not setting precident. I will surely miss the wholesome family sitcoms should they come to an end. :(

    While they are not like “dramas” which are like… a mini-series, sitcoms are like a blog; a look into some else’s life.

  35. 35 goldeng

    Im speechless… If they werent sure about the drama then why air it??? To then abruptly end it?? And the fact they seem to have nothing planned to fill that slot is the biggst wtf…

  36. 36 haru

    It sucks…I will miss seeing Myungsoo on TV

  37. 37 Rachel

    That sucks. I was waiting for High Kick 4.

  38. 38 Jeannette

    I heard about this a couple days ago. So sad. Myungsoo must be really sad about it, too. As an Inspirit I watched the first few eps…but it wasn’t something I was bonkers over. Still, I’d like to finish the series…

    I hope Myungsoo finds something new to star in!

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