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MBN rejoins dramaland with Tears of Heaven

Cable station MBN is getting back in the drama game, two years since it gave them up, and has announced a new series titled Tears of Heaven. It sounds like an emotion-filled, relationship-driven drama that’s all about a strained mother-daughter relationship which leads to lots of conflict and eventually understanding. The drama has revealed its main lineup, who are, going clockwise from top left:

  • Park Ji-young (The Concubine, Romance Town) playing the ambitious, cold-hearted mother who abandons her daughter not once but twice in order to aid her own upward ascent in status, who has “never once felt any pangs of conscience for it.” Park played a steely (and murderous!) mother in Mandate of Heaven, where she was pretty great, so perhaps this could be a turning-point role for her as the headliner in an acting-heavy dramatic role.
  • Hong Ah-reum (Into the Fire) plays the daughter who’d once believed that a mother’s love was like heaven, who now seeks out her mother while harboring plans of revenge.
  • In Gyo-jin (Gu-am Heo Jun, Horse Healer, and soon to be So Yi-hyun’s husband) plays one leg of the love triangle formed with Hong Ah-reum, a well-educated and well-off young man who finds no end of women interested in him, but who has never loved before. A chance encounter with the heroine develops into more, and spurs a change in him.
  • Seo Joon-young (Secret Door, Unemployed Romance) is the other romantic interest, and grew up in the same orphanage as the heroine while they were children, where he first fell for her. He then is adopted into a wealthy family and seems like a privileged prince on the outside, but his roots keep him warm and simple-hearted. Aw.

The drama is targeting a 30- to 50-something audience and sounds like it’ll be an emotion-filled ride, and while I’m not entirely sold on the premise alone, I do really like Park Ji-young and Seo Joon-young (the other two I’m less familiar with). More than the cast or the drama’s story itself, however, I’m interested in the fact that MBN is reviving its drama programming, after quietly shelving it early on.

You may recall that nearly three years ago, we saw an influx of cable stations setting up shop when JTBC, Channel A, TV Chosun, and MBN opened their doors with original drama programming. Each channel lured big stars and put out ambitious projects, but quickly realized that drama production is hard, yo. Of those four new stations, JTBC is the only one that put out steady quality content (Padam Padam, A Wife’s Credentials, Heartless City, Secret Love Affair) while the fare on the other channels tended to be lower-budget and uneven (there was a general consensus that they launched hastily). (See: Channel A’s Color of Woman, Goodbye Wife, Bachelor’s Vegetable Store, and Panda and Hedgehog; MBN’s Can Love Become Money, Vampire Idol, Bolder By the Day; and TV Chosun’s Operation Proposal and Hanbando.)

MBN did quickly shift its focus to non-scripted programs, such as variety and current-events shows, which were much more successful. In fact, I had thought it was a really smart move for them to strategize in that direction rather than spreading themselves too thin and producing subpar dramas and sitcoms, but perhaps two years has given them enough time to find some footing and try dipping their feet into drama waters again.

Tears of Heaven will premiere in October.

Via MBN

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MBN also aired "What's Up" back in late 2012.

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What's Up was intended to air on another broadcaster and got picked up by MBN sort of as a last resort; it's a bit of a different case than producing/planning a drama on its own.

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A little sad, then, that that's my favorite drama from them. Although Vampire Idol has it's charms too :)

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yes, Vampire Idol is one of my unexpected favourites - the charms of the cast are more than enough to make up for its low-budget cheesiness :)

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this sounds like a daily i heard of i need to go find it again

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lol its the same drama silly me that it already aired

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oh my! this does look good! Thanks

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I liked In Gyo-jin in "The Great Queen," which I just rewatched by the way. I wonder where I'll be able to find this. . .

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I will watch this just for Seo Joon Young..he is too underrated and need more lead roles!

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Seo Joon Young! First knew him in TTBY and now he will act in Secret Door and Tears of Heaven. Yay!
So underrated actor who deserve attention.

I like Park Ji Young too. She's great in MoH.

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I'm happy to see Seo Joon-young as well, but I wish he'd do a show I want to watch!

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- "Tears of Heaven" was actually originally meant to be aired by TVN as a replacement for "Crazy Love," but they seemed to have abruptly ended the morning daily drama timeslot despite its success. Weird.

- Last year, MBN aired the four-episode docudrama "Korea's Untold History" (대한민국 정치비사) and the two-episode anthology "Clear Skies" (해밀). So, yeah, they've been meaning to dip their feet again in drama production, but they don't seem to have the resources.

- JTBC is hardly a cable drama stronghold either. Although "Yoona's Street" is going strong, that only accounts for just one drama currently being shown (Monday-Tuesday 9:50 p.m. slot). As we all know, they cancelled "Wild Chives and Soy Bean Soup" because of ratings that hovered in the 0.6-0.9% range. They didn't replace it with anything despite the success of previous Saturday-Sunday 8:40 p.m. dramas. The Weekday 8:10 p.m. timeslot (last drama was "Noblewoman") was nixed as well.

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JTBC do seem to be ruthless when it comes to cutting shows that aren't performing above 1%. I do think they'll bring back their weekend shows, perhaps another sageuk is on the cards. When you cut a show that was supposed to run for 3 more months, it makes sense that the follow up was nowhere near ready.

Apart from that though, they've had 3 successive hits this year (Can We Love, SLA, Yoona's Street) while TVN seems to be struggling with some of their Mon/Tues shows (My Secret Hotel is not doing well at the moment). They don't seem to cut their dramas though; I guess they can afford not to do so.

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I really liked Hong Areum in God of War and have wanted to see her in more ever since! But I have a feeling this is going to at least have 50 episodes…

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