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KBS gives Producers-esque variety dramas a second try

Looks like KBS is ready to give its experimental variety-meets-drama format another go, despite meeting with mixed reviews (some of that very critical) the first time with The Producers. I’m surprised to hear of it, since it seemed like they were so quick to give up on the idea at the first resistance it got, but the broadcaster has announced that they will be creating a brand-new variety-drama team within KBS’s variety department, with plans to produce a project this year.

If you’ll recall, Korean audiences were pretty turned off by the deadpan, hybrid drama-mockumentary style of The Producers when it premiered, and panned the efforts of chief producer Seo Soo-min in her first drama-directing project (after spending most of her career as a KBS variety PD). KBS swiftly brought in a veteran drama director, Pyo Min-soo, who turned The Producers into a conventional romantic comedy, and the show made it through without further incident. The show was modestly popular, in large part thanks to Kim Soo-hyun’s charm as the bumbling rookie PD, but not the runaway success it had hoped to be.

Despite that hiccup, CP Seo Soo-min will be at the center of the new team, which will be working to produce a new “variety drama” to release this year. According to a high-level rep at KBS’s variety department, the decision was made after considering The Producers’ favorable reception and the variety department’s need to develop new content. He stated their hopes to come up with “a project like a second Producers,” adding that it isn’t decided yet whether the new project will be a Producers 2 or a new drama entirely. (I wouldn’t hold my breath for a Producers 2, myself. Just reuniting that cast would be a scheduling feat in itself.)

It sounds a bit like they’re revising history, conveniently forgetting that the fresh hybrid format was essentially abandoned two weeks into the drama’s run. But be that as it may, I’m all for producers experimenting with formats and thinking up new ways to develop dramas and scripted programming, so I’d rather hear about movement like this than not.

Via Yonhap News

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But please, don't give split daesang again for its lead actor...

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Hopefully there'll be fresh blood coming in and they won't conveniently forget the 'The Office' concept that got me hooked in the first place.

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They better stick to it this time. Don't get cold feet KBS.

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I loved the whole show, but definitely preferred the initial director's style.

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Yes for experimenting. Just stick with it so I don't have to be disappointed a second time!

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Don't get all concerned about fanservice two weeks after airing. Lol. KBS seems to be rather scared of fans.

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Tbh.. I like the first 2 eps more.. It's more refreshing

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Me too. I dropped it around ep 3 or 4 because it was became conventional and lost its special charm.

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i'll honestly never understand why the original format was so criticized, because i personally l-o-v-e-d it, and found it refreshing. they also had the best cast possible to pull off that sort of thing, and i thought it was pretty well executed. wouldn't have realized people had hated it if it weren't for this site.

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The Producers was a great romcom, I'm not as fussed about the variety/mockumentary format abandonment as most because the end product stood on its own merits, irrespective of genre tags.

But it really didn't need 90 minutes. And while Cha Tae-hyun and Gong Hyo-jin were the backbone of the thing, with Kim Soo-hyun providing the necessary cute, the real scene-stealer was IU. She may be controversial nowadays, but Cindy was the heart and soul of the drama in ways we didn't foresee when we started it.

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totally agree about IU.. I actually found myself waiting for her on the screen and seeing more of her than the rest of the cast. Cindy's backstory is very interesting...

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I'd think people "hated" it because it wasn't what they were hoping for - a regular kdrama. I'm not that sure that the ordinary person who would pick a drama to watch on TV would delve into what it's all about.
Now our dramabeans community is well aware of what to expect from dramas because we first read about it and then decide on what to watch. I'm not saying there aren't people like that amongst the regular peeps who watch the shows in korea as well... Just my two pennies on this matter. We as well get disappointed if we don't get what we're promised - in this case - a variety coloured kdrama, which I actually loved. So I really hope they will pull this off this time.

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They were probably more shocked than anything. It's understandable because what the drama was supposed to be is so out of dramaland's comfort zone. Well, that's what I wanted to say. But Misaeng and the Answer Me franchise have been immensely successful. And though Awl didn't hit a homerun in terms of popularity, it is well-received. Is it because of the difference between the Big 3 and Cable? But then again there's Grapevine(and Punch?). Punch had good ratings though I'm not so sure about how Koreans received HITTG. Or is it because of the meta? Variety-meets-drama is indeed different from the dramas I have mentioned.

Whatever it is, I hope they stick to their guns this time. :)

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I personally hated it because it was a regular kdrama. It was just another unfunny workplace rom com.

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I totally adored Producers; I thought it was fantastic! +100 for Kim Soo-hyun's charms and he really did steal the show from the veterans and his cast-mates in general. But I do believe if this were to materialize, they need to pick someone less popular. In fact, I'd go with someone good but not mainstream. Because popular actors bring in a lot more chat and scrutiny and any negativity in turn, brings chaos for the producers.

Also, as much as I l.o.v.e.d. Baek Seung-chan, I'd never want KSH to do a repeat of any character. He's always looking for new challenges, so surely its a no-go where he's concerned. CTH deserves better and GHJ has projects coming up. More importantly, Park Ji-eun isn't doing it. But I hope it works out; the format was ah-mazing and I want to see lots of it in k-ent!

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Yes! This.

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Dang. I was actually trying to reply to saranga. (Sometimes I hate my tablet.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the "experimental" format and loved the main four and the side characters. I'm curious to see what the new programming could look like.

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I love this series from beginning 'till the end I was laughing. It's very fresh and light :) Not the usual plot for drama series wherein it started light then ended dark. Looking forward for part 2.

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I think as long as no Kim Soo Hyun in it. It will be OK. Because there will be no request to entertain China advertiser or anything. The plot mess up because the production follow the request of KSH fans/advertiser/sponsor and what else there.

I'm not hating that boy but BSC character can be done by any other actors and they will do well.

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Wow this is quick.
I just wrote this for my new year wish list in redfox's comment on the last OT and now this news came. Should i ask for new shiny boyfriend, or Byun Yo Han for myself just in case it is granted?

The response is kinda lukewarm for mockumentary style maybe because it's not familiar kdrama concept k-viewer usually see. But the first 2 eps of Producer is pulling that off, it is funny, imo. I hope they'll stick to the initial concept this time.

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Speaking of Producers, I'm disappointed both female leads didn't show up at the KBS drama awards.

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Well if IU had shown up Netizens would have written essays about how horrible she is....its not the best time for her to go anywhere given the scandals she's facing

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I think it's more because she had her Encore concert at the time though. Considering that she just hosted SBS Gayo Daejun a couple of days back, it's unlikely that the scandal was what kept her away.

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If they stick to the format this time, it might actually be enjoyable. I hope they don't make it 90 minutes again. More than anything, I think people were turned off because it was unnecessarily long. I personally didn't care for Cha Tae-hyun and Gong Hyo-jin's characters, I know y'all really like them around here but I usually just find Gong Hyo-jin's characters tolerable but I really really hated Tak Ye-jin. In fact I didn't care for any of the lead characters except Cindy.

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not lauding Gong Hyo-jin was unacceptable. while fans felt let down by the P just like they did by Yongpal... yet both SBS and KBS still crowned P just like they lauded Yongpal.... while they snub I Remember You... was most unacceptable. giving Bo Gum a Supporting was nice... but not enough.... just like Punch was not remembered enough... so after all, when much attentions was once given, mega big stars robbed in, fans cheers loudest over Kim Soo Hyun and Joo Won.. ratings went highest.... so Actings take a backseat.
i will always remember how "I Remember you" was Not Remembered, last weekend. so, producer 2? doubt whether Gong HJ will be back on the wagon... Sad.

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I hope KBS will really go for it this time instead of just tiptoeing to the edge of the pool and dipping their baby toe in... I actually enjoyed the new format for the Producers and had a good laugh. While I did go on to watch the series cuz I love KSH, I thought it became too familiar with the usual romcom format. If you're gonna try something new, might as well go all out!!

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Fully pre-produced or bust. That way they can't change their minds after 2 episodes.

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Tbh, I think it might've worked if IU wasn't in it. Because she's an idol-actress, there's a preconception that she must have a conventional rom-com love line with KSH. All the other scenes are just "in the way." This is the most common feedback I've seen across the board at least. The rest of the cast were well-known but have successfully acted in quirky roles before. Then again, if she wasn't in it, then there might not be as big of a draw in viewership. I would've been fine a full cast of unknown actors with if the mockumentary method was used well in telling the story.

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This seems unlikely to me though? I've heard the exact opposite criticism from a majority (it's pretty clear in Dramabeans' comments too), that by the end IU's was the only character worth watching because she actually had a narrative arc beyond romance, while the other three largely floundered in their endless, conventional love triangle, which just became painful by the end because there was literally nothing else happening with them. It's why so many people are convinced that GHJ and CTH were wasted in their roles. They had a lot of screentime, that wasn't unfairly divided, but not much to do in that screentime. I felt Cindy's romance was the least conventional in fact, and it was an impetus for her arc, not a restraint, as it was for a lot of the others. The "main" love triangle seemed to me the biggest impediment to the original style, IU's was more an individual arc, which didn't affect office dynamics per se.

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Producers was fun for two episodes and then lost its charm....there should have been shorter episodes with more CTH.

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Sounds fun! But shorter episodes, please

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I hope they keep experimenting with that mockumentary style, there are enough regular dramas for people to watch, eventually they will get a steady fanbase. They kept the original director which is a start.

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I will watch if there were more meta joke and more Cha Tae Hyun. I want better cameos too!!

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Most disappointing thing ever. I respect Kim Soo-hyun, but that Daesang did not belong to him. He had a quirky naïve character well-performed but it is not Daesang-worthy. But he's a cash cow so I understand the reward c/o KBS.

Still disappointed how Cha Tae-hyun seemed like a misplaced character in Producers yeah?

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KSH was more deserving of the Daesang for "The Producers" than for the one he got for TMETS.

Han Suk-kyu got totally robbed for his performance as King Sejong in TWDR.

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Cha Tae-hyun was billed 1st... but looked like he was billed 5th or 6th. Dang even IU had more screentime than him (I like her with Kim by the way)

Cha's romance with Gong Hyo-jin got so messy and out-of-puzzle. All of a sudden she is with Kim Soo-hyun?? What the h happened??

Sigh just the mere mention of this show disappoints me. More Cha Tae-hyun and I'll give a nod to this.

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Actually enjoyed the Cha-Gong friendship.

Just took long to get to the romance part as the writer spent WAY too much time on KSH's infatuation w/ GHJ and his repeated attempts to have her see him as a man (which she never really did).

The other good relationship was the Cha-Kim budding bromance.

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This. The KSH-GHJ romance should've been cut to around two episodes.

It was nonsense. Considering he just had a previous infatuation fall apart, he should've learned his lesson.

I guess those shippers had a say in it, but it was annoying. IU was my favorite, but CTH definitely needed more stories

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tvn is really a content trend leader. Who knew that Answer me would spawn such ardent efforts by a Big 3? haha

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I liked the whole mockumentary concept in the first few eps, but the editing of scenes and/or the delivery of the lines from even my favorites of the actors were sometimes distractingly no bueno. Some of the jokes and scenes could have been set up or delivered a lot better. I don't blame KBS for switching it up so fast at all.

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If there will be new drama with the sme concept or Producers 2, just safe Cha Tae Hyun n Gong Hyo Jin from involving again.I just cant bear to see any senior actors misused again.

Producer was enjoyable, but like pogo said, IU was a scene stealer. But KSH seems to be the only one get all recognition.

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I love Kim Soo Hyun and all and think he's a fantastic actor but it was really IU who stole the Producers (quite unexpectedly). I just dislike the fact that it's him who gets all the recognition all the time when it was Cindy I was watching for and IU's great performance. Yes KSH did really well playing that character but tbh Seung Chan just started annoying me after a while regardless of my bias towards the actor. I just feel like IU deserves more recognition.

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Agreed. It does seem a bit much that KSH is winning Daesangs for his performance, and IU's not even nominated for anything. I mean, sure, she's a bit too experienced by now to win the Rookie award, but these award shows practically create awards in order to make everyone happy. So it makes no sense to me that the KBS Awards would just leave IU off the roster like that, when she really was a scene stealer and her scenes garnered some of the series' highest ratings.

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I feel sorry for IU, hopefully her next drama will give her justice.

Not only for IU, I feel sorry towards Gong Hyo Jin and Cha Tae Hyun as well. Not hating Kim So Hyun, since it is not his fault, but he got too much undeserving recognition.

I have said on the other post, it was fortunate that Kim So Hyun won Daesang for KBS, and not MBC as well as SBS. I cannot imagine if he win daesang over Ji Sung, again.

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I could barely finish the 1st producers. Enough said. Btw, KSH is so not deserving for all 3 Daesang for his role. I guess media and KBS wants to keep Chinese investors happy along woth his fandom. 🙄😏

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One answer- star power.

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yes! oh, yes! please!
A dry humour kdrama, I so hope you will come to life! Repeatedly!

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I doubt it's because of Chinese investors. They are not the ones placing ads during the show's broadcasting. KSH won best TV actor at the Baeksang Awards (which is more credible than all the other award shows) way before the Chinese knew who he was.

The real reason is more or less his star power. His attendance draws media attention and viewership.

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I meant reply to #32 BA's comment.

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I hope they produce "The Singer" instead the Producer.. I need Cindy's Story Life after she's out from Byun Devil 😀

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Liked both approaches, but the biggest problem w/ the whole mockumentary thing was that the whole filming of the those who worked in the variety dept. revolved more around personal relationships/feelings than you know, the actual work - which was highly unprofessional.

Seemed more like the "The Discovery of Love" in that regard - where they were filming the leads talking about their past and present relationships/feelings, being a documentary about love.

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when will be the airing of the season 2 is there any updates?

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i have a great idea for producer season 2. if getting the original cast is difficult then just tell a new story, a different rookie PD in a different program.
i recommend ryu jun yeol(junghwan) as the lead. you know they already casted him as rookie PD in episode 1.
so they can tell his story in different program, like music bank so park bogum can make a cameo as MC or girls day as guest star. that can become a great meta joke

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can they just make producers season 2 & pick up from where they left off? (cindy & seung chan's love story) uggghh, can they just move from kbs to tvn hahaha like baek seung chan decided to move on a cable station (so timely nowadays!)

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