Fate of Jang Nara’s Housewife Detective up in the air
And so continues the saga of dramaland production woes. There are some conflicting reports, but it’s starting to look like fans of Jang Nara (One More Happy Ending) might have to wait a little longer for her comeback to the small screen. Jang Nara was up to play a single mom who becomes an assistant detective to a private eye in Housewife Detective, but production has stopped on the project for more than two months, and there’s no sign of it picking back up.
This story actually broke because of news regarding another drama in the works: Ha Ji-won’s Hospital Ship, which was originally supposed to follow MBC’s Ruler–Master of the Mask, has pushed its premiere to August, leaving an empty spot following Ruler’s run. Reports speculated that Housewife Detective would take the vacancy, but after further digging, news outlets found that the project was pretty much dead in the water.
On April 19, it was reported that the production company, MStar Media, had gone bankrupt, and that filming for Housewife Detective had halted back in early February. The drama was initially planned to be pre-produced, and their original schedule was that all filming for the show would have wrapped by the first half of the year, with a simultaneous release in both South Korea and overseas in late 2017.
Management for the actors have said that they don’t expect production to resume, and that they haven’t been able to reach MStar Media for clarification. The agencies have reportedly begun proceedings to nullify their actors’ contracts for the project, and some are considering taking legal action. The cast and crew were also supposed to have received partial payment in the middle of February, which, of course, hasn’t materialized. Even members of the crew are said to have moved on to other projects.
MStar Media has since released a statement refuting reports that production has stopped entirely, explaining that they are still currently negotiating with broadcasters. They added that Housewife Detective was never supposed to be the follow-up drama to Ruler.
I’m not sure whether MStar Media is clinging on to a desperate hope that they’ll somehow be able to revive this sinking ship, or is just in denial, but even if they can come up with the funds to restart production, it doesn’t look like they’ll have a cast or crew to actually film it. I was already giving the show a skeptical side-eye the moment Chansung (Ms. Temper and Nam Jung-ki), who had signed on to be the private eye, joined the cast of KBS’s upcoming Seven Day Queen.
It’s unfortunate, because I was looking forward to having Jang Nara back on my screen. I have a soft spot for her because of her stints in some of my favorite old-school shows like sitcom Nonstop and Success Story of a Bright Girl. Hopefully, she (and the rest of the cast and crew) will have better luck with her next project.