tvN shakes up its schedule, adds Wednesday-Thursday dramas
Ever experimenting with its drama lineup, cable station tvN has announced a significant change in its scheduling plans, going six days a week with drama programming. That’s quite the increase from the four days a week it currently programs: one Monday-Tuesday series and one Friday-Saturday series (it did experiment with a second Friday-Saturday slot recently with Entourage, in the late-night hour, but doesn’t look like it’ll be keeping that on the schedule).
To that end, tvN is adding a Wednesday-Thursday drama slot to the schedule, and will be shifting its Friday-Saturday shows to a more traditional Saturday-Sunday slot. On the one hand, I tend to like tvN dramas so having more choices mid-week isn’t a terrible thing. On the other hand, I often feel like I’m drowning in dramas already, and now I have to contend with two more hours a week? I love-hate this idea, and I love-hate it hard.
One station rep explained that the decision comes out of the station’s recent ratings slump in an effort to breathe new life into things. After all, while tvN has been home to many of cable’s (and TV in general’s) biggest success stories, it also has its fair share of underperformers; this year has produced lower-than-expected ratings for many of its offerings, like Introverted Boss, Tomorrow With You, and Chicago Typewriter.
I find the weekend shift an interesting move too, because tvN really went after the empty Friday-night timeslot with gusto and premiered its biggest hits there (the latter two Answer Me series, Misaeng, Signal, Goblin), then solidified the block by adding a Na PD variety hour that regularly commands strong ratings (the Grandpas/Noonas/Youths Over Flowers franchise, the Three Meals a Day series, Yoon’s Kitchen). They were so successful there that other stations attempted to compete, to mixed results. KBS tried it with The Producers, for example, and is reviving that slot next month with variety-drama series The Best Hit, followed by Strongest Deliveryman.
So it’s odd that as other stations are shifting to Fridays and Saturdays, tvN is heading to the more conventional Saturday-Sunday lineup. The drama slot will move from the 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday hour to the 9 p.m. Saturday-Sunday hour, which goes up against SBS and MBC dramas as well as variety programs like Gag Concert; KBS airs its weekend family dramas an hour earlier, which removes one of the big sources of competition, since their weekenders often draw the big ratings (What’s With This Family, Five Kids, Laurel Tree Tailors, Father Is Strange). I do think OCN’s success with Tunnel helped, and there’s an argument to be made for counterprogramming with different types of content.
The first tvN drama to be affected by this scheduling change will be Forest of Secrets, the pre-produced thriller starring Jo Seung-woo (God’s Gift—14 Days) and Bae Doo-na (Tunnel). It premieres on June 10 as a Saturday-Sunday drama. The Wednesday-Thursday drama block will launch in July. (Note that it isn’t the first Wednesday-Thursday drama ever for tvN; when the station aggressively expanded its original drama programming six years ago, it started with Manny as a Wednesday-Thursday show and kept the slot for several series, including Queen In-hyun’s Man, before shifting over to the Monday-Tuesday slot.)
More dramas! HOW WILL I FIND THE TIME.