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Kim Jung-hyun drops out of MBC drama Time halfway through its run

It’s been a turbulent week for dramaland; I never expected to watch two dramas lose their male leads in a single week, but this new one makes Yoon Doo-joon leaving early for army duty seem like a minor hiccup. Kim Jung-hyun, lead actor of MBC’s current Wednesday-Thursday drama Time, has quit the series halfway through its run, citing bad health. His agency released an official statement saying that Kim quit the production for health reasons, specifically eating and sleep disorders, which he attempted to manage while shooting and could no longer do.

It wouldn’t be the first time (or sadly, even the hundredth) that an actor, writer, or director overworked themselves into the hospital while making a drama. Kim Jung-hyun is still inexperienced when it comes to headlining a series (he went from supporting roles to playing the lead in ensemble dramas School 2017 and Woohoo Waikiki), and he even went through a round of bad press when Time first premiered because of his apparent bad attitude at the press conference to promote the show. He apologized at the time, saying that he was just very engrossed in his character—a terminally ill chaebol heir—but now I wonder how fatigued he was already at that point in the shoot.

Time has aired 16 episodes so far of its planned 32-episode run, and the producers announced that there are no plans to recast the part that Kim Jung-hyun is vacating. I honestly don’t know what’s better or worse at this point, because the drama now has to find a way to write the hero out of the story in a way that makes sense. I guess the small upside is that in a melodrama about murder and revenge, it’s the kind of plot twist that’s not completely out of place in that world?

Time airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays on MBC.

Via YTN

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Since his part was a man who was terminally ill, can't they somewhat deal with this by killing him off early? No, I don't think that the team will be able to recover from this in any sense.
Poor Kim Jung-hyun, I hope he recovers from this and never has the same problems shooting a drama again!

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While I'm sad he's going, the idea of them having the male lead die of his terminal illness halfway through and then shifting entirely to the female lead is kind of exciting for a kdrama.

I am disappointed we won't get to see him finish out the performance because I think his acting was improving with every episode. But there is potential for this to work with the setup they have.

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Sad he is leaving. I was really enjoying his performance, but understandable of course. You being up a interesting point though. He gets killed saving her maybe and the second half is her avenging his death. Could be a real opportunity to really delve into her character’s growth.

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*bring

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I was thinking more that his tumour kills him and we shift to her having to pursue justice and learning to be okay without him. As sad as him dying is - both for the character and for the actor who's clearly burned out - this doesn't mean he doesn't get his arc. He wanted to live as a human being before he died and he has done that. They can now tell the story of how that impacted the female lead and her life.

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I’m not watching this, but I read the news first on AsianWiki and here’s what they reported:

The drama series will not cast someone else to play Cheon Soo-ho, but they will write him out of the script earlier than scheduled. His character is terminally ill and he was originally scripted to die by the end of the drama series. So far “Time” is at the midway point with 16 episodes (or 8 one hour episodes) having aired so far.

It’s unfortunate that KJH’s been suffering so much and while it’s certainly a loss for everyone involved that he withdrew himself from the drama, I don’t blame him for doing so because it’s better to know when you’ve reached your limit, stop, and take a breather... before it’s too late, y’know? I hope he takes his time to recover and regain his energy and spirit again.

If it’s true that his character was scripted to die anyways, then I’m sure they’ll figure something out that’ll work with the story and have it make sense. It just sucks that they'll have to rush that storyline now.

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He was the heart and soul of the drama. Without him it won't be the same (maybe I will not be finishing the drama, because Seohyun is not good and interesting enough to carry the show alone), but health comes first, I understand him.

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Totally agree; Seohyun is not a good actress...tremendous challenge for the show to pull out of this.

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I feel the same way about Seohyun, tbh. I remember seeing the press con photos of Kim Jung-hoon and thinking (jokingly... for the most part), “Yeah, I’d look like that too if I had to act with Seohyun.”

I thought it was unfortunate then that that was already the “mood” before the show even aired, but I didn’t think much of it since he said he was just “being in character.” Actors do that, so it’s whatever. Sucks that ppl hated on him for that, but I can see it. Hoping he and everyone recovers from this soon.

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Oops, *Kim Jung-hyun

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I have watched a few episodes now and yeah, she is not very good. I can't imagine 16 episodes of her crying and or whining for 30 minutes.

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Poor guy.

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😟💔

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Ouch. I suppose in addition to dealing with his poor health, Kim Jung Hyun & his agency will have to compensate (monetary compensation) the production house and/or network for the loss. Truly a bad situation all around.

Wishing Kim Jung Hyun lots of rest and a speedy recovery!

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Yikes. You're right there's probably a huge fee for this kind of termination.

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no issues at all.. dramas will come and go but his health is he biggest priority for him and i am glad he took the decision.
wish him complete recovery not an early one cause whatever he is going through he should be taking his own time and pace to come out of it all healthy.
Take Care..

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The thing that makes it upsetting is that he literally carries the show with his performance so whatever the outcome of his character, if he were still in the drama, I’d have liked to see him till the very end. I hope in the future if he does choose a melo project he can overcome the problem he faced with this one.

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Instead of him dying in the last episode, he will die midway through which gives enough time for the female lead to accept it and move on. This will also hopefully bring out the truth and confrontation sooner instead of dragging it out.
Or else it's better that they cut down the no of episodes so that the pacing is not affected.
I hope he gets enough rest and comes back healthy and with maybe a more cheerful role.

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I hope he get the rest and treatment he need! even tough it is sad seeing him leaving the drama, I am glad they did listen to the doctor. It is not something to joke about. knowing someone that struggled with eating disorder, getting help was the best thing that happened to that person!

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I was thinking of Binge-watching this Melo drama coz Kim Jung-Hyun but now.😭😭
But, Thank goodness he's able to rest and I wish him a speedy recovery.

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I wonder whether he got too much into the character... Poor boy. I'm just happy he doesn't have cancer like Kim Woo Bin after Uncontrollably Fond. Get well soon, Kim Jung Hyun!

Time was the drama that kept me out of my drama slump. I'll try to keep watching, but it's tough knowing the story should have been different (I'll be forever curious) and just waiting for Soo Ho to die. Plus now it's double painful to watch him - both his character and Jung Hyun are suffering.
All that said, I low-key want to keep watching just for the cinematography. I don't think I've seen a drama with prettier shots and lighting (and I've seen My Mister). Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim was just as pretty.

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I've also been really into TIME (thanks to it my drama slump was over too) but Kim Jung Hyun leaving the show because of health issues has dampened my enthusiasm. Now I know that he was suffering during the filming, and his character is going to die sooner than the writer had planned.

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Exactly. We could have gotten some more Soo Ho x Ji Hyeon interactions. And more colourful suits. And more tsundere behaviour.
I read the news before I watched the newest episode... I couldn't even finish it. (Only eps 15-16 aired last week, right? Because of the Asian Games, I suppose...)

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I couldn't agree more. His style is really something and his tsundere behaviour really suits Kim Jung Hyun. I haven't seen the latest episodes (15-16) yet. But around 6 episodes without the male lead seems too much for me. Who knows when will he be written out of the drama?

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i think we'll have him around for 3-hopefully 4 episodes so its not too bad

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He was the reason I watched the drama. And yes of course the lighting, tone and the shots were awesome too.

Now it’s hard to watch it knowing this drama brought him ill health.

I might just exit this drama and not put myself through the agony.

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Knowing Soo Ho will have to die soon makes watching the despicable lying lawyer Shin even more infuriating.

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Aw I love this show so much. Kim Jung-hyun is amazing in this and I was hoping for a romance with Seohyun's character. Also, this writer somehow manages to write happy endings for his dramas no matter how melodramatic they get, so I was hoping for that in this drama too. I will still watch it, but I will forever be wondering about the original ending. I hope for his complete recovery.

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Maybe real life will force the writer to do a proper melo for the first time. I was really looking forward to a romance (however unlikely it seemed), both Secret and Mask had a great one. I suppose the writer won't reveal the original story... I'm really curious too.

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This guy was honestly the best thing about the show. I watched the first 2 episodes expecting nothing and was blown away by his acting. He was so captivating on screen. This news obviously makes me not want to continue the drama but I'm glad he's putting his health first. I hope he gets the help he needs and has a good support system to get him through this dark phase of his life.

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If that picture is from his press conference then I can see it. He looks tired already. Couldn't people see that or is everyone sitting at home behind their computers becoming blind to recognizing body language and facial cues. Why is it these things are so well recognized during a drama? His acting was so good. On that day it wasn't?

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I saw footage of the press conference and I could tell he seemed really tired and if he couldn't eat anything for several days or was vomiting from stress, he wasn't in his skin at all. It looked like everyone of the cast was afraid of him... It's said that writers have it already figured out and they've planned it before, just to make it sooner as previewed. Better to take care of himself now as after, imagine the actor himself being on IV while filming being it part of his illness treatment in drama.

I'm missing his loving look at Sejeong and their bts interactions were so good that even PD seemed to have fun. I hope he will sort out his health, I'm looking forward to his next project, hopefully next year.

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You make a good point. If he was really going through all that stress (both mentally and physically), he probably used the excuse of “being in character” so he didn’t have to fake a smile, etc., but he was really feeling miserable inside.

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With all the frantic re-writing this is likely to require -- hope the writer is really good at handling lots of stress.

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Who knows? Perhaps dad may come over to the Good Side.

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I’m so upset that he has to leave the show, but he’s gotta do what’s best for himself. I already knew he was not well since the press conference. While others condemned his manners it was pretty obvious for anyone who watched Waikiki to suspect he wasn’t feeling himself. However to the point of being written out of an airing drama is quite alarming. I’m glad his management is letting/making him rest rather than push him to continue. Hope they keep an eye on him. The negative side of taking him off set is he will be less visible to others, and his state calls for more daily attention, not less, not until he’s mentally better.

He’s really the gem 💎 in this drama, shining in every direction that it’s hard to no focus on him, even when others are doing the talking. I’m glad he’s not being replaced. Regardless which episode he will die, this is HIS show. I imagine the writer (who is really great btw) will bring his ending sooner but no different than originally planned. It will be hard for the female lead to fill his shoes, but hopefully the drama will end with a more comfortable pace, not a last minute death-mourn-roll credits type of ending.

Jung Hyun ah, see you in Waikiki 2🤧

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Thanks for the scoop on this distressing turn of events, girlfriday. It sounds as if live-shooting has claimed another victim. Or striking while the iron was hot without enough of a break between productions. Here's hoping Kim Jung-hyun takes the time to make a solid recovery. Manseh, Mori!

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Slightly unrelated but why in the world does this drama have a 3.3 rating on here? This is one of the reasons why I stopped trusting community ratings on here long ago.

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Isn't MBC a private TV? Then it's quite high.

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nope mbc is public channel. but mbc does has the worst rating this past few years tho.

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Isnt this a "death sentence" to his career though? I remember how han ye seul was put on the "black list" for a few years for abandoning Spy, which i thought was a fantastic drama btw...

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I sincerely hope not. Especially as more and more awareness of the physical and emotional toll the live shoot system takes on all parties involved in drama production. In addition, in the wake of what seemed to be a wave of suicides in K-entertainment, I hope they will sympathize with someone obviously dealing with a very serious issue. That he sought, and received help is a hopeful sign that either he, his people, or both considered his health and safety more important than any possible stigma. Even if it is a death sentence to his career, that is much preferable to a literal death sentence to the man himself.

I wish him well, and I hope that Korea (and the rest of the world) will continue to better understand the realities of mental illness without shaming and stigmatizing those who suffer.

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I was thinking the same thing too. It's unfair but nobody would want him to helm their drama if they're worried he'll walk off set halfway through.
This and the Let's Eat incident shows how crazy the shooting schedules are and how tightly-balanced everything is. With the sheer volume of dramas being made it makes it all even tighter because there's no give in the TV scheduling either. I think something's going to have to give at some stage.

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Her case was more of a temper tantrum — she just stopped showing up without notice. I don’t expect the same backlash for him since he has been on top of filming schedule despite bad health.

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I've read elsewhere that he left on doctor's orders. So there's nothing to be done. Also eating disorders really are no joke, you'd have to be a real piece of work to be mad at him for that.

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This is awful news. I really hope he gets back to his best health. It always seems like eating disorders are a life-long struggle once you get them. I hope he has a good support group around him.

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Then Well. It means. I will stop watching Times as well.... Such a pleasure watching him here in a more serious roles. Get well soon

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I feel sad I really put a high hope when he took this role, cause I believe it would boost up his career. Although he delivers the best of him but the reality he suffers both mentally and physically. I wish him speedy recovery, it's the best decision to quit the drama. He really needs to focus on treatments, he had worked nonstop until now even jumping from wrapping a drama to another with drastic character.
I will wait him to return in better condition patiently.

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nooooo....this my favorite on-going drama..he so good in this show..

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I'm just happy they listened to the doctor. Those disorders are no joke... Get well soon, Kim Jung Hyun!!! 😘😘😘

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I am surprised that they actually decided to let him go. In the past, we saw actors getting a couple of days rest and then they had to be back on set. Is this finally a sign that the situation is changing (although it should have happened before filming started)?

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If he can't eat or sleep, he might be in the midst of a nervous breakdown. Having had one myself, these are just some of the symptoms. I was shaking and had no ability to concentrate. Memory was shot. He likely can't memorize lines, can't focus and might have physical symptoms like shaking. This would be very hard on the director and the rest of the cast too, so him walking away is better for them too re minimizing the damage. Hopefully they see it that way. I know for myself I tried to persevere at work and only made it horrible for myself and hard on everyone else.

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