MBC cuts another drama short, angers people
I have not followed the drama Stormy Lovers, but I admit my interest is piqued by the latest news that the MBC drama is being cancelled, cut short by more than half its run due to low ratings.
Stormy Lovers is a daily drama, which means it airs Monday Through Friday (in the 8 pm hour). In my wholly unscientific recollection of past daily dramas, because of the steady dinnertime audience, it’s not unusual for dailies to pull in 30%+ ratings, and sometimes even 40%+. (Examples: You’re My Destiny, Everybody Cha Cha Cha, Smile Donghae.) So it’s disappointing that Stormy Lovers has been resting in the 5% to 8% range. Even if I recall reading quite a bit of criticism about the bad acting of lead actress Choi Eun-seo (of Personal Taste, in her first leading role).
Still, it seems a bit harsh to cut the drama down from 120 planned episodes to 50. The move — call it cancellation, call it curtailment — is also a particularly rare circumstance for a daily show. There have been cases of miniseries being cut short, but even then it’s usually only by a few episodes; Bad Guy went from 20 to 17, Strike Love and Tamra the Island from 20 to 16, and Ja Myung Go from 50 to 39.
Scriptwriter Na Yeon-sook has spoken out harshly against the move, saying that the cut is wrong and unreasonable. She added, “The broadcast station’s tyranny has caused this supremacy of the viewership ratings. I cannot understand cutting a drama as though it were a radish.”
You may recognize Na’s name after she kicked up quite a fuss (to put it mildly) over being cut from her previous drama, East of Eden. She added the (somewhat ironic, given the resumé?) comment that “If a drama has high ratings, the station protects it no matter how makjang it is, but if ratings are low, they just hack it up, which infuriates me.”
One veteran actor in the drama’s cast said, “These days MBC is continually losing to its competitors. I believe they are reacting with too quick a temper after their attempt to reverse the situation with star writers and actors has failed.”
A rep from MBC merely stated that this decision came after internal discussion, and that they will approach the handling of actors’ and producers’ contract stipulations accordingly.
This means that Stormy Lovers, which today aired its 36th episode, will only run till the end of this month. It stars Choi Eun-seo, Lee Jae-yoon, Jung Bo-seok, Sohn Chang-min, Choi Myung-gil, Jung Chan, Shim Hye-jin, Hwanhee, Kim Min-ja, and Cha Soo-yeon.
Some stills from the show: