JTBC opens its doors to short-run dramas
Cable station JTBC is branching out in its programming, and has announced plans to add short-run dramas to its offerings in the near future. According to a source with the station, JTBC is currently in the planning stages, and while it has not decided on scheduling, its goal is to broadcast them sometime this year. Late last year, the station announced an open competition that was aimed at both short-run dramas and web dramas, and accepted entries through the month of January; the winners of the competition will be up for production.
The station, being still fairly young (it launched in 2011), has been cautious to expand its programming, so it’s great to hear that there are plans to bring more types of formats to its slate. I do think the station’s approach in growing slowly has yielded results, in that their shows are often lauded for their high quality and “premium drama” status. Not all of its dramas have been winners, of course, but it does seem to have a strong track record of quality content (examples, in order of poster images above, include Strong Woman Do Bong-soon, Age of Youth, Secret Love Affair, Solomon’s Perjury, Mirror of the Witch, Last, This Week My Wife Will Have an Affair, Awl, and Ms. Temper and Nam Jung-ki).
Dramaland is no stranger to short-run dramas, which are shows containing a small number of episodes—often they’re one-offs, but they can be mini-dramas with upwards of eight episodes. The big three public broadcasters have all had their own short drama series (such as Drama Special, Drama City, and Best Theater), and we’ll occasionally see short series wedged in between longer ones, like Baek-hee Has Returned and Naked Fireman. They aren’t a robust part of the landscape since they’re not seen as very profitable, but they’re still a valuable format, as that’s often where rookie actors, writers, and directors get their start and gain experience. And sometimes they’re really quite remarkable—dark thriller White Christmas is actually considered a short-run drama, airing as part of KBS’s Drama Special series, and Taereung National Village captured all the sensitivity and youthful spirit of PD Lee Yoon-jung’s later shows Coffee Prince and Cheese in the Trap.
Currently, entries from JTBC’s open competition are being judged, and the station aims to complete judging by May. After that, they can turn their attention to which shows they will schedule and produce.