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Drama viewership ratings for the week of Oct. 19-25, 2020

This week, we said “goodbye” to two dramas and “Well, hello there” to one. First, we had the finale for Do You Like Brahms. The music-themed romance finished off with 6 percent — not its highest rating but not bad. Later, we had the finale for Alice, and similarly to Brahms, it didn’t go out with its highest rating. This may be disappointing for fans, but at the very least, both dramas did well within their timeslots.

Midweek, we had the premiere of The Spies Who Loved Me, replacing When I Was the Most Beautiful. And… oh gosh, these midweek ratings just make me sad. Even if numbers are rising, everyone is still below the 5 percent mark. The only one surviving above water is tvN’s Tale of the Nine Tailed. Over on the weekend, fellow cable dramas and fresh newbies Search and Start-Up kept their initial audiences and more.

Drama viewership ratings for the week of Oct. 19-25, 2020

Ep. # Station Rating
Monday, Oct. 19
Zombie Detective 9 KBS 3.1%
Do You Like Brahms 15 SBS 5.6%
Eighteen Again 9 JTBC 3.1%
Record of Youth 13 tvN 7.8%
Tuesday, Oct. 20
Zombie Detective 10 KBS 2.6%
Do You Like Brahms 16 SBS 6.0%
Eighteen Again 10 JTBC 3.2%
Record of Youth 14 tvN 7.8%
Wednesday, Oct. 21
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol 5 KBS 2.7%
Private Lives 5 JTBC 1.7%
Tale of the Nine Tailed 5 tvN 5.1%
The Spies Who Loved Me 1 MBC 4.3%
Thursday, Oct. 22
Do Do Sol Sol La La Sol 6 KBS 3.0%
Private Lives 6 JTBC 1.5%
Tale of the Nine Tailed 6 tvN 5.0%
The Spies Who Loved Me 2 MBC 3.2%
Friday, Oct. 23
Alice 15 SBS 7.0%
More Than Friends 7 JTBC 1.3%
Saturday, Oct. 24
Homemade Love Story 11 KBS 25.1%
Alice 16 SBS 9.1%
More Than Friends 8 JTBC 1.1%
Search 3 OCN 2.3%
Start-Up 3 tvN 4.8%
Sunday, Oct. 25
Homemade Love Story 12 KBS 27.4%
Search 4 OCN 2.9%
Start-Up 4 tvN 5.0%

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The common trend for me this week was bad hair and make-up. Bad hair for The Spies Who Loved Me (that hair extension -something I wouldn't normally notice - triggered me badly and the aging make-up in Alice made me cringe badly. I would have never imagined I would drop a show for such petty reasons, but if you cannot pay attention to such details, what else you're going to ignore?

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Going by the ratings, I am not the only one that gave up on Private Lives.

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My wife and I gave up on it halfway through the first episode.

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Lies of Lies ratings: Source: https://wiki.d-addicts.com/Lies_of_Lies/Episode_Ratings

15th episode reached 6.3 and at last, the final episode ended with the highest peak ever even on Channel A history (8.2).

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Thanks for posting. Good for Channel A and the Lies of Lies team.

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lies of lies really have higher ratings than some tvn dramas..it's good and many veteran actors

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thank you for posting this,
wow that was really great rating for Channel A, I'm so happy for the crew and cast.
Lies of Lies is my most fave among the airing drama, I was always eager to live-watch it, the final ep was a bit underwhelming for me though nonetheless now it's over I know I will miss my weekend's brunch accompanied by the show, fun time!

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I think everyone is ready to start the season of layoff. With these ratings, with current economical atmosphere, with current bleeding balance sheets of companies, with no money in the hands of customer, It becomes really difficult to manage entertainment business. Not like any of the airing content deserves the trust and confidence of audience that matters.

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KBS and MBC should pack up. JTBC needs to retire the Wed-Thurs slot it ain't working for them.

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More like they should find ways to make money on their productions that's more 2020-appropriate. It's not necessarily that people aren't watching dramas, they just likely aren't watching live on television.

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Yep. They have to adapt. There are dramas that keep getting renewed in the U.S. with fractional Nielsen ratings. I assume they make money on steaming.

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In the US dramas with low Nielsen ratings but high VOD get renewed but the VOD for KBS and MBC dramas have been rock bottom. Almost nobody is watching their dramas at any point of time.

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Their dramas haven't been popular online either. Go to their Naver pages the views and comments are worse than their ratings. The productions aren't making money either offline or online. Not generating buzz or ratings leaves them with nothing to make money off. Even Netflix ain't buying most of them and gave up on promoting the JTBC dramas in the Wed-Thurs slot after the initial dramas. Private Lives doesn't have any single promotion from their side.

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Aren't they and their cable counterparts already adapting to this by developing more variety/reality tv shows? With a fraction of tv drama programming costs, you can get even more viewers and viewers are drawn to them as they require very little commitment.

TVN, JTBC, and OCN has gained a reputation for quality so I can see all the good scripts and high profile actors making it those channels first.

What the broadcast channels could do is make their popular older dramas more available. In the US, viewers love streaming older series over and over again (Friends, The Office, Parks and Rec). Not sure if South Korea is gripped by the same nostalgia the US has, but I hope someone is t thinking about it

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AR, your final comment is spot on. If MBC decided that it should do a retrospective special on COFFEE PRINCE then why not make COFFEE PRINCE itself more available for streaming?

Also, it is not just nostalgia. My son has been watching the original STAR TREK series- which were done long before he was born.

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It is available in streaming though? Coffee Prince is available on at least Netflix and VIU in my region. And....CP rerun is also airing on cable here ๐Ÿ˜†.

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Netflix does not have it in my region and I cannot get Viu

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i think mbc will get back with kairos probably gonna be their highest rating drama this year

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I don't think so. Kairos isn't the kind of drama that most people would watch and Penthouse is in the same timeslot so no chance. MBC is the worst of the lot. No big name stars, writers or PD would ever go to the channel unless they had no choice. Koreans voted it as their least favorite channel.

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As much as I'm a Kairos promoter...I'm totally aware of it's competiton both Penthouse and Postpartum. Penthouse is touted 'the' drama of the 2020 2nd half and it has big names attached to it: cast, writer and director. Penthouse is expected to hit big (especially since it is written by TLE writer) and it follows Brahms that also did relatively well in the time slot. Postpartum teasers are looking unique and quirky and rhe drama will replace RoY which has steady 7-8% ratings.

Kairos on the other hand will have an uphill rating battle. The MBC timeslot has been empty for quite some time. I hope it has a solid story and may that bring more viewers for them. I think MBC and the cast has done their utmost best promoting the show + IC's aka KSY fans who has gone far and beyond to support KSY. I do hope their hardwork will be rewarded with a solid plot and good ratings.

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Kairos had really great response on their first ep last night..it probably won't be able to compete sbs ratings but looking at the hype i think this at least will be representative of mbc drama this year....kairos has Shin Sungrok tho he has so many dramas with high ratings and people are praising the casting for good acting and their director is the director of W

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With 2-3 % ratings Kairos is another flop for the channel. MBC is the reject channel. Nobody watches it.

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Hmm dunno about kbs but I really enjoyed Chip In (mbc). It's a well produced drama, I'm sad it didn't get the ratings it deserved.

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If you actually go by ratings, MBC has been consistent. They have always maintained the 3-5% for all their dramas. Other channels (except sbs) these days range even less than that unless the drama itself is led by high profile actors. Take tvn's piece of your mind for example, episode count was even reduced was it was constantly in the 1% range, while their weekend dramas had high profile actors, which did well. Also, if you look at Start-up right now, it isn't doing that well compared to their other weekend dramas, because suzy is the only well-known actor in it, but not enough to gather viewers. Even Jtbc, it had only world of married, itaewon class and good detective, and that was because it had big names, others were in 1-3% range always, sometimes even less.
On the other hand, KBS ended last year with camellia, and ever since then, there was a constant decrease in ratings for them. Even sbs right now is following the same pattern. they started with Dr romantic 2 (mon-tues) and stove league(fri-sat), both 20% ratings, but right now brahms(mon-tues) had 5-6% and alice had 7-8%, and other dramas in between showed the constant decrease as well. And if they don't play it right, they will end up like kbs by next year.
Also, as far as I remember MBC's 365 and Find me in your memory, did do well on VOD this year and did well enough for MBC to approve of their blu-rays.
And also, I've watched a lot of dramas this year, and I have to say that MBC had some of the best dramas of the year, though highly underrated. They have to promote them better, either on more internationally known platforms, like Netflix, or the very least on their variety shows, coz they have the best-rated variety shows of all the channels. KBS though, really has to select better scripts, because they are continuing to be bad.

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Sorry for the really long comment, didn't realize it was so long.

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Not consistent but stagnant. Can't get any worse or better because people have given up on MBC. KBS will be next unless they pick drastically better scripts.

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I would still use the term consistent because mbc dramas this year have had extremely different genres from one another. While some don't care about genre, most do. So, yes, different people are watching. Also, I would say that mbc has fared much better than kbs and jtbc this year. Most kbs dramas were considered poor quality this year, while no one remembers any jtbc drama other than itaewon class and world of married.
Also, seeing as how well mbc does with its variety shows, most people do not have a problem with the channel itself, the dramas are just not promoted enough, and are not promoted on those variety shows as well.
The reason why mbc isn't doing better is because for the past few years, they have selected genre dramas, not ones that the entire public would enjoy. But when it did choose to air dramas the general public would like, it did do well. For example, this year's Kkondae intern and last year's special labour inspector did really well with the Korean public despite lack of international audience.
Also, even if you use the term stagnant, isn't it better having all with 3-5% than having dramas all dramas (except 1 or 2) with 1-2% ratings?

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Much better to have 1-2 standout dramas than 10 mediocre ones. Did a single MBC drama get nominated for bakeseang this year? Did any MBC drama actor win anything at any reputable award ceremony? JTBC and TVN might not always have the ratings they like but they are still considered to be high quality channels. No star writer or actor wants to work with MBC. KBS is still surviving because of how much success they had last year but unless they get better scripts they'll become mediocre like MBC. If big names writers, actors or directors do appear in a drama it will be JTBC or TVN and if they do a public channel it will be SBS. Only shows that get rejected by these channels end up on MBC and recently even KBS. If you see the gallup list of most popular dramas as picked by the audience in the 1st half of 2020 not a single MBC drama was on the list. Not even the ones you mentioned so they were obviously only liked by a very very small number of people.

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For some reason, I'm not able to reply to your other comment, so I'll just leave it here.
As you said, big names probably don't want to work with MBC, I agree with you on that, but just till that. To call the shows mediocre in my opinion is not right. Sure kbs has a problem right now with the script selections but frankly speaking, in my opinion, mbc had the best scripts this year, most of their dramas were really good. Maybe people who prefer big names may not watch them, but others who don't, all have good things to say about them. In fact, even love with flaws, which is mbc's lowest rated drama this year(probably because of all the scandals before it), was good and probably had one of the best written homosexual characters in dramas.
Also, big names do not equal to quality shows. Yes sure, they get the hype but honestly half the time, one can't help but wonder if they deserved that hype.

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I'm not sure if it's helpful to compare MBC with the cable channels. It goes without saying that jTBC and TVN have bigger budgets, bigger names and more prestigious shows. MBC should be compared to its terrestrial counterparts; and, as far as I can see, in 2020 all three channels have had roughly the same quantities of ratings successes and failures, good and bad shows, and big and not so big names. In fact, with cable shows getting fewer viewers and more criticism, the narrowing gap between cable and terrestrial makes it all the more important not to generalise about either.

Moreover, awards and popularity polls don't always accurately reflect quality, ratings or the amount of buzz generated when the show was first broadcast. For example, Kkondae Intern and Special Labour Inspector Jo might not have topped any polls or won any awards, but they did get the highest ratings among all the dramas in their respective time slots for many weeks. I was also surprised at the number of people commenting positively on Kkondae Intern on Naver, more so than for, say, TVN's Unfamiliar Family.

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Whoops, sorry I just realised SBS has been doing quite a lot better than MBC this year. But I still don't think MBC is the "reject" channel, for the reasons I stated above. Also, no "reject" channel would commission something like SF8.

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I don't want to get into this whole conversation but I'll say something I've thought about for a while now:

I've seen more and more people trying to say ratings = quality on these ratings report posts and it's so weird to me lol. And I've seen those types of comments filter onto other posts here, too. When did this become the discourse? And why are people so desperate to trash things because they're not popular and didn't reach a wide audience? And why are these users almost always unregistered?

The financial impacts of ratings can be an interesting conversation for some people... I guess... But some people love to seem like Experts On What the Korean Public Wants when in reality, if it were that easy to know exactly what audiences want, and if these companies only care about ratings, everyone and their mother would be able to make a hit drama. But audiences and trends are fickle and it's not that easy to predict.

And when it comes down to it, just because something isn't popular doesn't mean that it isn't worth making.

Great point about SF8, btw!

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Quality needs to be assessed objectively not subjectively. I don't know why few people pretend that just because THEY liked a drama it automatically qualifies as good and the high rated ones don't deserve their ratings because they've been HYPED. Any drama that shows the workings of the industry always talks about the importance of audience ratings. Quality for YOU does not qualify as QUALITY for masses. The opinion of the masses matters more than anything else. Nobody is saying ratings is the only indicator but you can't come up with any other objectively qualifiable measure to judge quality then your standards DON'T COUNT. Buzzworthy rankings and ratings are the most objective evaluation of quality. Awards can be bought so I don't care for it but if a drama doesn't make it on EITHER list then it is a failure as a drama and represents POOR QUALITY. MBC did not commission SF8 it was fully paid for by WAVVE all MBC did was agree to air it. Hence the difference in quality. MBC and this year KBS are flops and only mediocre actors work with these channels.

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Grey Olive...here's some info about SF8...it's a crossover project between Wavve, MBC broadcast, Directors Guild of Korea (DGK) and film production company Soo Film.

Here's a snippet from an article:

โ€œMBC CEO Choi Seung-ho came by our guild as a director to suggest a collaborative project,โ€ director Min Kyu-dong, and the DGK representative who oversaw โ€œSF8,โ€ said at a press event in CGV's Yongsan branch in central Seoul on Wednesday.

Full SF8 article: https://koreajoongangdaily.joins.com/2020/07/08/entertainment/television/SF8-scifi-MBC/20200708192600399.html

In other words...what you said about MBC just agreeing to air SF8 is incorrect.

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I'm not sure why you think anyone here is saying a show is good just because they like it, when we are saying the exact opposite: i.e. that a show is not necessarily good just because someone, or lots and lots of people, like it. Ratings may seem objective because they take the form of numbers, but the numbers in this case represent subjective preferences too. Furthermore, while it's an objective truth that an unpopular show has a smaller audience and fewer fans than a popular show, how exactly does that correspond to the quality of each show? What is the numerical threshold of quality? 100000? A million? 10% of the population of a country? More worryingly, as many people have pointed out in other forums etc, to claim that popularity is a completely objective indicator of quality is to accept, for example, that Hitler was a great guy while opera is crap.

As a matter of fact, I happen to think that there are relatively objective ways of assessing quality. But the operative word here is 'relatively', because there is a limit to how objective we can be about things like dramas and films and novels. Popularity is a factor that we cannot ignore, but we can't take it at face value. As I mentioned above, popularity and ratings are simply manifestations of personal preferences. Ultimately, we need to examine the reasons for the preferences that underly the popularity, and how those reasons might reflect positive or not so positive aspects of the thing itself.

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I wasn't going to reply back to you seeing as how you aren't ready to accept opinions, but your last comment about only mediocre actors working on these channels kind of took me by surprise. Please do convince me how people like Cho yeo jeong, Seo ji sub, shin ha kyun, kim dong wook, joo ji hoon, yoo in na, shin sung rok, ha seok jin, oh na ra to name a few are "mediocre actors"?? These people are more famous and talented than most people on other channels, and they get better ratings despite being on mbc and kbs than other channels.
And I'm not saying that hyped dramas don't deserve their ratings, I'm saying that they do not necessarily deserve it more than others. Take record of youth for example, it had high ratings and was hyped but honestly till date I have hardly read any overall good reviews for it, mostly everyone thought it fell flat, whereas brahms had lower ratings than it but was loved overall, similarly kairos had amazing reviews for its opening week yet had lower ratings, but no, I'm not saying that it didn't deserve its ratings, I'm saying that the others deserved it as much as it did.
But why am I bothering? You are probably going to reply with mbc and kbs are flops all over again, which I rather not get into. But, go ahead keep judging them based on their numbers rather than quality.

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It was good to see START UP do so well (TVN is a cable channel so that is actually a good number). Episode 3 really advanced the story so I think it will hold its audience and perhaps even gain in share. Especially since the very end of the episode was one of the most memorably funny scenes ever. I'll just say one word here: Money.

TAIL OF THE NINE TAILED is also a TvN show- and has real competition in its slot, so it is doing well also,

HOMEMADE LOVE STORY has plots that are advancing but, as far s that goes: Amnesia? Really?

Final episode of BRAHMS hit 6% which is about where I thought it would go. I will miss this show.

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Alice, Alice, Alice. Show was highly ambitious but that also proved to be their Kryptonite. The show thankfully ended with solid ratings, but other than that...

If the show was more streamlined and focused on building relationships with people other than Tae-yi, and have a more clear understanding of its time mechanics then the ratings (Ep 4 got over 10%), then it would've kept going up. I would've envisioned the finale to been like 14-17% had things not gone south. Kudos to the actors because they really were the ones that made this show so watchable, great actors all of them!!

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I agree that they have a set of very talented actors. It's a shame as the show could have been so much better had it had better storytelling and clearer time travelling mechanics. I still can't explain how come the ending is like this; time travelling mechanics and parallel universes in this one are beyond my understanding.

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