Park Seo Joon Leaves KeyEast and Starts New Agency with Former Manager

K-actor Park Seo Joon is riding super duper high on his career right now thanks to the hit rom-com Why Secretary Kim. Viewers are enjoying both the drama and his character so that’s a double win, not to mention being a first major ratings successful rom-com in god knows how many years when the mere mention of a drama being a rom-com has me conditioned to expect low ratings. He has been repped by major agency KeyEast, founded by original Hallyu god Bae Yong Joon and now majority owned by SM Entertainment after an acquisition earlier this year, but has decided now is the right time to go solo. Park Seo Joon has left KeyEast, or more accurately not renewed his contract, and will join a new agency called Awesome (lol what an awful name for an agency) with his former SM manager who also left with him. This is fairly common occurrence for stars when they hit it big and only time will tell if its a smart move for Park Seo Joon to be leaving behind the big industry power of KeyEast and SM.


Park Seo Joon Leaves KeyEast and Starts New Agency with Former Manager — 18 Comments

  1. I just hope that this will not affect his opportunities in the future, and that casting calls continue to come to him. Well we do know that having big agencies behind your back usually provides support and they might have more connections in the showbiz industry after all, hopefully he still succeeds without it

    • He will be fine – SM is actually not that beneficial to actors, it’s an idol company and they prioritise acting roles and jobs for idols even after setting up an acting agency. They may be ok to the senior actors with a lot of clout like Jang Dong Gun but to younger actors, they don’t do much for them.

      Park Seo Joon blew up as a KeyEast actor, not an SM one. Like I said below, this may actually be in his best interest since many actors who left SM/left agencies on their being acquired by SM, are doing fine now.

  2. I am just curious about the statement that rom-com being low-rated these few years. We have “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon” last year which was a big hit at jtbc, then we also have “Because This Life Is Our First” which is a decent success (not low rated). So, not necessarily that a high rated rom-com only emerged recently with WWWSK (and I am not being bitter here).

    • I would add Fight My Way as well. Overall though romcoms are more hit than miss though maybe that can be said for other genres as well.

      • More miss than hit is what I meant. I think romance dramas and romcoms need to shake it up a bit. I also think most would do better with 12 episodes rather than 16.

    • Miss Koala is not entirely wrong though.This year alone has had rom com flops like “undateables”, “radio romance”, “I am not a Robot”.”Greasy Melo”(well this one isnt exactly a flop but the ratings vs the stars and writer is not proportionate).If I include last year then “Manhole”.Revolutionary love.20th century boy and girl etc.

      Some of the rom coms dramas above are not just low rated but create history on their respective channels for being one of the lowest-rated in drama history.Yes they have been flops in other genres too.However, overall, legal dramas, crime thrillers, medical, melodramas, slice of life, romance fantasy dramas are the ones fairing slightly better.This is why these days we are getting more of them than pure rom coms compared to the past..

      Even if you look up the to 20 high rated cable dramas so far.You will see that there are far less rom coms than other genres.Secretary Kim and Strong Woman Bong Dong Soon topping the list in the rom com category.So yeah, until another rom com comes along to shakes things up.Secretary Kim could be THE rom com of 2018.

      • Great Seducer and Come and Hug Me have also pulled in very poor ratings despite not being romcoms but romance melo. The romance genre overall is what is suffering. Fantasy romance like Black Knight, Miracle That We Met or Bride of the Water God have done much better in ratings. About Time is the only exception in the fantasy romance genre to have done poorly. Scifi also doesn’t have much luck with Circle pulling in non existent ratings but Seo Kang Joon’s popularity is saving Are You Human from abysmal ratings.

  3. SM is a liability to the actors under it since they only prioritise their idols and keep the best offers for them, the younger actors are paid dust or shoved into supporting roles while the idol gets the public channel lead roles.

    (case in point: The Great Seducer. Moon Ga Young was the far more experienced and better actress and is under SM C&C but got stuck with the second female lead role while the SM idol who was inferior to her in every way, got to play the lead).

    I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that Jung So Min’s career only started picking up after she left SM C&C. I guess Park Seo Joon worked out that SM is no benefit to actors his age, other actors like Shin Min Ah have also left their agencies after SM bought them and SMA is doing fine.

  4. PSJ absolutely exploded in the last 12 months with two hit rom-coms, a mega hit variety show, and a successful movie. But before that, he was pushed a lot by Key East and showed a good amount of promise.

    He had soooooooo many interviews and pictorials in the last 5 years that up and comers can only dream of having. I can only assume KeyEast got him all those jobs and opportunities to spread his name.

    It stinks that the company that helped get him all those jobs has now been purchased but also I feel that more people will leave, not the actors per se, but also the people who actually keep things together (ie secretaries, managers, assistant managers, office help).

    But honestly I feel like he was probably handed a contract that he did not agree with and was all like, if I don’t get there terms then I’m bouncing. And he bounced.

    • Honestly I’m not surprised. He got a lot of opportunities but he did work to earn them, spent years going back and forth between lead and supporting roles before finally cementing his position as a lead with She Was Pretty…and that was only in late 2015.

      And I agree it probably has something to do with management changes/not liking new terms. At least it’s not turned into a total mess like Fantagio though.

      • Definitely agree with you. He worked hard and he is super talented, I think he deserves everything he has.

        He also is lucky to have that extra push from his agency, that helped a lot. His rise was fast considering he started much later than most actors and didn’t even find an agency until he got out of the army. In one interview he said he wasn’t even sure they would take him since he was so much older, but they did since he was already did his army service.

        I hope he continues to rise because he is the best part of all his TV shows (to me).

  5. He’s smart to get away from SM, and I hope his career continues to flourish.

    I don’t remember him from Dream High 2, but he made quite an impression on me in I Summon You, Gold (he was one of the only good things about that drama). I’ve enjoyed his work since then, but he’s never made me swoon nearly as much as he is in Secretary Kim. Gah!

  6. Seo Hyun(Girls Generation) and Go Ara are doing much better since they left SM.So maybe its not a bad move for Park Seo Joon but time will tell.But I think Kim Soo Hyun and Lee Hyun Woo need to consider moving too when they come back from the army.They are in this agency too.Especially Lee Hyun Woo.He had so much potential as a child actor and he is a good actor but he has been starring in dramas with bad plots since forever and his acting deteriorated.Maybe a new agency and new connections could help with nurturing his talent better.

    Same with Park Bo Gum and Im Joo Hwan.Blossom entertainment may have a lot of connections to get them the offers and mediaplay all they can.But if the quality is the kind of scripts that we have heard PBG has been receiving.Then maybe a move is necessary.Im Joo Hwan has been second lead forever(even to actors like Nam Joo Hyuk) when he has the look and acting talent to lead a drama.

  7. Best of luck to PSJ. He is definitely one of my favorites. I liked him ok in A Witch’s romance but didn’t really notice him until She Was Pretty – which I really loved for some reason. I didn’t particularly like either of his next two dramas (not cause they were not good but just because it wasn’t really my taste/ resonated with me at the time). I do really like secretary kim. I have been in a General k drama slump. So I am glad for this drama of his.

    But I do hope this move helps him move to a different level and different roles.

  8. All the big popular stars today are from big agencies except Park Shinhye. Its extremely rare to make it big if you don’t have a big agency backing you. Gong Seungyoon was able to land a big project like are you human only after she moved to BH. Even popular child stars are from big agencies Kal Sowon is from YG, Lee Ree is from CJEM, Nam Dareum is from YNK. If you don’t have backing its hard to catch a break. At his level of popularity though I don’t think Park Seojon will have a any trouble landing jobs.

  9. @Johnny – well there’s Lee Jong Suk who got huge and huger while he was still with a small agency where he was basically the only known name.

    Big agencies certainly help actors for name recognition but it’s not a guarantee since they tend to push some names and neglect others whom they see as more marketable. And idol agencies are generally not much use to established actors.

  10. Goodluck to him, I’ve been following him forto a while,first saw him in bang young guks I remeber mv.I hope.or continues to do well,I actually want to see him do a rom melo, a good one kinda like secret?.

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