Giant Leap as Heirs Breaks 20% in Ratings While Pretty Boy Premieres with 6.3%

Wowsers, what a difference a week and a drama can make. This development definitely deserves a post of its own. With Secret ending last week and the arrival of Pretty Boy (Bel Ami), the ratings was up for grabs today and Heirs/The Inheritors made out like a bandit. The drama started off around 10% in ratings and was increasingly little by little each week. Last week’s episode 12 hit 15.9% in AGB ratings which was a drama high, but today’s episode 13 wasn’t just the best episode of the drama to-date, it was also the runaway ratings winner netting 20.6% AGB ratings. Heirs not only broke 20% today, it also increased 5% in ratings from its last episode. That is a wild jump and if things hold true, this drama ought to stay in the 20s for the remainder of its run, with even the possibility of breaking 30 by the end. Not a bad upward trajectory for a drama that started off weak in story and ratings but has slowly gathered steam and seems to be finally off the races. If I had to pick between a fast start or a stronger second half, I’d pick the latter since the endings usually make a drama more memorable.

Medical Top Team is basically a lost cause and today garnered barely over 5% ratings so this one isn’t going to factor into the ratings game. Pretty Boy premiered with a 6.3% AGB ratings which isn’t dreadful considering its manhwa roots but is abysmal compared to predecessor Secret which went out with 18.9% ratings. This is the fourth Jang Geun Seok drama to premiere in the single digits of AGB ratings, and I honestly think the lackluster reception of his headlining dramas has nothing to do with his popularity in Korea. He just picks projects that don’t naturally appeal to the domestic viewers who control the remotes and will require a great story to hook the audience. It took me awhile to get off the high of watching episode 13 of Heirs but I finally got around to checking out episode 1 of Pretty Boy. The drama is not a hot mess by any means and is actually quite watchable. The “prettiest man in the world” conceit is played for laughs and not taken seriously which is good, but I couldn’t find any hook in the narrative and felt rather detached watching it. There were fleeting moments of chuckles but mostly I stared at the screen looking perplexed because I couldn’t figure out what was the point.

An addicting drama adapted from a manga or manhwa source needs to capture the spirit of the colorful and unique world created by the original work. Group 8 has always done that with all its drama adaptations such as Goong, Boys Before Flowers, Tamra the Island, and To the Beautiful You. I loved Playful Kiss but the adaptation did not quite capture the mood of the manga. Without properly creating an unique world, the various disparate elements that make up out-there manga stories don’t translate well onscreen as stand-alone elements. It’s an all or nothing proposition when tackling this transition. I’ve not read the original Pretty Boy manhwa but the drama doesn’t coalesce into a world that captures the imagination from the outset. Bits and pieces of manhwa excess does not a drama make, especially when tossed together with makjang.

Episode 1 starts off with Dokko Ma Te (Jang Geun Seok) seducing a rich older woman who fawns over how beautiful he is. On the other hand, there is ordinary weirdo girl Kim Bo Tong (IU) who can’t hold down a job and has nursed a total obsession over Mat Te oppa for the last 10 years. Turns out their mothers are friends and Ma Te moved upstairs from her when they were 16 and they’ve been classmates and neighbors ever since. The world of PB takes as gospel that Ma Te is so handsome he literally makes people stop in their tracks to stare at him. Grown up Ma Te seduces rich women for a living though he loves his single mother and also harbors a birth secret. Mom dies in episode 1 of cancer she had been hiding from everyone, and with it goes the secret password that will reunite him with his birth father. In steps beautiful and sophisticated Hong Yura (Han Chae Young) who claims to have gotten the secret password before Mom died and with it wants Ma Te to do as she says. End of episode 1.

Pretty Boy really picked a bad time to premiere going up against the teen drama with tacked on rich parental angst since most of Heir’s viewers would naturally be PB viewers as well. Not to mention Heirs ended with the first sincere episode ender moment at the end of episode 12, which led to the best episode yet in episode 13, and in that very moment PB premieres to try and woo viewers to check it out. I don’t think PB is bad at all, either as a standalone drama or even as a manhwa adaptation. It’s too soon to tell but the acting is solid from IU and Han Chae Young, but I can’t quite pinpoint it why Jang Geun Seok feels very hit-and-miss in episode 1. At times he’s spot on and others he seems stiff and self-conscious. His PB character has shades of Hwang Tae Kyung (self-absorbed yet can be unintentionally funny) but so far Jang Geun Seok isn’t as comfortable in Ma Te’s skin as he was right off the bat as Tae Kyung. I’ll take a wait and see attitude as to whether I want to keep watching, but realistically the ratings distance between PB and Heirs is vast and this one might be a battle to settle for a comfortable second place.


Giant Leap as Heirs Breaks 20% in Ratings While Pretty Boy Premieres with 6.3% — 43 Comments

  1. when secret premiered the first episode only had like a 5 or 6% rating so bel ami can for sure go up but im truthfully surprised it was so low I thought iu pretty much meant it would be ratings gold since everyone seems to love her (and her last drama I thought did really well also) and add in another idol and jks returning after 2 years I for sure thought it would have higher ratings.

    • My guess is that IU seems really popular with Korean men and Korean men don’t watch dramas (as per the ratings breakdown)… I have a friend who’s a Korean exchange student and he told me that Korean guys pretty much only watch dramas (not sageuk, mind you, but the trendy rom coms) to have a good laugh from time to time at the makjang and the older woman/divorcee/chaebol heir stuff. Not a great sample size, but I’m inclined to believe him.

    • I watched IU’s last drama and tbqh, for a weekend drama, that drama did pretty bad…
      the pace are slow, slow character development… everything is slow…
      some of the episodes seems like more a filler… things are being dragged way too much…
      they have great actors and actresses but they just have bad writer.

      I also really hope for this drama doing well in terms of rating but I guess I just have to be real… this drama wont get a tremendous high rating in one moment… sure it will still have their own followers but to be rival with 2 established dramas, this drama seems still far to go…

  2. Wow so happy 🙂 I love Heirs
    Thank God for good ratings. I am big fan of LMH and PSH, so glad that drama is hit. LMH needed it after Faith while PSH finally has a ratings-wise hit drama.
    Writer KES really knows how to captivate viewers with her stories.

  3. I’m happy to hear about the increase in ratings. I’m happy for the cast, crew and writer since it must feel great. I’m hoping that the ratings continue to go up. Like you Ms. Koala, I really enjoyed ep 13. Here is hoping that we continue to get good episodes.

  4. I was shocked at the ratings jump as well.
    Who wouldaaa thought. I was ready for heirs to settle somewhere in the low teens and maybe make it to mid teens by the end.
    just comes to show that you can never really predict ratings as accurately. some dramas start off low and hit it off so high, some start decent and stay in that range.
    With the marked improvement in ep.13 and the ratings jump, it doesn’t seem so dismal as it did in the beginning.
    Let’s just hope those makjang spoilers don’t make its way into the show..

    • I’m not surprised that it took the big ratings jump, Secret was THE major ratings competition to get rid of, and Pretty Boy is a fluffy manhwa-based romcom – a genre that doesn’t typically do well in the ratings. So the field was wide open, really.

      I mean, sometimes you have decent competition within the same timeslot so where one drama may trail the other by several points in ratings, it’s still taking a chunk out of the timeslot leader’s potential ratings – like Arang and the Magistrate vs. Nice Guy last year, or Master’s Sun vs. Two Weeks this year.

      Now there’s no drama that can really take a bite out of Heirs so it looks like SBS has their third hit drama in a row this year, after that wobbly start. (why couldn’t it have got better sooner, though? Damn.)

    • I wasn’t shock about the rating jump. I was more shocked when Secret beat Heirs in the first episode.

      That made me checked out Secret and boy I’m glad that I did.


    I love her!!!!! Anyone else notice?

    • Yep; not surprised that some people naturally switched over to Heirs once Secret ended. What were they going to watch, Medical Top Team? *shudder*

      • yeah! it’s just being against two weak dramas doesn’t mean success! to me it’s fake one! they just don’t have another good drama like secret!

    • Exactly. The bragging is pretty hilarious though. It got it’s ass beat by a newbie writer and a no hype drama in Secret and now there is nothing else on but a new drama that is vying for the same audience Heirs already has and a massive flop. Secret growing against Master’s Sun and more than tripling it rating is impressive. This not so much.

      • But there was never much difference between Secret and Heirs ratings….also during Master’s Sun’s run, Secret got single digit ratings….

      • Heirs was never flopped as it had always been right behind secret
        And did I mention that Secret only broke 20 at the last ep while Heir might be able to reach 30? How is it flopped?
        People call it flopped clearly want it to be show without realizing what is going on.
        If Heirs if flopping why would SBS consider for an extension? Exactly? I don’t think MS managed to break the 20% before the final either.
        Heirs is a HIT whether you love or hate it

      • @lol – uh, considering the hype behind Heirs, it was underperforming all the way and yeah, ending up second in the timeslot by several points, that too to a drama with no pre-show buzz and a rookie writer, is underperforming.

        Sure it gets its 20% but that is not nearly as much of an achievement as when IHYV broke the 20 mark after having (like Secret) no prior buzz and a relatively low-key cast, or when Master’s Sun vs. Two Weeks in the same timeslot kept MS from breaking the 20 util the very end.

      • @snow_white – the run of Secret and Master’s Sun coincided by one week. ONE week, and let’s not forget MS was the timeslot leader throughout. Secret then had to compete with Heirs, and won handily (by points, plural – Heirs never stood a chance of making it to #1 once Secret picked up, judging by what has been said about that drama).

      • @snow_white

        Secret started with like a 5% and nearly got double digits against the finale of MS. Pretty impressive for a drama out of nowhere without any trendy young stars in it.


        I did not say Heirs was a flop… MTT is the flop with the impressive 3.8% ratings the episode before. MS did break 20%….

    • A lot of younger people in Korea are watching heirs. The script is not good but hype and pretty faces fools alot of people into really lowering their standards. I’m blown away by how true that is again and again. A high rating is a high rating to advertisers and TV stations so I know they are happy.

      I was pleasantly surprised by pretty man though. I will give it a chance and I hope it gets even better.

      • That’s what I hate about Heirs. We can just put the lousiest writer and script but people will still watch it because of the pretty faces.

      • LOL YEAH it is really weird that those two are competing with each other 🙂 i thought they were dating ?!! XD

      • I know!
        I actually real life ship(ped) them after YB and seeing how they flirt outside of the drama. But admit Jang has been way too quirky for our Shin Hye.
        Wonder if they text each other about the competition. … ^_^

  6. Yeah, I thought that once Secret ended everyone would tune into Heirs. I haven’t really been liking any of the W/T dramas this year, and Heirs is just godawful imo but I’m happy for the cast and crew. It’s not their fault that the writing is so crap. SBS must be happy, they’ve had 3 hits in a row and when Kim Soo Hyun’s drama starts, they’ll probably have another one.

    I checked PB/BA for a laugh (it’s weird, I’m only 19 but these sorts of dramas no longer appeal to me) and yeah, not so good. JGS was sort of stiff and awkward and ia, he hasn’t settled into character yet. Now he’s decided he wants to be taken seriously as a genuine actor in Korea, I think this was definitely the wrong show to choose. Han Chae Young looks absolutely gorgeous but tbh, her acting leaves alot to be desired. I liked IU though, she was cute. She’s very watchable imo. But I don’t see how they’re going to drag the story out for 16 episodes or how the romance is gonna work when she sort of looks like his kid sister. I can’t see the ratings going up.

  7. i watched PM and well i thought every one acting is really good i thought iu was so cute and HCY was gorgeous and jgs looked and act was great , i really loved it and i think this will increase in rating , but not so much i guess . but who cares , pretty man already sold for japan with 200.000 $ per each ep , which was a new record for a korean drama and even LMH couldn’t do that with japan , so i guess JGS joke in asia this drama is already and international success for him so hell with rating

  8. It is so funny on Secret Garden when the coffee mustache got a swipe by Kim Joo Won lips the rating increased so much and in here it was a donut got a bite by Tan lips same thing happened….I guess Kim Eun Sook knows how to pull her story right at the edge 🙂

  9. But Heirs is only getting 20% because Secret is done. If it got those 20% while Secret was still on i would say good job. But this way it`s just pathetic to brag about it. Like it was pathetic for Secret fans to brag about their ratings when Master Sun ended.

    • I haven’t watched Secret but considering that after Master’s Sun ended, its timeslot competition was THE most-hyped drama of the year, it’s something to brag about that a virtually unbuzzed-about drama managed to triple its own initial ratings and beat Heirs nearly all the way through its run, up until the end.

    • Uh, as soon as MS ended it had to go against Heirs. lol

      It was not pathetic to brag about Secret doing well. It was really freaking impressive. Same way IHYV was impressive to start low and end so high.

      • I know, it’s like all the Heirs fans forgot that Secret went up against their show aka the most hyped show of 2013, and THEN won. Talk about selective memory, ha.

      • Indeed.

        It’s impressive what Secret has achieved in terms of reception. Secret had a very weak predecessor. Blade and Petal only averaged with a low 5% for 10 consecutive weeks. It was hard to push those ratings up. Secret came out of nowhere, it had rookie writers, no fan-service, hardly any promotion, and an almost average cast (besides Ji-sung), Hwang Jung-eum isn’t Korea’s favourite leading lady, Bae Soo Bin is a relatively low-key actor and Lee Da-hee is just in the bloom of her career. So when everyone was thinking that this tiny “out of nowhere” drama with such a “mediocre” cast would definitely hit rock bottom at the ratings ranking against the highly anticipated Heirs, with a complete eye-candy cast, and Medical Top Team, consisting of several A-level actors, it turned all the presumptions upside down. It managed to triple it’s own ratings within 16 episodes AND create a buzz in and outside Korea because of the tight development of the story and solid performances of the actors. No wonder it’s been labeled as the “Black Horse” drama of 2013.

    • actually Secret fans has the right to brag! and against TMS I don’t see this as a competition TMS was in the finale week and Secret was just beginning! it’s normal to break the previous ratings it’s a drama finale! but against the most hyped drama HEIRS they had a competition for 6 weeks and secret owned the ratings till it ended! to me that’s impressive!

    • Honestly, I never read comments from Secret fans bragging about their ratings when MS ended. They never expected that Secret could stand a chance against MS, plus they know that the timing was not right to compare the two.

  10. Still, Heirs, the most-hyped drama of the year and probably in recent K-drama history, got its ass beaten by low-profile Secret. But still, for the network and the cast, a 20%+ rating is a big deal. However, the show does not add anything to Park Shin Hye and Lee Min Ho’s acting credentials. Hoping to see them in better projects next time.

    • It’s still good but the return on investment could have been higher if it wasn’t because that terrific drama Secret.

      Heirs has HUGE budget compared to Secret’s mediocre budget.

      Agree with you about PSH and LMH’s acting creds. This could also taint Kim Eun Sook’s writing credential.

      • I still don’t understand why Heirs is getting so much attention. Plus, it gets favourable reviews from this site. People do get influenced easily, I guess

  11. I guess I still miss Secret’s exhilarating run but I will not compare it to Heirs. Heirs will break 30% and more – good for them, it’s like TMTETS. So what? I will be watching for Secret’s writers to develop another amazing, emotionally moving story.

  12. I am happy for Heirs, really they are all so pretty!
    I really get a Hana Yori Dango vibe while watching this
    drama only LMH has better hair. In the HanDan manga Domyoji
    is really a dosh much like Young Do. I do like the Eun Sang/ Young Do
    dynamic and I really feel the chemistry, I hope Park Shin Hye
    and Kim Woo Bin make another drama together coz they really look
    good together.

    Bel Ami…I am a fan of Jang Geun Seok but WTH?! happened to this drama?
    I don’t really get where this is going, what kind of guy he is, I don’t get it. I love him but snooze fest.

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