KBS Tightens Hold on C-subbing Sources as Producer Premieres with Decent Ratings

It must be a big sigh of relief at KBS studios this morning after highly anticipated variety drama Producer finally premiered Friday night. Good or bad, high or low ratings, at least it’s out there now and the cast and crew did everything possible to create something to showcase for audiences. I liked but didn’t love the first episode, enjoying the acting and directing but finding the subject matter wholly uninteresting to me. I don’t watch K-variety at all so watching a docu-drama on the the inner workings of KBS variety shows is like asking someone who doesn’t watch the NBA to enjoy a 30-on-30 episode about the Showtime Lakers.

I may not be the target audience but then I wonder who is – does one have to contextually understand the inside jokes and references to fully enjoy Producer? I plan to keep watching to see if the characters and their interactions coalesce into something interesting independently of the inside look at K-variety, not to mention it’ll also be worthwhile to see which direction the ratings go from here. Episode 1 premiere with AGB 10.1% nationwide, respectable in this day and age, but nothing new to write home about considering the big names of Gong Hyo Jin, Cha Tae Hyun, Kim Soo Hyun, and IU stacked in the cast.

China has become Korea’s top overseas export of dramas and the crackdown that started in 2015 on live-airing K-dramas on the internet has been increasing in scope for the last 5 months. Dramas that premiered in 2015 have yet to see the light of day on any of China’s online streaming portals that used to host new episodes daily, still waiting for SARFT approval on the completed series before hitting the net.

But the new 2015 K-dramas were continuing to get subbed by the big Chinese subbing groups, allowing seasoned drama fans to download raw videos and subs to watch even if streaming was not available. Producer marks the first time even that avenue has been stoppered – the two biggest Chinese subbing groups TSKS and Hanmi have both relayed official word that neither will be releasing subs for Producer at the request (demand) of KBS and the Chinese streaming sites which have licensed the rights to the drama. All I can say is DAYUM, shit got real.


KBS Tightens Hold on C-subbing Sources as Producer Premieres with Decent Ratings — 58 Comments

  1. I thought the ratings was pretty darn good for a new slot and against a very popular variety in tvN. Double digit is so difficult to achieve these days and to do so without a prior drama in the slot to take over from is impressive to me. Now the question is whether they can sustain that and go further. Its different as promised, but not sure if the k-viewers are ready to accept the change. I think it’ll pick up tomorrow.

    Feel sorry for the Chinese fans. Specially since this is KSH’s drama lol. I hope things get resolved soon somehow.

  2. I was bored after 30 mins of episode 1. As much as I love the casts, the writing/story doesn’t interest me.
    I feel like Korean is trying to be like with old TVB dramas doing all sort of professions. From prosecutor to lawyer, pilots, reporters, firefighter, paramedics and now producers.
    Hopefully, Orange Marmalade won’t disappoint me since Sensory couple and Falling for Innocent are going to end soon. I need Korean dramas to watch while I wait on Chinese ones or I’ll be bored this summer.

    • I think this drama is trying to get KDrama fans who do not watch K-variety shows to consider varieties and diversify their watching preferences a bit. Even when I’ve been watching KDrama for years, I only started watching variety shows with 1N2D after falling inlove with Lee Seunggi in My Girlfriend is a Gumiho, and I swear once you open yourself to Kvariety there’s no turning back. I too liked episode 1 but not loving it yet, although I hope I will come to love it in the next episodes to come. However if not for the cast I would probably not consider watching this. Genius decision to cast CTH and KHS.

      • I do watch Kvariety. But this drama makes most of the shows I watch seem boring. I know this is showing what’s behind each show and how it produces but I think it could have been carried out differently.

    • I didn’t even finish the episode, feel asleep, tried to watch it again, got bored and went on to better things~

  3. Producers has an advantage for airing 30 minutes earlier than 3 meals (3 meals made 7.8 rating btw) to lock the audience but it needs a really good and interesting story otherwise the audience could just switch channel. competition with MBC weekend on saturday is more tough I think.

  4. I dont really enjoy the first episode, maybe the second episode will be better. How about warm and cozy? Is it good? I’m not watch it yet, hope it will be better than this, i love ksh and yys, so i hope both drama will be good

      • Didn’t like ep 1, but it definitely gets better in ep 2, though I still find it not as funny as HS previous projects.

      • I agree, I liked Warm and Cozy too, even though I really didn’t get the brother and sister talking about falling for each other (I thought that was uber weird) I liked it and finished episode one happy~

    • Warm and Cozy is BADLY WRITTEN. Not a fan of the writers but their previous works didn’t feel this bad imo.

  5. I think the writer is trying for Modern Family’s documentary style. She experimented with it during My Love from the Stars, but it’s completely incorporated into Producer. So far, I’m with the majority here who finds it boring. I feel like it’s missing that special something that makes Modern Family, The Office, Parks & Recreation, etc. so popular. I’ll be dropping it (Sorry Kim Soo Hyun!!) if next week’s episode doesn’t improve.

    • Same. I was STRUGGLING to finish the first episode. And honestly? I don’t think it will improve much.

    • supposedly the director said the first two episodes just set up the characters and the real drama doesn’t start till the 3rd episode which is a very risky move. He should have done all he could to indicate that in the drama if that’s truly the case.

  6. At this rate, I’ll only have DoS to look forward to, which sucks, as I can’t really stand KES’ writing. I couldn’t go past 20 min for this one, and was cringing every time KSH comes on screen. He looks totally lost, and the stupid documentary camera made it worse, as the transitions were very wierd and unclear.

  7. Wow, the netizens are slaying the first ep. Apparently not many people liked it!! Someone even compared it to hyde jekyll me, which is the worst insult for someone..

  8. Surprisingly, i liked the 1st episode. But maybe because I watch all the major Korean variety shows. It was like taking a look behind the scene of these shows. But I would agree that the mockumentary part isn’t doing it any good. Well, it’s supposed to be a documentary of the first 3 days. I just hope it would be just that. Just for 3 days.

  9. It seems to me that it isn’t as bad as people make it out to be. Or it’s just overhyped and people are disappointed. I’ll just enjoy it for what it is.

    I especially love IU’s part. It has the kind of warmth that is delicate and endearing despite the spiky cover. Hope to see more of her.

  10. Being honest, I don’t like 1st episode. The plot is confusing. The actings nothing special especially when they interviewed the workers. Some of them are just….awkward. Kim Soo Hyun and IU’s acting also so-so (but I notice Cha Tae Hyun is the dude that I enjoy a lot. He just so natural). And I think the actors become so confused about whether they should realize the camera or not. Because sometimes in the scenes that they supposed to not realize the camera, but they did. And it’s so obvious. I guess, the actors also confuse like us, audiences.

    I was excited of Go Hyo Jin fought with IU (Cindy) about the outfit that too sexy, but nah…she became calm because Cindy is big star. The plot just become…I don’t how to explain.

    What actually the writers want to do? I really don’t get it. There is an interview section like this in a drama (Discovery of Romance) last time. At first, that interview segment also kinda disruption but I realized after more conflicts involved came out, we need that interviews to see the ‘real feelings’ of the leads. In fact, in DoR, they had plot and intention to did that. But in here, beside making a lot of confusions, this show just wanna promote KBS more lol. I will watch next episode to see Cha Tae Hyun and Go Hyo Jin only. SO I expect I’ll skip many scenes.

  11. I gritted my teeth and finished the first episode. Snorefest for me. I also don’t watch variety shows so I am sure the inside jokes are lost on me. It was predictable. Slow. Boring. I was disappointed. Will it get better?

  12. Target audience are people like me who follow k-variety shows especially ones on KBS feverishly. Looking forward to this and getting its inside jokes. Plus CTH what a bonus.Looking forward to many cameos for sure.Especially Kim JongMin.So meta if he comes to 1N2D S4 meta set and wants to be part of its cast.

  13. Not a fan. I don’t understand what the point of something that’s half mockumentary, half not is, especially when a) the drama parts work against the docu parts (how can the camera become a character when half the time we’re given stagnant, clunky cut scenes?), and b) the PD/writer either aren’t willing to treat the show as a farce, or have no idea what makes mockumentaries so amusing. But if it can’t even qualify as a mocku, and/or is intended as a docu, you hit the other end of the spectrum–it doesn’t have the chops to be taken seriously. You need something like Count of Myungdeong for that to fly.

  14. It was boring but i find GHJ scenes interesting. I always love her acting and she really carried out her role here.

    As for IU…. Sigh….i like her as a singer and she is extremely beautiful here but she is really lacking. I thought she is some kind of icy and arrogance diva here? She keeps closing her eyes and speaking in that underwhelming tone that it makes her looks like she is sleepy instead. Making me who struggle wathching ep 1 even more sleepy

  15. It’s not a good start but i will judge after watching few episodes. I adore Cha Tae Hyun and Gong hyo jin too much to just give up on this drama.

    Kdramas these days are just so lack luster. I had so much hope for this, warm n cozy, and Sensory Couple. Seonsory couple already went down the drain with its stupidity but i’m still holding on to the other 2 dramas. I trust the writers and the casts.

    • there are good dramas these days (a few airing now like Through the Grapevine) but they mostly aren’t romantic comedies which is what the international kdrama audience seems to be more into.

    • You can try Orange Marmalade. It’s out and after watching 2 episodes I love it to the max!!! I prefer it over School 2015 which bores the heck out of me.

  16. Why would the subbing groups suddenly listen to the request/demand of streaming sites or KBS? Are the subbing groups getting paid by them?

    I have read somewhere in the past that (Chinese) subbers hardly earn any money at all, they are doing it more for fanservice.

    • The subbing groups have been working with the streaming sites for many years. For instance, quite a few streaming sites use TSKS subs directly. They must have some kind of agreement.

  17. I thought it was interesting at parts but than really slow at others. Gong Hye Jin was a scene stealer, i really loved her bitchy character.

    On the other hand IU was sooooo bad, and she is one of idol actresses i can tolerate. I honestly expected more from her but she was so out of place in this character.

    • Ahaha don’t worry! Most netizens agree on IU not having a stellar performance… I think IU just suits bubbly fun roles similar to Shin Se Kyung!

      I haven’t seen producer not cause of the backlash it’s receiving but cause the plot just doesn’t interest me at all… Even though the cast is grand I choose plot over it anytime…

  18. The later half is more interesting, and the last scene + epilog is my favorite. IU needs to fix her acting though. From the long preview I see she’ll be more expressive so I hope she’ll be good. The directing, though, *sigh* is off. What makes variety works is that you edit it in such a way that it’ll interest the viewers. Be it super funny scenes, touching scenes, etc. It has to be interesting. Who wants to see how producers work if it’s so mundane. It’s a drama after all. The cinematography isn’t helping either, not a treat for the eyes.

  19. I was bored too. It does lack the spark from something like modern family or office or parks and rec. maybe it will get better cause they have really strong actors. Maybe it’s the characters cause what makes the office or mg or p&r wrok is it’s odd mesh of characters. These guys are pretty obvious characters and don’t seem to have much quirk yet. I hope it gets better a so they settle into the genre

  20. Was waiting for the Chinese subs and wondering why it wasn’t released. guess I’ll just go for English subs then. but after reading the comments here I’m Having second thoughts about whether or not to watch it

  21. I really liked it! Like others, I also think IU has room for improvement. That said, she’s the only idol-turned actor there, I think she will be able to bounce off all the positive energy from the rest and turn Cindy into a good role.

    Too bad about the Chinese subs.:( They are so fast and professional with their subbing!

  22. I had higher expectations, I really don’t get the brother/sister what if I fell for you thing, but dang if So JiSub didn’t make up for every shortcoming, has he even aged one single parsec?! Me so giddy~

  23. Hmm I’m the minority it seems
    I enjoyed ep1, it’s fresh and different. Agree that you need to like variety a little to know all the metas and insider jokes. certain parts try a little too hard but overall it’s experimental, witty and entertaining.
    I think CTH is doing the best. Im actually quite attracted hahaha
    Love it too that KSH decided not to “milk” his YFAS leading man fame, do some lead drama melo romance kinda thing but chose this. Shows his interest in real acting. To me it’s a wise move as he’s surrounded by seniors and don’t have to “pump” the show on his own.
    GHJ is her usual good.
    IU is the only one needing to improve a little but nothing really bad.
    Guess most people were disappointed it’s not a usual drama format. But hey it’s up against variety and I can see why the ratings are up. The target audience knows variety and this is a tongue in cheek kinda of thing that’s digging it

    • I am with you.

      I’m loving it so far – the freshness of a different, somewhat experimental format and a solid cast (though IU has room for improvement)…

      And, I have never watched any K-Variety! (Which means I’m probably missing some of the meta-jokes, but there is plenty of deadpan humour that keeps me entertained without knowing the meta!)

      • Me too! I skipped most of the negative comments and directly went on to post my comment. After that, I read yours and am glad to find someone with the same taste.

  24. the 1st ep was really kinda boring, hopefully the next few eps take a turn for the better. but orange marmalade really exceeded expectations!! hope you’ll be recapping it hahaha

  25. Didn’t watch producer yet. probably will catch up this week.
    i did watch orange marmalade and the first episode was good! it was almost as it was in the webtoon with a little changes so i think i’ll love it.
    watched only first ep. and almost half of second episode of warm and cozy. it was not wow. but i’m still not giving up since i remember master’s sun first episodes were not so interesting but it picked up pretty big after that. and if not i’ll still stick up for KS and YYS.

  26. Hmm, people are all over the place in their reactions to Producer! After watching the first two episodes, my overall feeling is that I find it imperfect but very interesting. I also think IU’s character is unlikable but agree that she needs to add dimension through her acting. Someone said she just looks stoned. Producer is really different and has loads of potential for greatness. I will keep watching

  27. 30 mins into the first episode I fell bored outta my mind Urghhh! My two fav Kdrama actors KSH/ GYJ …I’m a bit disappointed

  28. Hahaha…I’m opposite to the majority of the viewers here. I love this drama from the start. It’s been a while in 2015 that no drama was able to totally pique my interest. I found Producer ep 1 pretty interesting and funny. KSH is indeed an ace actor. He just looked totally refreshed from his prior characters that I’ve watched. He’s got that talent to bring to live whatever roles he plays. In producer, he definitely looks and behaves like a rookie who just got out of campus. And kudos to the writer(s) who was(were) able to bring out light humor through camera interviews of various characters. It’s not as exaggerating and on-your-face as in what the K variety shows usually present. But it’s still got that cracking-you-up variety vibe. I literally laughed out loud from time to time while watching the first episode. I’d like to see how the storyline and plot are skillfully carried along through such settings. Interesting and very creative. Anticipating.

    • I agree with you. This show will save my drama viewing over the next few months. I don’t watch variety shows so probably didn’t get the inside jokes but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the drama.

      • I watched some variety shows from time to time, such as Hello Counselors and some Kpop idol variety shows. Producer has streams of dialogues full of quips that remind me of so much of those variety shows I’ve watched. I’ve not watched any K comedy (even the most recent rom coms) that cracks me up so much for a while. LOL…I guess I’d love Producer to the end given how I like the start and those actors/actresses and cameos in the show are doing a fabulous job entertaining me.

        I just have to confess I don’t have same taste as the majority readers here. While ppl raved about drama such as Punch, Misaeng, and Hear through the Grapevine, etc. etc., I ended up being disappointed at those drama and quit at the first few episodes.

  29. BTW, I watched Producer on Gooddrama. It’s not available on Viki in the States. But Viki sometimes did a lousy job in subbing anyway. Gooddrama has good subs.

      • Haha…I’ve been shunned Dramafever for a while because I’m such a cheap viewer who refuse to pay for the prime. LOL….I’m satisfied with Gooddrama so far but somehow miss the inundation of comments on Dramafever. There’re also many negative comments about ep1 on Gooddrama. Don’t know if that’s also the case on Dramafever.

  30. Came back to make additional comment after just finishing ep1. I made the previous comments while watching half way through. Now I’m sure to say I love this comedy even more since I’ve run through the whole ep, specifically the scene of family saying-grace at the end of the show is the perk for me as a viewer. LOL….I love so many satirical references in the storyline that I couldn’t hold in my laugh. BTW, I don’t get why so many comments here are critical of IU. Her acting was totally fine and looked so natural. She looked tired, indifferent, haughty, and just like a superstar either on stage or off stage. I think everyone in the drama was doing a great job to bring out the show. Ep 1 so far has satisfied me. At least I didn’t feel it’s a waste of time on a crappy soap opera.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.