Friday Competition Takes Off with SBS Romance Drama Now We are Breaking Up Premiering to 6.4% and MBC Sageuk The Red Sleeve Cuff to 5.7% Ratings

I feel like the lede for this article about ratings is less the competition and more whether the drama has the allure to bring in its own respective set of viewers. This Friday the SBS Fri-Sat time slot started Now, We are Breaking Up after the conclusion of One: The Woman last week and the first episode brought in 6.4% which is a good 3% less than One: The Woman premiered to. MBC launched a drama in the Fri-Sat time slot for the first time and put in serious youth sageuk The Red Sleeve Cuff which debuted to 5.7% AGB nationwide ratings. I have not had a chance to watch either premiere episode yet but the reviews are mixed with Breaking Up and majority positive for The Red Sleeve Cuff. With that said, I just don’t see the two dramas competing for the same audience group, the former would be the wives and younger gen who want an edgier modern romance and the latter likely core sageuk afficionados. I think if the dramas were awesome off the bat there is a chance to just bring more eyeballs back to television and increase ratings for both.


Friday Competition Takes Off with SBS Romance Drama Now We are Breaking Up Premiering to 6.4% and MBC Sageuk The Red Sleeve Cuff to 5.7% Ratings — 79 Comments

  1. Given how NWABU was marketed, I was looking forwards to a mature romance with social commentary on adult relationships. Instead, Episode 1 felt like a Sex and the City wannabe. A whole lot of glitz and glamour with beautiful clothes, parties, makeup, mood lighting.

    JKY suits the role of a fashion photographer. His modeling background is coming in handy and he’s serving looks, but can’t say much about his acting.

    SHK’s character is interesting on paper, but her acting is flatter than a flatline. She legit looks like she’s reciting lines at the camera and going through motions. Girl, EMOTE. I don’t get it. She’s lively and charming in the promotional interviews, but none of that energy translates on screen. Her acting might’ve actually regressed because I don’t think she was ever this wooden.

    The editing is really choppy. Hopefully the story gets into social commentary else it’s all flash and no substance.

    • This is spot on and what my fear was about this drama. Beautiful people with a glitzy fashion backdrop with no substance.

      The ratings are pretty lackluster for a SBS drama. Encounter debuted higher and that was on a cable channel.

    • SHK’s challenge as an actress is that she comes across as the type of actress that prioritises looking pretty more than trying to convey the characters emotion. She’s not the only one who does this, but somehow I expected that with age and years, she’d be kind of actress who’d want to think of her craft. Kim Hee Sun and Kim Tae Hee are amongst the actresses who were known for their visuals and wooden acting, but somehow with the choice of works and interviews, it comes across that they are trying to expand and focus on “acting” and less so of trying to maintain their prettiness onscreen.

  2. Expected a much higher debut for NWBU given its SHK’s comeback drama and it follows right after One the Woman’s momentum.

    Imma hold off on NWBU until more eps and feedback come in.


  3. This is the first time I feel that SHK can’t act. She is so stiff and monotonous in the way she delivers her lines. Hope she does better as the series goes.

  4. This is not the first drama in the Fri-Sat slot for MBC. The first drama was The Veil with Nam Goong Min back in September.

    The Red Sleeve Cuff – Very good ratings for MBC especially considering this episode was just the child actors. The feedback so far is very positive. There is no star power in the cast but I think it will be a success simply because it is a good story well executed and well acted. These high quality, traditional romance sageuk used to be MBC’s bread and butter back in the day. Also really cool to hear at the press conference that both the director and writer are female. It will be exciting to see how this effects the story told from the court lady’s perspective.

    Now We Are Breaking Up – Not a strong start for an SBS Fri-Sat drama. SBS were probably hoping for at least 8% opening on par with the previous dramas opening in this slot and SHK’s previous drama on TVN. Unfortunately, SHK is not the type of actress who brings in big ratings alone. She is too polarising. The audience either need to be excited by the pairing (whatever anyone may think of her last three co-stars Jo In Sung, Song Joong Ki and Park Bo Gum are very popular actors) or the plot needs to excite their interest but this just looks like a very typical romance melodrama. She is playing the same character from Encounter which is a variation on the same character she always plays and Jang Ki Young looks to be playing the same character he played in Search WWWW.

    Jang Ki Young is just a very weak actor, lacks charisma and doesn’t have any hit drama as a lead. As soon as I saw he was cast I guessed this was going to underperform as he doesn’t bring ratings power nor any kind of acting prestige.

    There isn’t even the fun of the whole will they or or won’t they tension because the promo made it obvious they already have sex with each other in the first episode

    • Agree about jang ki young, his romance with the FL in search www was also the weakest part of otherwise a great show. I keep hearing about how hot he is and his intense gaze but I feel nothing, I just see blandness. In search www he was even overshadowed by Lee Jae wook who was a newbie then.

    • i feel the same way about jang ki young. i have no idea how he has made it this far, and managed to get cast against song hye kyo. his best work was probably come and hug me, but in hindsight, it was probably the writing and the child actor that really set him up for success there.

      • JKY’s best work so far was My Mister. He showed huge promise in that supporting role. Given how terrible SHK’s acting is currently, it isn’t a tall feat to get cast against her. JKY is more watchable.

      • @peanut gallery i haven’t seen my mister yet. but it’s on my list since everyone has nothing but good things to say about it.

  5. Not related to this. But I would like to mention that Happiness whose runtime overlaps a bit with these two, achieved a new peak averaging 3.6 pc nationwide. Despite almost no promotion, unfavourable time slot with a genre like this , the drama is doing quite well. The pacing and storyline is impressive. And Han Hyo Joo probably will live upto her name again for not having flop dramas .
    Anyways , still don’t understand why yumi’s cell got so much promos but not this.

      • So you mean public channel ratings should also be measured on the same parameters as cable channels??
        Time slot does affects a drama. And maybe do some research. It is the first drama to be aired in this time slot.

    • I tried NWABU but it was so uninteresting and I’m not a big fan of sageuk. Happiness is really the only drama I’m enjoying atm. HHJ’s character can get annoying sometimes but I can still bear with her. PHS is doing fine. So far I don’t recall any genre dramas that were so highly promoted but I hope the ratings for this drama still continue to rise.

  6. I was looking forward to Red Sleeves as both leads are really good. The 1st episode is all about the childhood, and it was nicely well done. I could feel the pacing of the drama is just right, with very minimal palace politics. I can’t wait for the next episodes.

  7. Both dramas are meh to be honest but historical dramas tend to have higher ratings irrespective of star power so red sleeve will be able to maintain decent ratings. On the other hand now we are breaking up will yoyo on ratings like jirisan.

  8. After River, Lovers of Red Sky, and The King’s Affection I thought I wasn’t going to check it out at all.

    After being disappointed with River and Lovers I only checked out the first episode of Park Eun Bin’s drama.

    The only reason I decided to finally give it a try was because it is MBC which produced Jewel of the Palace and due the female lead.

    Well color me surprised, I liked it. Here’s hoping the second episode will be even better.

    I only checked out NWABU out of curiosity but didn’t like SHK’s character. And the second female lead is no better. I don’t think I am going to continue watching this. The second male lead character seemed out of place even though I like the actor’s performance in Encounter.

    • A big no for me was the moment they couldn’t find the file and had to reshoot. What kind of a lousy company is that? In reality, someone would have been immediately fired.

      She doesn’t even know how good the male lead is as a photographer, why would she risk something so important? Doesn’t make sense really. Hard pass.

      • Here’s hoping Red Sleeves ratings continue to do well. I do love a good sageuk.

        Tired of watching zombies, cross dressing and overhyped dramas.

  9. RED SLEEVE CUFF. Loved it! Acting, plot, directing, cinematography, music score… everything was spectacular. I was glued to the screen from start to finish with nary a boring scene. The child actors were just fantastic. A sageuk OTP childhood connection that actually makes sense! And although the adults met briefly, I could feel their chemistry! It might be too early to say this but out of all the disastrous sageuks this year, Red Sleeve looks the most promising. Wish I’d waited a bit to start it cos waiting for new episodes will be hard. Stay good right to the end, show!

    I’ll be back with my thoughts on NWABU after I watch it.

  10. One the Woman premiered to 8.2% ratings and nwabu could only manage 6.4%?

    I agree with what some are saying about shk’s acting. She was never a good actress to begin with and she’s become worse during her hiatus. She seems to have a single expression for most of her scenes. And JKY had little to do except look good.

    • SHK has always been bad the only thing she is good at is crying prettily. She is also starting to look her age which is fine but she could pick characters more age appropriate and less repetitive. JJH is also bad in Jirisan and both their acting flaws are standing out with their comeback dramas which could be due to their long hiatus. Taking breaks is necessary but so is honing your craft but seems both JJH and SHK have become complacent as CF models who don’t care about their primary job. OTW didn’t have a great script or director either but HL worked hard to carry the drama and it showed. Her looks are on par with JJH and SHK so she could have just coasted on her looks too but she didn’t. Disappointed with both SHK and JJH comebacks and their lack of effort.

      • Lol. What? No, her looks are NOT on par with JJH and SHK. The latter two have dominated beauty lists for decades. Has HL ever been on those lists? Although OTW was mediocre, it was still a makjang drama. And makjang never flops. Even boring as shyt makjang Mine managed to get double digits. All HL did was yell like a banshee and scrunch up her face in OTW. That’s what you call effort? Or good acting? If Jirisan and NWABU were makjang, they’d be hits too, regardless of underwhelming acting from those actresses.

      • @? u do know that honey lee is a Miss Universe runners-up right? She is pretty and charismatic. And certainly knows how to act

      • You do know that Honey Lee debuted more than 10 years after them right? She has been on all the beauty lists since she became more popular and she was literally Miss Korea. Knetz were raving over her looks and acting the entire time the drama was on air so you really are clueless. If she debuted at the same time as them she would have wiped them out from day 1. One the woman was not makjang nor was it tropey. It had positive reactions since the teasers came out and that is why it had higher premier ratings.

      • BTW, I’m aware of her beauty pageant history. Still doesn’t make her a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. She does have charisma though. But her acting is just as limited as JJH and SHK.

      • @? and what makes u a judge regarding whether a person is drop dead gorgeous or not?? She’s a beauty pageant winner.
        As for me I find jun Ji Hyun to be quite average looking, but I still think maybe majority can see the beauty in her which I can’t.

      • If the general public and even plastic surgeons find her drop dead gorgeous your biased opinion is then irrelevant.

  11. Unlike Jun Ji Hyun, Song Hye Kyo can’t bring in ratings on her own. She has to be starring opposite a popular actor. Yeah, Jirisan is underperforming, but Jun Ji Hyun’s star power is big enough to break the record for premiere ratings on tvN.

    • That’s not true and the Jun Ji Hyun star power is overstated. Jirisan is a combination of Kim Eun Hee+Lee Eun Bok+Jun Ji Hyun+Ju Ji Hoon+A list OST. This is the reason why the drama has a big budget and sky high expectations. People were watching for the combination of these factors and not just for Jun Ji Hyun. Take away these factors and just keep Jun Ji Hyun then drama would not have even the ratings that it does.

    • But the record was broken for a TVN weekend drama. Hospital playlist S2 still holds the record overall for any cable drama. Also, why are u saying that jirisan was only hyped cause jjh’s name attached to it? It was heavily promoted, star writer, star director , great ost line up and what not. So it was only natural for the initial ratings to come out this good.
      And atleast shk this time tried to go with a non a lister . Meanwhile jjh doesn’t have confidence in her to hard carry a drama on her own without big names.

    • Jun Ji Hyun is a bonafide star and has strong charisma but it’s kind of delusional to say it was JJH star power that was responsible for Jirisan broke the record for TVN weekend premiere.

    • I don’t know how they’re going to make Jirisan interesting. There’s nothing much in the first (4)episodes, though the rating is still within certain range but it’s sloping down.

    • Its completely false to think that JJH is the reason Jirisan had high ratings for the 1st episode. Without a star writer and director JJH would never be agle to bring in high ratings on her name alone.

    • Uh, Jirisan was a highly anticipated work also because of KEH and LEB, and literally all the supporting cast are well known. Though I think after the mixed reactions, it’s probably JJH’s star power that’s contributing the most to its current ratings.

      Besides, no actor/actress can bring in ratings based on their name alone. A drama is a combined effort. Try to name one actor who can make a show popular even with a shit script and shit directing.

  12. Although jan ki young was mediocre,zero charisma and lack of present on screen. I like him because his face was natural without plastic monster like song kang.Song kang now getting more plastic surgery slowly became handsome squidward opps sorry.

    • Omg! You are sick! This article has nothing related to Song Kang but you still need to drag him down?!! Wtf did he do to you that make u hate him that much i wonder? Or u just cant accept the fact that he got more popular after all his projects? Seriously, live your life man!

  13. SHK is so consistent with her style of bland acting. Always emotionless, she doesn’t want to crease her beautiful face and delivers her lines like she just memorized them. Not so looking forward to future episodes.

  14. Watched the 1st epi of now we are breaking up because I really was excited for the drama given the big names and the genre itself is my guilty pleasure. But it’s such a badly done episode, I don’t know where to start. First off, the worst characterisation goes to choi hee soo character who comes across as really annoying and spoilt brat. I can’t take her seriously and her first impression is very off. Next is the lead herself, I mean we know it’s shk’s comeback and the show revolves around her but they didn’t need to show it Literally. Like cmon she’s everywhere, solving everything, managing everyone and also managed to fit in her one night stand to show off her character as some sort of character who is cold about love. This is all very cliched, and it’s okay, cliched can be directed well too. Cliched can be good too but this is very corny and poorly shown. The lolworthy moment of again projecting how great Female lead is to make JKY secretly hear how magnanimous she is and righteous she is and then getting him impressed. What year are we in ? 2002 ?? Lol please, can we have some maturity in direction. Looks like they are trying to make the characters behave as if they are in an american show. The heart of kdrama is missing.

    Next off is acting, Can someone pls tell shk that acting wooden and being sullen doesn’t define a cold character? She’s so boring to watch. Same with jky, I thought he’s charming but sorry he is too bland with his one toned expressions. Choi Hee soo is bad bad.

    I don’t have much expectations from the next episodes but I am going to give it a try till 5 episodes.

    • I agree with your comments Mira. As I’ve said before, I’m on the fence with with the new drama of SHK. It feels like encounter once again, but this time seems poorly written and directed. Although i like good styling in clothes, the plot of this drama anchored on a fashion industry makes it seem shallow and superficial.

      JKY is good to look at onscreen but is poor in acting skills and charisma. A veteran or mature actor probably could have made a difference. The second leads doesn’t bring something to the table either.

      The one night stand as first scenes in the first episode doesn’t make a good impression especially if it didnt connect well with the storyline. I may watch few episodes of this series prob after it is complete to see if the storyline would improve.

    • She is banking on her face and legendary reputation as a goddess.

      I agree with most comments here, the first episode of NWABU is boring. The acting is just so so bad. Everyone seems pantomiming.

      And SHK is just playing SHK. She appears to care more about looking pretty rather than emoting. JKY pretty much burnt whatever promise he showed in My Ajusshi.

      Have not checked Red Sleeves. Been burnt badly by Red Sky that I will need time to heal before diving into another sageuk.

      • I watched the first episode and she looks worn and tired, her age is catching up to her. She even tried speaking with as little facial movement as possible to avoid showing any lines on her face, but her smile lines are quite prominent.

  15. Well with today’s high standards in film, people are becoming less accepting of romance shows with a basic plot and just coasting on the actors’ popularity and looks. Other actresses have caught on to that and are branching out to other genres. I haven’t seen the show but it doesn’t sound like anything special.

  16. big fan of red sleeve! so excited for the next episodes. i really like junho and seyoung.

    shk and jky are gorgeous but there’s something wrong with the plot. can’t pinpoint it.

    i’m still liking jirisan even if it’s underwhelming. i don’t think jjh is that bad either. we’re probably just used to her funny roles but she’s still a good actress like in kingdom: aotn, and in her movies like assassination, berlin file, + others.

    • I never watched Jun ji Hyun before Jirisan and I think she acts quite well. If she doesn’t really emote I just think that that’s her character, who lost her parents at a young age. So she’s just like to be alone.
      Here in my country a quite popular drama Ig account made polling yesterday for current drama airing and Jirisan scored the highest.

  17. I kind of expected this when I watched the teasers. SHK is too focused on looking pretty and is scared of making large expressions. The funny thing is by doing this she actually ages herself. she wasn’t like this in the past. I feel like she’s been doing this weird wooden acting since That Winter and it only made sense in that drama because her character was blind. Compare her current acting to how lively she was in that drama with Hyunbin, she’s so lifeless now in comparison

  18. Well the ratings for the second episode of NWBU went up to 8.0 overall. Not extraordinary but it’s a promising start. SBS dramas don’t flop, but the way SHK’s acting has rapidly regressed, her days may be numbered. She’s 41 in Korean age and is still relying on SBS to save her reputation. We’ll see if the KES revenge drama brings out something untapped in her.

  19. the child actress and actors were the best in red sleeve and put the adults to shame ,mainly he adult female actress ,she is just terrible ,now were breaking up is just boring and bland .

  20. I agree with everyone, SHK’s acting has become so wooden. She wasn’t this bad in her earlier dramas. It’s so weird to me that she chooses to act with only one expression. It’s not even a nice expression, she looks like she’s constantly in pain lol. She really needs to act opposite actors with more experience to elevate her acting. JkY is still relatively new to acting and doesn’t have the skills needed to elevate her acting. I’m sure he’ll get there with more experience, not sure about her though. That’s why I can’t watch anything she’s in anymore!

  21. Kdrama stans always have sm to say about Park Shin Hye but keep their mouth shut about Shk who’s one of the worst actresses around. How is she still banking on her frozen face, mediaplay and public channel at this age?

  22. Of TaeHyeJi, only Kim Tae Hee seems like she has her priorities straight acting wise. I really respect her for taking a role like Hi Bye Mama instead of playing to boring type like the other two. Song Hye Kyo will probably be playing rich cougar roles into her 50s at this rate.

    • I don’t think this comment about SHK is necessary really. Let’s not try to say things like this. You’re human and actors/actresses are also humans. It’s quite offending really.
      NB: Not trying to belittle your opinion, I’m just saying. Actors/actresses put in a lot of hard work to bring a drama to life and I think we should be careful with the way we comment. The suicide rate in the K-ent industry has been on the high side lately. Just saying

      • Spot on. So many shallow minded people in this world. I hope these people know that to stand in front of the screen is not as easy as all their bitter comments here flows.

  23. JKY’s deadtone voice is irritating me. He sounds and looks exactly the same as a Gumiho with Hyeri. I found even Hyeri’s bad acting was better than JKY’s in that drama.. can’t stand to watch further with that tone of voice..

    Red Sleeve is funny. I like it a lot. FL and ML are all doing great, even if the portrayal of maids suspends beliefs.. the maids are living like princesses-in-waiting, more than palace maids.. haha. Other than the idealistic palace, the rest are well done.. the romance is at the funniest stage which is good.

  24. Shk is really showing her age in nwabu. She looks even older than lee young ae in inspector koo. That’s why I couldn’t buy her pairing with jky because aside from zero chemistry, they look too much like a sugar mommy-boytoy pairing to me.

    The drama might work better with a same age partner but then with the terrible and crappy acting shk is showing, maybe that’s not even enough.

  25. Song HyeKyo’s acting is like a stagnant water unable to pass through a very clear long narrow pipe. With over 25years experience in the kent industry but still unable to pullout an emotion and expression align with the character she play (which is obviously shown very much in her new drama). Disappointed on her comeback. From all the newbie kactresses that is coming out now with fire passion to be known as a good actress, I think she should better level up. The long years of her stay in kent industry and why she still quiet known up to this day is not solely because of the works she’s done but also because she contributed quiet a lot of scandals and controversies in her entire 25years career. Hope she can focus more in honing her acting skills because the audience now are more interested on the ability of an actor/actress to convey emotion and justice to their given role.I don’t think stiffness and plain flat line wooden acting are considered to be one of an emotional style.

  26. Song hye kyo get most success because her beauty not her acting skill.Knet mesmerized by her beauty but now she getting old and aging hard,she even doesnt try hard in last two drama.Always play same old character all over again.That’s why all of her movie flopep and never get blue dragon award nomination.

  27. I think people normally have high expectations of what it is to portray emotions as actor. The truth is we need to understand the character before we say the actor or actress isn’t portraying it well. Like seriously…but anyways everyone to their own opinion,I’ll keep watching because I like the feel of the drama.

  28. From what I see no actors or actresses are perfect. They’re all the same in acting. I have never seen any k-actors or actress did no flaws in their entire career. It all depends on the characters and scripts. So no point to downgrade anyone, unless you yourself can act better and prove it to the world. People tends to say he or she chooses to be a public figure so accept the criticism which i agree but all these comments are way beyond criticize someone’s acting. It’s a reason why so many Korean public figures suicide. Especially i don’t understand with the comparison between actresses and actors. So many toxic people in this world.

    • Viewers don’t have to act, do you usually tell people to try cooking better than the chef when judging a dish? Drama and acting are products that actors sell to audience, evaluation- positive or negative- naturally comes with that. Toxic positivity is worse than criticism actually, that’s why actors like SHK don’t grow at all and keep shoving their pathetic acting down the viewer’s throats. They earn millions from people but they can’t ve criticized when their product sucks? Do y’all think before you comment?

  29. Well the commenters here who mostly criticize her acting, OBJECTIVELY, I can say that maybe they have seen better. Am I right? Hihi. From their evaluation about the drama and her approach to her role, I am not expecting her to output an award winning acting. But as an audience/viewers I think I will very much appreciate if an actor/actress give also importance to IMPROVE and EVOLVE on his/her craft, right. Meaning the audience are looking and searching for VARIATIONS and TEXTURES from her acting. Given that nwbu is her comeback drama after almost 3 years hiatus, most of the audiences expect better, if not best, from her.

  30. Shk fans can criticize and talk trash about other actresses but can’t take it if the same is done to shk even if it’s TRUE!! Can any of her fans honestly say that her acting is best actress worthy? The bare mininum in acting is to EMOTE and she can’t even do that. She’s so lifeless.

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