Monday, December 10, 2012

The Wrath of the MBC Axe

There will come days in a K-drama fan's career where crazy things just happen. It's part of life. And lucky for you, and me, we get to see another psychotic situation happening just across our drama screens. It created quite a fuss and I think it'll be fun to talk about it here. It's none other than the axing of a few MBC shows that sent shockwaves across the world. Not really. But it's pretty crazy.

It started with a little daily drama called What is Mom?. Daily dramas, or sitcoms if you want to call it that, isn't typically a very popular programming among all the shows on broadcast. Minus a few popular ones, like the High Kick or the Nonstop series, there isn't really that many groundbreaking daily dramas. Or any at all, period. I for one have never really watched a complete episode because one, too many characters, two, too many episodes, and three, sucky sets. An added bonus is its slower pace. And weird acting. Most of the daily drama viewers are the homemakers and people who like to have background TV noise. Like I sometimes like to do. Except I don't have Korean sitcoms readily available on my TV set.

Now, daily dramas isn't as horrible as it sounds. It's a relatively stable programming in terms of viewership. It's easier to follow and doesn't usually give anyone a heart attack. The stories are more realistic and grounded.

Back to What is Mom?. Apparently MBC decided to chop it off the air just under two months of airing. Not only that, MBC didn't even bother to tell the production crew about their abrupt decision and just told them to wrap up the show within a week. If you don't think that's crazy enough, MBC also decided to forgo their entire daily drama slot, substituting it for a news section.

The madness does not end there. There is Come to Play, an studio-interview style show. Apparently this show has been airing for the past nine years, with Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Won-hee taking the reins with the help of their co-hosts. Or supporters. Or whatever you want to call them. Interview shows are different than the ones in the states. For one, Korea doesn't have an Oprah. Or an Anderson. Or an Ellen. Or any of those super late night talk shows. One whole hour of show is also usually dedicated to one star only, or a few in shows like Happy Together. Or Come to Play, actually.

Treading off again. Sorry guys. Okay, so the bad news is Come to Play is coming to an end. But not just a farewell, but an abrupt shoo away. Come to Play is now finished. It's gone. And the cast and crew doesn't even get their final goodbyes.

There's also the show I Am Singer 2 who is also getting the axe, but apparently they received a warning months prior. That may or may not be true, but let's just pretend it is.

Now, chopping shows off air is very typical in the entertainment industry. Korea, oddly, doesn't do this as often as the States but then again the US is a bigger country with more production companies. And they're more cold hearted? I don't know. But this move from MBC is pretty, how should I put this, radical? Crazy? Batshit?

It's definitely getting bad rep among the Korean netizens. Most of the time, netizens are whiny babies that wants everything to go their way. But there will be times when the topic is so controversial that the poles are visible and clearly, the netizens can be right. And I have to say for this one instance, they are.

Apparently MBC is doing all this cut because they want to start the year freshly anew. They want to get rid of dead weights and start the new year with newly washed, fluffy hair.

But dead weights or not, these people (the production crew) are still people. They need to get a heads up before getting chopped. Even inmates on the death row is told when they'll die. Hell, they even get a last meal, for goodness sakes. MBC is basically treating the production crew worst than criminals on a death sentence. Okay, they probably don't feed them cold grits or whatever they serve in prison, but you get the gist.

What's worse is that this whole thing seems like an impulse move. MBC apparently has no programs following their cut programs. At least for What is Mom?. I'm starting to think MBC is run by hormonal teenagers who can't make up their minds. Come on now, you're running one of the three big channels on air right now. There's no room stupid decisions. I guess there always will be, but definitely not a stupid decision without a plan B. Everyone needs a plan B. Especially big corporations.

So maybe the director of MBC has some hard core insight for the upcoming year. Okay. 2013 better be a kick ass year for MBC or just say goodbye to your cushy rolling chair. But really, respect the poor crew. Tell them that they need to wrap up their show with a neat bow, not some cheap duct tape. Let them exit with grace. Or you, director of MBC, might fall out of grace.

What do you guys think? Do you think MBC just made the worst decision of 2012 or are they just pure asses? That was not a leading question at all. No no.

Source: 1, 2, 3


  1. Yes.. sadly, entertainment is still in the business of money, aka - sometimes doing whatever the hell they want. I wonder how much of this is an 'image' thing, getting rid of the boring/bland/overdone sitcoms and talk shows. Or if they're just trying to target new audiences with something entirely different. It'll be interesting to see what they fill the holes with, if all this doesn't backfire on them like it's currently doing..

    1. I'm okay with channels, or anyone really, trying to freshen up their image or to target a new audience. It's part of the job. Shows get canceled every week worldwide and it's only because it's the way these people play. But what I'm most concerned is their brash approach. Especially since they don't even have a solid plan as to what program will follow. It's like one day an exec said "hey, let's totally change our style and cut out the shows that suck" without having a reason or rhyme.

      At this point they are changing their image but I doubt it's for the best.