Monday from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. has been considered the primetime slot for TV series for decades. However, the fiscal deficit had led the top three major broadcasters' decision to let go of primetime series production to find alternative programs to lessen their financial burden.
MBC was the first to announce the plan to scrap TV series for the Monday and Tuesday primetime slots. Its first attempt to avoid the primetime TV series competition came with adjusting the TV listings and airing their drama an hour before the regular time slot, starting in May. The investigative journalism program "Straight," and "Truestory" has been replacing the weekend 11 p.m. time slot.
Last month, the network revealed that it will no longer air TV dramas on Mondays and Tuesdays, ending with the drama "Welcome 2 Life," which started to air Monday.
SBS also has been taking a break from drama production for a while since the drama "The Secret Life of My Secretary" ended in June. Starting next Monday, it will be airing "Little Forest" for the next two months over the summer.
KBS has joined the other two networks and will cancel out schedules for Mondays and Tuesday dramas from December this year. The network is currently airing a romantic comedy "I Wanna Hear Your Song" during the time slot and is scheduled to air "Mung Bean Chronicles" in September. However, it did not fix any production schedule for a follow-up drama after the last one wraps up in November.
"Cancelling TV series has not been finalized and is yet be determined," said KBS. "We are in talks to postpone schedules for TV series production from this December to February next year."
The decision to cut down on TV series production comes from the networks attempt to survive through the enormous financial deficits they are facing.
KBS has been suffering from profit losses since last year. Its operating loss was recorded as 58.5 billion won ($48 million) last year and is estimated to increase this year. In response to cope with the loss, it formed a task force and created a management plan report. It projected a deficit totaling 102 billion won ($ 84 million) for this year and accumulated deficit at over 400 billion won within four years.
The operating loss for MBC last year was 123.7 billion won ($102 million) which is 80.6 billion won ($ 66 million) higher than the previous year.
SBS's financial status seems a little more optimistic than the other two, with no deficit. However, it is also facing a decrease in the operating margin every year, leading it to pursue alternative ways to draw more viewership.
Rather disappointing performances of major networks' dramas ― failing to score two-digit viewership ratings ― seemed to increase the burden on the networks and led to drama production budgets being cut. MBC's latest Monday and Tuesday drama "Partners for Justice 2" ended at 9.9 percent with KBS's latest drama "Perfume" being 5.9 percent, and SBS's "The Secret Life of My Secretary" being 4.6 percent.
Really surprised, but I feel like the cable shows have been doing well over the networks' shows over the past few years.
source: The Korea Times