South Korean drama gets prime time treatment

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    In an earlier post, I mentioned that a Korean TV drama partially filmed in Japan was drawing lots of South Korean tourists to Akita. Now it seems that Japanese TV network TBS will be airing that drama in its normal prime time schedule, something that rarely happens with foreign programs:

    “IRIS,” a spy drama featuring hunky actor Lee Byung Hun that pulled average ratings of about 30 percent when it aired in South Korea, is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on TBS for about six months. A TBS spokesman said the broadcaster has been planning to air this drama in prime time for five years and invested in its production. The company will not stress its Korean origin and is targeting a broader audience than the middle-aged women who make up the bulk of viewers of South Korean dramas.

    Considering the drop-off in the number of people signing up for tours to visit locations in South Korea where popular dramas and movies were filmed, some think the South Korean boom in Japan is over. However, many South Korean dramas are still being aired. In the week from Feb. 14 to 20, five South Korean dramas aired on seven terrestrial channels, and 36 such programs were offered on 11 satellite digital channels, not including the Star Channel movie channels. They are also popular fare on local TV stations.

    Here’s an English-subbed trailer for the drama:

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