SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Korea Bizwire) – The year 2015 has been a dream year for Na Young-seok, a South Korean variety show producer who drove five programs to the top of viewership rankings in a year.
Na was behind three seasons of the popular cooking show “Three Meals a Day,” which grabbed the attention of more than 10 percent of the TV watching population in South Korea. And the third season of “Grandpa over Flowers,” a reality travel show featuring celebrities whose average age is above 70, finished with a viewing rate of 9.5 percent.
In September, he ventured into the unchartered territory of online variety programs with “New Journey to the West,” which reunites the comedy quartet from season one of the KBS variety show “2 Days & 1 Night.”
Na, however, denied talent being the only success factor. He said flexible programming at tvN, a cable channel he’s worked for since leaving KBS three years ago, has allowed him greater creative freedom.
“Frankly, Korean entertainment programs are short-sighted in that they only stop when they run out of ideas,” he told Yonhap News Agency in a recent interview. “They peter out, and no matter how successful they were at one point, producers are labeled failures in the end.”
To prevent such endings, Na said it is “extremely necessary” to program variety shows in seasons.
“It’s really difficult to come up with new ideas every time for a show,” he said. “Seasonal programming allows the producing staff to take a break and come back with an even better program that has greater added value.”
Na also shook off concerns that less people are tuning into entertainment programs than before.
“In the past, all networks produced the same, narrow range of programs — if one network created a group dating show, other networks copied it,” he said. “But now, more networks are coming up with niche programs, giving viewers more choices, so I don’t think a drop in viewership is an actual threat. It’s only natural because there is a wider range of programs.”