With its adorable and heartwarming storylines, not to mention engaging cast, Sungkyunkwan Scandal has attracted a mighty fanbase that belies its modest ratings numbers (although those have been steadily climbing as well). As a result, it has been flooded with fan requests for extensions, and even despite it being late in the game (with only this week and next week remaining), producers have also spoken up to say that they’d be eager for one as well.
First off, the caveat: Don’t get your hopes up. We can hope, but I don’t think an extension is forthcoming with the obstacles it would have to overcome in a very short period of time.
With that said…
To compare the fan fervor of Sungkyunkwan Scandal to other popular dramas, the source article compares the online activity from the first 16 episodes (which is what Sungkyunkwan had aired as of the article’s publish date) of various dramas. Sungkyunkwan’s official homepage message board has more than 120,000 messages posted by fans, which is triple the response of Chuno, four times as many as Baker King Kim Tak-gu, and twice as many as IRIS.
Additionally, the drama’s board at popular portal DC Inside has 160,000 messages. It is DC Inside’s second-most-active drama board, next to uber-hit Boys Before Flowers.
It’s interesting to note that those other dramas all hit 30% ratings (with Baker King topping 40%), while Sungkyunkwan started off at a modest 6.3% and has steadily risen to its highest number last Tuesday, 14.3%. (It was aided by the departure of long-running Dong Yi.)
The fans who are eager for more of their drama crack point out that the love story between Yoon-hee (Park Min-young) and Sun-joon (Micky Yoochun), with only three episodes left after today’s broadcast.
The CEO of production house Lemon Rain, Kim Dong-rae, said, “It’s a story that can easily be extended, by ten episodes or any number. Even in this situation, we could add another four. We’d like to do it, if only the actors would agree, but it’s difficult because if the production period goes on for longer than planned, it interferes with their schedules.” He added that it’s disappointing to end it this way.
What would he like to do in the hypothetical situation of an extension?
Kim said, “We would be able to get deeper into the emotions of Moon Jae-shin (Yoo Ah-in), and expand on Lee Sun-joon and Kim Yoon-hee’s story. Aside from the love story, there’s a lot of plot about the academic angle. There’s so many good stories to tell that I’m sure we could really make a great drama, but realistic conditions aren’t supportive.”
The difference between extending a drama like Dong Yi and Sungkyunkwan Scandal is because the former is longer-running, has sufficient time to establish its presence, and consequently draws in enough advertising money that the stations are eager to capitalize upon. Miniseries, however (20 episodes or less), often find themselves hurting financially with extensions, and production companies are less likely to move forward with them. (Plus, despite the show’s online popularity, mid-teen ratings are usually not considered high enough to be worth the broadcaster’s while.)
This is why it’s unusual for Sungkyunkwan’s producers to be so willing to take that financial risk, and to declare themselves ready to forge forward with full confidence.
The sticking point remains the cast, and in particular lead actor Micky Yoochun, who is about to embark on an Asian tour with his pop group JYJ. Initially the drama was scheduled to conclude filming at the end of September, but that has already been pushed back once and conflicted with his schedule.
A few more statistics that attest to the drama’s popularity (as if we didn’t already know): The OST has sold over 120,000 albums, and the episodes have been seen online from KBS’s homepage 190,000 times (compared with Chuno’s 150,000 and Baker King’s 130,000).
Via Yonhap News