The Dilemma of MBC "Survival: I Am a Singer": Variety or Music Show?


Bringing together some of Korea’s most talented vocalists and churning out incredible performances week after week, MBC’s “Survival: I Am a Singer” has enjoyed immense popularity since its debut last March. But after a run of six months, the producers are now finding themselves at an impasse and there is concern about the future direction of the show.

PD Shin Jung Soo said, “Is ‘Survival: I Am a Singer’ a variety program or music program? Honestly, that’s been a concern since the very beginning of this show.”

“Should I say that ‘Survival: I Am a Singer’ is a music program in the guise of a variety show? It is clearly a variety show, but those who like ‘Survival: I Am a Singer’ truthfully like it because it contains elements of a music program. That’s why it’s even more of a problem. I think there needs to be a change.”

And the first step they’ve taken to revamp the show is by bringing in Yoon Jong Shin as the new MC. Not only does he have the talent and credentials as an artist to take part in the program, but he also has plenty of experience in variety, being the MC of shows such as Mnet’s ‘The Beatles Code’ and MBC’s ‘Radio Star’.

PD Shin Jung Soo said, “Yoon Jong Shin is perfectly suited to be the MC of a show like ‘Survival: I Am a Singer’ that is both a music and variety show.”

Hopefully these changes bode well for the future of the show. Recently, the ratings of ‘Survival: I Am a Singer’ have sharply declined and this past Sunday, according to AGB Nielsen ratings, they hit an all-time low with ratings of a mere 9.7%, which is in stark contrast to that of their main competitor, KBS “1 Day 2 Nights,” whose ratings went up from the previous week to 18.9%.

It’s clear that changes need to be made in order for “Survival: I Am a Singer” to stay in the competition in Sunday night variety programs, but it remains to be seen what major changes, if any, MBC is going to make.

Currently, the line-up of “Survival: I Am a Singer” consists of Jo Gwan Woo, Jang Hye Jin, Kim Jo Han, Jaurim, In Sooni, Bobby Kim, and Yoon Min Soo.