Cable network tvN’s Monday-Tuesday drama “Basketball” will finish its run earlier than expected in December.
A tvN representative stated that “Basketball” was originally slated to have 24 episodes, but it seems that it has been cut down to 18 episodes, and will air its final episode on December 17. The production team recently decided on this change, and is reshooting the final episodes with some revisions.
However, there has been denial of an early end to the series by another party, who stated, “Basketball was initially planned for 18 episodes before independence, and 6 episodes after. However, we decided that there was too much content after independence to be squeezed into 6 episodes, so for the sake of completeness, we decided to end the drama at 18 episodes. We are waiting to see the response to decide on a second season.”
“Basketball” was intended to be tvN’s 7th anniversary project, and had garnered a lot of attention before it began broadcasting. The drama is PD Kwak Jung Hwan’s (“The Fugitive: Plan B,” “Chuno”) comeback project after two years, having left KBS. The drama completed the cast five months before broadcast, and pre-produced about half of the drama, shooting in various locations across the country.
Seeking both cinematic quality and popularity, the drama received wholehearted support from the network to make a blockbuster-type drama.
However, viewers seem to be unable to identify with the period setting of the drama, stretching from the Japanese colonial era to independence, integrated with the theme of basketball.
The drama has also been criticized for not being catered to tvN’s primarily 20-something audience, used to trendy dramas such as “I Need Romance,” “Nine,” “Rude Miss Young-Ae,” and “Answer Me 1994.” Its 10pm airing time also means it goes head-to-head against dramas by terrestrial broadcasters.
“Basketball” took the opportunity to premiere on October 21, during a period where the three terrestrial networks were having a ratings slump in the Monday-Tuesday timeslot. However, MBC’s “Empress Ki” quickly caught up, and now has a solid hold on the ratings game, making capturing a niche market a failed strategy.
tvN’s “I Need Romance” Season 3 is expected to follow after “Basketball” finishes airing.