Head Of MBC Choi Seung Ho Speaks Candidly About The State Of MBC And Possible Return Of “Infinite Challenge”
Choi Seung Ho, the head of MBC, spoke about changes at MBC, the importance of viewers, and the future of “Infinite Challenge.”
On September 3, Choi Seung Ho appeared on the Broadcast Day special “Viewers are the Owners” (literal title) and participated in a debate with 100 audience members who represented viewers.
In January, Choi Seung Ho emphasized that the only way to survive was to recover trust from viewers. He promised to invest in creating new content, restore current programs reporting on current affairs, and said he would try to make MBC a trustworthy program with the win-win cooperation from local, subsidiaries, and outsourced production companies.
On the changes in the last nine months, Choi Seung Ho said, “I will tell you about the internal conditions. Since the network was in a state where many MBC employees lost many opportunities to show their expertise, there were a few months of difficulty. Viewers may feel as if there are a small number of fun programs. We’re making bold investments in the opportunity to create freely and are making pilot programs, but they have not been successful enough.”
Out of 100 people who evaluated MBC’s programs reporting on current affairs, 52 people gave favorable ratings.
About this, Choi Seung Ho stated, “It makes me feel very apologetic. But in some way, it also means that half of the viewers are trusting us, so I think that gives us plenty of strength to get up and advance forward.” He reiterated, “It’s important to be consistent going forward.”
He also brought up how the viewers’ evaluations of programs reporting on current affairs such as “Straight,” “PD Notebook,” and “News Desk” have improved. He explained, “For a while, MBC was unable to do its job because it had to be conscious of the political powers. MBC, who previously couldn’t surveil and keep these powers in check, is working hard to change. So, I think there’s hope. It may be 52 percent now, but this number will go up from here on out.”
The viewers also voiced their opinions on whether or not MBC was reflecting the thoughts of its viewers. A man in his 40s said, “When I come home at night and watch TV while drinking soju, the drama that I watch is unfortunately not MBC’s. I would like you to create dramas with various topics and themes.”
Choi Seung Ho responded, “It’s taking some time to restore drama production. There are dramas being prepared right now such as ‘Terius Behind Me’ which So Ji Sub will appear in, and ‘Bad Papa’ which Jang Hyuk from ‘Money Flower‘ will appear in.”
He continued, “For the public broadcasting company MBC, there are limitations in creating content after receiving tens of billions of won in investment. There are institutional difficulties. We’re trying to do our best to show viewers good things by investing our available resources in content creation.”
As for MBC’s variety shows, Choi Seung Ho stated, “Variety programs such as ‘I Live Alone,’ and ‘Omniscient’ are receiving lots of love from viewers. ‘Dunia‘ doesn’t have high viewership ratings, but is attempting something experimental with a new format. Since it’s national television, it’s true that the producing directors (PD) feel a lot of pressure about trying new things. What I keep repeating after being appointed is, ‘Explore something new.’ I’m going to continue to give my support so that these kinds of programs can be created.”
A viewer then asked Choi Seung Ho if “Infinite Challenge” will return. “After I returned to MBC, I met with Kim Tae Ho PD and couldn’t help but let ‘Infinite Challenge’ rest although it was a very difficult decision for MBC,” he replied. “Kim Tae Ho PD will return to work soon. Whether he returns with ‘Infinite Challenge’ or a new program, is completely up to Kim Tae Ho PD.”