“Road To Kingdom” CP Talks About Most Impressive Performances, Thoughts On Low Ratings, “Kingdom” Casting, And More
Following the recent end of “Road to Kingdom,” chief producer (CP) Park Chan Wook sat down with the press for an interview about the show and the upcoming sequel “Kingdom.”
Park Chan Wook said that while the viewership ratings for “Road to Kingdom” had been low, it achieved its goal of shedding a new light on talented boy groups. He went on to share his thoughts on the difference between the ratings for “Road to Kingdom” and last year’s program “Queendom.”
“The viewership ratings were disappointing in part, but the first ratings still came in a bit higher than ‘Queendom,'” he said. “I thought that when the performances were shown in the second episode, the ratings would go up. However, it seems like there was a fairly low level of interest from male viewers because they were boy groups. I think we had an equal number of female and male viewers for ‘Queendom,’ but ‘Road to Kingdom’ was a bit disappointing because the viewership ratings weren’t very high compared to the level of buzz around the show.”
Park Chan Wook also expressed his gratitude to all the contestants. He shared that he’d told eliminated groups Golden Child and TOO that they had no need to feel down since their elimination wasn’t because they didn’t do as well as the others. “I told them that they’ll do better because a new light was shed on their talents through these performances, and I suggested that we meet often at Mnet,” he said.
The Boyz ended up winning the show, earning a ticket to the sequel “Kingdom.” When asked if he predicted their win, Park Chan Wook said he’d thought it was possible that they’d win since they were just as talented as the other groups.
“I couldn’t have expected during the casting stage that they’d win with such an overwhelming lead in points,” he said. “On stage, The Boyz showed great dance performances that were advanced to the level of martial art and are capable only by professional dancers.”
When asked who he thinks benefited the most from the show, Park Chan Wook said that while The Boyz was the actual winner, runner-up ONF seems to have benefited the most.
“They had never entered Melon’s Top 100 after their debut, but they took No. 98 with their final competition song,” he said. “In the last week, they were No. 4 on the boy group brand reputation ranking. I’ve heard that their fandom also grew a lot. When I consider these various results, I think they probably benefited the most.”
Park Chan Wook also shared his sadness over PENTAGON being unable to make “Kingdom.”
“They are very talented, and they’re a perfect team when it comes to lyric writing, composing, and performance capability,” he said. “They’re a great group that does almost all of the production for their performances themselves, but they weren’t able to make it to ‘Kingdom,’ so I’m sad and it’s such a shame. The Boyz was also very cool, but I think I feel a lot of sadness about PENTAGON.” He shared his gratitude to PENTAGON for coming on the show after getting through a lot of emotional ups and downs and deciding to really work hard on it.
When asked what performance impressed him the most as a producer, Park Chan Wook said, “The Boyz’s ‘Checkmate’ and ONF’s ‘New World’ performances were excellent too, but the most impressive performance for me was ONF’s ‘It’s Raining.’ I think it was the coolest performance when it came to the story of it. I was very impressed by how they used just a moving curtain in their performance as they expressed going into a dream and returning to reality. It was also quite memorable because the arrangement was very well done.”
He continued, “‘Road to Kingdom’ has ended but the seven groups will continue to put on great performances, so I hope that everyone will continue to pay a lot of attention to K-pop groups, particularly the ones that were on the show. I hope that the teams continue to walk on a golden path.”
Park Chan Wook and the production team are working on the lineup for “Kingdom” and he shared that while there is no concrete schedule yet, they plan that it will air in the second half of the year.
Many fans have been wondering and speculating about which male groups will be taking part in the new show. Park Chan Wook said, “We’re working hard at preparing for casting. That’s all I can say. When we did ‘Road to Kingdom,’ there were too many reveals about the lineup in advance. We’re going to be more cautious about our preparations this time.”
When asked what the criteria will be for casting artists for “Kingdom,” the CP said, “The casting criteria for ‘Queendom’ was girl groups that had won first place on a music show. I think we’ll keep that criteria for ‘Kingdom’ too. I think we’ll cast boy groups that have won first place on a music show.”
“Road to Kingdom” started out with seven teams, and groups Golden Child and TOO were eliminated on the way so that only five teams competed in the live finale. Some viewers questioned whether there’s really a need for the show to have eliminations.
In response, Park Chan Wook said, “I’m aware that some people reacted by saying they didn’t understand why people were eliminated when they were working so hard. It was so that they would focus more on their performance. We added the elimination system as a way to encourage them to work harder at their performance with a feeling of desperation, however even apart from the elimination system, all the contestants worked very hard. It’s something that I’ve put a lot of thought into.” He added, “I think that I need to consider more over whether or not we need to have an elimination system in ‘Kingdom.'”
Who are you hoping to see on “Kingdom”?