[ENTERTAINMENT]Big Stars Making Move to the Small ScreenIn the Korean entertainment industry, there are two separate worlds － television and movies. The two fields are not considered equally fulfilling to the performer. Rather, television is merely a stepping stone to the movie industry, where glory, wealth and fame await.
The one thing that well-received Korean movie stars share in common is that they all started from TV dramas. One of the first signs that they have made it to the big time is when they are offered a major role in a movie. After an offer is made, most actors or actresses feel comfortable in their new venue and never hesitate to leave television behind for good.
Once those actors and actresses cross this Rubicon, they rarely come back. The famed actresses Jeon Do-yeon and Koh So-young, have both kept their distance from TV dramas, though their first breakthroughs were in roles in TV dramas.
No one can really blame movie star-hopefuls, however, since a career in film guarantees a far more lucrative salary with extra zeroes on paychecks and a shot at international recognition through events such as Cannes. Still, for TV drama directors, this phenomenon is a massive headache. Casting manager Kim Ho-woong of the Lee Gwan-hee Production, one of the major companies involved in filming TV dramas, remarked, "It's hard for us to cast big stars, because they consider TV dramas to be tougher work and less rewarding."
Recently, there have been several stunning exceptions to the trend. The Korea Broadcasting System (KBS) set a new high in TV ratings earlier this year when it accomplished the unthinkable and persuaded Lee Mi-yeon － one of Korea's hottest movie actresses － to star in the historical drama "Myeongseong Hwanghu" ("The Last Empress"). The show is currently being aired on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m.
Viewers were shocked later to discover that KBS guaranteed Lee 7 million won ($5,410) per 60-minute episode, according to Lee's spokesperson Song Dae-hyeon. Considering that the maximum salary for starring in one episode for KBS was previously 2 million won, this is an astronomical amount.
Kang Su-yeon is a movie star who won Best Actress awards at both the Venice and Moscow Film Festivals. Like her predecessors, she made her debut in TV dramas, but kept her distance from television after her first film appearance. Recently, she accepted an offer to star in "Yeo-in Cheonha" ("Women Who Rule Over the World"), currently being aired by the Seoul Broadcasting System on Mondays and Tuesdays at 10 p.m. Though Kang also commands a huge salary from the TV station, many viewers feel that Lee and Kang are not performing up to par. It goes without saying that movie stars should be in top form regardless of where they work.
by Chun Su-jin