Netflix Korea to add four original variety shows to its repertoire this year
Netflix Korea is planning to launch four original variety shows in the latter half of this year and will more actively pursue creating unscripted content for diversification.
Netflix, which was launched in Korea in 2016, has made more than 80 shows and films, becoming the streaming platform’s own leading figure with a series of global hits such as the “Kingdom” (2019-) series, “Hellbound” (2021), “Squid Game” (2021) and “All of Us Are Dead” (2022).
Among the platform's original series, non-scripted content such as variety and reality shows seem to have been pushed to the sidelines, with Netflix having released only such six shows since its first reality program “Busted” in 2018. The other five are “New World” (2021), “The Hungry and the Hairy” (2021), “Paik’s Spirit” (2021), “Single’s Inferno” (2021) and “Celeb Five: Behind the Curtain” (2022).
Among them, the hit dating series “Single’s Inferno” is evaluated to be one of the most successful Korean-language reality shows on the platform, having remained on the platform’s Global Top 10 chart in the non-English TV shows category for 41 days.
According to Netflix Korea’s content manager Yoo Ki-hwan, the platform has only taken “baby steps” in its non-scripted content and will focus on periodically launching a show every one or two months for the rest of this year.
“We are setting the lineup to launch a variety of original reality content from the second half of 2022,” Yoo said at a press event held at Community House Masil in central Seoul on Tuesday. “We are aware that when people think of Netflix Korea, non-scripted content is not the first to pop up in their mind. However, it’s not because we believe they don’t have any potential, we just started them later compared to drama series. Of course, variety shows take up a huge portion of the local entertainment industry, and our strategy follows that. There’s no reason why we should be shying away from variety shows, and we’re just in the beginning stages and will continue to persistently invest in original shows as we did with our drama series.”
Four variety shows currently in the line-up are: “Take 1,” the first-ever Netflix original music reality show featuring famous music acts such as Yim Jae-beom, You Hee-yul, Park Jung-hyun, Rain, AKMU, Mamamoo and soprano Sumi Jo; “Korea No. 1” featuring Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Kwang-soo and Korean volleyball legend Kim Yeon-koung traveling around the country to interview and experience artisans and their crafts; “Physical:100,” a survival competition show which gathered 100 confident men and women to compete to see who is the most physically fit; and the second season of “Single’s Inferno,” which will have a new batch of attractive, single men and women who try to find love on a deserted island.
Specific dates as to when the shows will be launched have not been revealed yet.
“Our standard for creating reality shows is always based on Korean viewers,” Yoo emphasized. “We front the slogan of ‘local first.’ If it goes viral or is beloved by the local audience, then we consider it a success. We do not ever consider a show a failure if it doesn’t appeal to overseas or because it doesn’t make it on the Global Top 10 chart.”
BY LEE JAE-LIM [firstname.lastname@example.org]