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February 14, 2017


Actresses to show their bare faces in 'Guesthouse Daughters' 


By Park Jin-hai The Korea Times



Lee Mi-suk poses at the press conference for "Guesthouse Daughters," Tuesday. / Yonhap


What would it be like if popular actresses showed their faces without make-up and revealed their daily lives?


Viewers are about to find out.


"Guesthouse Daughters," a new reality show on KBS, which premieres Tuesday, features veteran actresses Lee Mi-suk, Park Si-yeon, Jang Shin-young, Lee Da-hae and Yoon Soy and male entertainers Park Soo-hong and Lee Su-geun.


The show will present daily life involving Lee Mi-suk, a guesthouse owner and mother of four daughters, her son, played by Lee Su-geun, and Park Soo-hong, who lives in the house. It is expected to reveal the actresses talking straight with their faces free of make-up.


"The most often asked question has been if it is a drama or a sitcom," the show's producer Jung Hee-seop said during a media event at the broadcaster's headquarters in Seoul Tuesday. "I guess it was because actresses make up the majority of the cast members. I wanted to show that actresses cannot only do well on variety shows, but also can be funnier than any other entertainers."


He said since actresses tend to avoid realty shows to protect their images, he used the word "high-quality boutique talk show" to entice them.


Lee Mi-suk said she has always had a great interest in appearing on variety shows, but a reality show has been a challenge. "The fear of showing myself, oftentimes not with my best looks, makes it difficult for actresses to accept the offer to appear on realty shows," she said. "After my long career, I thought that it is another genre that I can challenge. These days, hiding from the public eye is not considered a virtue. Before it is too late, I made up my mind to challenge this new genre."


Since actresses are accustomed to following scripts, Lee said how they react when they are ordered to "have it their own way" will attract viewers. "The way of living life is not different," she said. "But we are the ones whose lives have been wrapped in pretty packages. When those packages are unwrapped, revealing what is inside will be fresh and funny for the viewers, I think."



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December 28, 2017


'Money Flower': why same old stories keep viewers turning in


By Kang Hyun-kyung The Korea Times



"There're people out there who say money is nothing but a tool, and they even say they hate the super rich. I bet they wouldn't say that if they were rich. Hypocrites! They hate rich people because they are jealous of them. They're disgusting."


In episode 3 of the popular TV series "Money Flower," soft-spoken Lee Mi-sook, who plays Jang Mal-ran, widow of the first son of Cheong-A Group founder Jang Kook-whan, drops this sarcastic remark. She was speaking about the girl her son is dating ? the daughter of a leading presidential candidate ? in a conversation with her mentor, Jang Hyuk who plays corporate lawyer Kang Pil-joo.


The corporate lawyer briefed Lee about the developments of the marriage of convenience the super rich family has been pushing for to benefit their business in the future.


TV critic Jung Duk-hyun describes "Money Flower" as a cliche but high-end drama. "It's a cliche because the TV series deals with old topics such as money, infighting inside a super rich family to gain control of a company, and revenge. These are all too familiar with viewers because there were so many dramas with similar topics in the past," he said. "But at the same time, ‘Money Flower' is a high-end TV show because such topics are well processed and make it strong enough to appeal to prime time TV viewers."


As the title of the TV series indicates, "Money Flower" is about super rich people chasing money to meet their endless greed to gain more and become richer. It depicts their frustration as well, while pursuing their goal to take over a business empire. Italso a revenge drama. Corporate lawyer Kang, who Jang believes is her henchman, turns out to be her enemy. He was born out of wedlock and his father is Jang's husband, the Cheong-A Group founder's first son who died three decades earlier.


"Money Flower" is one of the top-ranked TV shows in terms of viewer ratings. Nielsen Survey found its viewer ratings hit 16.5 percent last Saturday when episode 14 aired. The viewer rating soared in the last two weeks.


Jung said the TV series struck a chord with MBC's traditional viewers? the older generation who watch dramas only on TV. Unlike younger viewers, people in their 40s or older are the viewers watching dramas on TV without using digital devices such as computers or phones. These viewers are passive, conservative and accustomed to traditional stories about money, revenge and infighting.


"The younger generation is different," Jung said. "They are tech-savvy viewers. They watch dramas and reality shows through various digital devices and they choose what to see. They download programs and watch them on their computers or mobile devices. They are active viewers and they explore various cable networks to find programs to suit their tastes."


"Money Flower" defies the success formula for a TV series. According to popular beliefs about what it takes to make a top-rated TV show, fresh faces, innovative storylines and genre matter. 


Although "Money Flower" repeats the same old topics that have been recycled for decades, it still captivates viewers. Topics like super rich people chasing money, power struggles within the owner family of a business empire and conspiracies to rise to the top are all too familiar. But the same old stories still keep viewers tuning in.


Kwak Dae-kyung, a professor of sociology at Dongguk University, said the TV series appears to benefit from its title. "I think it's fair to say one way or another, the word money in the title helps draw attention because people crave money. Some are stressed out because of money and some are dying for it. Some are eager to increase their wealth," he said. "The drama could have sounded negative if the title only had money because one can easily think of it as something related to materialism. But Money Flower doesn't quite sound as such because the other word flower kind of dilutes such a materialistic image."


Kwak, however, noted the title itself, of course, is not all the sole reason behind the success of the TV series. Gripping stories and charismatic veteran actors and actresses are some of the strengths of the drama, according to him.


The sociologist said a solid storyline helps viewers feel those stories are plausible and realistic and veteran actors' and actresses' intriguing performances also elevated their show to a premium prime time drama.


He said actors and actresses play a larger role to determine the fate of TV shows.


Some viewers praise veteran actress Lee for her ability to find surprising depth in the screenplay and her keen insight into her role.


Rho Eun-kyung, a housewife and avid viewer of the drama, said she likes the female lead.


"I used to not be a drama fan. I watched some of them but was rarely drawn into them," Rho said. "But Money Flower is different. It makes sense and I like the female lead because she is charismatic and makes me feel she is real."


In the drama, Lee's character is an ambitious woman craving money, even though she is already rich. She is anxious to take over the business empire established by her uneducated, self-made father-in-law and grooms her son to be the successor of the group once her father-in-law dies. 


She is pushing for a marriage of convenience to help her son take over the business. Her father-in-law, who is the founder of Cheong-A Group, is a self-centered, brutal, calculative old man. He lets his two grandsons? Lee's son and her nephew born from the founder's younger son? compete to rise to the top of the business empire. The survival of the fittest competition continues between the two cousins.


Internet user Kim Su-han wrote the TV series has twists and turns and this adds to fun. "I was drawn to the drama because it's thrilling," he wrote on social media. Another internet user nett**** wrote she feels like time stops when she watches the TV series. Internet user nada**** wrote the drama is "breathtaking."



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February 12, 2019


'Five Actors' aims to narrow generation gap


Cast members of MBN's reality show "The Five Actors" gesture during a news conference to preview the show at the Imperial Palace Hotel in southern Seoul. Courtesy of MBN

Veteran actors explore hit trends


By Kang Aa-young The Korea Times


It's not easy for a reality show to combine comedy and heart-warming elements. 


But this is not so for MBN's new reality show "The Five Actors." The show proves that fun and emotion can go together. 


The show started off with an impressive 3.5 percent of viewership, according to Nielsen Korea, as its first episode aired on Thursday night.


This is not a surprise considering that even prior to the premiere; the show had drawn much attention mainly because of the cast members. Some of them are highly sought-after actors. 


The new show, starring Kim Yong-gun, Park Jung-soo, Lee Mi-sook, Jeong Young-ju and Nam Sang-mi, started out with raising a simple question: What if veteran actors emulate the latest trends that are popular among young hipsters?


In the reality show, the senior actors try something new in vogue among the younger generation to understand what caused them to have fun with it and put themselves in the younger generation's shoes. 


In the first episode, the cast members explore internet cafes and virtual reality game rooms.

Director Kim Si-joong said he and the cast members just wanted to show the cast trying new things, with hopes to bridge a generation gap. 


During a news conference at the Imperial Palace Hotel in southern Seoul on Thursday, Kim said his teenage son inspired him to come up with the idea of the show. His son asked the director if he knew new slang terms he mentioned. "I had no clue," he said, adding he felt left out. 


"I used to lead the trends, when I was young, as part of generation X. Then I came up with this idea for the show. We just thought it might be interesting if the veteran actors and actresses tryout new hipster fads," Kim said. 


Kim said he hopes the show will grab both present and past generations. 


"I hope families can watch the show together, bridging the generation gap," he said. 

Though the cast members were not familiar with some newly introduced latest trend, they shone as trend leaders in the past, Kim explained. 


With seasoned actor and actresses, the show also put the spotlight on their "raw" experiences. 


For Nam Sang-mi who's best known for her role in mystery thriller series "Let Me Introduce Her," it's the first time to reveal her real life. 


"I hope the audiences can see us differently from our roles on TV and films," Nam said. 

"We thought our task is to bridge the gap between generations," Kim added. 


Aiming to bridge the generation gap with a comical twist, the reality show won on both counts, while also invoking a great deal of laughs. 


"The Five Actors" airs on Thursday at 9:40 p.m.


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March 22, 2019


Lee Mi Sook Responds To Reports Of Her Involvement In Late Jang Ja Yeon’s Case


Source: Soompi by D. S.kim


On March 22, Lee Mi Sook officially responded to reports that suspected her of being directly involved in the death of the late actress Jang Ja Yeon.


The following is the full statement from Lee Mi Sook:


Hello, this is Lee Mi Sook.


First, I apologize for causing many people to worry due to unfortunate events. I would like to carefully deliver my statement regarding reports of [my involvement in the case of] the late Jang Ja Yeon.


I was being careful because I worried that each and every word I speak about the rookie actress, who faced a tragic death at such an early age, would be distorted and edited to be taken in as gossip instead of being used to reveal the truth.


I also think that the death of the late actress Jang Ja Yeon is unfortunate. I am willing to undergo additional questioning if it’s needed in the process of revealing the truth behind the death. However, I believe that an investigation that can be approved by all citizens of Korea and that will recover the reputation of the late actress should take place.


I will do my best so that there will not be any misunderstanding nor suspicion left regarding the death of the late Jang Ja Yeon. Thank you.


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