‘Descendants of the Sun’ debuts with strong viewership

February 25, 2016
(Courtesy of KBS 2TV)

(Courtesy of KBS 2TV)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — KBS 2TV’s “Descendants of the Sun” is off to a strong start with double-digit viewership, Nielsen Korea data showed Thursday, offering a measure of redemption to the network whose shows have consistently lost out to rival channels in recent seasons.

The show starring actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo drew 14.3 percent of viewers nationwide on its opening Wednesday, the data showed.

A similar percentage of viewers in and around Seoul tuned into the series produced by Lee Eung-bok and written by star screenwriter Kim Eun-sook.

The national figure is more than double those of the two rival networks. SBS’ “Please Come Back, Mister,” which premiered the same day, plateaued at 6.6 percent and MBC’s “One More Happy Ending,” which cast American talk show host Conan O’Brien in a cameo last week, settled at 5 percent.

Army lieutenant Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) and doctor Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo) reunite serendipitously in the fictional war-torn country of Uruk in “Descendants of the Sun,” which is the first South Korean series to debut here and in China simultaneously.

To pass China’s time-consuming and stringent censoring process, the entire show has been pre-recorded, producers said. Traditionally, Korean shows have been produced on an episode-by-episode basis to offer some wiggle room for adjustments.

In China, the show opened at 10 p.m., local time, on the video streaming website iQiyi.

A new episode premieres every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m.