Producers of Mnet’s ‘Produce’ series sentenced to prison for vote-rigging

May 29, 2020

A Seoul court on Friday handed down prison terms to two disgraced producers of the popular music channel Mnet for rigging the vote results for a popular audition program.

The Seoul Central District Court sentenced Ahn Joon-young, the producer of the audition program “Produce,” to two years in prison and forfeiture of 37 million (US$30,000), and chief producer Kim Yong-beom to 20 months in prison.

The two were convicted of manipulating the vote outcome to put certain contenders in favorable positions to debut as members of an idol group.

They were also found guilty of taking bribes from talent agencies that fielded candidates for the show.

The “Produce” series, which went on air from 2016 to 2019, became a mega hit. It enabled television viewers to vote via text messages for a contestant they support. The series consists of “Produce 101,” “Produce 101 Season 2,” “Produce 48″ and “Produce X 101.”

Through its four seasons, the show spawned four high-profile K-pop bands — I.O.I, Wanna One, IZ*ONE and X1. Among the four, only IZ*ONE is currently active in the K-pop scene.

Producer Ahn Joon-young leaves the Seoul Central District Court in handcuffs on Nov. 5, 2019, after attending a court review of his arrest warrant on charges of manipulating the text message-based vote results of "Produce X 101," a fan-voted K-pop competition show that ran on local cable channel Mnet. (Yonhap)

Producer Ahn Joon-young leaves the Seoul Central District Court in handcuffs on Nov. 5, 2019, after attending a court review of his arrest warrant on charges of manipulating the text message-based vote results of “Produce X 101,” a fan-voted K-pop competition show that ran on local cable channel Mnet. (Yonhap)

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