Four of the 17 new Korean dramas in July premiered Wednesday night and joined the competitive TV ratings race on prime time. Among them, Choi Jin-hyuk’s Justice obtained the highest ratings, beating Cha Eun-woo’s Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung and Park Jin-hee’s Doctor Detective.
Data from Nielsen Korea show that Justice, which is broadcast on KBS2, recorded nationwide audience shares of 6.1 and 6.4 percent for its first two episodes. MBC’s Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung and SBS’s Doctor Detective, meanwhile, are neck and neck in the competition—with the former posting 4.0 and 6.0 percent and the latter getting 4.6 and 5.7 percent.
Justice just narrowly beat the two other dramas, but if it ends up dominating the mid-week prime time slot during its entire broadcast, it will become the fourth KBS2 drama in a row to do so this year. Since January, KBS2 has been on a winning streak in its drama programming on Wednesdays and Thursdays thanks to Liver Or Die, Doctor Prisoner, and Angel’s Last Mission: Love which all achieved generally higher TV ratings than their respective rivals on MBC and SBS. Doctor Prisoner and Liver Or Die both achieved double-digit viewership ratings, with the latter becoming the first non-cable series to exceed 20-percent-viewership in 2019.
Starring Choi Jin-hyuk, Son Hyun-joo, and After School’s Nana, Justice is a “social thriller” about a vengeful lawyer (Choi) who teams up with a greedy businessman (Son) in pursuing success and money. Their partnership turns into a rivalry due to a case involving missing actresses that is investigated by a persistent prosecutor (Nana).
Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung is a fusion sageuk starring Shin Se-kyung and Cha Eun-woo which follows a female free spirit who embarks on a new life as a scholar in the Joseon royal court. It is MBC’s first historical drama this year which is set in Joseon Dynasty. The series is also available for streaming on Netflix.
Doctor Detective stars Park Jin-hee and Bong Tae-gyu as doctors who investigate the causes of strange illnesses and deaths of workers at industrial sites. Lee Ki-woo is also starring in the show.
Meanwhile, OCN and Yoon Kyun-sang’s Class of Lies is the fourth drama to premiere last night. It tells the story of a lawyer who goes undercover as a teacher to enter a prestigious high school and investigate a murder case. As a cable drama, it cannot be directly compared with the terrestrial series in terms of TV ratings. However, its pilot episode rating of 1.8 percent—which is a small number by the recent cable drama ratings’ standards—proves that it was still the lowest-rated prime time drama on July 17.
When it comes to the number of viewers measured by Nielsen Korea, Justice achieved the highest viewership with almost 1.1 million viewers nationwide on its second episode. On the other hand, Class of Lies recorded the smallest viewership with 403,000 viewers nationwide.
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