Gong Hyo-jin is undoubtedly one of the best actresses in South Korea, which makes her a sought-after lead in any Korean drama. But there is one other thing that would make the producers and broadcasters want her in their show—her seven previous dramas all hit double-digit viewer ratings. And with the addition of When The Camellia Blooms, the total is now eight.
When The Camellia Blooms, her latest series, has exceeded the 10 percent mark in ratings on its second week. The September 25 episode of the drama recorded 8.6 and 10.0 percent, while the September 26 broadcast achieved 7.7 and 10.0 percent. In terms of the number of viewers, the record stands at 1.6 million, making When The Camellia Blooms the most-watched primetime drama in both terrestrial and cable TV platforms on September 26.
This makes When The Camellia Blooms the eighth terrestrial series to obtain a double-digit viewership rating in 2019, next to Doctor John (SBS), Vagabond (SBS), Nokdu Flower (SBS), Doctor Prisoner (KBS2), The Fiery Priest (SBS), Liver Or Die (KBS2), and The Last Empress (SBS). It is also Gong Hyo-jin’s eight consecutive drama since 2007 to have surpassed 10 percent, following Jealousy Incarnate (2016), The Producers (2015), It’s Okay That’s Love (2014), The Master’s Sun (2013), The Greatest Love (2011), Pasta (2010), and Thank You (2007).
The award-winning actress seems to be good at picking dramas that tend to do well in TV ratings performance. When asked why she chose When The Camellia Blooms as her next drama project, she said, “I didn’t want to give the character to anyone else.”
In the series, Gong Hyo-jin is playing the role of Dong Baek (which means Camellia flower in Korean), a single mother who runs a bar to make ends meet. So far, the story focuses on her new life in the countryside where her neighbors treat her as an outcast for being a single mom who sells alcoholic drinks to male customers. Her life is poised to change after she makes friends with a bubbly police officer played by Kang Ha-neul as her first love (Kim Ji-suk) appears again in her life and starts to connect with their son.
In terms of buzz, When The Camellia Blooms is also popular among the local audience. The series ranked fourth in the ranking of the most talked about Korean dramas from September 16 to 22, following Arthdal Chronicles, Vagabond, and Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency. Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Ha-neul came in fourth and fifth, respectively, in a similar ranking for drama actors during the same period.
Meanwhile, MBC’s Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung concluded its broadcast Thursday night with 4.5 and 6.6 percent while SBS’s Secret Boutique obtained 4.9 percent for both its two episodes. tvN’s Miss Lee saw an increase to 3.2 percent.
Written by Fight For My Way writer Im Sang-choon, When The Camellia Blooms airs on KBS2 every Wednesday and Thursday at 10 p.m. Korean Standard Time. Its new episodes are also made available on Netflix within one hour after its original telecast.