OCN’s ongoing fantasy-action series The Uncanny Counter recently faced a major production adjustment following the departure of screenwriter Yeo Ji-na just three episodes before the show’s highly anticipated finale.
On January 17, the cable network announced, “Writer Yeo Ji-na had different plans for the development of the story in the second half, so we got off the bus under a mutual agreement.” On who will now be taking the post vacated by Yeo, the production team of The Uncanny Counter said, “In the 14th-episode broadcast today, new writer Kim Sae-bom will be introduced.”
It has been revealed that the screenplays for episodes 1 through 12 of the popular drama were penned by Yeo, but when the decision to discontinue her participation was finalized, PD Yoo Seon-dong immediately stepped in to temporarily assume a screenwriter-director role for episode 13. Alhough it was his first time to do it for a television series, PD Yoo had already written screenplays for several movies in the past, the most notable of which are Death Bell 2: Bloody Camp (2010), Musudan (2015), and 0.0MHz (2019).
According to Nielsen Korea, The Uncanny Counter episode 12 scored an astounding nationwide viewership rating of 10.581 percent, which is not only regarded as OCN’s all-time high but also as the network’s first-ever two-digit hit. Episode 13 later recorded a 1.2-drop in percentage points (9.372 percent) as a possible aftermath of the early news about Yeo’s exit from the drama. However, with writer Kim Sae-bom now on board, The Uncanny Counter was able to bounce back with a rating of 9.926 percent for episode 14. Kim’s screenwriting portfolio includes the films Hello Schoolgirl (2008) and If You Were Me 5 (2011).
This is not the first time that a screenwriter of an ongoing drama has been replaced. In the cases of MBC’s East of Eden (2008) and SBS’s The Time We Were Not in Love, the driving force behind the replacements were low ratings or irreconcilable personal differences among the production staff. This puts the agreement between the staff and screenwriter of The Uncanny Counter an unusual one, as the drama has been doing well so far. In fact, it has been so successful that the creators were reportedly having initial discussions for a second season. In addition, given that the project has marked Yeo’s comeback after an 11-year break from the small screen, it was unexpected that she has dropped out from it due to differing views on how the drama should unfold towards the end. In line with this, viewers could not help but also express their confusions on the sudden change, saying, “In episode 13, the lines did not sound as good to me.” and “The writer for The Uncanny Counter [did not make it] popular but phenomenal.”
The Uncanny Counter centers on So Mun (Jo Byung-gyu, Hot Stove League), a high schooler who finds himself suiting up as an unlikely superhero called a Counter. As he takes on a new and dangerous responsibility, he teams up with fellow Counters Ga Mo-tak (Yoo Jun-sang, Graceful Friends), Do Ha-na (Kim Se-jeong, I Wanna Hear Your Song), and Choo Mae-ok (Yeom Hye-ran, Mystic Pop-up Bar) in hunting down evil spirits who seek immortal life on Earth and putting them back where they belong.
Co-produced by Studio Dragon and Neo Entertainment, the webcomic-based drama airs every Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 p.m. KST.