Lee Dong-hoon, the producing director of SBS’s new Wednesday-Thursday drama Big Issue will temporarily step down due to health issues.
On March 11, a source from the drama’s production team announced that PD Lee Dong-hoon is currently battling pneumonia, and thus will take a break. “The PD has previously received treatment for pneumonia. For now, he will focus on lighter production work as he is recovering. He will return on the set after he has fully recovered. For now, PD Park Soo-jin, who is handling team B, will take full charge of production.”
This recent development may cause concern about the success of the series, especially since it just began airing last week. However, the unexpected addition, removal, and temporary absence from work of very important members of a drama’s production team—director, writer, and leading actors—are sometimes inevitable due to the live-shoot system being employed in the industry, in which filming for the series is still ongoing while the drama is already airing two or four episodes every week. PD Lee’s temporary absence from the set of Big Issue pales into insignificance when compared with Go Hyun-jung’s departure from Return almost halfway through the show, which can be considered as one of the biggest and most shocking changes in a drama’s production in recent years.
Big Issue is headlined by Han Ye-seul (20th Century Boy and Girl) and Joo Jin-mo (Bad Guys: City of Evil). It is about a celebrity photographer (played by Joo) whose life is ruined because of a scandal and a notorious head editor (Han) of a huge tabloid media outlet who offers him a job. Although journalism-themed dramas are common in Korea, one which focuses on paparazzi and the cutthroat Korean tabloid industry seems a rarity.
The series premiered on March 6 with nationwide ratings of 4.1 and 4.8 percent, respectively.