“Saimdang, Light’s Diary” records lowest rating, shortened by 2 episodes

Lee Young-ae’s Saimdang, Light’s Diary continues to drop in viewer ratings, recording its all-time low in its 23rd episode aired Wednesday night. Data from Nielsen Korea show that the episode obtained a nationwide viewership rating of 8.5 %*, its lowest since its premiere that achieved nearly twice as much as the latest episode, at 16.3 %.

Official Poster of Korean drama Saimdang, Light's Diary

In the Seoul metropolitan area, the drama also recorded its lowest rating of 8.4 % according to Nielsen Korea. This trend can also be seen in data from another audience measurement company TNMS, which show that the drama’s rating also plummeted to an all-time low of 8.4 % in Seoul. While the rating of the latest episode is not the lowest as far as nationwide ratings are concerned, the recorded 7.4 % on Wednesday night is close to its lowest value of 7.0 % according to TNMS.

The much-anticipated pre-produced drama suffered from drop in ratings since its premiere in January and lost to its strong rival Chief Kim during the latter’s 20-episode run. It seems to be losing in the competition again as Chief Kim’s successor Mystery Queen saw an improvement in its second week. Last night, Mystery Queen achieved 10.1 %, which is 0.6 percentage point higher than its second episode’s rating. Based on TNMS data, it achieved its highest to date at 10.9 and 12.4 % nationwide and in the Seoul area, respectively.

Amid this development in its viewership ratings, the drama has been shortened from 30 to 28 episodes. Although SBS did not provide an explanation for this, part of the reason behind the move could be the failure of the drama to meet expectations. It can be remembered that Yoon Sang-ho, the drama’s director, expressed his desire in January 2017 for Saimdang “to do as well as ‘Descendants of the Sun’ did.” Unfortunately, although the drama’s current ratings are not really bad based on industry standards, it fall short of what Descendants of the Sun achieved in 2016. 

Saimdang, Light’s Diary will still end as originally scheduled on May 4, 2017. This is because it will be preempted tonight and on May 3 due to the presidential candidate debate and a movie. It will be followed by Suspicious Partner on May 10.

*Unless otherwise stated, all values mentioned in this article are nationwide ratings from Nielsen Korea.

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Me? Just an ordinary lad with an extraordinary (says this something called 'stereotype') habit of watching Korean dramas. It started with action-filled City Hunter and the rest, as they say, is history.