SBS announced on May 10 another major change in its prime time drama programming. In February, the network introduced a new drama time slot on Fridays and Saturdays with its broadcast of the highly buzzworthy The Fiery Priest. This time, however, it will be removing a drama time slot that was in place since the 1990s in favor of a new variety show.
An official from SBS revealed that the network “will no longer air miniseries at 10 p.m. on weekdays” and will instead broadcast a variety show at that time every Monday and Tuesday. This after MBC announced on May 8 that it will move its weekday dramas from 10 p.m. KST to 9 p.m. KST, following months of planning.
The latest change will make SBS the first out of the three major terrestrial broadcasters (including KBS2 and MBC) to have a variety show airing on the said time slot.
However, the replacement seems to be limited to the summer season (June to August) only, at least for the time being. The official mentioned that the network’s recent decision will follow an American format in programming, saying that in an “advanced market” like the US, broadcasters tend to launch shows of different genre in summer rather than broadcast the usual TV series. Thus, it remains to be seen whether the network will continue to air a variety show on Mondays and Tuesdays after the summer period and eliminate a prime time drama from the 10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday time slot altogether.
The weekday—Monday-Tuesday and Wednesday-Thursday—prime time dramas of SBS, MBC, and KBS2 have been airing at 10 p.m. over the last 30 years. They are the staple and major drama programming of the three networks in which major and popular actors are cast in starring roles.
The said official went on to say that the 10 p.m. time slot on weekdays is competitive since at least three dramas from the three major networks compete against each other during that time. He also said that SBS made the decision to implement “innovative changes” in its program to respond to the changing consumption patterns of viewers and secure viewership from different types of audience.
SBS is currently airing The Secret Life Of My Secretary on its 10 p.m. Monday-Tuesday slot. The upcoming variety show will air some time in July after the conclusion of the said drama. It will have 16 hour-long episodes and air twice a week just like a miniseries. Lee Seung-gi (Hwayugi) and Lee Seo-jin (Trap) are in talks to star in this variety show.
Meanwhile, singer-actor Lee Seung-gi is no stranger to variety shows. He was a cast member of 1 Night 2 Days from 2007 to 2012 and appeared in at least 8 variety shows in the last 10 years as a cast member, narrator, or MC, including Master In The House which premiered in 2017 and is still ongoing. The said show, also known as All the Butlers, airs on SBS every Sunday at 6:20 p.m. KST.