When The Camellia Blooms, KBS2’s Wednesday-Thursday drama, ended its 10-week broadcast Thursday night on a high note as it achieved the highest TV rating for a primetime terrestrial drama so far in 2019.
According to Nielsen Korea, the last two episodes (39 and 40) of When The Camellia Blooms recorded nationwide ratings of 19.7 percent and 23.8 percent, making it the highest-rated TV program on Thursday. The almost 24-percent record is so far the highest rating ever achieved by a primetime non-cable drama this year (excluding the weekend dramas of KBS2), surpassing the 22.7 percent and 22.0 percent obtained by Liver Or Die and The Fiery Priest, respectively, during their respective finales. The January-November period saw the broadcast of 36 primetime terrestrial dramas from KBS2, MBC, and SBS.
When The Camellia Blooms, also a Korean “Netflix original series,” kicked off its broadcast in September with a modest rating of 6.3 percent. It achieved a double-digit rating just a week after.
Data from Nielsen Korea also show that When The Camellia Blooms‘ 40th and final episode pulled in 4.5 million viewers nationwide, which makes the series the most-watched Korean drama since January 2019 in terms of estimated viewers count (among all primetime terrestrial dramas, excluding My Only One, Mother Of Mine, and Beautiful Love, Wonderful Life).
In terms of average nationwide ratings, however, When The Camellia Blooms (13.9%) came in second in the ranking, next to The Fiery Priest (16.1%). It is followed by Doctor Prisoner (13.2%), The Last Empress (12.2%), and Liver Or Die (12.2%).
Directed by Cha Young-hoon (Are You Human Too) and written by Im Sang-choon (Fight For My Way), When The Camellia Blooms is a romantic comedy slash thriller series starring Gong Hyo-jin and Kang Ha-neul. It follows the struggle of Gong Hyo-jin’s character, a single mother, as she makes ends meet by running a bar while overcoming prejudices against single mothers and avoiding a serial killer who has kept his eyes on her for five years. Things become more complicated when she falls in love with a police officer (Kang Ha-neul), which elicits negative responses from her son (Kim Kang-hoon) and his mother (Ko Du-shim) who is also her very close friend.
The KBS2 drama is Gong Hyo-jin’s eight series in a row to hit double-digit viewer ratings. Its widespread popularity is also evident in terms of “buzz ratings” as it topped the list of the 10 most buzzworthy or talked about Korean dramas in October.
Meanwhile, MBC’s Extraordinary You also concluded on Thursday and recorded nationwide ratings of 2.6 percent and 3.6 percent, which makes the average rating of its 32 episodes equal to 3.2 percent. The series is headlined by Kim Hye-yoon and Kim Ro-woon. On cable TV, tvN’s new drama Psychopath Diary, which stars Yoon Shi-yoon and Jung In-sun, marked its second day of broadcast with a 1.5 percent rating.