'Chief Kim' KBS K-drama Poster

‘Chief Kim’ K-Drama Ratings Jump, Ties With ‘Saimdang, Light’s Diary’

Right now, the first season of K-dramas for 2017 seems to be establishing the pecking order among all the Korean television networks. The one network standing on top of that pecking order is the same network that stood on top during the 2016 to 2017 swing season of K-dramas; the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS). Right now, they have two K-dramas that are dominating with double-digit viewership ratings. The first is Defendant starring Ji Sung (Kill Me, Heal Me and Ddandara) and Yuri of Girls’ Generation (Neighborhood Hero and Gogh, The Starry Night). The other one, which is also in the lead, is Saimdang, Light’s Diary starring Lee Young Ae (Fireworks and Jewel in the Palace) and Song Seung Heon (Dr. Jin and When a Man Falls in Love).

However, it seems there is a new contender for the top spot. The Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is currently airing Chief Kim. Its latest episode saw a sudden spike in viewership in which it achieved double-digit viewership ratings. Not only that, it actually tied with Saimdang, Light’s Diary.

'Chief Kim' KBS K-drama -- Namgoong Min as Kim Sung Ryong
In the KBS K-drama ‘Chief Kim,’ Namgoong Min plays Kim Sung Ryong, an accountant who becomes a middle manager at TQ Group. He plans to embezzle a large amount of money but ends up fighting for his employees’ fundamental rights. [Image by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)]

The ratings provided by both AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea show just how close in viewership Chief Kim and Saimdang, Light’s Diary were. The third episode of Chief Kim, which aired on Wednesday, February 1, earned an AGB Nielsen Korea viewership rating of 12.8 percent for the nation and the Seoul National Capital Area, a TNmS Media Korea viewership rating of 11.7 percent for the nation, and 13.3 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area.

As for the third episode of Saimdang, Light’s Diary which aired the same day and time as the aforementioned, the AGB Nielsen Korea viewership ratings were 13.0 percent for the nation and 13.5 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area while the TNmS Media Korea viewership ratings were 10.6 percent for the nation and 12.2 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area.

When we compare the viewership ratings of the third episode of both K-dramas, Chief Kim was in the lead with TNmS Media Korea ratings overall, but Saimdang, Light’s Dairy was in the lead with AGB Nielsen Korea overall. Ergo, they both technically tied. Yet, comparing the viewership to last week, Chief Kim improved dramatically while Saimdang, Light’s Diary faltered to its lowest ratings yet with about a 3.3 percent drop, as reported by Soompi. As for the other K-drama considered competition for both of them, Missing 9 remains in last place and still hasn’t broken past the double-digit viewership threshold.

'Saimdang Light's Diary' SBS K-drama -- Full Cast
‘Saimdang, Light’s Diary’ was in first place among all K-dramas last week, but this week it tied with ‘Chief Kim.’ [Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]

For those who are unfamiliar with what Chief Kim is all about, the K-drama — also known as Manager Kim and Good Manager — stars Namgoong Min (Beautiful Gong Shim and Doctors) and Nam Sang Mi (Goddess of Marriage and Gunman in Joseon). It is about Kim Sung Ryong (Min), an accountant who becomes a middle manager at TQ Group. The only reason he has signed on for the job is to embezzle a large sum of money. However, he ends up fighting for the fundamental rights of his employees, which includes Yoon Ha Kyung (Sang Mi).

Chief Kim airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. For those who do not have access to Korean public channels, it can be viewed on both Viki and OnDemandKorea.

[Featured Image by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)]