Saimdang, Light's Diary

‘Saimdang, Light’s Diary’ Edited, SBS K-Drama’s Pacing Sped Up For Viewers

When it first debuted, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) K-drama Saimdang, Light’s Diary — also known as Saimdang, The Herstory — made a major impact with initial viewership ratings in the double-digits. Starring Lee Young Ae and Song Seung Heon, it had everything to keep it interesting, which included very interesting characters that were well-acted by its cast, and a dual timeline plot that was interesting for viewers.

Unfortunately, Saimdang, Light’s Diary could not keep its high viewership as more and more K-drama fans rather tuned in to watch Chief Kim, a light-hearted romantic comedy K-drama currently airing on competing network, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS). Eventually, Chief Kim would earn the double-digit viewership while Saimdang, Light’s Diary would get by with single-digit viewership.

'Chief Kim' K-drama airing on KBS
‘Chief Kim,’ the KBS K-drama starring Namgoong Min and Nam Sang Mi, is currently dominating its time slot surpassing ‘Saimdang, Light’s Diary’ in viewership ratings. [Image by the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS)]

Apparently, SBS knows there is a problem with Saimdang, Light’s Diary, as they noticed a monumental drop in viewership in such a small number of episodes. To understand how critical the situation is, they dropped an average of 6 percent from their first episode to their most recent episode. That kind of drop is massive, so SBS has edited the drama to be sped up.

The decision to adjust the pace in which Saimdang, Light’s Diary is going was first announced last week. According to Soompi, a source from the production crew of the K-drama provided a statement to verify the speeding up of its pace.

“We modified and amended the drama to speed up the tempo of the story.”

Saimdang, Light’s Diary is a completely pre-produced K-drama, which actually concluded its shooting last September. That means SBS had three months to edit the K-drama prior to its debut, and it indeed went through heavy editing in preparation for its broadcast. SBS wanted to present a more thoroughly-made product to their audiences.

Originally, Saimdang, Light’s Diary aired on weekends, which is a far different audience than the mid-week audience. After four episodes, the K-drama switched from Saturdays and Sundays to Wednesdays and Thursdays. SBS production decided to change parts of the K-drama to cater to a different kind of audience that it now catered to. SBS did say there was no special reason for the changes, as such adjustments are necessary for pre-produced K-dramas.

'Saimdang, Light's Diary' Main Cast
‘Saimdang, Light’s Diary’ stars Lee Young Ae who makes her K-drama return after ten years and Song Seung Heon. [Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]

The change in pacing might be slowly and surely showing the fruit of its labor. Through Saimdang, Light’s Diary is still in single-digit viewership ratings, and is still declining, second episodes of the week are actually showing small increases in viewership from the first. The pacing change was supposedly first noticed with the fifth episode. It started with an average of 9.5 percent for the nation, and 10.5 percent for the Seoul National Capital Area, for both TNmS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea. There was an average of a 1 percent increase for the nation and 1.5 percent increase for the Seoul National Capital Area going into the sixth episode. Prior to that, the first four episodes were on a continuous downward trend.

It is still too early to see the full extent of the changes to Saimdang, Light’s Diary. The worst that could happen is that the changes had no affect, and the viewership continues to drop, but there is the possibility it can turn things around. SBS hopes the latter happens, as it is a pre-produced K-drama.

Saimdang, Light’s Dairy airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10 p.m. KST on SBS. For those who don’t have access to Korean public channels, it can be viewed on DramaFever, Viki, and OnDemandKorea depending on the region.

[Featured Image by the Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS)]

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