If we were to ask which East Asian country is succeeding the most in making their television shows into an international brand, most will automatically say South Korea is succeeding with K-dramas. This year alone, many K-dramas became international phenomenons. The first one is easily Descendants of the Sun. Backed by almost a full year of advertising and promotion highlighted by the sheer amount in production cost it had, the Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) K-drama starring Song Joong Ki and Song Hye Kyo took the whole world by storm, especially China. Eventually, other K-dramas would follow up in international appeal even if they did not do well domestically such as Uncontrollably Fond and Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.
Though 2016 truly belonged to K-dramas pertaining to Asian television in general, we have also seen a major uptick in popularity for Chinese dramas, also known as C-dramas. For example, God of War, Zhao Yun was so popular, not even Descendants of the Sun could dethrone it. It is also one of the C-dramas getting plenty of attention outside of China. Ice Fantasy, Nirvana on Fire, The Imperial Doctress, and When A Snail Falls In Love are some of the C-dramas that received international recognition this year, far more than the C-dramas that came in the years before them.
Now there is another C-drama to add to the popular list above. The Princess Weiyoung, the series by Shanghai Dragon Television (Dragon TV) — the Chinese television network known for airing Nirvana in Fire and When A Snail Falls In Love — is way ahead of other C-dramas with 880 million in playback volume. Not only that, its lead actress Tang Yan, better known as Tiffany Tang, scored the highest on the New Media Artist Index too.
The recent rankings for Chinese television, actors, and actresses show a complete breakdown for December 9, the date when Princess Weiyoung aired its latest episode. According to said rankings provided by Chinese media rankings outlet Xunyee, The Princess Weiyoung (known on the list as Fairview Weiyang) earned 880.13 million in playback volume. That is amazing given the fact that it is 786.76 million more than Let’s Fall in Love. Tiffany Tang, the lead actress of the C-drama, also ranked No. 1 in index rating with a fraction of 9.16.
The Princess Weiyoung takes place during the chaotic Northern and Southern Dynasties. In the Northern Liang’s royal family, Feng Xin’er (Tiffany Tang) is a kind and carefree princess who is loved by all. However, she is forced to escape when a marshal from the Chiyun Clan of Northern Wei takes it upon himself to overrun Northern Liang, turning the invasion into a bloodbath.
Now a fugitive who is on the run, Feng Xin’er is taken in by Li Weiyoung, the daughter of the Imperial Tutor’s Department from Northern Wei. Unfortunately Weiyoung dies protecting Xin’er who in turn takes on Weiyoung’s identity to reside in her home where she is disliked and shunned. Now as the Princess Weiyoung, she uses her new position to seek revenge for what the Chiyun Clan has done to her family, but things become complicated when the Northern Wei’s prince, Touba Jun (Luo Jin), captures her heart.
Ultimately, The Princess Weiyoung is currently the second most popular C-drama for the latter half of 2016 at 18975.92 million in playback volume total. Only Noble Aspirations has done better. Also, Noble Aspiration‘s two leads, Zhao Liying and Li Yi Feng, are No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in index ranking for the latter half of 2016. Ma Tianyu of Ice Fantasy is No. 3. As for Tiffany Tang, she is No. 11. However, only 42 of the planned 52 episodes of The Princess Weiyoung have aired so far. This will give the C-drama time to increase its rankings.
The Princess Weiyoung currently airs on Dragon TV. For those in the Americas who do not have access to Chinese channels, the C-drama can be viewed for free, with ads, only on DramaFever for now. It is unknown if rights are exclusive to the video-on-demand streaming site, so it is possible others might get airing rights as well.
[Featured Image by Shanghai Dragon Television (Dragon TV)]