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(News Focus) S. Korea's top actresses flock to tvN

All Headlines 14:32 June 30, 2016

By Woo Jae-yeon and Youn Go-eun

SEOUL, June 30 (Yonhap) -- If you wonder how powerful a cable channel in Korea can become, look no further than tvN's ability to mobilize top-notch talent.

South Korea's most established, best-performing actresses have recently chosen the cable channel over bigger, more powerful terrestrial networks.

Take Jeon Do-yeon, for example.

For the last decade, the veteran actress, who won the Best Actress Award at Cannes in 2007, has distanced herself from television and focused on film. But she is coming back in a television show this summer, and it is on tvN.

The rising popularity of the cable channel among fans and cast alike has been going on for several years now, but a flurry of recent decisions by the country's top actresses to work with the channel shows that it goes beyond just a trend.

Jeon was last seen in a Korean television series in 2005 and has appeared in numerous movies since then.

The TV series that she will appear in is "Good Wife," the Korean remake of the popular American soap opera of the same name on CBS. She will play Kim Hye-kyung, a housewife who is forced to turn herself into a lawyer after her husband is mired in a scandal and put behind bars.

"We were very surprised that she accepted our offer and joined us. We thought she would reject it," producer Lee Jeong-hyo said Wednesday.

Another A-lister, Go Hyun-jung, even readily took a minor role in the channel's "Dear My Friends" as the narrator and observer.

She said, "I am so honored to join in Noh Hee-kyung's work, which I had wanted to be part of so much."

In the time-travel crime series "Signal," which earned high viewing figures and critical acclaim in Korea and China, Kim Hye-soo showed an excellent performance once again. She decided to join the series, as the script captivated her. It was her first appearance in a cable show.

"I couldn't find a single reason to reject this show. I think tvN plans its show so well and gives serious and realistic thought to what the public really wants," she said.

In August, Choi Ji-woo joined hands with tvN for the second time in "Second Time 20 Years Old" series in which she played the mother of a university student.

She had already established some rapport with the channel after her appearances in two variety shows received good responses from viewers.

Inside entertainment industry circles, the gap between terrestrial channels and tvN has dramatically narrowed to a point where tvN is now viewed as a fourth territorial network in terms of brand power and performance.

The biggest selling point of tvN in the eyes of the nation's top talents is that it now has a proven record that it can successfully produce an interesting, different and fresh TV series.

"We think actresses are attracted to our new trials and challenges never seen before in previous shows (by the established networks)," said Kim Ji-young, PR manager of CJ E&M, an entertainment arm of the conglomerate CJ Group that operates the channel.

"Among other things, we created a series of dramas that put an actress up front, letting her lead the show and showing an independent, exemplary woman."


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