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'The Producers' sold to air in China for over $2.4 million

  • Published : May 11, 2015 - 16:14
  • Updated : May 11, 2015 - 16:14

The rights to upcoming Korean TV drama "The Producers," which stars actor Kim Soo-hyun, have been sold to a Chinese online platform for over $2.4 million, according to reports Monday.

A staff member for "The Producers" declined to disclose the specific contractual sum, due to legal agreements, but said that each episode had "definitely" been sold for over $200,000.

The entire TV drama, which consists of 12 episodes, totals more than $2.4 million in broadcasting rights.

A publicity photo for upcoming TV drama "The Producers," starring actor Kim Soo-hyun (far right). (KBS)
"The Producers," a drama series about an aspiring TV program producer, is actor Kim Soo-hyun's first acting role since the hit drama series "My Love from the Star" last year.

So far, the most expensive contract for a Korean TV drama sold to China is "Pinocchio," a romantic series about journalists that concluded earlier this year.

Each episode of "Pinocchio" was reportedly sold for $280,000, totaling $5.6 million for the entire series.

Recently, however, China has passed stricter regulations on selling foreign content online, which has resulted in a sharp decline in sales.

Foreign content must not account for more than 30 percent of total income of Chinese websites and must now acquire approval from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television.

A poster for the 2013-2014 TV drama "My Love from the Star," starring Kim Soo-hyun (left) and Jun Ji-hyun. (SBS)
The Korean TV drama "Hyde, Jekyll, Me," which concluded in March, was rumored to have been sold for $300,000 per episode to a Chinese online platform, but eventually settled for $100,000 per episode as a result of the new guidelines that were passed last November.

The contract with "The Producers" at more than double the price has been credited to Kim's popularity in China and other countries.

"Chinese businesses are excited by the fact that 'The Producers' is the next project by screenwriter Park Ji-eun, who previously wrote "My Love from the Star,'" said one person working on "The Producers."

"My Love from the Star," which starred Kim opposite actress Jun Ji-hyun, was a hit both in Korea and abroad.

Cast members of "The Producers" at a production press conference in Seoul, Monday. Actor Kim Soo-hyun is on the far right. (OSEN)
Weeks before "The Producers" has even begun airing in Korea, the TV drama already gained attention abroad -- and not just in China.

Posters for "The Producers" were showcased during the Cannes Film Festival last month at the Palais Des Festival building and also at MIPTV Media Market, a global content market and forum.

The production team behind "The Producers" are currently in talks to export the TV drama to other Asian countries and North America.

Korean-Chinese entertainment agency Ready China said that industry insiders were keeping an eye on the Chinese response to the "The Producers," which starts airing in Korea on Friday evening.

"If (Kim) achieves another hit success (with this drama series), we are going to prepare a secure footing in China for successful hallyu stars to leap (into the market)," said the CEO Bae Gyeong-ryeol.

By Yoon Sarah (sarah356@heraldcorp.com)

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