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'New Journey to the West' off to strong start

  • Published : Sept 4, 2015 - 16:08
  • Updated : Sept 4, 2015 - 16:08

(tvN Facebook)

"New Journey to the West," an online variety show featuring actor Lee Seung-gi, rapper Eun Ji-won, and comedians Kang Ho-dong and Lee Soo-geun, attracted enormous attention from viewers upon its release on Friday.

The first five episodes, each spanning between five to 10 minutes, were uploaded at 10 a.m. Friday. As of 3 p.m., more than
50,000 people had subscribed to the channel on Naver's video streaming website TVCast, where the show is broadcast. The first episode has been viewed more than 700,000 times, with the five together recording a combined 2 million views.

"New Journey to the West" is the first South Korean variety show created by a TV network, tvN, to be broadcast exclusively online.

It drew inspiration from the 16th-century Chinese classic "Journey to the West," which follows four characters on a trip to India.

The return of the quartet from the successful first season of KBS 2TV's entertainment program "Two Days, One Night" in 2010 has been much anticipated.

In the first episode, actor Lee confers scandalous nicknames on Eun and the comedian Lee, who he calls "Yeouido divorcee" and
"Sangam gambler," respectively, for their past. Yeouido and Sangnam are names of Seoul districts where the two live. Sitting next to the actor is a visibly uncomfortable Kang, who isn't used to the brutal honesty that would have been banned on TV.

In the remaining episodes, the four are given a mission to find their way to their guesthouse from the airport in the central Chinese city of Xi'an with just 50 yuan ($7.87) and 10 percent of their phone batteries left. Hilarity ensues.

Producer Na Yeong-seok of the show had earlier said his goal is to achieve 20 million views in total.

"New Journey to the West" is uploaded five episodes at a time on Naver and the Chinese portal website qq.com every Friday. (Yonhap)