Top 19 lowest rating TV dramas since 2000

Earlier, Electric Ground featured the top 50 highest-rated TV dramas of all time. But when dramas record such extreme ratings of 40%, 50%, or even up to 60%, it’s inevitable that there must be other dramas competing with these ratings monsters… and losing. Some took the hit harder than the others.
Here is a list that actors, production crew, and broadcasters would have nightmares about their drama topping it… yes, the top 19 lowest-rated major network TV dramas (excluding cable channels) since 2000. (Please note that there are many different versions of drama ratings available. Some rankings report the average rating of all the episodes of a drama during its entire run or during a specified period of time. Others report the highest/lowest rating ever reached by a drama at any particular instant during its run.) This particular list is a ranking of the dramas by the lowest-rated episode.

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#1
Foolish Love/바보같은 사랑
(KBS2, 2000)

PD: Pyo Min Soo
Scriptwriter: Noh Hee Kyung
Cast: Bae Jong Ok, Lee Jae Ryong, Bang Eun Jin, Kim Young Ho
Lowest Rating: 1.8%
Rival programs: MBC’s Heo Joon & SBS’s Legends of Love
Blue’s comments: Despite receiving numerous praises from critics and her devoted mania followers, Noh Hee Kyung is infamous for writing some of the lowest rated TV dramas of all time. So it’s no surprise that one of her dramas in fact topped the list for having the lowest rating episode ever.

The year 2000 was a tough year for Monday/Tuesday dramas as they one by one fell victim to the MBC ratings monster, Heo Joon. In fact, a total of four dramas that went up against Heo Joon made this list. But Foolish Love was undeniably the hardest hit. Recording a mere 1.8% (twice!) on April 24, 2000 (its very first episode) and again on May 8, 2000, Foolish Love brought in an average rating of just around 2% during its entire 20-episodes run. (At its lowest point during an episode, its rating dipped as low as 0.9%.) But let not the low ratings deceive you.

Foolish Love is a story of a woman in an abusive relationship who was seeking to form a family with her abusive live-in boyfriend and his son, but comes to meet and find companionship (and love) from a married co-worker at the clothing factory she works. Foolish Love could have turned into just another adultery-themed drama, but instead, Noh Hee Kyung does not condemn any one character. She makes her viewers (all 2% who watched it) understand and even sympathize with where all the characters are coming from… the abused, the abuser, the adulterer, and the adulteree. In this world of gray, the viewers cringe at how there is no clear-cut answer or happy ending, and scream at the realism of it all.

Foolish Love is far from being a “fun” drama. In fact, it’s one of the most depressing dramas I’ve ever watched. But it’s definitely one of the most poignant, and a type of drama that I hope drama makers would be brave enough to continue making.

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#2
Sa Yook Shin/사육신
(KBS2, 2007)

PD: Jang Young Bok
Scriptwriters: Park In Suh & Kim Il Joong
Cast: Park Sang Wook, Kim Ryun Hwa, Jo Myung Ae,
Bang Suk Woon, Kim Soo Il
Lowest rating: 1.9%
Rival programs: MBC’s Legend & SBS’s How to Meet a Perfect Neighbor and Lobbyist
Blue’s comments: Sa Yook Shin was a joint production between North and South Korea. Specifically, it was produced entirely in North Korea and starred all North Korean actors, but funded entirely by the state-run South Korean broadcaster, KBS. (Of course, this was possible because the Sunshine Policy was still in effect at this time.) In fact, KBS promoted the drama as being the pure work of the North Korean TV production and free from any further editing.

But the audience responded coldly to the unfamiliar North Korean actors, the difference in their acting and speech style, the heavy accent, the simple costumes, and the overall less advanced production quality of the drama. Sa Yook Shin recorded its highest rating on its pilot episode (7.3%), but the ratings quickly started to drop thereafter.

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#3
Autumn Shower/가을소나기 (MBC, 2005)

PD: Yoon Jae Moon
Scriptwriter: Jo Myung Joo
Cast: Oh Ji Ho, Kim So Yeon, Jung Ryeo Won, Lee Chun Hee
Lowest rating: 2.3%
Rival programs: KBS’s My Rosy Life & SBS’s Love Needs a Miracle

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#4
Evasive Inquiry Agency/얼렁뚱땅 흥신소 (KBS2, 2007)

PD: Ham Young Hoon
Scriptwriter: Park Yeon Seon
Cast: Lee Min Ki, Yeh Ji Won, Ryu Seung Soo, Lee Eun Sung, Park Hee Soon
Lowest rating: 2.4%
Rival programs: MBC’s Yi San & SBS’s King and I

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#5 (3-way tie)
I Like Her/나는 그녀가 좋다
(KBS2, 2000)

PD: Jeon San
Scriptwriter: Han Joon Young
Cast: Myung Se Bin, Ahn Jae Hwan, Lee Jae Eun, Kim Jung Hyun,
Lee Young Ha, Lee Jung Jin, Kim Hyun Chul
Lowest rating: 2.7%
Rival programs: MBC’s Heo Joon and SBS’s Woman on Top

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#5 (3-way tie)
Look Back With Anger/성난 얼굴로 돌아보라
(KBS2, 2000)

PDs: Lee Min Hong & Lee Won Ik
Scriptwriter: Kim Young Chan
Cast: Park Jin Hee, Lee Eun Joo, Kang Suk Woo, Lee Min Woo,
Kim Myung Min, Bae Doo Na, Kim Young Ae, Joo Jin Mo
Lowest rating: 2.7%
Rival programs: MBC’s Heo Joon & SBS’s Legends of Love

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#5 (3-way tie)
The Thief’s Daughter/도둑의 딸 (SBS, 2000)

PD: Sung Joon Ki
Scriptwriter: Kim Woon Kyung
Cast: Joo Hyun, Kim Won Hee, Lee Kyung Young, Son Hyun Joo,
Jo Hyung Ki, Kim Rae Won
Lowest rating: 2.7%
Rival programs: KBS’s RNA & MBC’s Heo Joon and Some Like It Hot

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#8 (tied)
Stranger than Paradise/천국보다 낯선 (SBS, 2006)

PD: Kim Jong Hyuk
Scriptwriter: Jo Jung Hwa
Cast: Lee Sung Jae, Kim Min Jung, Uhm Tae Woong, Kim Bin Woo
Lowest rating: 2.8%*
Rival programs: KBS’s The Vineyard Man & MBC’s Jumong

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#8 (tied)
I Believed in Men/남자를 믿었네 (MBC, 2011)

PDs: Lee Eun Kyu & Choi Eun Kyung
Scriptwriter: Joo Chan Ok
Cast: Park Sang Min, Woo Hee Jin, Shim Hyung Tak,
Wang Bit Na, Kim Dong Wook
Lowest rating: 2.8%
Rival programs: KBS’s Smile DonghaeSBS News

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#10
Stormy Lovers/폭풍의 연인 (MBC, 2010-2011)

PDs: Go Dong Sun & Kwon Sung Chang
Scriptwriter: Na Yeon Sook
Cast: Choi Eun Seo, Lee Jae Yoon, Jung Bo Suk, Son Chang Min
Lowest rating: 2.9%
Rival programs: KBS’s Smile Donghae & SBS News

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#11 (tied)
Playful Kiss/장난스런 키스 (MBC, 2010)

PDs: Hwang In Roi & Kim Do Hyung
Scriptwriter: Go Eun Nim
Cast: Kim Hyun Joong, Jung So Min, Lee Tae Sung, Jung Hye Young,
Lee Si Young, Yoon Seung Ah
Lowest rating: 3.0%
Rival programs: KBS’s Baker King Kim Tak Gu & SBS’s My Girlfriend is a Gumiho

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#11 (tied)
White Christmas/화이트 크리스마스 (KBS2, 2011)

PD: Kim Yong Soo
Scriptwriter: Park Yeon Seon
Cast: Kim Sang Kyung, Baek Sung Hyun, Kim Young Kwang, Lee Soo Hyuk
Lowest rating: 3.0%
Rival programs: MBC’s News Magazine 2580 & SBS Special

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#13 (3-way tie)
Robber/불한당 (SBS, 2008)

PD: Yoo In Shik
Scriptwriter: Kim Kyu Wan
Cast: Jang Hyuk, Lee Da Hae, Kim Jung Tae, Kim Hye Sook
Lowest rating: 3.3%
Rival programs: KBS’s Hong Gil Dong & MBC’s New Heart

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#13 (3-way tie)
Dream/드림 (SBS, 2009)

PD: Baek Soo Chan
Scriptwriter: Jung Hyung Soo
Cast: Joo Jin Mo, Kim Bum, Son Dam Bi, Park Sang Won, Choi Yeo Jin
Lowest rating: 3.3%
Rival programs: KBS’s The Princess Has Returned & MBC’s Queen Seon Deok

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#13 (3-way tie)
Heading to the Ground/맨땅에 헤딩 (MBC, 2009)

PD: Park Sung Soo
Scriptwriter: Kim Sol Ji
Cast: Jung Yun Ho, Go Ara, Lee Yoon Ji, Lee Sang Yoon
Lowest rating: 3.3%
Rival programs: KBS’s Iris & SBS’s You’re Beautiful

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#16 (3-way tie)
Hero/히어로 (MBC, 2009)

PDs: Kim Kyung Hee & Lee Dong Yoon
Scriptwriter: Park Ji Sook
Cast: Lee Jun Ki, Yoon So Yi, Baek Yoon Shik, Eom Ki Joon
Lowest rating: 3.4%
Rival programs: KBS’s Iris & SBS’s Will It Snow for Christmas?

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#16 (3-way tie)
90 Days, Time to Love/90일 사랑할 시간 (MBC, 2006)

PD: Oh Jong Rok
Scriptwriter: Park Hae Young
Cast: Kang Ji Hwan, Kim Ha Neul, Jung Hye Young, Yoon Hee Seok
Lowest rating: 3.4%
Rival programs: KBS’s Hwang Jin Yi & SBS’s Lovers

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#16 (3-way tie)
Love Marriage/연애결혼 (KBS2, 2008)

PD: Kim Hyung Suk
Scriptwriter: In Eun Ah
Cast: Kim Min Hee, Kim Ji Hoon, Yoon Se Ah, Park Ki Woong
Lowest rating: 3.4%
Rival programs: MBC’s East of Eden & SBS’s Tazza

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#19
I Came in Search of a Flower/꽃 찾으러 왔단다 (KBS2, 2007)

PD: Ji Young Soo
Scriptwriter: Yoon Sung Hee
Cast: Cha Tae Hyun, Kang Hye Jung, Kim Ji Hoon, Gong Hyun Joo
Lowest rating: 3.6%
Rival programs: MBC’s New Wise Mother, Good Wife &
SBS’s My Man’s Woman

*All numbers are based on TNmS (formerly known as TNS) results, unless indicated otherwise by an asterisk to indicate that it’s based on AGB Nielsen Media Research.

Updated: Apr. 7, 2011

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6 Responses to Top 19 lowest rating TV dramas since 2000

  1. doozy says:

    hi blue!
    Do you know if there are English subtitles available for White Christmas?

  2. supah says:

    Eeek.

    But then I suppose ratings aren’t really a testament to how good or bad a show is. But it’s always sad to see so shows here that deserved so much more love.
    I remember Ja Myung-go tanked really badly because of its low ratings but that was quite magnificent. I watched it lately and consider it one of my favourites.

  3. Bella says:

    Autumn Showers deserved that 3% rating, bloody drama was terrible!

  4. kcomments says:

    I had picked up
    Robber — excessive tears from both leads, didn’t enjoy JH’s hair and his character, LDH was a robot.
    Heading to the Ground — started few days back, couldn’t finish but might try again, how I wish it was KRW. The male lead didn’t convince me as a football player and he didn’t understand his character or he simply didn’t know how to act (I think he might be better off with a quiet role).
    90days — such a painful drama, blehhhhh.
    Love Marriage? I thought lots of ppl love it. Hmm… May be it’s the rival program.
    Let’s see which drama will be the lowest this year.

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