Star TV director Kim Tae-ho returns with new reality show on local streaming platform

SEOUL-- Kim Tae-ho, a star director-producer best known for the hit MBC TV show "Infinite Challenge," said Wednesday that he left the public broadcaster because he wanted to take part in the ongoing seismic change in the entertainment industry.

Kim began working for MBC in 2001 and rose to fame as he produced the popular variety show "Infinite Challenge" from 2005 to 2018. His subsequent show, "Hangout with Yoo," was also successful.

He worked with streaming platforms like Netflix in December last year to produce "The Hungry and The Hairy" a month before he officially left MBC.

"While working in one company for two decades, I occasionally felt the content industry and audiences were changing rapidly," the director said in an online press conference. "Over the past two years, however, I thought the change was so huge that I would have regretted it if I hadn't gotten into it."

Early this year, he joined Tving and released a one-off program, titled "Seoul Check-In," following singer Lee Hyo-ri, currently residing on the southern island of Jeju, meeting her acquaintances and staying at her friend's place after finishing her schedule in Seoul.

It became one of the biggest hit shows on the local platform run by entertainment giant CJ ENM. The program was picked up as a regular five-part series, and its first episode will premiere this Friday.

"As I've worked with a streaming platform, I'm given comprehensive data about the age of my viewers and their access channels," he said. "Based on the data, creators can make content in various formats and concepts for our target customers. I think this helped me expand my horizons."

Over the past few years, he witnessed the global reception of Korean content, especially TV series and music led by "Squid Game" and BTS, and believed that Korean variety shows can do the same.

"It's hard for comedies and variety shows to appeal to foreign audiences as they require a full cultural understanding that cannot be subtitled," he said. "We have some data on variety shows released worldwide in recent years. The new data may help Korean creators think more global and make universal shows."

He said there are possibilities of spin-offs of "Seoul Check-In" for global audiences, switching up the cities or changing the lead role.

"You can replace Seoul with Busan, Jeju, Los Angeles and Berlin," he said. "This is about Lee Hyo-ri's Seoul visit. If someone's visit is entertaining enough, I can do it as well."

Source: Yonhap News Agency