Girls' Generation's Yoona stars in a scene from "Prime Minister and I" opposite veteran actor Lee Bum-soo.
Singer IU in a scene from "Pretty Boy." Her co-stars include actor Jang Keun-suk.
Uee stars in a scene from the television drama "Golden Rainbow" / Korea Times file
Continued popularity of K-pop groups has meant increased presence of the stars not only on music stages, but also the small screen.
Top stars such as Yoona of Girls' Generation, singer IU and Uee of After School are currently starring in network dramas.
But in terms of ratings, it's the drama freshman Dasom of Sistar who leads the pack. She is starring in her first role on the daily television drama "Love Travels With a Song" for KBS. The 8:30 p.m. slot on KBS has always been a golden one for dramas and the latest work is no exception. Two months into running, it is recording a rating of 27 percent. The 21-year-old plays an aspiring musical star who happens to fall in love with a lawyer, the same guy her lawyer sister secretly admires.
It's the stars who have proven themselves in television dramas before that are showing mixed results.
Yoona of Girls' Generation is currently starring in the lead role in "Prime Minister and I" on KBS. It's the story of a paparazzi-like reporter who ends up marrying her interviewee/the prime minister. After five episodes, the drama is achieving single-digit ratings, in the range of 6 to 7 percent. But Yoona, 23, has proven that she can achieve stellar ratings, leaving room for the possibility that the ratings may climb in the future. After making her acting debut in 2007, she landed a starring role in the daily drama in 2008 ("You're My Destiny") that recorded 30 to 40 percent ratings. Her performance and the sustaining popularity of K-pop suggested that K-pop stars can excel on the small screens as well. Industry insiders said that it was largely after Yoona's success with "You're My Destiny" that more singers were tapped for drama roles.
Singer IU is starring opposite the Korean actor Jang Keun-suk in "Pretty Boy." IU also demonstrated she can garner ratings with the weekend drama "You're the Best, Lee Sun-shin." But her latest drama has been struggling in the range of 3 to 4 percent. Jewelry member Kim Ye-won has a supporting role in the MBC drama "Miss Korea," which is recording around 7 percent ratings.
One of the main reasons for single-digit ratings, industry insiders said, is that the viewers often see an imbalance when these K-pop stars, often the icon of cute and sweet, portray realistic characters in a drama.
Uee of the girl group After School is another K-pop star starring in MBC's weekend drama "Golden Rainbow." The drama has marked the 10 percent ratings, leaving the possibility open that it will soon soar higher.