Posted : 2014-04-15 16:59
Updated : 2014-04-15 20:01

Reality programs focus on singles

Members of the cast of "Share House" pose at a press conference at CJ E&M Center in Sangam-dong, Seoul, Monday. The program brings nine stars
together to share a common living space. / Yonhap

‘Share House,'
‘Roommate' start this week

By Kim Ji-soo

One of the reasons that Korean "reality" programs are enjoying a heyday is that they reflect what's in demand or what's lacking in Korean society today.

In graying Korea, the television audience is highly attuned to celebrities traveling with their children as in "Where Are We Going Dad?" and "Superman Returns." The former, which has been successfully remade in China, won the top prize in the television entertainment program division at the Houston International Film Awards, Monday.

A more affluent Korean society is also more into vicariously enjoying life through watching travel programs as seen with "Grandfathers Over Flowers," where veteran Korean actors Lee Sun-jae, Shin Gu, ParkGeun-hyung and Baek Il-sup travel overseas with a young celebrity porter. Another show titled "One Night Two Days" features visiting various destinations in Korea.

Two new programs start this week, aptly capturing a growing trend — the increasing number of single households.

Nana, front, of girl group After School, is seen in this captured image for the upcoming television program "Roommate." / Courtesy of SBS

An estimated 4.53 million or about 10 percent of the population are single households in Korea, a diverging split from traditional Korean households where two to three generations would live together.

As more singles live alone, there is also a small movement for them to get together just for meals.

The cable channel O'live will start airing a reality program "Share House" on April 16. The 12-part program has brought nine cast members who hail from various sectors and put them in a house where they share a kitchen and living room.

The nine are actors Lee Sang-min, Choi Sung-jun and Chun Yi-seul, singer Son Ho-young formerly of g.o.d, announcer Choi Hee, Woo Hee from the girl group Dal Shabet, designers Hwang Yeong-rong and Kim Jae-woong, and model Song Hae-na.

"What we wanted to create with the show is that feeling of ‘Oh I want to live there,'" said Lee Soo-hyuk, producer of Share House.

"We also want to portray food not only the cooking aspect, but the experience of sharing of a meal," said Lee, adding that the program will adhere closely with the food channel's characteristic.

It helps that the male members including Son — who was the winner of Master Chef Korea — can cook. Son however was not present at the press conference. The singer last year saw the suicide of his former girlfriend, which was followed by his own attempt.

The seemingly hodge-podge mix in the background and age of the nine membersis intended so that the show can present a real life real-life situation to the viewers, Lee said.

Coincidentally, the network television SBS will start airing "Roommate" starting this Sunday.

The program puts 11 celebrities — 2NE1 member Bom, EXO member Chanyeol, Nana of girl group After School, actors Lee Dong-wook, Hong Soo-hyeon, Park Min-woo and Seo Gang-joon, model Lee So-ra, singer Sing Seong-woo, comedian Cho Se-ho and combat fighter Song Ga-yeon — in one house.

These stars will be sharing rooms as well as common living stations.

But both program faced questions about the similarities in format.

When asked about the similarity, Lee of "Share House" said that the program's creators didn't worry too much about it because broadcasting on TV is about trends.

The creators of "Roommate" also faced questions about copying a Japanese reality program, which they refuted.

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