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Will Korean audition programs have viewers hooked once again?

Audition programs, which once dominated airtime several years ago before a number of vote-rigging controversies and ranking errors, are now poised to emerge as a major trend on television once again.

The new impartial judging system aside, the revamped music competition shows are set to entertain viewers with new and yet-undiscovered talents, seeking to overtake other popular shows like sports entertainment and dating reality series -- reality shows that have recently soared through the ranks on Korean TV.

South Korean cable music channel Mnet, which was behind the debut of multiple K-pop stars like Busker Busker, Roy Kim, Huh Gak, I.O.I, Wanna One and IZ*ONE, launched a new project called “Boys Planet” on Feb. 2 to find a global boy band to lead the next generation of K-pop.

The 12-part idol-singer audition show reveals the journey of 98 trainees, who vie for the final prize of debuting in the K-pop boy band.

Although the series has not yet recorded a notable viewership rating -- likely because it airs before prime time -- “Boys Planet” sparked the interests of both local and global audiences.

According to the streaming platform Rakuten Viki, the audition program topped the service’s chart in 21 countries, including Sweden, Norway, Portugal and Saudi Arabia, among others, as of Feb. 21. “Boys Planet” enjoyed international popularity, reaching the top 5 slot on the services’ chart in more than 40 other countries including Germany, France and Spain. So far, trainees Sung Han-bin and Han Yu-jin have swept the top spots on the weekly rankings of the most searched individuals -- excluding actors, analytics firm Good Data Corp. said Saturday.

“Boys Planet” has ranked No. 1 on the firm’s weekly list of the most talked about non-TV drama shows since its premiere.

Good Data Corp. monitors and compiles data from online posts, videos, social media, news reports and blog posts in determining the ranking.

Cable channel JTBC launched another audition project “Peak Time,” with a slightly different atmosphere from existing music competition shows.

Featuring already-debuted artists who have fallen short in making a successful career, “Peak Time” seeks to present a second chance to make it in a top K-pop boy band.

Unlike other competitions, the series caught the public's attention by showcasing the cast’s sincerity and passion for music.

Hoping to create a worldwide boy band, "Peak Time" is being aired on one of the major Japanese broadcast TV channels Asahi, as well as on Japanese streaming platform Abema. The show was also released in Taiwan and the Americas via video streaming platforms.

“Peak Time” has made it onto Rakuten Viki’s top 10 charts in 14 countries, including the US, Canada, Bulgaria, Australia and more. [TheHeraldKorea]


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