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Once Bitten but Not Twice Shy

2006/12/18 Source

Disgraced Actresses Ready Comebacks on the Small Screen in 2007

By Han Da-gam
Staff Reporter

One moment they were hot. And the next moment they found themselves, well, not.

In the past, top female celebrities whose careers derailed after high-profile incidents _ arrests, divorces, etc. _ would take on the role of the fallen woman. She would apologize, bow for causing a commotion and then disappear, hardly ever appearing again in the public eye.

But this formula no longer seems to holds true. Once disgraced celebrities are readying comebacks on the small screen in time for the new year.

With her sparkling black eyes, pretty face and shapely figure, it didn't take long for actress Hwang Soo-jung to captivate television audiences when she entered the scene in 1996. Hwang, whose squeaky clean and sweet image made her one of the most sought-after actresses, was soon cast as the leading lady on the big screen as well as the small.

Her portrayal of Yejinassi in the 1999 hit MBC period epic "Heo Jun" secured her a spot on the top. She claimed the two top honors at the MBC Acting Awards that year _ for best actress and favorite actress.

However, her 2001 arrest on charges of taking methamphetamine, a stimulant known also as "ice", with her live-in boyfriend horrified fans. Broadcasters and advertisers were quick to scrap contracts, and to dodge a public lynching in the media, Hwang disappeared from the public eye. She has not managed a comeback _ until now.

Hwang will return in the soon-to-premier drama "Salt Doll". She will play Cha So-young, a strong-minded housewife who is placed in an "Indecent Proposal"-like situation when her husband falls ill and she needs money to pay for his surgery.

"Salt Doll" will first air on Jan. 5 on SBS at 8:50 p.m.

Singer and television personality Lee Hyori tried launching an acting career in 2004. But her portrayal of a cheerful factory worker from a broken home in the mini-series "Seibklobu" ("Three Leafed Clover") was met with record-low ratings, and criticism of her acting ability poured in.

Since then, Lee has managed to land emcee spots on popular television shows and to keep her Samsung Anycall cell phone advertisement deal. But career-wise, she has seen better years.

This year her singing career also ran into a crisis. The title track of her second solo album, "Get Ya", was questioned for its originality. The song was found to be too similar to Britney Spears "Do Something", and Universal Music Publishing Korea, the owners of Spear's music and lyrics, filed a complaint against the composer of "Get Ya". Lee had to take a break before promoting other songs on the album, but by the time she started, fans had lost interest.

Lee is also apparently giving acting another try. This time she will be featured in "Beautiful Days (2007)", a 70-minute music drama that will air in late January. It has not yet been decided which network will air it. She takes on the role of a pop star, who is diagnosed with a terminal illness that leaves her only months to live.

The 27-year-old star is also set to release a digital album that will feature a dance track and a ballad early next year.

Choi Jin-sil defined '90s television mini-series. Her appearances in the earliest of the trendy dramas like MBC's "Chiltu" ("Jealousy") and box office hits like "Manura Chugigi" (How to Top My Wife) made Choi South Korea's sweetheart.

But after Choi went through a highly publicized divorce in 2004 with baseball star Jo Seong-min that involved domestic violence and a messy custody battle over their two children, she shied away from the public eye.

She carefully returned to the small screen with "Changmibit Insaeng" ("My Rosy Life"), which aired on KBS. However, rival network MBC, citing breach of contract (Choi was still under contract to act in 300 episodes, of which she had completed only 250), said it would take legal action against Choi.

Choi and MBC have since settled out of court, and she will start off new with the broadcaster in a daily weeknight drama that is slated to have its premiere on Jan. 2. In "Nabbun Yoja, Chakhan Yoja" ("Bad Woman, Good Woman"), Choi will play a housewife whose world goes to pieces when she learns about her husband's infidelity.

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