Youthful drama targets weekend audience

Rarely does a weekend family drama make the splash that KBS' "Mom's Dead Upset" did. The hit series ended with a bang last Sunday, garnering viewer ratings of 39.7 percent nationwide, according to AGB Nielsen Media research.

Hoping to continue their winning streak, KBS is following it up with a light and comic romance about a radio producer and a disc jockey.

Celebrities Kim Sung-soo and Lee Tae-ran will be playing the title roles. Actor Kim, 35, stars as a has-been pop singer who takes a job as a radio disc jockey. Actress Lee Tae-ran, 33, plays the domineering co-worker who bickers her way into his heart.

Co-star Park Hae-mi, however, expressed reservations about the decidedly more youthful bent of the upcoming family drama -- titled "My Precious You" -- at the press conference on Tuesday. "In the previous drama, 'Mom's Dead Upset', middle aged characters played the lead", said actress Park, 44. "But people still shy away from focusing on older characters. Why do we target younger audiences?"

Park may have a point. She blew audiences away with her role as a wicked stepmother in SBS' "Love in Heaven" (2005). And now she promises to repeat its success.

"I am upset that the preview screening did not show clips of me", she said. "My role is as big as Kim Sung-soo's and Lee Tae-ran's".

But the results are not in yet. Park is up against some stiff competition. Kim Sung-soo built up a steady reputation playing rich-but-lonely men in dramas like "Full House" (2004) and "Bad Love" (2007). And Lee Tae-ran struck fear and respect into the hearts of viewers with her tough, no-nonsense role as a lieutenant in KBS' "Famous Princesses" (2006).

It looks like Lee is set to continue to draw laughs with her tomboy persona in the upcoming drama.

"Lee Tae-ran's character is supremely tough in this drama", warned co-star Kim.

Kim, on the other hand, will be deviating from his standard role.

"In the past, I played a happy-go-lucky gentleman, but this time around I tried to change", said the actor, who grew a beard for his role as a down-and-out single father.

If "Mom's Dead Upset" focused on the trials and tribulations of mothers, "My Precious You" plans on highlighting the difficulties single fathers face in Korean society.

Actor Kim's character and the father of Lee Tae-ran's character both give viewers insight into what it might be like for men to have to raise children on their own.

The drama also plans to focus on the children, including actor Ji Hyun-woo, who stars as a playboy dentist.

Ji won female viewers over as the sweet and innocent hero in the hit KBS series "Old Miss Diary - Drama" (2004), building a reputation as the kind of guy an older woman would want to date. Now his new role threatens to overturn whatever points he managed to score over the past few years.

Quick to deny that his character is a player without a heart, Ji stated: "He is not a total playboy. My character just does not want to get caged in or hurt".

Whatever the case, the 23-year-old actor is sure to draw laughs every time he leers or catcalls at a passing woman in "My Precious You".

"My Precious You" starts tomorrow night at 7:55 p.m. on KBS 2 TV.

By Jean Oh