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New SBS series enters ratings race


SBS` latest weekend prime time series "Smile, Dear" may prove a tough sell for audiences who have become acclimated to its star-driven and chic predecessor, "Style."
While the fashion-forward series -- which boasted a cast that included Hallyu star Ryu Si-won and veteran actress Kim Hye-soo -- did not achieve the overwhelming success of its predecessor "Brilliant Legacy" or beat out KBS contender "Iron Empress," it did manage to bring in steady viewer ratings.
"Smile, Dear," on the other hand, may find itself in a tight ratings race against MBC`s current family-oriented weekend series, "The Jewel Family."
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The SBS drama`s premise -- a wealthy household`s fall from grace forces them to bunk with their ex-chauffeur`s family -- groups it in the currently popular yet overworked family drama genre, leaving the new series with the daunting challenge of nabbing viewers whose expectations have already been raised by hit family series like "Mom is That Upset" and KBS` current blockbuster "My Too Perfect Sons."
Though the plotline of "Smile, Dear" seems a bit stale -- the formerly wealthy learn a thing or two about living modestly -- the presence of "Sikgaek" actor Choi Bul-am as the ex-chauffeur, "Boys Over Flowers" actress Lee Min-jung as the heroine (a rich girl-gone-poor) and "Family Outing" star Lee Chun-hee as the heroine`s brother may attract viewers.
"The character of Seo Jung-in is so adorable and cute that I have fallen for her myself," said actress Lee in an SBS press release. "For five months, I will be living as Seo Jung-in and not as Lee Min-jung."
Lee`s devotion to her character, Seo Jung-in, bodes well for the actress. Meanwhile, co-star Choung Kyung-ho, who will be playing the grandson of the ex-chauffeur`s household and Seo`s potential love interest, faces the challenge of bouncing back from the lackluster ratings performance of his previous drama "Princess Ja-Myung."
"I am glad to be able to play a fun character and work on a fun script," actor Choung stated in an SBS press release, signaling an optimistic attitude towards his new project.
"Smile, Dear" starts tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on SBS.
By Jean Oh