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'Descendants of the Sun' nears milestone

A popular TV series about a soldier and doctor who fall in love on the battlefield, inched closer to the 30-percent viewership mark, data showed Monday.

"Descendants of the Sun," the KBS 2TV drama starring actor Song Joong-ki and actress Song Hye-kyo, renewed its own viewership record at 28.5 percent last week, data by Nielsen Korea showed.

In Seoul, the figure broke the 30-percent mark the week prior to last one.

The Wednesday-Thursday night drama portrays the struggles of Korean peace-keeping troops and volunteer doctors trying to save lives in the fictional war-ravaged country of Uruk, a situation which gives rise to the liaison between special forces Capt. Yoo Si-jin (Song Joong-ki) and Dr. Kang Mo-yeon (Song Hye-kyo).

The show, which is currently broadcast in South Korea and China, was viewed a combined 1 billion times on iQiyi, its official streaming site in China, production company NEW said. The figure combines not only video views but clicks on other "Descendants of the Sun"-related posts on the website.

According to NEW, iQiyi paid $250,000 per episode for the broadcasting rights in China.

They have also been sold to other Chinese cable networks, the company said, adding all in all, its customers represent 19 countries including Britain, France, Italy and Germany.

MBC's "Goodbye, Mr. Black," based on the local cartoon series of the same name, and SBS' "Please Come Back, Mister" failed to keep up with single-digit viewership.

Meanwhile, the KBS 2TV weekend series "Five Children" about a blended family with five children captured 27.9 percent of TV homes over the weekend. On Sunday, the show broke the 30-percent mark with 30.1 percent viewers nationwide and 30.9 percent in the Seoul metropolitan area.

MBC's "Happy Home" on weekend nights finished behind "Five Children" at 15 percent. SBS' "Yeah, That's How It is" trailed at 8 percent.

Among cable shows, tvN's "Memory" started with a moderate viewership of 3.6 percent. The series, which succeeds crime thriller "Signal" in the Friday-Saturday night time slot, follows a 40-something lawyer who grapples with his sudden Alzheimer's diagnosis. Along the way, he finds himself revisiting his ex-wife to the dismay of both the ex-wife and his current spouse.

"Pied Piper," a story about crisis negotiators on the same network, was the second-most watched cable drama at 2.4 percent. (Yonhap)

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