'Jewel in the Palace' sequel planned

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Sep 18 2012 06:36 PM | Updated as of Sep 19 2012 02:36 AM

SEOUL - A South Korean TV station said Tuesday it would produce a sequel to the historical drama, "Jewel in the Palace", a pan-Asia TV hit that helped pioneer the "Korean Wave" of pop culture across the region.

MBC, which created the original series aired at home from 2003 to 2004, plans to produce and air the sequel next year, a station spokesman told AFP without giving details.

"The schedule to make the sequel is firmly in place, but talks are still underway on who will direct and which stars will appear in the show," he said.

Kim Jae-Chul, the CEO of MBC, recently met with officials of China's Hunan TV, which syndicated the original show in China in 2005. The Chinese said they were hoping to invest in the upcoming project, said the spokesman.

"Chinese TV industry officials will visit Seoul later this year to discuss details of the project," he said.

Loosely based on a folklore and originally titled Dae Jang Geum after its main heroine, the drama tells the tale of an orphaned royal kitchen cook in the ancient Joseon dynasty who went on to become the king's first female doctor.

The show was wildly popular at home, garnering ratings of more than 50 percent with its lively characters and vivid depictions of traditional Korean cuisine and medicine.

It became a TV phenomenon in Asia and beyond, airing in some 60 nations including China, Japan, the Philippines and Iran and making an international star out of its main actress, Lee Young-Ae.

The show is often cited as one of the first South Korean drama series that opened the door for the so-called Hallyu (Korean Wave) of TV shows and pop music that have swept across Asia in the past decade.