Ruler’ reigns over mid-week TV drama race

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A promotional image for “Ruler: Master of The Mask” (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 26 (Yonhap) — “Ruler: Master of The Mask,” MBC TV’s new period drama, remained on top of the Wednesday-Thursday late night drama race, while “Queen of Mystery” bowed out with a lukewarm reaction, data showed Friday.

Episodes 11 and 12 of “Ruler,” which aired Thursday evening, recorded 12.1 percent and 13.8 percent viewership, respectively, according to Nielsen Korea.

The show has adopted a new programming format in which a one-hour conventional TV episode is spliced into two half-hour broadcasts with ads inserted into the middle.

“Ruler” is a show about a crown prince named Lee Seon of the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910) — played by rising star actor Yoo Seung-ho — who has been raised wearing a mask since infancy to conceal his identity due to mysterious circumstances.

He wages a war against a technocratic guild known as “Pyeonsoohoe,” which seeks to privatize the public water supply for personal gain.

Former child actress Kim So-hyun plays the crown prince’s love interest Han Ga-eun and L of boy band INFINITE is cast as the prince’s confidant peasant. Veteran actor Huh Joon-ho stars as the main antagonist Daemok, who heads Pyeonsoohoe.

The series finale of KBS 2TV’s crime thriller/comedy “Queen of Mystery,” which led the mid-week drama race before “Ruler” arrived, stood at 8.3 percent, while SBS TV’s episodes seven and eight of new show “Suspicious Partner” clocked in at 7.1 percent and 7.8 percent, respectively.

A follow-up to hit series “Good Manager,” “Queen of Mystery” started out with double-digit ratings but steadily lost ground throughout its run, as it struggled to strike the right balance between a hard-boiled crime procedural and a light comedy.

odissy@yna.co.kr

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