Take four well-known South Korean actors of pensioner age and a young porter-cum-minder on a backpacking trip in a far-flung country and you get Grandpas Over Flowers.
The series, from creator Na Young Suk, has been a major hit on CJ E&M-owned general entertainment pay TV channel tvN, with the channel recording a 9.99% share for the season one finale episode in its Friday night slot. Season two, set in Spain, recently opened with 7.7% share, way up on the 4.9% garnered by the season one opener.
Interestingly, a key demographic driving those ratings are the 20- to 30-year-old age group,” according to Tim Crescenti, founder of the format’s worldwide vendor, Content Television-backed Small World IFT.
“That is because the quartet are living like students out of their backpacks and are interacting with the youth,” adds Crescenti. “Also, everyone can see their dads or granddads in these people.”
The first season saw the group travel to Switzerland, Germany, France and Taiwan – some in hastily added extra episodes.
However, despite the logistics of sending four grandfathers around the world with a bucket list of things to do and see, Crescenti says it has not been an expensive show to make, and the design means promotion and sponsorship prospects from travel and retail product companies are plentiful. “The air fare was sponsored and even the clothing and the water were too,” says Crescenti. More critical to the success is the casting: “You have to get it right,” he adds.
The show is made for the major networks’ primetime schedules, says Crescenti. “This was must-see-now TV in South Korea,” he adds. Asian vendor CJ E&M has already shopped it around the contintent.
The show: Grandpas Over Flowers
The producer: CJ E&M
The distributors: Small World IFT (worldwide, ex-Asia), CJ E&M
The broadcasters: tvN (South Korea), EBC (Taiwan), TVB (Hong Kong), Youku (China), MediaCorp (Singapore), Myanmar (MKCS), Channel M
(pan-Asia), Mnet (Japan, US), Thailand (Workpoint TV)
The concept: Four veteran Korean actors are fish out of water as they travel the world completing tasks with a young porter