[Korean Television 101] What are the Most Popular Dramas Aired by KBS?

Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) is one of the three main public broadcasting companies in South Korea. Having 18 regional stations and 11 overseas offices, KBS is located in Yeouido district in Seoul.

Brief History

Its history starts back in 27 february 1927, when Kyeongseong Broadcasting Corporation, the first radio station of the Korean Peninsula, was created. 

In 1948, it received a the name of Seoul Central Broadcasting Station.

In 1961, KBS buys the first television station in South Korea, HLKZ-TV. 12 years later, the Systems changes its status from government to public broadcasting.

In 1980, KBS accepted advertising but, in 1994, KBS1 stopped airing commercials.

KBS started to broadcast HD programs in 2001, and 11 years later, it completely transfered to digital broadcasting system.

Channels & Types of Shows

Under the big name of KBS, there are more channels, some being just local, and some broadcasting dramas and shows loved by fans all over the world. The following are the most known channels:

  1. KBS1

    Launched in 1961 as HLKZ-TV, KBS1 is the main channel of KBS, and it currently airs news, culture, sports, entertainment and children’s programmes. By KBS’ law, it is prohibited to air commercials, making it the only commercial-free channel in Korea.

Its first drama was Daemyeong (1981). Other KDramas KBS1 aired include Emperor Wang Gun (2000), a 200 episode sageuk with ratings hitting the incredible 60% mark, Immortal Admiral Yi Sun Sin (2004),  Smile Again (2010), Cheer Up Mr. Kim (2012), and more.

The Great Merchant (2010)

Jang Yeong Sil (2016)

Still Loving You (2017)


  1. KBS2

    Famous for its dramas and TV shows, it is the result of a forced fusion between the Tongyang Broadcasting Corporation and KBS in the `80s.

    Salut d’Amour (1994) was KBS2’s first KDrama.

    Bae Young Joon & Sung Hyun-Ah in Salut d’Amour (1994)

    Other successful KDramas it aired are Full House (2004), I Am Sam (2007),  Sungkyunkwan Scandal (2010), Love Rain (2012), Bridal Mask (2012), Good Doctor (2013),  Cheer Up! (2015), Oh My Venus (2015), Descendants Of The Sun (2016), Hwarang (2017), Fight For My Way (2017), Queen For Seven Days (2017), and more.

    First Love (1997), the second most viewed series of all times in Korea with a rating of 65.8%

    Winter Sonata (2002)

    Boys Over Flowers (2009)

    Dream High (2011) & Dream High 2 (2012)

    Healer (2014)

    Love In The Moonlight (2016)

    the School series

    KBS2 also produces some great shows other than the dramas we’ve loved.

    2Days 1Night

    Gag Concert

    Happy Together

    Hello Counselor

    Immortal Song 2

    Return of Superman


  1. KBS World 

    First known as The Voice of Free Korea in 1953, it became part of KBS in 1968. However, it was only in 2003 that KBS World started the transition to what it is today, a channel for international fans. It airs some popular dramas and shows aired by the main channels, but it also provides subtitles, based on the country it broadcasts.

Fun Facts

Winter Sonata (2002) starring Bae Jong Yoon and Choi Ji Woo was the beginning of the Hallyu Wave, with an immense success in Japan.

Bae Jong Yoon & Choi Ji Woo

Daeha Drama (daeha means great river in Chinese) is a term used exclusively by KBS to describe its annual dramas. It was first used in 1970, with the same meaning as the Japanese Taiga Drama, but the first Daeha Drama was produced in 1981 (Daemyeong). This type of KDramas usually has between 50 and 100 episodes, and it mostly follows historical events.

Gwanggaeto, The Great Conqueror (2011) – 92 episodes

King’s Dream (2012) – 70 episodes

Jeong Do Jeon (2014) – 50 episodes

Meanwhile, KBS had a lot of controversies such as the wiretapping scandal (2011), girl groups cheating on charts (2011), the KBS strike (2014), and the Music Bank winner mistake (2016).

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wikipedia(1) wikipedia(2) wikipedia(3) wikipedia(4)  kbs.co.kr