The Korea Herald


‘The Penthouse: War in Life’ gets 28.8% viewership rating, content warning from regulator

By Lim Jang-won

Published : Jan. 6, 2021 - 15:07

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A scene from “The Penthouse: War in Life” (SBS) A scene from “The Penthouse: War in Life” (SBS)

The first season of megahit SBS drama “The Penthouse: War in Life” ended with a record-high viewership rating of 28.8 percent on Tuesday. The show also received an official warning from the Korea Communications Standards Commission and was asked to raise its rating from the current PG-15.

The last episode of the first season earned a peak viewership rating of 31.3 percent, making it the first dramatic miniseries in five years to reach over 30 percent of viewers on a terrestrial channel. But the commission held a meeting on Monday and decided that some scenes from the drama’s second episode, shown Oct. 27, were inappropriate for a PG-15 show.

The problematic scenes included violence inflicted on a student character, Min Sul-a. Min is repeatedly pushed into a pool by other students, slapped and stepped on by the father of another student, disparaged for being an orphan and confined in a car as champagne is poured on her while other students film the bullying.

“The drama showed scenes where teenagers violently and provocatively bullied. The broadcaster rebroadcast episodes during teen protection hours, reneging on its responsibility as a broadcast because of excessive commercialism,” said the commission.

“The Penthouse: War in Life” had previously raised its rating to over 19 for the fourth episode, and for episodes 18 and onward, after an internal SBS meeting. The Korea Communication Standards Commission has received over 200 complaints about excessive violence in the drama.

The warning means SBS will receive a point deduction when it applies for renewal of its broadcasting rights. SBS got 641.55 points, below the passing score of 650, when its application was reviewed in December. The Korea Communication Standards Commission renewed SBS’ broadcast rights for three years under the condition that the broadcast not be used for private gain. State-run KBS 2TV also failed to achieve 650 points.

By Lim Jang-won (