The landscape of Korean entertainment has taken an intoxicating turn with the surge of “drinking entertainment” — a genre where celebrities share drinks and stories in a more relaxed and candid setting. This rise in popularity has led to an unexpected phenomenon: some of the most sought-after shows for idols to promote their songs in now boast waitlists that stretch on for months.
In a candid conversation, an agency representative revealed the sheer popularity these shows have and how much companies try to book a slot for their artists every week. The quote tells the story of a new reality of booking appearances for celebrities in an industry that once shunned the public consumption of alcohol on screen.
Popular (drinking) shows are actually becoming more difficult to guest on. Some of them have waitlists as long as several months.
— Agency Representative
Past perceptions have pivoted — where once the sight of a celebrity sipping soju on camera might have attracted controversy, it now kindles a sense of closeness between the viewers and the stars. The once-avoided drinking programs have become a strategic move for agencies aiming to humanize their stars and tap into the conversational threads that resonate with audiences.
The trend is notably prominent on YouTube, where traditional broadcasting regulations on alcohol content don’t apply, allowing for a broader and unfiltered portrayal of celebrities. Shows like Lee Young Ji‘s, Jo Hyun Ah‘s, and Gian84‘s have turned into hits, drawing in fans with their blend of alcohol-fueled friendship and the allure of unscripted moments.
However, the seemingly unregulated nature of these shows has sparked some concerns. Critics argue that the unchecked proliferation of such content could inadvertently endorse a drinking culture, especially among impressionable youth. The absence of age restrictions on platforms like YouTube further complicates the issue, potentially exposing minors to content that glorifies alcohol consumption.
Despite these concerns, the genre continues to flourish, with the charm of seeing a different, more genuine side of popular celebrities proving irresistible to a wide audience. The appeal is evident in the numbers — shows featuring famous idols see their viewership figures soar as fans, regardless of age, tune in to watch their favorites let loose.