Code Entertainment ’s Chief of the PR department, Min So-Yeong, nervously asked, ”Remind me again.
Today is the first broadcast, right? ”

“Yes, Chief.”

Min So-Yeong rubbed the thick dark circles below her eyes while worriedly muttering, “Whew.
I hope she did an alright job…”

Today was the day they would reap their investment, and it was making her anxious.

Jeong Seok-Su sitting next to her sighed.
“We ’ve already fired all the PR salvos everywhere as much as humanly possible, so…
If her performance is rubbish, it ’s gonna spell doom for us all.
The number of negative comments and trolls roasting her online will go through the roof.”

Min So-Yeong cocked her head.
“You don ’t trust your own performer that much?”

Jeong Seok-Su made a wounded expression at that question, and a sigh of lamentation leaked out of his lips as he rubbed his nose a couple of times “No, I do believe in Se-Ah.
I really do, but as you know, being good at acting doesn ’t prevent people from kicking you down online.
Far too many people will be waiting with preconceived opinions when a singer or idol changes their job to an actor.
And well…
Even though they hadn ’t surfaced yet, our Se-Ah already has quite a few haters by now, too.”

“I thought the last incident decreased the number of haters, though?”

“Well, that is true.” Jeong Seok-Su involuntarily broke into a loud chuckle.

The previous dating gossip threatened to derail Kang Eun-Yeong ’s career.
Usually, such a thing wouldn ’t harm a celebrity ’s public image too much, but Kang Eun-Yeong being a minor played a significant part in the derailing process.

Any wrong response would have ensured that her image—and her career—would go down the drain, but Kang Jin-Ho ’s sudden intrusion during a live gig turned everything on its head.
Instead of falling, Kang Eun-Yeong ’s public image gained a significant boost.

People thought that a girl being managed so tightly and harshly by her family wouldn ’t have enough time to fool around with a boy.
And most people saw the funny side of the horrifying situation everyone called an ’on-air incident,’ and it massively helped her.

Although it took some effort on Code ’s part to put out the ’on-air incident ’ fire, it morphed into a perfect opportunity to turn the media around to Kang Eun-Yeong ’s side.

“According to the film crew, she was great in front of the camera.
Since her role is about a likable, charming character, we should get a favorable response as long as she does a good job and scratches that itch of the audience.”

“I sure hope so…” Jeong Seok-Su replied even as he continued to clench and unfurl his fists out of nervousness.

Min So-Yeong leaned closer to him and asked, “By the way, why does Se-Ah suddenly want to change her career to acting?”

“She ’s not changing her career.
Se-Ah ’s still working diligently on her next album as we speak.
This is more like a second job to her.
Well, you know how everyone is taking on multiple jobs these days.”

“Even so.
Miss Se-Ah didn ’t display much interest in acting until recently, yes? And she was pretty popular as a singer, too.
In my opinion, it would ’ve been a better idea to think about expanding to overseas markets, but she suddenly wanted to become an actor, so…
It just took us by surprise, you see?”

‘And we, the PR team, would have loved to have some choice words with her, too…!’

Min So-Yeong gnashed her teeth briefly after recalling the hardship she had to face.

A talent agency ’s PR department was probably the most stressful working environment imaginable.
If every celebrity in the world maintained a great public image, and every single thing they did was fervently cheered on by the public, working for a PR department could be one of the easiest jobs in existence.
Unfortunately, most ’celebrities ’ couldn ’t even enter the public ’s awareness.

This wasn ’t the case of online haters getting their wish, but more like ’zero interest.’ Despite all kinds of PR material being thrown around and no effort being spared to get the celebrity ’s name mentioned by the media, the absolute majority of the performers would fail to register with the masses.
And if some of them were lucky enough to get noticed, the unwelcome opinion of,  ’Gee whiz, they are manipulating the media to promote that celeb like crazy, huh? ’ would always follow them around.

That wasn ’t the end of the story, though.
Once the twin hurdles of ’Who the hell is that person? ’ and the shameless media promotion had been overcome, the next obstacle in the form of haters would eventually show up.

However, having haters could be considered a good thing.
Most celebs would end up ’retiring ’ from the entertainment industry shortly after their debut before any haters could form, anyway.

’This is why Se-Ah is such a godsend… ’

Kang Se-Ah was a rare case of shooting into the public consciousness in one go right after her debut, all thanks to receiving a major PR push from all sides.
She easily bypassed the hurdles of  ’Who? ’ and self-promotion, which were the two most stressful stages in trying to achieve success in any product and was now on her way to becoming an idol.
So, from the perspective of the PR team, she should have been seen as ‘A Gift from the Heavens.’

But then, she seemed to have lost her plot out of nowhere and started throwing a random fuss about becoming an actress.
She didn ’t stop there; however, as she even sniffed out a TV production and got herself a major starring role in it, too.

The agency ’s planning department was over the moon at this development, saying this kid didn ’t need any help in making things happen.
But Min So-Yeong was from the PR department.
Of course, she got a massive migraine.

When an idol wanted to become an actor, it would inevitably summon internet trolls from the woodwork whose sole mission in life would be to fill half of the comment sections with various flaming and roasting posts.
This happened because the ’fan bases ’ of actors and idols were fundamentally different in nature.

Kang Eun-Yeong ’s fan club had unreservedly supported her on this move, which afforded everyone some breathing room, but what if Kang Eun-Yeong were to put up a poor showing today? The number of determined souls sitting in front of their TV screens, chomping at the bits to chew Kang Eun-Yeong out if her acting wasn ’t up to snuff, was quite considerable.

“Please, please…
Se-Ah, please don ’t disappoint us.”

None of the people sitting in the PR department ’s office expected the performance of the year to come from Kang Eun-Yeong.
As long as her acting wasn ’t as rubbish…

Min So-Yeong asked again, “Was Se-Ah really that good in front of the camera?”

Jeong Seok-Su sighed.
“Yes, I ’m telling you.”

“I ’m not talking about your opinion, Mister Seok-Su.
Did the film crew and the related personnel really praise her for her performance?”

“Yes, they did.
But, uh…”

“But?” Min So-Yeong ’s eyes grew narrow and intimidating when Jeong Seok-Su failed to finish his sentence and went quiet for some reason.
“But, what? Mister Seok-Su?”

“Well, they did praise her, but…
They also said some weird things, you see?”

“Weird things? Like what?” Min So-Yeong tilted her head.

Jeong Seok-Su scratched the back of his head.
“They said Se-Ah ’s acting was great.
But they also said it might be difficult for her to get much spotlight this time around.”

“Huh? What does that even mean?” Min So-Yeong frowned, then rubbed her face in irritation.
Even though the performance was good, the actor wouldn ’t get much spotlight? Didn ’t that imply the role itself was not that good? Well, it implied that, despite Kang Se-Ah ’s best efforts, her hard work wouldn ’t be all that noticeable to the audience.

That role didn ’t seem that way to me…? ’

Min So-Yeong had seen the script before, so she knew Kang Se-Ah was portraying a rather important, impactful character in the show.
So much so that, as long as her performance was good and Lady Luck was singing for her sake, Kang Se-Ah could easily steal the limelight from the actual main character of the show.

Of course, that wouldn ’t be easy as the main character was being portrayed by none other than Choi Yeon-Ha, but still…

“I-it ’s starting, everyone.”

Min So-Yeong sobered up at that announcement and quickly buried her questions for now.
They weren ’t important, anyway.

The important thing right now was how good the finished product looked on screen.
It should at least meet the minimum standards since the PD and the scriptwriters were well-known and widely trusted, and they were also working with an even-more trusted top actress in the country.
However, there was a chance of the TV show turning out pretty well, but Se-Ah being singled out as the weak link in the whole thing.

“Mm, the opening credits look pretty great, doesn ’t it?”

“That director has a good eye for great visual storytelling, after all.”

While listening to the hushed whispers of his colleagues, Jeong Seok-Su nervously stared at the TV screen.
The rest of the PR team was also glued in front of the same screen like a group of high school seniors anxiously waiting for their end-of-the-year academic report cards.
They usually made similar faces whenever a TV show starring a talent signed to their agency aired its first episode, but things were different this time.
This time, the office was enveloped in tension far tauter and graver than ever before.

’Please, I beg of you.
Please don ’t disappoint us…! ’

The atmosphere in Code ’s corridors lately wasn’t that great.
The cause of this icy mood was a four-piece girl group the agency had placed high hopes on, yet it was going down the drain with the speed of a runaway freight train.

On the surface, the group was packaged to look pretty successful through all kinds of media manipulation.
The group even ’won ’ some awards through the intense lobbying efforts of the agency.
Unfortunately, this group of girls enjoyed no internal stability.
Actually, that was putting things mildly—the red graph line on the popularity chart was falling so precipitously that it might as well be a steep cliff at this point!

Even worse, there was another crisis of two of the girls transferring out of the group.
Those two just so happened to be the ’main characters ’ of the group, too! No wonder everyone thought entering the agency president ’s office was like stepping inside the mouth of Hell itself.
Only a huge win for the agency could lift everyone’s mood.

’And Se-Ah has to be that huge win for us… ’

The agency ’s position was one thing, but this opportunity would greatly affect Kang Eun-Yeong ’s life as well, completely changing it for the better.
Besides, just how much trouble did she go through while filming this production? Not only was this her first acting gig, she even got kidnapped by some thugs recently as well!

She had gone through so much, so at the very least, she deserved positive results for her troubles.

there ’s still the second half of filming left, too! ’

It can be hard to make great work when its stolen from

Half of the show ’s season was shot and produced earlier, leaving eight more episodes to be shot later on.
If the rating for the first half ended up being in the pits, the atmosphere in the studio would be in the pits, too.[1]

Jeong Seok-Su ardently prayed while all sorts of anxiety-inducing imaginations swirled around in his mind.
However, he still persevered and watched the TV—only for a confused gasp to escape his mouth.

Min So-Yeong glanced at him.
“What ’s the matter?”

It ’s, uh, nothing.” Jeong Seok-Su tilted his head in confusion.

’Hang on a minute.
Wasn ’t that…
Mister Jin-Ho? ’

To think the director would choose to plaster the face of an ’actor ’ showing up only in the first episode in the opening credits like that? Wasn ’t Kang Jin-Ho ’s role basically a cameo? Jeong Seok-Su had to wonder what that was all about.

Although that was weird, he didn ’t want to be the center of attention by bringing up something unrelated to the reason for everyone ’s nervousness.
Jeong Seok-Su swallowed nervously, then waited for the opening commercials to end.

“It ’s starting!”

Someone gasped, and heavy silence quickly descended in the office.

Whenever the team was ’evaluating ’ a new product, the atmosphere in the office would often resemble a cinema in the middle of its feature presentation.
No one sat back comfortably in their chairs to enjoy a new TV show, as they preferred to sit upright to study each and every scene.
The office was in that kind of atmosphere right now.

Whenever things were like this, even swallowing one ’s saliva was tough.
Unable to withstand this tension, Jeong Seok-Su quietly got up to leave.

’I can ’t bear to watch it… ’

Watching and evaluating a show starring one of the talents affiliated with the agency was obviously one of his jobs, but Jeong Seok-Su found this moment incredibly difficult to endure.
He knew how much hardship the actors involved in this production had to go through, so staying objective seemed impossible for the current him.

Jeong Seok-Su carefully and silently moved not to block anyone ’s view of the TV and escaped from the office.
He headed to the first floor, found a vending machine, and got himself a soda.


He immediately popped open the lid and took a large gulp of the fizzy drink.

Only then did he realize that his mouth was dry like a desert.
Probably from the nervousness.
Jeong Seok-Su headed outside the agency ’s building and stared at the dark night sky of Seoul as a sigh slowly leaked out of his lips.
“It ’ll work out well.
I ’m sure of it.”

Kang Eun-Yeong had gone through so much to film this show.
She even temporarily put a brake on her music career to make this happen.
Working hard didn ’t guarantee a good result, but Jeong Seok-Su still wanted her to taste at least the minimum level of success.

Jeong Seok-Su anxiously paced outside the building and its lobby until the end of the episode.

’…It should be over by now, right? ’

He was scared about going back to the office upstairs.
Stepping foot in there would instantly tell him whether Kang Eun-Yeong ’s show had been a hit or miss after all.
A cold mood would mean the show was bad.
If everyone in the office was energetic, then it could mean the show had something going for it.

Some shows enjoyed a rise in ratings through word-of-mouth as they progressed through the season, but the rest weren ’t as lucky.
Usually, a show ’s future popularity was decided by the first episode ’s rating.
In other words, how good the first episode was would be determined by the fluctuation in the overall viewer ratings.

And the evaluation for the crucial first episode should be out by now.
Jeon Seok-Su gripped the door handle of the PR team office entrance and sucked in a deep, deep breath before pushing the door open.

’…Ah. ’

He thought his vision had darkened as soon as he clapped his eyes on the mood of the office.
The episode was already finished, and commercials were playing, yet the folks inside the office were still seated in their chairs in a daze, without saying a single word.

’Oh, no.
This is bad… ’

Indeed, this was terrible.
Such a reaction was typically reserved for a crappy show.
No one was good enough to guess whether a show would be a hit or not during its production, but failing to do the same thing after watching the finished article? One might as well stop believing that they were fit to work as a PR specialist in the fierce world of celebrities.

’No, it ’s fine.
Yes, it should still be fine. ’

This was merely Kang Eun-Yeong ’s first stab at acting, anyway.
And it would be a good lesson for her.
She could simply have her smash hit the next time around.

While Jeong Seok-Su was comforting himself inwardly with such thoughts, Min So-Yeong quietly turned her head and spotted him still standing there.
Her eyes quickly opened super-wide, and she urgently called out to him.
“Mister Jeong Seok-Su?”

“Ah, yes?”

“Who was that man?”

“…That man?”

Who was she talking about? Jeong Seok-Su tilted his head after failing to understand her question.

Min So-Yeong grew even more urgent.
“You know, that actor playing Choi Yeon-Ha ’s ex! Who is he?”

“Choi Yeon-Ha ’s ex…? Ah!” Jeong Seok-Su blinked his eyes before replying as if there was nothing to worry about here.
“That man you ’re talking about must be Se-Ah ’s oppa.”

“Oppa? Is he her real brother?”

“Yes, he is.”

When you say Se-Ah ’s oppa, do you mean that oppa who crashed her live broadcast the last time?”

Jeong Seok-Su nodded, getting confused once more.
“Yes, him.”

Min So-Yeong ’s eyes powerfully quaked just then.
“Everyone, did you hear that?”

“Yes, Chief!”

“Prepare our press release.
And the moment we start sending it out, reporters will figure out that it was our agency and descend on us like a pack of vultures! So, all of you, prepare yourselves!”

“Yes, Ma ’am!”

Jeong Seok-Su tilted his head in confusion while watching the PR team members hurriedly dashing toward their desks with expressions of determination and valor.
“…Uhm, excuse me.
What about the TV show?”

He could tell that the atmosphere here was way too strange.

Most Korean dramas are a single-season affair with sixteen episodes each.

点击屏幕以使用高级工具 提示:您可以使用左右键盘键在章节之间浏览。

You'll Also Like