June 20, 2015 08:08
Any cooking show on TV risks drowning in a sea of similar programs, but star producer Na Young-seok has pulled it off once more. After the huge hit with travel reality show "Grandpas Over Flowers" on cable channel tvN, Na has struck gold again with "Three Meals," another reality show where celebrities stay in a remote countryside village and have to cook and serve breakfast, lunch and dinner on their own.
"Many people ask me why 'Three Meals' is so popular. I'd like to ask you the same question, because I don't know," Na says. "The program was an ambitious and risky project that could have failed big time. All producers make shows hoping that they'll be successful, but I had very little confidence in 'Three Meals' when I started it."
"Entertainment programs need to be constantly fun, but the setting of 'Three Meals' lacks a lot of the usual ingredients for humor. It's just a handful of guests in a single location doing mundane things like people in the country do every day," -- growing vegetables and crops and fixing themselves something to eat.
"But we thought that is what differentiates this program from the rest. We thought it would be either a massive hit or a total failure. We wanted to make a program that doesn't make viewers laugh out loud the whole time but sometimes makes them smile."
Thankfully, Na's idea struck a chord. There seems to have been a hunger for something easy and relaxing. "Timing is important in everything. Trends change over time but they exist at all times. I always liked cookery programs and wanted to make one myself, and then they became really fashionable," Na says.
"But I thought cooking alone cannot make the program complete, so that's how I came up with the idea for 'Three Meals.' I think it's important to present ideas I have at the right time."
Na always looks for subjects that appeal to as large an audience as possible. His motto is to find a universal theme and present it in an innovative way. "My two show series all are not unique in terms of themes -- travel and cooking, but I think that universality is what appeals to viewers."
Since he became a producer Na has made it a habit to watch people closely and imagine what they would do in certain situations. His job is to capture unexpected moments and present them on TV. He now enjoys the process thoroughly.
"I don't know how long I can enjoy success in what I do. I'm not sure it'll last that long," he says. "I'm afraid of regretting not having done my best when I could. I don't want to regret not having done my best, not using up all of my talent. Of course I do get tired and frustrated at the overwhelming workload, but I also want to continue to work hard and do as much as I can."
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com