Song Hye Kyo, Jeon Ji Hyun lead the female star salary, Kim Soo-hyun has the highest salary in Korea

Actors Song Hye-kyo on the left and Jun Ji-hyun
Photo: Korea Times

With the growing popularity of Korean dramas around the world, the salaries paid to actors and actresses are also increasing rapidly. Top actresses who appear in Korean dramas are currently paid more than 200 million won ($170,000) per episode.

According to Hankook Ilbo, Song Hye-kyo and Jun Ji-hyun, two actresses known for their dramas that are currently airing, each earns more than 200 million won per episode. Song is currently starring in the SBS thriller, “Now We Are Breaking Up,” while Jun is playing a mountain ranger in tvN’s mystery series, “Jirisan.”

Although the actors’ salaries are not made public in most cases, it is reported that Song was paid more than 100 million won per episode in tvN’s “Encounter”, which aired in 2018. Female The actor was among the most sought after when he became famous around the world with “Descendants of the Sun”, one of the most talked about Korean dramas of all time.
Jun, who played a leading actress in the hit SBS romantic comedy, “My Love from the Star”, is said to have received more than 100 million won per episode in the drama that aired in 2013. She was also the top face of TV commercials for many years.

Hankook Ilbo pointed out that there is a pay gap between actors. While there are only a few actresses, including Lee Young-ae, Son Ye-jin, and Go Hyun-jung, who are said to earn more than 100 million won per episode, other actors want to earn more. More money needs to be more popular with the press.

Actor Kim Soo-hyun / Courtesy of Coupang Play
Photo: Korea Times

The case of Kim Soo-hyun – one of Korea’s top stars who took on the lead roles in “My Love from the Star” and “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay” – recently made headlines when received 500 million won per episode of Coupang Play’s original series, “An Ordinary Day”. In “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”, Kim is said to be paid 200 million won per episode.

While top stars have contributed to the popularity of K-drama dramas, there are also complaints that their sky-high salaries are taking up a large portion of production costs, making producers TV series production relies heavily on advertising products through television programs to make up for the shortfalls.

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