Korean actor Kim Seon-ho surges in popularity as K-drama ‘Start-up’ airs final episode

Thanks to the Korean drama “Start-up,” Korean actor Kim Seon-ho has become one of the hottest stars.

The 34-year-old star has experienced a surge in popularity in Korea and abroad for playing the role of Han Ji-pyeong in “Start-up,” which also starred Bae Suzy, Nam Joo-hyuk and Kang Han-na.

“Start-up,” which aired on tvN, premiered at No. 1 on the ratings on cable TV on Oct. 17 and maintained its top ranking until episode 14, garnering the highest of 5.42 percent for episode 5. Its 16th and final episode on Dec. 6 garnered nationwide ratings in South Korea of 5.18 percent (part 1, second place) and 4.84 percent (part 2, third place), according to Nielsen Korea.

It also aired on Netflix where the show ranked No. 1 in several countries including the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, according to FlixPatrol. It ranked ninth among top Netflix TV shows in November and eight as of Dec. 6.

Kim Seon-ho’s popularity reflected on his Instagram account where he gained almost two million followers in a span of a little over a month. Kim Seon-ho’s Instagram followers reached 3 million on Dec. 5, from 1.08 million last Nov. 3, or an increase of 1.92 million followers, based on Social Blade stats.

Fans celebrated his Instagram milestone by trending the hashtag #KimSeonHo3Mparty on Twitter on Dec. 5. As of Dec. 7, Kim Seon-ho has 3.16 million followers on Instagram.

Because of “Start-up,” Kim Seon-ho surged to the No. 1 ranking on the brand reputation index for drama actors for November.

Kim Seon-ho (from left) in “Start-up,” his Instagram posts and winning an acting award at the Asia Artist Awards 2020. (Instagram, tvN)

The ranking, released by the Korea Corporate Research Institute, analyzed 119.14 million pieces of big data of 50 actors who appeared on dramas from Oct. 28 to Nov. 28.

Kim Seon-ho grabbed the No. 1 with a score of 6.02 million while co-star Nam Joo-hyuk placed second with 5.78 million followed by Lee Dong-wook, 5.5 million; actress Park Ha-sun, 4.13 million; and actress Uhm Ji-won, 4.02 million.

In ranking No. 1, Kim Seon-ho had a score of 2.27 million in participation index, 1.47 million in media index, 1.15 million in communication index and 1.11 million in community index. According to the institute, Kim Seon-ho’s positive ratio in the ranking was 81.4 percent.

Kim Seon-ho started his entertainment career in the theater where he acted in plays. He made his TV acting debut in the drama “Good Manager” in 2017. His other drama credits include “Strongest Deliveryman,” “Two Cops,” “You Drive Me Crazy,” “100 Days My Prince,” “Welcome to Waikiki 2” and “Catch the Ghost.”

For “Two Cops,” he won best new actor and excellence award at the 36th MBC Drama Awards in 2017 and recently, he received the Best Emotive Award at the Asia Artist Awards 2020.

He signed an exclusive contract with Salt Entertainment in September 2018 and became a regular cast member in season 4 of the Korean TV variety show “2 Days & 1 Night,” which started airing in December last year.

After “Start-up,” Kim Seon-ho will star in the play “Ice” slated to run from January to March next year at Sejong S Theater in Seoul.