Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings (May Update)

May 9, 2023
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Features, News, RSC Originals

We discuss the Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings. Keep this article handy as we keep track of the highest ratings for K-Dramas throughout 2023.

After the first quarter of  2023, some Korean Dramas finished their run and found themselves at the top of the AC Neilsen Korea Charts. These cable dramas have made it to the top 50 of all time, both in terms of household and individual viewers. 

AC Neilsen Korea measures viewing results for both Korea nationwide and the city of Seoul. The rating service breaks out their results by terrestrial (public tv) and cable tv. Both are measured in terms of household viewers and individual viewers. Terrestrial household results start from 1992, and cable household results from 2013. Both terrestrial and cable individual viewers’ ratings began in 2018. This article will use the nationwide AC Neilsen Korea results for cable dramas—special thanks to AsianWiki and MyDramaList for the plot synopses. 

If you want a broader list, check out the Best Korean Dramas of 2023 or Best Korean Dramas of All Time articles. 

Last Updated: May 9th, 2023

Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings

Alchemy of Souls Season 2

Aired: Dec 10, 2022 – Jan 8, 2023

Episodes: 10 

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot: Jang Uk returns from death, and three years later, the story of the mages unfolds anew. Jang Uk becomes a hunter of the soul-shifters when a young woman, a prisoner in her own home, seeks his help to reclaim her freedom.

Rating breakdown

The first 2023  K-Drama to see the top 50 cable dramas list is Alchemy of Souls Season 2, the follow-up to Season 1 (while both dramas aired in 2022, Season 2 finished airing in January 2023 and thus is included in this list). This fantasy epic spanned 30 episodes between the two parts and featured a switch-up on the female lead due to storytelling requirements. 

Both parts did remarkably well, landing in the top 50. However, Alchemy of Souls Season 2 beats its predecessor, landing at #44 place for households with a 9.651% rating (Alchemy of Souls Season 1 placed #47 with a rating of 9.295%). The sequel, however, fell slightly behind its predecessor for individual viewers. It ranked at #33 for individual viewers with 2.267 million, whereas Alchemy of Souls Season 1 paced at #30 with 2.410 million.

Red Balloon

Aired: Dec 17, 2022 – Feb 26, 2023 

Episodes: 20

Where to watch: Viki, Kocowa

Plot: A story of four people attempting to quench their desires and appease their heartbreaks. 

Rating breakdown

Red Balloon represents a handful of TV Chosun dramas that have made it into the top 50 cable dramas list. This melodrama, featuring Seo Ji-Hye from Crash Landing on You fame in the lead role, ended its run at #24th of cable dramas overall, with an 11.566% rating and at #27 for individual viewers with 2.457 million.


Aired: Jan 7, 2023 – Feb 26, 2023 

Episodes: 16

Plot: The drama follows the career of Go A-In as she works from the bottom to the highest position in an advertising agency. 

Rating breakdown

Lee Bo-Young headlines this K-drama about a hardworking female executive in the advertising industry. This drama has shot up in the ratings, ending at #14 for households with a rating of 16.044% and at #13 for individual viewers with 3.685 million.

Crash Course in Romance

Aired: Jan 14, 2023 – Mar 5, 2023

Episodes: 16

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot: Nam Haeng-Seon used to be a national athlete. She now runs a side dish store. She has a super upbeat personality and unlimited stamina. She takes another turn and enters the private education field for students preparing for their university entrance exam. Unexpectedly, Nam Haeng-Seon gets involved with Choi Chi-Yeol.

Rating breakdown

Crash Course in Romance often competed with Agency for ratings, the two constantly toggling back and forth, week after week. This romance drama, which stars Jeon Do-Yeon and Jung Kyoung-Ho as the leads, finished on top. Its final episode brought in a rating of 17.038% for households, giving it a 10th-place finish for cable dramas overall and #9 for individual viewers, with 4.329 million.

Taxi Driver 2

Aired: Feb 17, 2023 – Apr 15, 2023 (ongoing)

Episodes:  16

Where to watch: Viki, Kocowa, Netflix, Viu

Plot: Kim Do-Ki graduated from the Naval Academy and became a UDT (underwater demolition team) Official. His mother was murdered by a serial killer, and his life changed afterward.

Kim Do-Ki is now a deluxe taxi driver and works for Rainbow Taxi Company. The company is not just an ordinary taxi company. The company offers a special “revenge-call” service. If clients ask them to take revenge, Kim Do-Ki and his co-workers will perform the service.

Rating breakdown

This sequel to the 2021 hit revenge drama is off to a strong start in the ratings, likely due in part to its predecessor’s success. Already at #33 for overall public tv kdramas with 3.337M individual viewers, it has surpassed its previous season, which finished at #38 with 3.117M viewers. 

Divorce Attorney Shin

Aired: Mar 4, 2023 – Apr 9, 2023

Episodes: 12 

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot: Shin Sung-Han majored in piano and became a professor at a music university in Germany. One day, he hears shocking news and travels back to South Korea. He eventually begins to work as a lawyer, specializing in divorce. Based on the webcomic “Shinsunghan, Yihon” by Kang Tae-Kyung.

Rating breakdown

Cho Seung-Woo, the lead in Stranger and Sisyphus: The Myth, plays the title character, a former classical pianist who became a lawyer to root out the injustice that came about from his sister’s divorce and death.

The show performed decently throughout its run, but its last episode shot the drama into the top 50 cable K-dramas of all time, landing it at #46 with a 9.488% rating. The same episode also earned 2.073M individual viewers, placing it at #41 for all-time cable K-dramas.

Doctor Cha

Aired: Apr 15, 2023 – Jun 4, 2023 (ongoing)

Episodes: 16

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot: Cha Jung-Sook is married to Seo In-Ho, who works as a chief surgeon at a university hospital. He has a strict, sensitive, and thorough personality. Cha Jung-Sook has been a full-time housewife for the past 20 years after giving up her career as a doctor during her medical resident years. After all those years, she decides to restart her medical residency.

Rating breakdown

Doctor Cha just started airing, and after four episodes, finds itself already at #27 for households for overall cable K-dramas with a rating of 11.205% and #32 for individual viewers, drawing in 2.330M. This underdog drama seems to be destined for even higher ratings in the remaining six weeks. 

And that completes our Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings. We’ll keep this list updated monthly, so make sure to return. 

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