Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings

By Sandi Thompson
Published: September 9, 2023 (Last updated: January 10, 2024)

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.

2023 has been a great year for kdramas. Many Korean Dramas finished their run and found themselves at the top of the AC Nielsen Korea Charts. A few of these dramas have even made it to the top 50 kdramas of all time for their respective tv channel type, both in terms of household and individual viewers. 

AC Nielsen 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 Nielsen Korea results for both cable and public 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: November 6th, 2023

Highest Rated Korean Dramas in 2023 Based on Nielsen Ratings

10. Revenant (11.2%)

Aired: Jun 23, 2023 – July 29, 2023

Episodes: 12

Where to watch: Disney Plus, Hulu

Plot: When the door to another world opens, demons exist there. Gu San-Yeong is possessed by one of those demons. Yeom Hae-Sang, a folklore professor, can see the demon that has possessed Gu San-Yeong. They try to figure out the truth behind the mysterious deaths related to the five sacred objects.

Ratings breakdown

A horror k-drama is a rarity among k-drama genres, so this drama stood out among the other offerings. Bolstered by an all-star cast lead by Kim Taeri, this drama brought in 11.2% in household ratings and 2.302M individual viewers.

9. Payback (11.4%)

Aired: Jan 6, 2023 – Feb 11, 2023 

Episodes: 12

Where to watch: Amazon Prime

Plot: This drama follows the revenge story of a group of people—including Eun Yong, a money trader—who refuse to remain silent in the face of unjust authorities and fight against a cartel conspiring with the law.

Rating breakdown

This business-based thriller brought in great ratings, both on its parent channel, SBS as well as its streaming service, Amazon Prime, earning 11.4% and 2.084 million viewers in its 11th episode.

8. The Good Bad Mother (12.03%)

Aired: Apr 26, 2023 – Jun 8, 2023

Episodes: 14

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot:  Young-Soon is a single mother who runs a pig farm. She raised her son Kang-Ho alone. Young-Soon made herself into a bad mother and was strict with Kang-Ho because she didn’t want him to become like her.

Now, Kang-Ho is all grown up. He works as a prosecutor and has a cold-hearted personality.  One day, Kang-Ho has an unexpected accident and becomes like a child. He moves back to his hometown and begins a new life with his bad mother Young-Soon. 

Rating breakdown

The Good Bad Mother did very well in the ratings, considering it was broadcast during the week on Wednesday/Thursday versus a more favorable weekend slot like the other dramas on this list.

Lee Do-Hyun is a big reason for the show’s reception. Coming off his The Glory 2 performance, he is earning rave reviews for his multiple-character performance. The drama finished at the #25 position for household viewing for cable dramas overall with a 12.03% rating and at #26 for individual viewers with 2.669M.

7. My Dearest (12.2%)

Aired: Aug 4, 2023 – Sep 2, 2023 (ongoing)

Episodes: 10

Where to watch: Viki, Kocowa, OnDemand Korea

Plot: A love story between a noblewoman and a mysterious man who shows up in her hometown set in the 1600s during the Qing invasion.

Ratings breakdown

My Dearest entered this list fairly recently with only its 7th episode. This epic historical drama is capturing the hearts of viewers, and even higher ratings are expected for its second half, which resumed airing in October. 

6. King the Land (13.79%)

Aired: Jun 17, 2023 – Aug 6, 2023

Episodes: 16

Where to watch: Netflix

Plot: Gu Won is a son from a chaebol family who is thrown into an inheritance war. He is a smart, elegant, and chic young man, but he is not very good at dating.

Cheon Sa-Rang has a bright personality with a smiling face. She began to work at the King Hotel, which was the backdrop for some of her happiest memories from her childhood. Gu Won and Cheon Sa-Rang meet, and a romantic relationship develops.

Rating breakdown

This recent addition to this list had everyone’s hopes up in surpassing its timeslot predecessor, Doctor Cha. While it was a rating hit during its run, it finished just behind its forerunner, finishing at #21 top cable k-drama of all time, with a 13.79% household rating and #18th place for individual viewers with 3.404 million.

5. Agency (16.04%)

Aired: Jan 7, 2023 – Feb 26, 2023 

Episodes: 16

Where to watch: Netflix, Viki

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 #15 for households with a rating of 16.04% and at #14 for individual viewers with 3.685 million.

4. Doctor Romantic 3 (16.8%)

Aired: Apr 28, 2023 – Jun 17, 2023 

Episodes: 16

Where to watch: Disney+, Hulu

Plot: Kim Sabu and his team at Doldham Hospital continue their work to save the lives of patients. The old Doldham Hospital building is set to welcome a new connecting trauma center building that features the latest in medical equipment.  

Rating breakdown

Sequels of successful K-dramas make their appearance high in the ratings, and Doctor Romantic 3 certainly continues that streak. The third installment of the Romantic Doctor Teacher Kim series did quite well but fell significantly below its powerhouse predecessors. It ended with 16.8% for households, where Season 1 had 27.6% and Season 2 had 27.1%. 

3. Crash Course in Romance (17.03%)

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 17.03% for households, giving it an 11th-place finish for cable dramas overall and #9 for individual viewers, with 4.329 million.

2. Doctor Cha (18.55%)

Aired: Apr 15, 2023 – Jun 4, 2023

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 decided to restart her medical residency.

Rating breakdown

This underdog drama was a huge ratings hit, finishing at #7 for households for cable K-dramas of all time, with a rating of 18.55% and #10 for individual viewers, drawing in 4.088M.  

1. Taxi Driver 2 (21.0%)

Aired: Feb 17, 2023 – Apr 15, 2023

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 started off strong in the ratings, likely due in part to its predecessor’s success. It finished at #19 in individual viewers for overall public tv kdramas with 4.005M 00viewers, soundly surpassing its previous season, which finished at #39 with 3.117M viewers. It also earned a household rating of 21.0%, whereas Season 1 earned 16.0%.

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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