‘PDX101’ contestants & staff talk manipulation controversy, police investigate whether producers took bribes from agencies

With police investigations ongoing into potential manipulation of the results for Mnet’s survival shows, the most recent episode of ‘PD Notebook‘ takes things back to where this started with ‘Produce X 101‘.

At the outset they talked about a lot of stuff that is truthfully typical for reality TV like screen time being unfair and what not. However, things start to get shadier when they started to implicate companies like Starship Entertainment, MBK Entertainment, and Woollim Entertainment in essentially favortism and knowing they would get members in the group.

MBC previously revealed through “Newsdesk” that a trainee had told them that one of the contestants had found out about a mission song before anyone else from their dance teacher, allowing them to practice in advance. On “PD Notebook,” the anonymous trainee stated that it was a Starship trainee who had received the information, and he said that that trainee had been given a lot of pressure from the agency.

In particular, one of the trainees said that from the beginning, it was clear that the Starship trainees were being pushed by the show. “We called it ‘Starship-duce’ among us trainees,” he said. When “PD Notebook” reached out to Starship for comment, they said that they could not give a statement as the investigation is ongoing. A “Produce X 101” contestant also said, “When the final ranking was revealed, we were all surprised, but someone said to the other trainees, ‘I actually knew that I wouldn’t make it.’” The contestant said that the trainee had been told this by the team leader at Woollim Entertainment. “They said that they were told that only one person would make it from Woollim,” said the contestant. “So that made me think, ‘Ah, so it was really already decided internally.’”

A former audition contestant of CJ E&M testified that they heard the producer talking about how they were originally going to pass 2 contestants from MBK Entertainment, but that they only passed 1 instead.

Within the industry, nobody is shocked that investigations may find unfairness, which kinda mirrors the cynicism around these parts. Though I found it almost comical that the tabulating of the votes for these massive shows is supposedly done by like one dude.

The head of an agency said, “As most people probably know, it was plain common sense that it had been set up to some degree.” They said, “To be honest, I never thought that 11 of them had made it fairly.” “PD Notebook” talked to staff members who explained that the final scores in the finale were calculated not by someone in the studio control room, but by another PD who was off site. This PD did the work alone in a separate room, and then sent text messages with the numbers to the staff who inputted the scores as captions on screen. A member of the production team said, “If it was manipulated, then wouldn’t it have gone through Ahn Joon Young? Since he’s the main PD, his opinion was unconditionally strong.” A further staff member said, “It’s true that Ahn Joon Young is like a sacrificial lamb. I don’t really like that expression, but it’s not something that he could have handled all on his own.”

Good lord, they’re gonna try to scapegoat individual subordinates for this, huh?

Meanwhile, police are now also investigating whether agencies provided monetary compensation to producers.

A source from the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency stated, “We are currently in the process of investigating PDs of ‘Produce X 101’ and related agency representatives. As it is not possible to figure out whether there was any monetary compensation by just looking at the bank accounts of one side, we also plan to analyze connected accounts and the bank accounts of others who may be involved.” They stated, “We’ve checked the bank accounts of the PDs. There are still additional matters we have to look into so we cannot confirm or deny at this time whether there were any monetary transactions.”

I know every time there’s an update on this nobody around these parts is surprised cause we basically already expected the worst kind of corruption from “reality” shows, but what Mnet is accused of doing would definitely still be defrauding an audience of mostly kids and it’s kinda amazing to see just how blatant they were about it. Like all these people knew the deal with the show anyway, but nobody would’ve said anything if they just didn’t make the votes look so comically rigged that it became a story. Amazing, honestly.

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