Who will be next heartthrob?

Su Jin Jang, June 14, 2016, 9:52 a.m.


Since the smash-hit drama series “Descendants of the Sun” ended its 16-part run, speculation has abounded about who might be able to succeed Song Joong-ki - who played the dashing Army Capt. Yoo Si-jin - as Asia’s leading heartthrob. 

From medical dramas to period pieces, an ambitious roster of TV shows starring some of the country’s most in-demand male leads are scheduled to launch in the coming months.

First up is the SBS show “Doctors,” featuring actor Kim Rae-won as a high school biology teacher haunted by his former medical internship, during which he accidentally caused the death of a patient. After meeting his student Hye-jung, played by the wildly popular actress Park Shin-hye, he is motivated to return to the hospital and become a neurosurgeon. The 35-year-old actor, who previously played a greed-driven prosecutor in the 2014 series “Punch,” will return as a warm character this time round.

The KBS2 series “Uncontrollably Fond,” starting on July 6, will feature model-turned-actor Kim Woo-bin, 26, in a heartwarming romance with K-pop starlet and actress Suzy. The show will mark Kim’s first time on the small screen since his role as a bad-boy millionaire in the 2013 show “The Heirs,” and feature him as an equally tantalizing tease.

On July 20, the MBC series “W” will kick off with actor Lee Jong-suk, 26, as its male lead. Lee, who formerly played a tortured genius reporter in the 2014 show “Pinocchio,” will return once more as a character with uncommon intelligence -- a mystery-shrouded entrepreneur who won an Olympic gold medal, switched career to learn computer engineering, founds his own venture company and stacks millions. 

The later months will see three period pieces. “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds,” scheduled to air Aug. 15 on KBS2, will star “Reply 1988” actor Park Bo-gum, 22, as a young prince in a story of teenage heartache set in Joseon. Kim Yoo-jung will play his female love interest, who enters the palace disguised as a eunuch. 

The SBS show “Scarlet Heart: Ryeo,” set for an Aug. 29 launch, will detail the story of Taejo Wang Geon, who founded the Goryeo Kingdom in 877. The role of the cold, controlled king will be played by Lee Joon-gi, 34, who is known for performances in numerous period pieces, including the 2005 film “King and the Clown” and last year’s TV series “Scholar Who Walks the Night.” The female lead role will be taken by singer-actress IU.

Actor Song Seung-heon, 39, is lined up to star in “Saimdang, the Herstory” alongside “Jewel of the Palace” star Lee Young-ae as a famed artist and principled royal going against the corruption of the Joseon era.

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