“The King’s Affection” on Nov. 21 made history as the first Korean drama to win an International Emmy Award at the ceremony for the 50th edition of the honors in New York. (KBS official website)

By Lee Jihae

The King’s Affection” is the first Korean drama to win an International Emmy Award.

At the ceremony for the 50th edition of the honors in New York on Monday, the historical series beat out nominees such as “Nos Tempos Do Imperador (In Emperor’s Time)” from Brazil, “Dos Vidas (Two Lives)” from Spain and “You Are My Hero” from China to earn Best Telenovela.

The term “telenovela” is a portmanteau of “tele” from “television” and the Spanish word “novela,” referring to a novel or a drama. The International Emmys uses the term to refer to dramas made outside of the U.S.

“The King’s Affection” is about a woman who is born a twin but abandoned because of her sex. She poses as a man after her twin brother dies and takes his place as the crown prince. Following her romance in the palace, the drama features actors Park Eun-bin and Rowoon as the main characters.

The 20-episode drama aired last year on Netflix, topping the charts in 12 countries and ranking fourth worldwide.

Lee Geon-joon, head of KBS Drama Center, said, “I am thrilled that ‘The King’s Affection’ is the first Korean drama to win an International Emmy Award, and I believe that this is an amazing achievement for recognizing the potential of all Korean dramas.”

The International Emmys are one of the world’s top three broadcast honors along with those of the Banff World Media Festival in Canada and Monte-Carlo Television Festival in Monaco. Run by the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, these Emmys are annually given to telenovas from outside of the U.S.

These Emmys are separate from the Primetime Emmy Awards, which in September made “Squid Game” the first Korean drama to receive the honor. The Primetime Emmys are called the “Oscars of TV” and given by the U.S. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.