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Film UA: Record-setting success of both seasons of “Love in Chains” in Poland

Produced by StarlightFilm and Film UA, the Ukrainian series became the breaking hit of this summer on TVP1, one of the leading Polish TV channels.

On July 1st TVP1 started broadcasting Ukrainian TV series Love in Chains (Zniewolona), which had a sensational success from the very first episode. The initial plan was to screen three episodes per week. But following early episodes results, the head of a Polish national broadcaster TVP Jacek Kurski had made a decision to show 6 per week instead. Episodes were slotted evening prime time.

The popularity of the series grew with every subsequent episode, and TVP management decided to purchase rights on the second season straight away. Thus, Polish audience was able to enjoy the second part of bondmaid Kateryna’s story even before Ukrainians were. Love in Chains had made it to the top of the most popular series on Polish TV and to the top of most viewed TV programs. It pushed TVP1 into a leadership position ratings-wise. The channel was consistently first with 4+ audiences during broadcasting of the series.

The first episode of the first season had an 8,35% share with 4+ audience, with a viewership about one million. The final episode of season two had a share of 25,1%, and screening had 3.4 million viewers. This means that the series improved its numbers three times more since the first episode.

Kurski commented: ‘This success is a result of a team effort: Maciej Muzyczuk discovered it in cooperation with Ukrainian entities, TVP1 programming director Agnieszka Dejneka had placed it on prime time, positioning as a major new thing of the vacation season. I’d got an epiphany, we needed to increase the number of screenings from three to six creating a precedent and making this project into an icon of successful TVP vacation season. Our directors acquired the rights in the second season of Love in Chains even before it was broadcasted in Ukraine. I am proud that the world premiere of this project had happened in Poland’.

Polish social media are filled with the series’ fandom. Fans created two unofficial pages on Facebook with 20 thousand subscribers total; dozens of pages on Instagram with a minimum of 10 thousand subscribers, including a dedicated Love in Chains meme page. A similar effect on social media was observable with world hits like Game of Thrones or Grey’s Anatomy. Polish media even compared Love in Chains to HBO’s production, noting that Netflix should envy this series popularity.

Because of such success, TVP has invited actors of the series, female lead Kateryna Kovalchuk, Mykhailo Havrylov, and Oleksiy Yarovenko to Poland to the presentation of channel’s autumn lineup. The actors visited several interviews, gave autographs and made photos with fans. Polish media speculated that Kovalchuk will be invited to participate in the Polish dancing TV show.

Polish journalists suppose that Love in Chains was a show that will pave the way to the Polish TV market for other Ukrainian shows, just like it happened with Turkish drama series. Moreover, a rumor keeps circulating polish media about the third season of the show shot in Ukrainian-Polish co-production, where heroes of the drama will visit Warsaw and Krakow. And starting September 3rd, a full rerun of the series starts on Polish television. Love in Chains will be broadcasted every Tuesday in evening prime time, up until the next vacation season.


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