Produce 101 (Korean: 프로듀스 101) was a 2016 girl group survival reality show on Mnet, and is the first season of the South Korean version of the franchise. It was a large-scale project in which the public "produces" a unit girl group by choosing members from a pool of 101 trainees from 46 entertainment companies as well as the group's concept, debut song, and group name. Produced by CJ ENM and Signal Entertainment Group for Mnet, the show had the second-largest budget of all shows broadcast by the latter at about four billion won (approximately $3.4 million)
Aired: January 22, 2016
The contestants enter the studio where 101 seats are arranged in a pyramid with a chair for the '#1' trainee at the top. They are introduced by their label and choose seats from 1 to 101. The contestants are then asked to perform by agency. Each individual trainee is judged based on their overall talents and are graded and organized into classes; A being the highest and F the lowest. At the end of the episode the popularity ranking is shown with JYP Entertainment's Ennik Somi Douma (Jeon So-mi) in first place
Aired: January 29, 2016
After being grouped according to the grades given to the trainees, MC Jang Keun-suk announced that they will be performing on M! Countdown and are given the song "Pick Me" which they must learn in the following days. Their line distribution and overall participation in the performance will be decided from their groups, in which case A would have the most lines while F would be backup dancers. They are informed they will have 3 days to practice, and then be reassigned to their final groups after a re-evaluation. The trainees are filmed individually performing the song which will then be watched and evaluated by the mentors. They are then given their new grades and asked to move to their new rooms by grade. The episode ends with JYP's Jeon So-mi's name tag being shown on the screen, presumably to have been moved from group A.
Aired: February 5, 2016
The girls move to their new groups after the re-evaluations. They start rehearsing for their "Pick Me" stage where Fantagio's Choi Yoo-jung, who was moved from group D to A, was chosen as the center. After the performance, Jang Keun-suk announced the departure of 3 trainees from the show and also announced that the last 37 contestants on the rankings will be eliminated in the next episode. The trainees start their second mission, which is group performances with live audience. They are given the debut songs of ten girl groups: Wonder Girls; "Irony", KARA's "Break It", Girls' Generation's "Into the New World", After School's "AH", 2NE1's "Fire", 4Minute's "Hot Issue", f(x)'s "LA chA TA", SISTAR's "Push Push", miss A's "Bad Girl Good Girl", and Apink's "I Don't Know". The girls in group A compete for each song through a race and are given the privilege of picking members from B,C,D, and F trainees to form their teams. Each song is performed live by two groups and each member is voted on separately by the live audience, combining the total scores to which group is the winner. This episode shows the groups rehearsing and assigning roles such as 'center', 'main vocal', 'second vocal', etc. Groups contain 4-5 members each. Their points from the live voting will be combined with their online votes which will then determine their scores. Members of the winning group will gain an extra 1000 points each
Aired: February 12, 2016
The second half of the groups perform the respective songs and rehearsals for the groups are shown. During rehearsals of the groups performing f(x)'s "La chA TA", MBK Entertainment's Kim Danielle (Dani) and Clear Company's Ma Eun-jin both get sick and are unable to attend practice. Kim Dani quickly recovers from her fever, but Ma Eun-jin is forced to leave the show due to her health. After the last performance, the girls are shown their ranking based purely on their individual votes and the additional 1000 points for the girls of the winning teams, with Jellyfish Entertainment's Kim Se-jeong taking first place.
Aired: February 19, 2016
For this episode, Shin Bora, Heo Young-ji, and Block B's Park Kyung appeared as special panelists. In between announcements of each girl's ranking during the first elimination, events leading up to the elimination are shown. Just after arriving at the dorms, the girls are taken to get flu shot. Weeks after, they were weighed and asked to do a series of exercises with the help of trainer Ray Yang. Some girls were put on a strict diet in order to lose weight. The trainees were also tricked into participating in a 'hidden camera'. The first is a consideration test to see who would be willing to help a staff struggling with two heavy packs of water bottles. The second is to see whether the participants would clean up the floor of a waiting room with coke spilling over. The third is a $30,000 camera which a staff pretends to break during a fake interview. The staff tells each trainee that she might get fired, and some girls take responsibility, pretending it was them who broke it. The 97 trainees choose the 'top visual'. Pledis Entertainment's Zhou Jieqiong takes first place while Jung Chae-yeon, Kim Do-yeon, Kim Se-jeong, Kim Ji-sung, Seo Hye-lin, Park Si-yeon, Kwon Eun-bean, Ki Heui-hyeon (Cathy), Lee Su-hyun, and Jeon So-mi takes 2nd to 11th place respectively. Jang Keun-suk then announces the top 20 trainees with Kim Se-jeong coming in 1st for the first ranking evaluation, and finally the 61st and last trainee, Happy Face Entertainment's Hwang A-young, who was saved from elimination.
Aired: February 26, 2016
Jang Keun-suk once again met up with the trainees to announce the next challenge. The trainees are tasked to perform live in groups based on positions they want to debut in: vocal, dance, or rap. There are six songs for vocals (Big Bang's "Monster", EXO's "Call Me Baby", Huh Gak and John Park's "My Best", GFriend's "Me Gustas Tu", Zion.T's "Yanghwa BRDG", and Tashannie's "Day by Day"), four songs for Dance (EXO's "Growl", Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj's "Bang Bang", Destiny's Child's "Say My Name", and Sunmi's "Full Moon") and three songs for Rap (Verbal Jint's "You Look Happy", SMTM4's "Turtle Ship", and IKON's "Rhythm Ta"). Each song has a member limit and would be picked by each trainee based on their ranks, in which case Jellyfish Entertainment's Kim Se-jeong would have the privilege of choosing the song she wants to perform first and Happy Face Entertainment's Hwang A-young would automatically be placed in the empty slot. Jang Keun-suk also announced that only 35 trainees will remain in the next round and the winner from each category will receive 100,000 votes. The vocal teams are the first to perform and after each performance, they are ranked in their groups first and then overall in the category. Kim Se-jeong emerged as the winner in the vocal category.
Aired: March 4, 2016
The groups competing in the dance and rap category perform the respective songs and rehearsals for the groups are shown, with the "Bang Bang" group, composed of Choi Yoo-jung, Jeon So-mi, Kim Do-yeon, Kim Chung-ha, Kim Danielle, Kwon Eun-bean, and Kim Seo-kyung, receiving the show's first-ever encore call. Kconic Entertainment's Kim Hyeong-eun emerged the winner in the rap category, and Jellyfish Entertainment's Kang Mi-na emerged the winner in the dance category.
Aired: March 11, 2016
The girls are given an English lesson by trainer Lee Si-won through imitating and watching scenes of rapper Jessi on Unpretty Rapstar. Through a video recording, Jang Keun-suk then announces the beginning of the next evaluation prior to the second round of eliminations, meaning that all 61 girls that have survived so far will continue to practice for the performances, but not all of them may get to perform. The evaluation is revealed to be a concept evaluation, and the girls are given five original songs to choose from - EDM song "24 Hours" (produced by DJ Koo and Maximite, who previously produced "Pick Me"), girl crush pop song "Fingertips" (produced by Ryan Jhun), hip hop song "Don't Matter (produced by San E), trap pop song "Yum-Yum" (produced by iDR), and girlish pop song "In the Same Place" (produced by B1A4's Jinyoung) - with the winning team to receive a benefit of 150,000 votes. The girls choose their teams based on their category and individual ranking from the last evaluation. However, as only 14 people can be on one team (twice the amount that will be on the team after the elimination occurs), the first girl to have chosen a concept is given the right to kick out any extras, thus forcing them to choose another song. After practicing for the new songs, the girls undergo the second elimination, beginning with rank 34 up to 1, with Kim Se-jeong once again taking first place. Jang Keun-suk then announces the 35th and last trainee, SS Entertainment's Lee Su-hyun, who was saved from elimination.
Aired: March 18, 2016
Following eliminations, the teams are reorganized; groups with more than 7 members voted on whom to send to groups with less than 7 members. Jang Keun-suk announces that the evaluation will have an audience of 3000, far more than the 1000 they've had in previous evaluations. The girls resume practice, reassigning parts and meeting with the producers to record studio versions of their songs. On the day of the performances, several eliminated trainees are shown in the audience in support of the other girls. Both the "Yum-Yum" team (composed of Choi Yoo-jung, Jeon So-mi, Jung Chae-yeon, Kim Danielle, Park Si-yeon, Park So-yeon and Heo Chan-mi) and the "In the Same Place" team (composed of Kim Do-yeon, Kim So-hye, Yoo Yeon-jung, Yoon Chae-kyung, Han Hye-ri, Kim So-hee and Kang Si-ra) receive encore calls, but by a small margin of 30 audience votes, "In the Same Place" ultimately takes the win and the 150,000 vote benefit.
Aired: March 25, 2016
Amidst the eliminations, the girls undergo various lessons (make-up and speech), attend a therapy session to share about their current feelings, and participate in a question relay. They are also asked to pick the 5 most popular trainees amongst them, with Pledis Entertainment's Zhou Jieqiong taking 1st place and Kim Do-yeon, Jeon So-mi, Kim Chung-ha, and Lee Su-hyun taking 2nd to 5th place, respectively. At the elimination, Jang Keun-suk reveals that only 22 trainees will advance to the final stage. The girls are also shocked to discover huge differences in the rankings as a result of the new voting system and the 150,000 vote benefit from the concept evaluation, with various girls previously ranking within the top 11 falling near the bottom. With ranks 21 to 3 revealed, Kim Se-jeong and Jeon So-mi are called up as the contenders for 1st, with Jeon So-mi revealed to have won by a landslide. The contenders for 22nd place are then called up: Chorokbaem Juna's Ng Sze Kai and SS Entertainment's Lee Su-hyun. Lee Su-hyun once again barely survives being eliminated. With the top 22 confirmed, Jang Keun-suk announces the next and final mission: the debut song evaluation. He introduces "CRUSH" (produced by Ryan Jhun, who previously produced "Fingertips") as the final line-up's debut song. He explains that they will be split into two teams of 11, each team composed of one main vocal, eight sub vocals, and two rappers, with only Jeon So-mi's position as center confirmed due to having ranked 1st. The girls choose their positions beginning with rank 22 up to 1, with the higher ranked girls being given the advantage of replacing the lower ranked girls and bumping them into another position. After positions are confirmed, the girls begin practicing the choreography and memorizing the lyrics in preparation for the final stage.
Aired: April 1, 2016
The episode begins showing the girls' audition tapes, as well as their final confessional interviews. An announcement is then made that viewers will now be able to send SMS votes for one girl only, which will be added to the online votes in order to determine the final line-up. Throughout the episode, the trainee currently ranked 11th is revealed every now and then to encourage people to vote. The debut evaluation starts off with the eliminated trainees joining the top 22 for a performance of "PICK ME". Jang Keun-suk then reveals that the debut group, named I.O.I, will debut with a "unique" concept. The episode then flashes back to the guerilla concert held by the top 22 girls, where they performed their songs from the concept evaluation and eliminated trainee, Show Works' Hwang In-sun, acted as the MC. A high-five event had been held with the first 500 people that arrived at the concert, with Kim Se-jeong receiving the most high-fives.
The episode cuts to the girls recording "When the Cherry Blossoms Fade" (produced by B1A4's Jin-young who previously produced "In the Same Place"), which they perform at the evaluation. The girls are then shown preparing for their debut song, during which they surprise the trainers with thank you video messages, cake, and flowers. After the performance of "CRUSH", the episode cuts to the girls interviewing one another, undergoing group photoshoots, and finally, reading letters they had written to themselves from earlier episodes. Voting soon comes to a close, and ranking announcements begin. Lim Na-young, Kang Mi-na, Kim Do-yeon, Jung Chae-yeon, Zhou Jieqiong, Kim So-hye, Kim Chung-ha, and Choi Yoo-jung are announced as 10th to 3rd place, respectively, confirming them for debut. Again, Jeon So-mi and Kim Se-jeong are called up as contenders for 1st, and again, Jeon So-mi takes the win, confirming her position as I.O.I's center. The contenders for 11th, Star Empire Entertainment's Han Hye-ri and Starship Entertainment's Yoo Yeon-jung, are then announced with Yoo Yeon-jung ultimately being revealed to be I.O.I's final member.