12:49 pm - 09/04/2019

"Running Man" is the longest running SBS variety show

Since its debut in 2010, "Running Man" has captivated fans at home and in the broader Asian region with its unique competition-oriented format and lineup of hilarious show members, becoming a fixture in Sunday evening prime time.

It now is the longest-running variety show on the SBS channel.

This Sunday, the TV show will celebrate its nine-year run with a special episode featuring a fan meeting and music concert of its emcees, including Yoo Jae-suk, Lee Kwang-soo and Kim Jong-kook. The event was held recently in Seoul.

The broadcasting market has witnessed major changes in trends during the nine-year journey of "Running Man," with more formats now focused on featuring the everyday, real life of stars and their families.

But "Running Man" would like to survive the shifting trends to retain its presence as a program to nurture new TV stars, the show's chief producer Jeong Cheol-min said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Through the show, several entertainers have established their show business careers, including most notably the show's standing member Lee Kwang-soo, who earned stardom among Asian fans.

"Starting off as a game variety show, 'Running Man' faced many difficulties in terms of versatility," the SBS producer said, adding that he plans to infuse new elements into the nine-year show to rejuvenate it.

"I am attempting to fuse what is like 'Running Man' with what is not like 'Running Man' ... on the occasion of the nine-year anniversary, I am determined to come up with new ideas," he said.

As an industry insider, Jeong also referred to a major change taking place in the media environment. With the increasing dominance of YouTube and other internet-based media outlets, TV is losing its influence as a source for spawning media stars, he said.

"There's effectively no place for novice entertainers to launch their careers. So I hope variety shows like 'Running Man' could survive to the end to provide a venue for would-be stars," Jeong noted.

"It would be easier to follow the trend (in the media industry). But I am not willing to do so," he said, adding, "I wish my successors would continue to stick to 'Running Man' or programs like this even if I part with the show."

The producer passed credit for the show's global success to the main MC Yoo Jae-suk and the other members.

One major secret of the show's global success may lie in its format that doesn't require understanding of the Korean language, he also added.

Jeong recalled the departure in 2016 of Gary, a former show member and musician, as the biggest crisis in the show's nine-year journey.

"The show's viewer rating fell from double digits to single digits to tumble below the 5 percent point. Everybody was under pressure," the producer said, attributing the show's rebound to "life-or-death" efforts by the show's remaining MCs.

"(Yoo) is crazy about TV show making and has a clear, established philosophy of his own on that matter," he said.

"Jeong recalled the departure in 2016 of Gary, a former show member and musician, as the biggest crisis in the show's nine-year journey." Huh? Everyone was okay with Gary leaving...it was what happened with Jihyo and Jongkook that made people stop watching. Everyone knows how they were treated.

source: Yonhap News
daynr 4th-Sep-2019 09:14 pm (UTC)
They really make it sound like the only valuable member is Yoo JaeSuk ...

so was Yoo JaeSuk involved with the Jihyo and Jongkook mess? Is he less Mr. Nice guy behind the scenes than we see?
lechuza_yoya 4th-Sep-2019 09:46 pm (UTC)
IA Op it wasfor jiho and jongkook mess, the people didnt want to watch. that why they change their minds and take it back!
toast_is_burnin 4th-Sep-2019 11:04 pm (UTC)
I find it fascinating they didnt mention anything about the jihyo jongkook mess.......
setsuna16 5th-Sep-2019 12:31 am (UTC)
I know *I* stopped watching when they pulled a 7th Heaven after the JiHyo/Jongkook disaster, first saying they were just going to all go ride into the sunset together, then they decided "nope, nevermind!"

It disgusted me that they could treat two very important cast members that way, and while I would have watched the run end with the cast that I fell in love with, out of respect for them, I couldn't keep watching knowing that they could just decide to screw the cast over again willy nilly.

I'm glad to hear, however, that the show is doing better.
ashdevilrun23 5th-Sep-2019 04:44 am (UTC)
After the Jong kook and jihyo mess I was done for sure. That was just so disrespectful after they had put in so many years of work smh to be so snake behind their backs
I did try watching some of the newer eps the new girl was fun seems like she was getting more screen time than jihyo which sucks. The guy was so boring tho I didn’t like him at all.
the3rdjester 5th-Sep-2019 04:53 am (UTC)
Tbh, I still can't get used to the two new members, and especially Sechan, who annoys me. Soomin at least has a more established character, whereas he is just, idk, there. Sure he has his moments, but eh. Although, I haven't watched the show since episode 374, so I don't know if his character has improved or not.

Honestly, the show did go downhill with Gary's departure and the whole Jihyo/Jongook mess was the final hit. It didn't help that the new producers mostly didn't create that interesting plots that even the members couldn't make funny or dragged the one with the punishments in other countries (I remember that every damn episode, perhaps more than once even in the same one, they kept showing that video with the alligator cage and the other punishments; like, ok enough we fucking got it).

@ anyone who still watches it, have things got any better?
aures 5th-Sep-2019 07:35 am (UTC)
yes a lot! i adore their recent episodes, it's fun and the vibe is just over all really good, they invite interesting guests, not like we have seen it all before type people and that makes it interesting
the3rdjester 5th-Sep-2019 07:48 am (UTC)
Nice to hear that. I may continue watching then.
aures 5th-Sep-2019 07:54 am (UTC)
these days they invite a lot of variety rookies and people from all over the industry basically, like musicians, rookie actors, sometimes from different sports and such, it's interesting and fun to watch because they have that 'idk how variety works' thing going on and it's fun
they also do a lot of projects now, it's a good show
i mean it's different from before, but they also sometimes bring back games (like name tag game, or the haunted house stuff), it's a good mix imo and they just banter around a lot
modestgoddess79 5th-Sep-2019 03:17 pm (UTC)
they have had a recent spurt of interesting episodes, maybe they changed writers. 463 and 464 were good.
accioanime 5th-Sep-2019 05:38 am (UTC)
I can't believe I have seen all episodes of running man... like I can't even believe it's been 9 years and Ive been watching it since college. It's been such a staple of my Sunday.

All the SBS higher ups wish we forget the whole jihyo/jungkook mess LOL but I actually really love Somin. She is variety gold. I remember when she guested in another variety show Village the Eight (which You Jae suk also hosts) and she messed with everyone's heads because they aren't used to how she isn't there to win but to cause havoc.

Sechan is meh, I think for a while he was trying to play the role of Jungkook's biggest fan but now he still has yet to establish a trademark personality for him that differs from the cast.

I do miss Gary and his innocence and just his purity. He was just dependable and will work really hard. He isn't there to be intentionally funny for the views, he really is just there to do what he is told and follow the rules. Right now most of the members are the goofballs who crave attention, and I think the only really serious ones left are jihyo and Jungkook which is kinda imbalanced. I wish they hired someone innocent and well-meaning as replacement for Garey. It just creates a better foil when he gets corrupted by the other members. Maybe thats why I loved Lee Sang Yeob as a guest so much. He was so innocent to variety at first.
aures 5th-Sep-2019 07:39 am (UTC)
i'm happy they didn't cast LSY as a member though, it got too comfortable when he was a long term guest a while ago and he didn't stand out anymore
so i think it's better he comes over as a guest so he can shine and be great
the3rdjester 5th-Sep-2019 07:56 am (UTC)
I really miss Gary too. I loved that he was both laid-back and a hidden power. So contradicting yet so balanced in an interesting and fun way. If I remember correctly, wasn't '2nd commander' one of his titles? Not used that much, but still mentioned.
modestgoddess79 5th-Sep-2019 03:19 pm (UTC)
Sechan is so boring, Gary was super funny and I still enjoy watching older episodes.
aures 5th-Sep-2019 07:37 am (UTC)
my favorite korean show ♥ i'm proud of them, it's been hard on them, not only mentally but also physically and i think that deserves a mention as well, they have all suffered immensely from the tough games but they never complain and i love them, i'm so glad they are here ♥ im fine with the low intensity games, it's still fun and entertaining
yeah i love this show, they are all such good people and hard working and honest, i look up to them
lizanka23 5th-Sep-2019 04:22 pm (UTC)
does this show still have only one female cast member?
modestgoddess79 5th-Sep-2019 05:34 pm (UTC)
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